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Religions of Tibet in Practice

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PRINCETON READINGS IN RELIGIONS

Donald S. Lopez, Jr., Editor


Religions of India in Practice edited by Donald S. L o p e z , Jr Buddhism in Practice edited by D o n a l d S. L o p e z , Jr. Religions of China in Practice edited by D o n a l d S. L o p e z , Ji Religions of Tibet in Practice edited by D o n a l d S. L o p e z , Jr


RELIGIONS OF TIBET IN PRACTICE

Donald S. Lopez, Jr., Editor


Copyright © 1997 by Princeton University Press Published by Princeton University Press, 41 William Street, Princeton, New Jersey 08540 In the United Kingdom: Pnnceton University Press, Chichester, West Sussex Excerpts from The Life of Tilopa by Pema Karpo. Translated and published by the Nalanda Translation Committee. © 1982 Chogyam Trungpa. Revised translation © 1996 Diana J. Mukpo and Nalanda Translation Committee. Used by kind permission of Diana J. Mukpo and the Nalanda Translation Committee. "The Yogin Lorepa's Retreat at Lake Namtso." Reprinted from The Rain of Wisdom, translated by the Nalanda Translation Committee, with the special permission of Shambhala Publications, Inc. © 1980 Chogyam Trungpa. Revised translation © 1996 Diana J. Mukpo and Nalanda Translation Committee. "A Smoke Purification Song" is excerpted from "The Long Werma Lhasang Called The Warrior Song of Drala" by Mipham Jamyang Namgyal Gyatso. Translated and published by the Nalanda Translation Committee. © 1979 Chogyam Trungpa. Revised translation © 1996 Diana J. Mukpo and Nalanda Translation Committee. Used by kind permission of Diana J. Mukpo and the Nalanda Translation Committee. "Daily Prayers" include selections from the Daily Chant Book. Translated and published by the Nalanda Translation Committee. © 1975-1994 Chogyam Trungpa and Nalanda Translation Committee. Revised translations © 1996 Diana J. Mukpo and Nalanda Translation Committee. Used by kind permission of Diana J. Mukpo and the Nalanda Translation Committee. "Daily Prayers" consists of the following texts: "Dedications of Merit"; "Fulfilling the Aspirations of Gyalwang Karmapa"; "The Aspiration Prayer of Choggyur Lingpa"; "Meal Chants"; "The Sutra of the Recollection of the Noble Three Jewels"; "Short Feast Offering" by Jigme Lingpa; and "Concluding Request to the Protectors." All Rights Reserved Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Religions of Tibet in practice / edited by Donald S. Lopez, p. cm.—(Princeton readings in religions) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-691-01184-2 (cloth : alk. paper). — ISBN 0-691-01183-4 (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. Buddhism—China—Tibet. 2. Tibet (China)—Religion. 3. Buddhist literature, Tibetan—Translations into English. I. Lopez, Donald S., 1952- . II. Series. BQ7620.R45 1997 294.3'923—dc20 96-31592 This book has been composed in Berkeley Princeton University Press books are printed on acid-free paper and meet the guidelines for permanence and durability of the Committee on Production Guidelines for Book Longevity of the Council on Library Resources Printed in the United States of America by Pnnceton Academic Press 3 5 7 9 1 0 8 6 4 2 3 5 7 9 1 0 8 6 4 2 (pbk.)


Princeton Readings in Religions is a new series of anthologies on the religions of the w o r l d , representing the significant advances that have been made in the study of religions in the last thirty years. The sourcebooks used by previous generations of students, whether for Judaism and Christianity or for the religions of Asia and the M i d d l e East, placed a heavy emphasis on "canonical w o r k s . " Princeton Readings in Religions provides a different configuration of texts in an attempt better to represent the range of religious practices, placing particular emphasis on the ways in w h i c h texts have been used in diverse contexts. The volumes in the series therefore include ritual manuals, hagiographical and autobiographical works, popular commentaries, and folktales, as well as some ethnographic material. M a n y works are drawn from vernacular sources. The readings in the series are new in two senses. First, very few of the works contained in the volumes have ever have made available in an anthology before; in the case of the volumes on Asia, few have even been translated into a Western language. Second, the readings are new in the sense that each volume provides new ways to read and understand the religions of the w o r l d , breaking d o w n the sometimes misleading stereotypes i n herited from the past in an effort to provide both more expansive and more focused perspectives on the richness and diversity of religious expressions. The series is designed for use by a wide range of readers, w i t h key terms translated and technical notes omitted. Each volume also contains an introduction by a distinguished scholar in w h i c h the histories of the traditions are outlined and the significance of each of the works is explored. Religions of Tibet in Practice is the fourth volume of Princeton Readings in Religion and the first substantial anthology of Tibetan religious literature to appear in English. The seventeen contributors are leading scholars of the religions of Tibet, each of w h o m has provided one or more translations of key works, most of w h i c h are translated here for the first time. Each chapter in the volume begins w i t h an introduction in w h i c h the translator discusses the history and influence of the work, identifying points of particular difficulty or interest. The works they have translated here represent many genres; they are drawn from a m i l l e n i u m of Tibetan history and from many regions of the Tibetan cultural domain. In addition to acknowledging the cooperation and patience of the contributors to Religions of Tibet in Practice, I w o u l d like to thank Zeff Bjerken for his assistance in the initial editing of the manuscript.


Religions of Japan in Practice is currently in press. Volumes nearing completion are devoted to Islam in Asia, Islamic Mysticism, and the Religions of Latin America. Several volumes on Judaism and Christianity are also planned. Donald S. Lopez, Jr. Series Editor


Unfortunately, there is no c o m m o n l y accepted system for phonetically rendering Tibetan words. The editor has attempted to represent the sound of Tibetan words as accurately and consistently as possible, while respecting the preferences of the i n d i v i d u a l translators. After the first occurrence of a name or title, the Tibetan transliteration follows in parentheses, using the W y l i e system but w i t h the first letter of a proper name, rather than the root letter, capitalized.


Princeton Readings in Religions Note on Transliteration Contributors \ Introduction • Donald S. Lopez, Jr.


G e s a r o f L i n g • Robin Kornman The Royal W a y of Supreme Compassion • Matthew Kapstein A Tribal History • Robin Kornman B o n Rescues Dharma • Per Kvaerne The Guide to the Crystal Peak • Matthew Kapstein Guidebook to Lapchi • Toni Huber

Remarkable Lives 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

The Life of T i l o p a • Nalanda Translation Committee Atisa's Journey to Tibet • Hubert Decker The Journey to the G o l d e n M o u n t a i n • Matthew Kapstein A Quest for "The Path and Result" • Cyrus Stearns The Y o g i n Lorepa's Retreat at Lake Namtso • Nalanda Translation Committee 1 2 . Memories of a Past Life • David Templeman

Rites and Techniques 13. 14. 15. 16. 17.

A Rite of Empowerment • Richard J. Kohn The Horseback Consecration Ritual • Yael Bentor An Offering of T o r m a • Richard J. Kohn A n Avalokitesvara Sadhana • Janet Gyatso A Fasting Ritual • Roger Jackson

X

CONTENTS

1 8 . F o o d , Clothes, Dreams, and Karmic Propensities • David Germano 1 9 . The Elements, Insanity, and Lettered Subjectivity • David Germano 2 0 . The Regulations of a Monastery • Jose lgnacio Cabezon

Prayers and Sermons 2 1 . The Sermon of an Itinerant Saint • Matthew Kapstein 2 2 . F r o m the Autobiography of a Visionary • Janet Gyatso

A Prayer to the Lama • Donald S. Lopez, Jr. A Prayer to the G o d of the Plain • Richard J. Kohn Invocations to T w o Bon Deities • Per Kvaerne A Smoke Purification Song • Nalanda Translation Committee Daily Prayers • Nalanda Translation Committee

Dealing with Death and Other Demons 2 8 . Mindfulness of Death • Donald S. Lopez, Jr. 2 9 . A Prayer for Deliverance from Rebirth • Donald S. Lopez, Jr. 3 0 . Dying, Death, and Other Opportunities • David Germano

Cards for the Dead • Per Kvaerne 3 2 . Returning from Hell • Trancoise Pommaret 3 3 . Exorcising Demons with a Buddhist Sutra • Donald S. Lopez, Jr.





CONTRIBUTORS


Yael Bentor teaches in the Department of Indian Studies at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Jose Ignacio Cabezon teaches Buddhist Studies at Iliff School of Theology. Hubert Decker is academic director w i t h the Kathmandu-based Tibetan Studies program of Academic Semesters A b r o a d , for the School of International Training. David Germano teaches in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. Janet Gyatso teaches i n the Department of Religion at Amherst College. Toni Huber is an independent scholar living in Berlin. Roger Jackson teaches in the Department of Religion at Carleton College. Matthew Kapstein teaches in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. Anne C. Klein teaches in the Department of Religious Studies at Rice University. Richard J. Kohn is a research associate at the Center for South Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Robin Kornman teaches in the W o r l d Literature program at the University of W i s c o n s i n i n Milwaukee. Per Kvaerne teaches in the Institute for Comparative Research in H u m a n Culture at the University of Oslo. Donald S. Lopez, Jr. teaches in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan. The Nalanda Translation Committee is based in Halifax, N o v a Scotia. Francoise Pommaret teaches in the Institut de Recherche sur le Sud-Est Asiatique at the Universite de Provence. Cyrus Stearns is a graduate of the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of Washington. David Templeman is an independent scholar living in Victoria, Australia.



RELIGIONS OF TIBET IN PRACTICE INTRODUCTION

Donald S. Lopez, Jr.

The religions of Tibet have long been objects of Western fascination and fantasy. F r o m the time that Venetian travelers and Catholic missionaries encountered T i betan monks at the M o n g o l court, tales of the mysteries of their mountain homeland and the magic of their strange religions have held a peculiar h o l d over the European and American imagination. Over the past two centuries, the valuation of Tibetan society and, particularly, its religion has fluctuated w i l d l y . Tibetan B u d d h i s m has been portrayed sometimes as the most corrupt deviation from the Buddha's true dharma, sometimes as its most direct descendant. These fluctuations have occurred over the course of this century, as Tibet resisted the colonial ambitions of a European power at its beginning and succumbed to the colonial ambitions of an A s i a n power at its end. U n t i l some thirty years ago, knowledge of the religions of Tibet in the West had largely been derived from the reports of travelers and adventurers, who often found the religions both strange and strangely familiar, noting similarities between Tibetan B u d d h i s m and Roman Catholicism, calling the Dalai Lama the Tibetan pope, for example. It is only since the Tibetan diaspora that took place beginning in 1959, after the Chinese invasion and occupation of Tibet, that the texts of the religions of Tibet have begun to be widely translated. U n t i l this point, however, there has been no attempt to gather a wide range of Tibetan religious texts into a single volume. The present volume, therefore, unlike others in this series, is not intended as a supplement or a substitute for past anthologies (no such anthologies exist), but is a first attempt to represent the contours of Tibetan religious practices through Tibetan texts. This volume is thus testimony to the vast scope of religious practice in the Tibetan w o r l d , past and present. It does not follow a chronological sequence or attempt to represent systematically the various Buddhist sects. Instead, it offers a selection of texts, in the broadest sense of that term, in order to provide the reader w i t h a sense of the remarkable diversity and range of the practices of persons who have inhabited the Tibetan cultural domain. The chapters highlight types of discourse (including ritual texts, epics, prayers, accounts of visits to hell, sermons, pilgrimage manuals, and autobiographies) and voices (vernacular, esoteric, cler-


ical, prophetic, and female) that have not been sufficiently represented in previous accounts of Tibetan religion. The selections juxtapose materials from different "sects," historical periods, and geographical regions in an attempt to broaden the range of what we understand the religious practices of Tibet to encompass. Because this volume, like the others in the series, is organized thematically, it is perhaps useful here to provide a brief historical overview of the religions of Tibet, w i t h repeated excurses into some of the presuppositions and foundations of Tibetan religious life that are represented in the chapters of this book. The history of Tibet prior to the seventh century C . E . is difficult to determine. A c c o r d i n g to a number of chronicles discovered at D u n h u a n g dating from the seventh through the tenth centuries, Tibet was ruled by a lineage of kings, the first seven of w h o m descended from the heavens by means of a cord or ladder. Each k i n g ruled until his first son was o l d enough to ride a horse, at w h i c h point the k i n g returned to heaven via the rope. (Buddhist historians say that the first k i n g in the lineage was an Indian prince w h o arrived by crossing the Himalayas; w h e n the Tibetans asked where he had come from he pointed u p , and the credulous Tibetans assumed he had descended from the sky.) These kings founded a system of law that reflected the cosmic order of heaven. As a literal descendant of heaven, the k i n g was the embodiment and protector of the cosmic order and the welfare of the state. The king's stable presence on the throne thus ensured harmony in the realm. It was only w h e n the eighth k i n g lost his protective warrior god (dgra lha, see chapter 26) in battle that the sky rope was severed and the k i n g was slain, leaving his corpse behind. To deal w i t h this crisis, according to later sources, priests were invited from an area called Shangshung (Zhang zhung, the precise location and extent of w h i c h is u n k n o w n but is assumed to include m u c h of western Tibet) to perform death rituals and bury the k i n g . The story reflects the popular notion of Tibet as an untamed and uncivilized realm, w i t h civilization arriving only from the outside. Recent scholarship thus does not assume from this account that foreign priests were actually summoned, seeing it instead as a creation m y t h meant to explain the origin of the elaborate royal mortuary cult. A class of priests called "reciters" (bon) performed a range of sacerdotal functions in service of the divine k i n g , such as officiating at coronation ceremonies and in rites of allegiance to the king. There was also another class of priests, called shen (gshen), w h o seem to have performed divinations. The cult of the divine k i n g included the belief that he was endowed w i t h both magical power and a special magnificence. There was a trinity of the k i n g , the head priest, and the chief minister, w i t h the active power of government in the hands of the head priest and the minister who represented the priestly hierarchy and the clan nobility. The k i n g represented the continually reborn essence of the divine ancestor, w h o was reincarnated in each k i n g at the age of maturity and remained incarnated in h i m u n t i l his son reached the same age of maturity and ascended the throne as the consecutive l i n k of the ancestral reincarnation. This procedure applied also to both the priest and the minister, so a new trinity was


instituted at the accession of each k i n g . The k i n g also had a special guardian called the "body spirit" (sku bid) w h o protected the king's power, encompassing everything from his body to his political authority to the order of the universe. One of the primary responsibilities of the royal priests and ministers, then, seems to have been the maintenance of the king's health, for if the k i n g became i l l or if the body spirit was determined otherwise to be displeased, the safety of the k i n g d o m and even of the universe was in jeopardy. Epidemics and droughts were interpreted as signs of this displeasure. The notion of la (bid), generally translated as " s o u l , " "spirit," or "life," dates from the ancient period and remains an important component in the religions of Tibet. The la is an individual's life force, often associated w i t h the breath. It is seen as the essential support of the physical and mental constitution of the person but is mobile and can leave the body and wander, going into trees, rocks, or animals, to the detriment of the person it animates, w h o w i l l become either i l l or mentally unbalanced. The la is especially susceptible during dreams and can be carried off by demons, who particularly covet the life forces of children. There are thus rites designed to bring the la back into the body, k n o w n as "calling the la" (bla 'bod). Even when the la is properly restored to its place in the body, it may s i m u l taneously reside in certain external abodes, most often in a particular lake, tree, mountain, or animal. The person in w h o m the la resides stands in a sympathetic relationship w i t h these phenomena, such that if the la mountain is d u g into, the person w i l l fall sick. The Tibetan epic hero Gesar (see chapter 1) in his attempt to conquer a certain demoness cuts d o w n her la tree and empties her la lake; he fails because he does not k i l l her la sheep. The identity of these external la are thus often kept secret, and portable abodes of the la, usually a precious object of some k i n d (often a turquoise), are kept in special receptacles and hidden by the person who shares the la. There were thus regular offerings made to the king's body spirit at the site of the king's sacred mountain, the physical locus of his power. Of particular i m portance to the royal cult, however, were the funeral ceremonies. A k i n g was still expected to abdicate u p o n the majority of his son and retire to his tomb w i t h a large company of retainers, although whether this entailed the execution of the k i n g and his retinue or simply their exile into a tomb complex remains u n k n o w n . The royal funerals were apparently elaborate affairs, w i t h food and other necessities provided for the perilous journey to the next w o r l d , a bucolic heaven called the "land of j o y " (bde ba can). Animals, especially yaks, sheep, and horses (see chapter 25), were also offered in sacrifice. Chinese sources suggest that humans were also sacrificed, perhaps to serve as servants to the departed k i n g , perhaps to be offered as gifts or "ransoms" (glud) to various spirits w h o otherwise w o u l d block the king's route. This concern w i t h death and the fate of the dead has continued throughout the history of Tibetan religions, as evidenced by the chapters in the section entitled "Dealing w i t h Death and Other Demons." A l t h o u g h B u d d h i s m was flourishing all around Tibet in the first centuries of


the c o m m o n era, there is no mention of Buddhist elements in the chronicles apart from the account of a small stupa and an illegible Buddhist sutra falling from the sky into the palace of one of the prehistoric kings. The formal introduction of B u d d h i s m to the Tibetan court seems to have occurred during the reign of K i n g Songtsen Gampo (Srong btsan sgam po, ruled c. 614-650), at a time w h e n Tibet was the dominant military power of Inner Asia. A c c o r d i n g to later chronicles, as a result of treaties w i t h the courts of C h i n a and Nepal, the k i n g received two princesses as wives. Each was a Buddhist, and each brought a precious statue of the Buddha w i t h her to Lhasa, the capital. They are credited w i t h converting their new husband to the dharma, although what this meant in practice is difficult to say. The k i n g dispatched an emissary to India to leam Sanskrit and then return to design a written language for Tibet. A m o n g the many purposes to w h i c h such a script could be put, it is said that the king's pious motivation was the translation of Buddhist texts from Sanskrit into Tibetan. The script invented was modeled on one current in northern India at the time. Tibetan is, like Sanskrit, an inflected language, w i t h case endings used to mark grammatical functions. W o r d s are made up of combinations of independent syllables, each of w h i c h is constructed by grouping letters in various combinations. The simplest syllable can be made up of a single letter while the most complex can have as many as six, w i t h a prefix, a superscription, a root letter, a subscription, a suffix, and an additional suffix, not to mention a vowel marker. Historical linguists speculate that originally all of these letters were pronounced, but over the centuries the auxiliary letters became silent, such that there is a vast difference today between the way a w o r d is written and the way it is pronounced. To render the spelling of a Tibetan w o r d in English requires that all of the letters be represented. The result, however, appears to be utterly unpronounceable to someone who does not already k n o w Tibetan. For that reason, phonetic renderings (for w h i c h there is no widely accepted convention) must be provided. For example, the name of the current Dalai Lama in transliteration is Bstan 'dzin rgya mtsho, but it is commonly written in English as Tenzin Gyatso. Although the same script is employed throughout the Tibetan cultural domain, dozens of regional dialects have developed, many of w h i c h are mutually incomprehensible. The conversion of Tibet to B u d d h i s m is traditionally presented as a process of forceful but ultimately compassionate subjugation (rather than destruction) of native Tibetan deities by the more powerful imported deities of B u d d h i s m , often invoked by Indian yogins. The profoundly chthonic nature of Tibetan religion is evident even from the traditional chronicles, w h i c h represent the conversion of Tibet to the true dharma not so m u c h as a matter of bringing new teachings to the populace but of transforming the landscape by bringing the myriad deities of place—of valleys, mountains, hills, passes, rivers, lakes, and plains—under control. Thus Songtsen Gampo was said to have ordered the construction of Buddhist temples at key points throughout his realm, each temple functioning as a great nail impaling a giant demoness (srin mo) lying supine over the expanse of Tibet, i m m o b i l i z i n g her from impeding the progress of the dharma, the symmetry of a Buddhist mandala superimposed over the unruly landscape of Tibet.


But all this derives from chronicles composed centuries after the fact by authors concerned to promote Buddhism and link the introduction of the dharma to Tibet's greatest k i n g , the k i n g who unified Tibet and led its armies in victory against Chinese, Indians, Nepalese, Turks, and Arabs. The few records surviving from the period make no mention of Buddhism, nor even of the Nepalese princess. The historicity of the emissary to India is questionable. Songtsen Gampo seems to have remained committed to and even to have developed further the cult of divine kingship, a cult that involved both animal and h u m a n sacrifice (an anathema to Buddhists), while continuing to worship local deities and supporting his o w n ministers and priests of the royal mortuary cult. At the same time, it seems unlikely that the Tibetan k i n g d o m , surrounded as it was for centuries by Buddhist societies, should have remained untouched by Buddhist influence u n t i l the seventh century, as the traditional histories claim. The first k i n g to make a choice between Buddhism and the native religion of the Tibetan court was T r i Songdetsen (Khri srong lde btsan, ruled 754-797). Both later Buddhist and Bonpo chronicles report that he promoted B u d d h i s m and suppressed the practices of priests of the native cult; his support of B u d d h i s m may have been motivated by the desire to escape the restricting bonds of the feudal clan nobility who supported the priests. Contemporary inscriptions, h o w ever, also indicate that he continued to have rituals performed that involved animal sacrifice. D u r i n g these ceremonies, the old oaths of loyalty between k i n g and servant were sworn. Before taking the oath, it was the custom for the participants to smear their lips w i t h the b l o o d of the sacrificial animal, a practice from w h i c h the Buddhist monks who were present apparently demurred. T r i Songdetsen invited to Tibet the prominent Indian Buddhist abbot Santaraksita, whose presence angered the local spirits sufficiently for the Indian abbot to request the k i n g to invite a tantric master to aid in the further subjugation of the local spirits. The great master Padmasambhava was invited and proved equal to the task, after w h i c h it was possible to establish the first Buddhist monastery at Samye (Bsam yas) circa 779. The further activities of Padmasambhava and the duration of his stay are u n k n o w n , but he remains a figure of mythic significance in the history of Tibet, often referred to simply as G u r u Rimpoche, the precious guru. The stories of Padmasambhava's defeat and conversion of the local spirits and demons of Tibet are pervasive and popular, and they figure prominently in the descriptions of specific sites found in pilgrimage narratives (see chapters 5, 6, and 24). Buddhism is famous for its ability to accommodate local deities into its pantheon. In the case of Tibet, most of the local deities became regarded as "mundane gods" ('jigs rten pa'i lha), that is, deities who are subject to the law of karma and cycle of rebirth, w h o , after a lifetime as a particular god, w i l l take rebirth in some other form. The vast pantheon of deities imported from India included such gods, as well as "supramundane gods" (jigs rten las 'das pa'i lha), that is, deities w h o — although they appear in horrifying forms, such as the protector of the Dalai Lama, the goddess Belden Lhamo (Dpal ldan lha mo, the "Glorious Goddess")—are in fact enlightened beings already liberated from the cycle of birth and death. Still,


the process of the Buddhist conversion of Tibet should not be understood to mean that B u d d h i s m was not also converted in that process; indeed, many deities cannot be identified as simply Indian or Tibetan. The deities that Padmasambhava subdued and converted were often identified w i t h mountains, rock formations, and other prominent elements of the topography of Tibet. The Tibetan plateau stands at 12,000 feet, w i t h the surrounding mountains rising yet another mile above the plateau. The northern region is a vast uninhabited plane, but there are also dense forests and fertile valleys that are cultivated to produce barley, the staple crop. It is thus misleading to characterize Tibet as a desolate place, or to suggest (as Western travelers have) that the bleak landscape and vast sky (with its thin air) have turned men's minds toward the contemplation of a rarefied w o r l d of gods and demons, their unconscious releasing v i v i d hallucinations that appear in sharp relief against the distant horizon. Yet it is difficult to overestimate the importance of the land in Tibetan religion. F r o m early times Tibetans have held a belief in numerous local spirits, demons, and gods, w h o lived in lakes, rivers, creeks, wells, trees, fields, rocks, and m o u n tains. Deities inhabited unusually shaped mounds; rocks shaped like animals; hills shaped liked sleeping oxen; burial mounds; juniper, birch, and spruce trees; and any anomalous geologic formation. Various types of demons roamed mountains and valleys and chose abodes in rocks, forests, ditches, and overhanging rocks, all places that could be disturbed by humans, to w h o m they sent both physical affliction (such as leprosy and smallpox) and social affliction (such as gossip; see chapter 34). The atmosphere was the domain of another class of spirits, demons w h o appeared in the form of warriors who w o u l d attack travelers. Beneath the surface of the earth and in rivers and lakes lived a class of demons named lu (klu), w h o w o u l d become enraged if the earth was disturbed by digging, p l o w i n g , or laying the foundation for a house. Unless they were properly appeased, they also w o u l d inflict disease o n humans and livestock. There are also tsen (jotsari), "rock spirits"; sa dak (sa bdag), "lords of the earth"; ma mo, "demonesses"; and dre i'dre), drip (sgrib), don (gdon), and gek (bgegs). The Tibetan pantheon (although the term pantheon suggests a clearer system than in fact exists) of both benevolent and, especially, malevolent spirits is large and complex, and English lacks sufficient terms to render their names, beyond things like " d e m o n " and "ogress." (For a useful list of some of these deities, see chapter 15.) Even the terms "benevolent" and "malevolent" can be misleading, since many horrifying deities, despite an awful demeanor and testy disposition, can provide protection and aid if they are not offended or disturbed, but properly propitiated (see chapter 3). As mentioned above, Buddhist chronicles describe the Tibetan landscape as itself a giant demoness who must be subdued. There are gods of the plain and gods of the mountains; an entire mountain range is a god (see chapters 3 and 24). This animated topography is itself further populated by all manner of spirits w h o must be honored to avoid their wrath (see chapter 15). But the landscape is not only a domain of danger, it is also an abode of opportunity, blessing, and power. (In chapter 3, one of these spirits mates w i t h a human, and the two serve


as progenitors of a fierce Tibetan tribe.) Thus, pilgrimage is an essential element of Tibetan religious life, w i t h pilgrims seeking to derive power and purification by visiting those places believed to embody a particular potency, either naturally—as when the place is the abode of a god or the god itself—or h i s t o r i c a l l y — as when the place is the site of the inspired deeds of a great yogin such as Padmasambhava or Milarepa (see chapters 5 and 6). The topography even contains hidden countries (sbas yul), ideal sites for the practice of tantra, the most famous being the k i n g d o m of Shambala; there are guidebooks w i t h directions to such destinations. It is also the land that yields the treasures (gter ma), the texts left behind, hidden in rocks, caves, and pillars by Padmasambhava himself, left safely w i t h i n the earth until the time is right for them to be discovered and their contents made k n o w n to the w o r l d . Thus, the landscape is not simply an animated realm of fearful demons and ogresses, but above all the abode of power for those w h o k n o w where to seek what lies w i t h i n . D u r i n g the reign of T r i Songdetsen, not long after the founding of the Samye monastery, a politically charged doctrinal controversy erupted in Tibet. In addition to the Indian party of Santaraksita, there was also an influential Chinese Buddhist contingent who found favor w i t h the Tibetan nobility. These were monks of the C h a n (Zen) school, led by one Mohoyen. A c c o r d i n g to traditional accounts, Santaraksita foretold of dangers from the Chinese position and left instructions in his w i l l that his student Kamalaslla be called from India to counter the Chinese view. A conflict seems to have developed between the Indian and Chinese partisans (and their allies in the Tibetan court) over the question of the nature of enlightenment, w i t h the Indians h o l d i n g that enlightenment takes place as the culmination of a gradual process of purification, the result of c o m b i n i n g virtuous action, meditative serenity, and philosophical insight. The Chinese spoke against this view, h o l d i n g that enlightenment was the intrinsic nature of the m i n d rather than the goal of a protracted path, such that one need simply to recognize the presence of this innate nature of enlightenment by entering a state of awareness beyond distinctions; all other practices were superfluous. A c c o r d i n g to both Chinese and Tibetan records, a debate was held between Kamalaslla and M o h o y e n at Samye circa 797, w i t h K i n g T r i Songdetsen himself serving as judge. A c c o r d i n g to Tibetan accounts (contradicted by the Chinese accounts), Kamalaslla was declared the winner and M o h o y e n and his party were banished from Tibet, w i t h the k i n g proclaiming that thereafter the M i d d l e W a y (Madhyamaka) school of Indian Buddhist philosophy (to w h i c h Santaraksita and Kamalaslla belonged) w o u l d be followed in Tibet. Recent scholarship has suggested that although a controversy between the Indian and Chinese Buddhists (and their Tibetan partisans) occurred, it is unlikely that a face-to-face debate took place or that the outcome of the controversy was so unequivocal. Furthermore, it is probably i m portant to recall that, regardless of the merits of the Indian and Chinese p h i l o sophical positions, C h i n a was Tibet's chief military rival at the time, whereas India posed no such threat. Nonetheless, it is significant that from this point Tibet largely sought its B u d d h i s m from India; no school of Chinese B u d d h i s m had any


further influence in Tibet. M o h o y e n himself was transformed into something of a trickster figure, popular in Tibetan art and drama. The k i n g Ralpajen (Ral pa can, ruled c. 815-835) seems to have been an even more enthusiastic patron of Buddhism, supporting numerous Indian-Tibetan translation teams w h o continued the formidable task of rendering a vast corpus of Sanskrit literature into Tibetan. Translation academies were established and standard glossaries of technical terms were developed during the n i n t h century. The relatively late date of the introduction of B u d d h i s m to Tibet compared w i t h C h i n a (first century C.E.) and Japan (fifth century) had important ramifications for the development of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the foremost being that the Tibetans had access to large bodies of Indian Buddhist literature that either never were translated into Chinese (and thus never transmitted to Japan) or had little influence in East Asia. This literature fell into two categories: tantras and sastras. The origins of tantric Buddhism in India remain nebulous, w i t h some scholars dating the early texts from the fourth century C . E . Its literature, i n c l u d i n g all manner of ritual texts and meditation manuals, continued to be composed in India for the next six centuries. This literature offered a speedy path to enlightenment, radically truncating the eons-long path set forth in the earlier discourses attributed to the Buddha, called sutras. To this end, the tantric literature set forth a wide range of techniques for the attainment of goals both mundane and supramundane, techniques for bringing the fantastic worlds described in the sutras into actuality. Tantric practices were considered so potent that they were often conducted in secret, and aspirants required initiation. The practices themselves i n volved elaborate and meticulous visualizations, in w h i c h the practitioner mentally transformed himself or herself into a fully enlightened buddha, w i t h a resplendent body seated on a throne in the center of a marvelous palace (called a mandala), w i t h speech that intoned sacred syllables (called mantras), and w i t h a m i n d that saw the ultimate reality directly. A second body of literature, more important for Buddhist philosophy per se, were the sastras (treatises). Buddhist literature is sometimes divided into sutras— those texts traditionally held to be either the w o r d of the Buddha or spoken w i t h his sanction—and sastras-—treatises composed by Indian commentators. In the case of Mahayana literature, sutras often contain fantastic visions of worlds populated by enlightened beings, w i t h entrance to such a w o r l d gained through devotion to the sutra itself. W h e n points of doctrine are presented, it is often in the form of narrative, allegory, or the repetition of stock phrases. The sastras are closer to what might be called systematic philosophy or theology, w i t h positions presented w i t h reasoned argumentation supported by relevant passages from the sutras and tantras. East Asian B u d d h i s m was predominantly a sutra-based tradition, w i t h schools forming around single texts, such as the Lotus Sutra and the Avatamsaka Sutra. Although many important sastras were translated into Chinese, the major project of translating Indian texts into Chinese virtually ended w i t h the work of Xuanzang (596-664), by whose time the major East Asian schools were


well formed. Consequently, works by such figures as the M i d d l e W a y philosophers Candraklrti (c. 600-650) and Santideva (early eighth century) and the logician Dharmakirti (seventh century), who flourished when the Chinese B u d dhist schools had already developed, never gained wide currency in East Asia but were highly influential in Tibet. The works by these and other authors became the basis of the scholastic tradition in Tibet, w h i c h from the early period was a sastra-based Buddhism. Sutras were venerated but rarely read independently; the sastras were studied and commented u p o n at great length. To undertake the task of translation of the sutras, tantras, and sastras, a whole new vocabulary had to be created. To render an often technical Sanskrit vocabulary, hundreds of neologisms were invented. In some cases, these were relatively straightforward translations of folk etymologies; in other cases, rather unwieldy terms were fabricated to capture multiple denotations of a Sanskrit term. W h e n these eighth-century exegetes came to decide u p o n a Tibetan equivalent for the Sanskrit term for teacher, guru, a term classically etymologized in India as "one who is heavy (with virtue)," the translators departed from their storied penchant for approximating the meaning of the Sanskrit and opted instead for the w o r d lama (bla ma). Here they combined the term la ("soul") w i t h ma, w h i c h has as least three meanings: as a negative particle, as a substantive indicator, and as the w o r d for "mother." Subsequent Buddhist etymologies, drawing on the meaning of la as " h i g h " rather than its pre-Buddhist usage as " s o u l , " were then construed, w h i c h explained la ma as meaning either "highest" (literally, "above-not," that is, "none above") or as "exalted mother." A l t h o u g h the original intention of the translators remains obscure, lama came to be the standard term for one's religious teacher, a person of such significance as to be appended to the threefold refuge formula: Tibetans say, "I go for refuge to the lama, I go for refuge to the Buddha, I go for refuge to the dharma, I go for refuge to the sangha." It w o u l d be impossible to summarize the contents of the myriad sutras, tantras, and sastras translated into Tibetan, but it might be appropriate at this juncture to review some of the basic elements of Indian B u d d h i s m that were important in Tibet. Tibetans, both Bonpo and Buddhist, conceive of a beginningless cycle of birth and death, called korwa ('khor ba, a translation of the Sanskrit samsara, "wandering"), in six realms of rebirth: gods, demigods, humans, animals, ghosts, and hell beings. The realms of animals, ghosts, and hell beings are regarded as places of great suffering, whereas the godly realms are abodes of great bliss. H u man rebirth falls in between, bringing as it does both pleasure and pain. The engine of samsara is driven by karma, the cause and effect of actions. Like other Buddhists, Tibetans believe that every intentional act, whether it be physical, verbal, or mental, leaves a residue in its agent. That residue, like a seed, w i l l eventually produce an effect at some future point in this life or another life, an effect in the form of pleasure or pain for the person w h o performed the act. Thus Tibetans imagine a moral universe in w h i c h virtuous deeds create experiences of pleasure and nonvirtuous deeds create experiences of pain. These latter are often delineated in a list of ten nonvirtuous deeds: k i l l i n g , stealing, sexual misconduct,


lying, divisive speech, harsh speech, senseless speech, covetousruess, harmful i n tent, and wrong view (notably belief that actions do not have effects). The ten virtues are the opposites of this list: sustaining life, giving gifts, m a i n t a i n i n g sexual decorum, and so on. M u c h of Tibetan religious practice is c o n c e r n e d with accumulating virtuous deeds and preventing, through a variety of r i t u a l means, the fruition of negative deeds already committed. These deeds determine not only the quality of a given life but also the place of the rebirth after d e a t h . Depending on the gravity of a negative deed (killing being more serious than senseless speech, and k i l l i n g a human more serious than k i l l i n g an insect, for e x a m p l e ) , one may be rebom as an animal, as a ghost, or in one of the hot or c o l d hells, where the life span is particularly lengthy. (For an excellent example of a sermon on these topics, see chapter 21.) As in India, karma is not concerned simply w i t h what might he termed in the West moral and immoral deeds. There is, in conjunction with t h e belief that virtue brings happiness and nonvirtue sorrow, a powerful system of p u r i t y and p o l l u tion, generally concerned w i t h one's behavior not toward h u m a n s but n o n h u mans, the various gods and spirits that inhabit the world. In determining the cause of some affliction, there is often an attempt by the a f f l i c t e d or his or her ritual agent to determine both the karmic cause (some nonvirtnous deed in the past) and polluting acts (such as associating with a blacksmith, b u i l d i n g a fire on a mountain, or accepting food from a widow) that contributed to that past evil deed coming to fruition in the form of a particular misfortune. Rebirth as a god or h u m a n in the realm of desire is the r e s u l t of a virtuous deed and is considered very rare. Rarer still is rebirth as ahuma.n w h o has access to the teachings of the Buddha. In a famous analogy, a single b l i n d tortoise is said to s w i m in a vast ocean, surfacing for air only once every century. On the surface of the ocean floats a single golden yoke. It is rarer, said the B u d d h a , to be reborn as a human w i t h the opportunity to practice the dharma than it is for the tortoise to surface for its centennial breath w i t h its head through the h o l e in the golden yoke. One is said to be reborn as a god in the realm of desire as a result of an act of charity: giving gifts results in future wealth. Rebirth as a h u m a n is said to result from consciously refraining from a nonvirtuous deed, as w h e n one takes a v o w not to k i l l humans. Although the various sects of Tibetan Buddhism derive t h e i r monastic regulations from the Indian schools k n o w n pejoratively as the Hinayana ("low vehicle"), all sects of Tibetan Buddhism identify themselves as proponents of the Mahayana, both in their practice and in their philosophy. Mahayana, a S a n s k r i t w o r d that means "great vehicle," is the term used to distinguish a rather disparate group of cults of the book that arose in India some four hundred ^ears. after the death of the Buddha and continued in India into the twelfth century. D u r i n g these centuries, the followers of the Mahayana produced a vast literature of sutras that purport to be the w o r d of the historical Buddha, as well as c o m m e n t a r i e s u p o n them. A m o n g the factors characteristic of the Mahayana are t i r e view of the Buddha as an eternal presence, associated physically with reliquaries (stupas) and


w i t h texts that embody his words, a belief in the existence of myriad buddhas w o r k i n g in multiple universes for the benefit of all beings, and an attendant emphasis on the universal possibility of enlightenment for all, monks and laypeople alike. It is from this last tenet that the term "Great Vehicle" is derived: the proponents of the Mahayana believed that their path was capable of bringing all beings in the universe to buddhahood, whereas the earlier teachings were capable only of delivering the individual disciple to a state of solitary peace. Perhaps the most famous feature of the Mahayana is its emphasis on the bodhisattva, a person who makes the compassionate vow to become a buddha in order to lead all beings in the universe out of suffering and to the bliss of enlightenment. The Sanskrit term bodhisattva was rendered into Tibetan as jang chup sem ba (byang chub sems dpa'), "one who is heroic i n his or her aspiration to enlightenment." The path of the bodhisattva is portrayed as one of extraordinary length, encompassing billions of lifetimes devoted to cultivating such virtues as generosity, ethics, patience, effort, concentration, and w i s d o m , the so-called six perfections, all of these deeds motivated by the w i s h to liberate all beings from the beginningless cycle of rebirth. A c o m m o n tenet of B u d d h i s m is that all suffering is ultimately the result of ignorance. This ignorance is defined as a belief in self. Mahayana philosophy expands u p o n earlier teachings to see ignorance not simply as a misconception concerning the nature of the person, but as a misunderstanding of all things. According to the M i d d l e W a y school, the fundamental error is to conceive of things as existing in and of themselves—independently, autonomously, possessed of some intrinsic nature, some inherent existence. W i s d o m , the sixth of the perfections to be cultivated by the bodhisattva, is the understanding that all things, including persons, are utterly devoid of such a nature and are, in fact, empty of an independent status, although they exist conventionally. To say that things exist conventionally means, for example, that cause and effect remain viable and that things perform functions; one can sit on a chair and drink tea from a cup. E m p tiness, then, does not mean that things do not exist at all, but rather that they do not exist as they appear to the unenlightened. To become enlightened, then, the bodhisattva must develop not only this wisd o m but infinite compassion as well, that is, must dedicate himself or herself to work forever for the welfare of others while simultaneously understanding that all beings, i n c l u d i n g oneself, do not exist ultimately, that they do not exist as they appear. The practice of the Mahayana generally may be said to take two forms, both focused on the bodhisattva. The most influential of the Mahayana sutras, such as the Lotus Sutra, proclaim that all beings w i l l eventually become buddhas, and that, consequently, all beings w i l l traverse the bodhisattva path. Thus, one form of Mahayana belief emphasizes practices for becoming a bodhisattva and performing the bodhisattva's deeds. As bodhisattvas advance along the path, they become increasingly adept at allaying the sufferings of sentient beings w h o call u p o n them for aid, often through miraculous intercession. Consequently, the other major


form of Mahayana practice is concerned with devotions intended to procure the aid of these compassionate beings. The bodhisattva w h o is said to be the physical manifestation of all the compassion of all the buddhas in the universe, A v a l o k i tesvara, is the particular object of such reverence in Tibet, as discussed below (see also chapters 2 and 17). Avalokitesvara is invoked by the famous mantra om mani padme hum, w h i c h might be rendered as, " O y o u who h o l d the jeweled [rosary] and the lotus [have mercy on us]." (It certainly does not mean "the jewel in the lotus.") Avalokitesvara is depicted in a wide variety of forms in Tibetan art, two of the most frequent being w i t h one head and four arms (two of w h i c h h o l d a rosary and a lotus evoked in the mantra) or w i t h eleven heads and a thousand arms. The multiple arms are said to represent the bodhisattva's extraordinary ability to come to the aid of suffering sentient beings. Paintings of the thousandarmed Avalokitesvara often show an eye in the palm of each of the hands. The bodhisattva thus serves as both role model and object of devotion in Mahayana B u d d h i s m , functions that are by no means deemed mutually exclusive; it is quite c o m m o n for persons who consider themselves to have embarked on the b o d h i sattva path to seek the assistance of more advanced bodhisattvas in their long quest for enlightenment. In the realm of Buddhist practice, the Tibetans were able to witness and assimilate the most important development of late Indian Buddhism, Buddhist tantra. Tantra, k n o w n also as the vajrayana, the " D i a m o n d Vehicle," and the mantrayana, the "Mantra Vehicle," was considered an esoteric approach to the Mahayana path whereby the length of time required to achieve buddhahood could be abbreviated from the standard length of three periods of countless aeons (reckoned by some as 384 X 1 0 years) to as little as three years and three months. One of the chief techniques for effecting such an extraordinary reduction in the length of the path was an elaborate system of ritual, visualization, and meditation, sometimes called deity yoga, in w h i c h the practitioner imagined himself or herself to be already fully enlightened w i t h the marvelous body, speech, m i n d , and abode of a buddha. In addition to the ultimate attainment of buddhahood, tantric practice was said to bestow a wide range of lesser magical powers, such as the power to increase wealth and life span, to pacify the inauspicious, and to destroy enemies, both h u m a n and nonhuman. Yogins w h o developed these powers were k n o w n as mahasiddhas, "great adepts"; they are popular subjects of Tibetan Buddhist literature (see chapter 7). 58

A m o n g the elements of tantric B u d d h i s m most commonly identified in the West are its erotic and wrathful motifs, where male and female are depicted in sexual u n i o n and bull-headed deities, adorned w i t h garlands of human heads, brandish cleavers and skullcups. In Mahayana Buddhism, as already mentioned, w i s d o m and compassion (also referred to as method, that is, the compassionate means whereby bodhisattvas become buddhas) are the essential components of the bodhisattva's path to buddhahood. W i s d o m , especially the perfection of wisd o m , is identified with the female. In tantra, the symbolism is rendered in more explicitly sexual terms, w i t h w i s d o m as female and method male, their union


being essential to the achievement of enlightenment. Buddhist tantra is said to be the " D i a m o n d Vehicle" because w i s d o m and method are joined in an adamantine and indivisible u n i o n , bestowing buddhahood quickly. This is the chief symbolic meaning of depiction of sexual u n i o n . However, part of the unique nature of the tantric path is its capacity to employ deeds that are ordinarily prohibited in practices that speed progress on the path to enlightenment, hence the great emphasis on antinomian behavior, such as the consumption of meat and alcohol, in the hagiographies of the mahasiddhas. One such deed is sexual intercourse, and many tantric texts, especially of the Unexcelled Yoga (anuttarayoga) variety, prescribe ritual u n i o n as a means of unifying the m i n d of the clear light and the immutable bliss (see chapter 29). Whether this intercourse is to be performed only in imagination or in fact, and at what point on the path it is to take place, has been a point of considerable discussion in Tibetan tantric exegesis. Wrathful deities also populate the tantric pantheon. Despite claims by nineteenth-century scholars that continue to be repeated, the most important of these deities are not of Tibetan shamanic origin, added to Indian B u d d h i s m after its arrival in Tibet. It is clear from Indian tantric texts that these deities derive directly from India. Some are buddhas and bodhisattvas in their wrathful aspects, the most famous of these being Yamantaka, the wrathful manifestation of the b o d h i sattva of w i s d o m , ManjusrT. H i s terrifying form is said to be intended to frighten away the egotism and selfishness that are the cause of all suffering. Other wrathful deities have the task of protecting the dharma; others are w o r l d l y deities w i t h specific powers that may be propitiated. Despite such explanations, Western scholars of Tibet have yet to engage adequately the issue of the apparent presence of the demonic in the divine that confronts the observer so richly in Tibetan religious iconography. Tantric Buddhism places especial emphasis on the role of the teacher. The teacher-student relationship was always of great importance in B u d d h i s m , providing the means by w h i c h the dharma was passed from one generation to the next. In tantra, however, the teacher or guru took on an even more important role. The practice of the Vajrayana, the rapid path to enlightenment, was regarded as a secret teaching, not suitable for everyone. For that reason, the teacher was both the repository of secret knowledge and the person who was to judge the qualifications of the student as a receptacle for that knowledge. Once the student was deemed ready, the teacher provided the student w i t h an initiation, serving as the surrogate of the Buddha (see chapter 17), and one of the basic practices of Buddhist tantra is thus to regard one's o w n teacher as the Buddha (see chapter 23). In fact, Tibetans are fond of saying that the teacher is actually kinder than the Buddha, because the Buddha d i d not remain in the w o r l d to teach us benighted beings of this degenerate age. This great emphasis on the importance of the teacher was inherited from India, as the accounts of Tibetans' sojourns to India make clear (see chapters 8 and 9). Because of this importance of the teacher, or lama, d u r i n g the nineteenth century Tibetan B u d d h i s m was dubbed "Lamaism, a term that continues to appear today. Tibetan Buddhists regard this as a


pejorative term, because it suggests that whereas there is Chinese Buddhism, Japanese Buddhism, Thai Buddhism, and so forth, the B u d d h i s m of Tibet is so different that it does not warrant the name "Tibetan B u d d h i s m " but should be called "Lamaism." In the Vajrayana, rituals called sadhanas (literally, "means of achievement") are set forth in w h i c h the practitioner, through a practice of visualization, petitions a buddha or bodhisattva to come into his or her presence. M u c h of the practice described in tantric sadhanas involves the enactment of a w o r l d — t h e fantastic jewel-encrusted w o r l d of the Mahayana sutras or the horrific w o r l d of the chamel ground. In the tantric sadhana, the practitioner manifests that w o r l d through visualization, through a process of invitation, descent, and identification. Tantric sadhanas generally take one of two forms. In the first, the buddha or bodhisattva is requested to appear before the meditator and is then worshipped in the expectation of receiving blessings. In the other type of tantric sadhana, the meditator imagines himself or herself to be a fully enlightened buddha or bodhisattva now, to have the exalted body, speech, and m i n d of an enlightened being. In either case, the central deity in the visualization is called a yi dam, a w o r d difficult to translate into English (and left untranslated in this volume). It is sometimes rendered as "tutelary deity," but the yi dam offers m u c h more than protection. The yi dam is the tantric buddha w i t h w h i c h the meditator identifies in daily m e d i tation and w h o m he or she propitiates i n daily rituals. Some_yi dams take peaceful forms, adorned w i t h the silks and jewels of an Indian monarch. Others appear in wrathful forms, brandishing weapons and wreathed in flames. Tantric sadhanas tend to follow a fairly set sequence, whether they are simple and brief or more detailed and prolix. More elaborate sadhanas may include the recitation of a lineage of gurus; the creation of a protection wheel guarded by wrathful deities to subjugate enemies; the creation of a body mandala, in w h i c h a pantheon of deities take residence at various parts of the meditator's body; etc. In many sadhanas, the meditator is instructed to imagine light radiating from the body, inviting buddhas and bodhisattvas from throughout the universe. V i sualizing them arrayed in the space before h i m or her, the meditator then performs a series of standard preliminary practices called the sevenfold service, a standard component of sadhanas and prayers (see chapters 17, 23, and 27) that developed from an Indian Mahayana three-part liturgy (the triskandhaka). Prior to the actual sevenfold service, the assembled deities are offered (again, in visualization) a bath and new clothing and are treated just as an honored guest w o u l d be in India. The sevenfold service is then performed. The first of the seven elements is obeisance, an expression of homage to the assembled deities. Next comes offering, usually the longest section of the seven parts. Here fantastic gifts are imagined to be arrayed before the buddhas and bodhisattvas to please each of their five senses: beautiful forms for the eye, music for the ears, fragrances for the nose, delicacies for the tongue, and sensuous silks for the body. The offering often concludes w i t h a gift of the entire physical universe w i t h all its marvels. The third step is confession of misdeeds. Despite the apparent inexorability of the law of karma, it is


nonetheless believed that by sincerely confessing a sin to the buddhas and bodhisattvas, promising not to commit it again in the future, and performing some k i n d of purificatory penance (usually the recitation of mantra) as an antidote to the sin, the eventual negative effect of the negative deed can be avoided. The fourth step, admiration, also relates to the law of karma. It is believed that acknowledging, praising, and otherwise taking pleasure in the virtuous deeds of others causes the taker of such pleasure to accumulate the same merit as that accrued by the person who actually performed the good deed. The fifth step is an entreaty to the buddhas not to pass into nirvana. A buddha is said to have the ability to live for aeons but w i l l do so only if he is asked; otherwise, he w i l l disappear from the w o r l d , pretending to die and pass into nirvana. Indian sutras recount the Buddha scolding his attendant for not m a k i n g such a request. In Tibet this entreaty to the buddhas to remain in the w o r l d developed from a standard component of daily prayers to a separate genre of literature, called shap den (zhabs brtan); the term literally means "steadfast feet," suggesting that the buddhas remain w i t h their feet firmly planted in this w o r l d . However, in Tibet these prayers were composed and recited for the surrogate of the absent Buddha, the lama. Prayers for "steadfast feet" or long-life prayers are hence composed for one's teacher. (For such a prayer to the current Dalai Lama, see chapter 12 in Buddhism in Practice.) The sixth of the seven branches follows naturally from the entreaty to remain in the w o r l d ; it is a supplication of the buddhas and bodhisattvas to teach the dharma. The final step is the dedication of the merit of performing the preceding toward the enlightenment of all beings. The meditator then goes for refuge to the three jewels, creates the aspiration to enlightenment, the promise to achieve buddhahood in order to liberate all beings in the universe from suffering, and dedicates the merit from the foregoing and subsequent practices toward that end. The meditator next cultivates the four attitudes of love, compassion, joy, and equanimity, before meditating on emptiness and reciting the purificatory mantra, om svabhavasuddhah sarvadharmah svabhavasuddho 'ham, " O m , naturally pure are all phenomena, naturally pure am I," understanding that emptiness is the primordial nature of everything, the u n m o v ing w o r l d and the beings who move u p o n it. Out of this emptiness, the meditator next creates the mandala. The meditator here creates an imaginary universe out of emptiness. The foundation is provided by the four elements w i n d , fire, water, and earth (represented by Sanskrit syllables). On top of these, the meditator visualizes the mandala. The Sanskrit term mandala simply means circle, but in this context w i t h i n a tantric sadhana, a mandala is the residence of a buddha, an extraordinary palace inhabited by buddhas and their consorts, by bodhisattvas, and protectors. A mandala may be quite spare, an undescribed palace w i t h only five deities, one deity in the center and one in each of the cardinal directions. But usually mandalas are m u c h more elaborate. The Guhyasamaja mandala, for example, is articulated in great detail, w i t h five layers of walls of white, yellow, red, green, and blue. It has a jeweled molding, archways, and a quadruple colonnade. It is festooned w i t h jew-


els and pendants and is populated by thirty-two deities, each on its o w n throne, arrayed on two levels. The mandala is the perfected w o r l d that the meditator seeks to manifest and then inhabit, either by identifying w i t h the central deity or by m a k i n g offerings to h i m or her. It was said to be essential that the visualization be carried out in precise detail, w i t h each item of silk clothing and gold ornament appearing clearly. It was also necessary for the meditator to imagine the fantastic palace of the buddha, the mandala, w h i c h he or she inhabited, noting the particular bodhisattvas, protectors, gods, and goddesses located throughout the m u l tistoried dwelling. Part of this visualization was accomplished through the description of the details in the tantric text itself. However, meditators were typically advised to study a visual image of the particular b u d d h a and mandala, and this was one of the uses to w h i c h paintings and statues were put by those involved in meditation practice. Paintings and statues were not considered to be functional in any context, even as the object of simple devotion, u n t i l they were consecrated in a special ceremony in w h i c h the dharmakaya was caused to descend into and animate the icon. (Such a consecration ceremony is translated in chapter 14.) The next step in the sadhana is for the meditator to animate the residents of the mandala by causing the actual buddhas and bodhisattvas, referred to as "wisd o m beings" (ye shes sems dpa', jnanasattva), to descend and merge w i t h their imagined doubles, the "pledge beings" (dam tshig sems dpa', samayasattva). Light radiates from meditator's heart, drawing the w i s d o m beings to the mandala where, through offerings and the recitation of the mantra jah hum bam hoh ("Be summoned, enter, become fused w i t h , be pleased"), they are caused to enter the residents of the mandala. The residents are then often blessed w i t h three syllables: a white om at the crown of the head, a red ah at the throat, and a blue hum at the heart. W i t h the preliminary visualization now complete, the stage is set for the central meditation of the sadhana, and this varies depending u p o n the purpose of the sadhana. Generally, offerings and prayers are made to a sequence of deities and boons are requested from them, each time accompanied by the recitation of appropriate mantra. At the end of the session, the meditator makes mental offerings to the assembly before inviting them to leave, at w h i c h point the entire visualization, the palace and its residents, dissolves into emptiness. The sadhana ends w i t h a dedication of the merit accrued from the session to the welfare of all beings. (For an example of a brief sadhana, see chapter 16.) F r o m this brief survey of Buddhist doctrine and practice, several distinctive elements of Tibetan B u d d h i s m become apparent. First, Tibetan B u d d h i s m is the last of the major national Buddhisms to develop, having access to a larger corpus of Indian Buddhist literature than reached C h i n a or Japan, for example. As discussed above, this literature included the sastras and the tantras, such that Tibetan B u d d h i s m can generally be characterized as sastra-based in its doctrine and tantrabased in its practice. It is important to note, however, that certain central elements of practice, such as monastic regulations and the techniques for creating the bodhisattva's compassionate aspiration to buddhahood, are delineated in sastras.


Furthermore, all sects of Tibetan B u d d h i s m developed sophisticated scholastic traditions of tantric exegesis. Second, the Tibetans had sustained contact w i t h major figures of the late Indian Buddhist tradition for over a century, and the legacies of these figures, such as Atisa (see chapter 8) and N i g u m a (see chapter 9), remain powerful elements of the tradition. T h i r d , Tibet was perhaps the least culturally evolved of the major Buddhist nations at the time of the introduction of B u d d h i s m , w h e n culture is measured in terms of written language, literature, and structures of state. The introduction of B u d d h i s m encountered resistance, as noted above, but w i t h the demise of the royal line in 842, the way was left open for B u d d h i s m to provide the dominant ideology for the entire Inner Asian cultural area. Finally, Tibetan Buddhism is the only major form of B u d d h i s m to continue in a fairly traditional form into the second half of this century. The evidence of the early records indicates that, despite their patronage of Buddhism, Ralpajen and his two predecessor kings gave numerous public testimonies to their attachment to principles irreconcilable w i t h B u d d h i s m , principles pertaining to the highly structured politico-religious system of divine kingship (called gtsug lag), while at the same time propagating the new religion. The translation of Indian Buddhist literature, the sutras, tantras, and sastras, from Sanskrit into Tibetan was interrupted by the suppression of Buddhist monastic institutions in 838 by the k i n g Langdarma (Glang dar ma, ruled c. 836-842). A l t h o u g h Langdarma is represented as the embodiment of evil in Buddhist accounts, persecuting monks and nuns and closing monasteries, recent scholarship indicates that his persecution, if it took place at all, amounted to a withdrawal of state patronage to the growing monastic institutions. Nevertheless, his reign, w h i c h according to later Buddhist accounts ended w i t h his assassination in 842 by a Buddhist m o n k (an event some scholars question), is traditionally seen as the end of what is called the early dissemination of B u d dhism in Tibet and the beginning of a dark period of disorder, at least in central Tibet. It marked the beginning of the end of the royal line and the eventual disintegration of the Tibetan empire. A l t h o u g h it is the case that the status of Buddhist thought and practice during the next century and a half remains only vaguely understood by m o d e m scholars, its representation in traditional Buddhist histories as a time of degradation and chaos may be something of an exaggeration, motivated to provide a striking contrast w i t h the glorious renaissance that was to follow. Nevertheless, little of "pre-Buddhist" religion of Tibet survived intact after this period. This religion, w h i c h Tibetans call "the religion of humans" (mi chos), as opposed to the "religion of the gods" (lha chos, identified with B u d d h i s m and Bon) is all but impossible to identify, w i t h m u c h of its content assimilated byBuddhism and Bon after the eleventh century, leaving only a few legends, aphorisms, and folk songs. After the so-called dark period a Buddhist revival began in western Tibet in the eleventh century, a period of active translation of numerous philosophical texts and the retranslation of texts, especially tantras, first translated during the


period of the earlier dissemination. The eleventh century was also a time of active travel of Tibetan translators to India, where they studied w i t h Indian Buddhist masters in Bihar, Bengal, and Kashmir. M a n y of the sects of Tibetan Buddhism trace their lineages back to these encounters. The most famous Indian scholar to visit Tibet d u r i n g what came to be called the second dissemination was the Bengali master Atisa (982-1054). (For an account of the invitation of Atisa to come to Tibet, see chapter 8.) A Tibetan named D r o m d o n ('Brom ston pa) was Atisa's first and closest Tibetan disciple. He urged Atisa to visit central Tibet and organized his tour of the area, where Atisa taught and translated u n t i l his death in 1054. D r o m d o n devoted the rest of his life to preserving Atisa's teachings, establishing the monastery of Rva sgreng in 1056 and founding the first Tibetan Buddhist monastic order, the Kadampa (Bka' gdams pa, w h i c h is traditionally etymologized as "those who take all of the Buddha's words as instructions"). A l t h o u g h D r o m was a respected scholar and translator, he is best remembered for the rigor and austerity of his Buddhist practice. He seems to have been wary of the potential for abuse in tantrism and imposed on his followers a strict discipline and devotion to practice for w h i c h they became famous. They abstained from marriage, intoxicants, travel, and the possession of money. A l t h o u g h later Tibetan orders were not as strict, the Kadampa provided the model for all later Tibetan monasticism. The monastery was an institution of fundamental importance for all sects of Tibetan Buddhism. The first monastery was constructed around 779 under the direction of the Indian pandita Santaraksita and the tantric master Padmasambhava. F r o m the outset, Tibetan monasteries were modeled on the great monastic centers of late Indian Buddhism, where the monastic code was maintained in conjunction w i t h scholastic education and tantric practice. W i t h the growth in lay and state patronage, some monasteries grew from small retreat centers to vast monastic complexes. The largest of these, such as Drepung (which, w i t h some 13,000 monks in 1959, was the largest Buddhist monastery in the world), functioned as self-sufficient cities, w i t h their o w n economy (with farms worked by sharecroppers), government, and police force. Tibetan monks were not fully supported by the monasteries, receiving only a small ration of tea and roasted barley for their subsistence; they had to rely on their families or their o w n earnings (from trade or performing rituals) for anything more. M o n k s d i d not go on begging rounds, like their counterparts in Southeast A s i a , but engaged in a wide range of occupations. It is therefore inaccurate to imagine that all Tibetan monks spent their days in meditation or in debating sophisticated points of doctrine; only a small percentage were thus occupied. Furthermore, the majority of the occupants of Tibetan monasteries remained as novices throughout their lives, not going on to take the vows of a fully ordained m o n k (dge slong, bhiksu). To be a m o n k was to hold a respected social status in the Tibetan w o r l d , and m o n k h o o d provided one of the few routes to social advancement. M o n k s who distinguished themselves as scholars, teachers, or meditators commanded great respect and attracted substantial patronage, especially those considered to be ef-


fective in performance of rituals and divinations. ( O n patronage, see chapters 21 and 22.) Such monks could rise through the monastic ranks to positions of great authority as abbots or (among the Geluk) as government officials. Each of the sects, both Buddhist and Bonpo, had large monasteries that drew monks from all over the Tibetan cultural sphere, w h i c h extended from as far west as the Kalmyk region between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea, from as far east as Sichuan, from as far north as the Buryiat region near Lake Baikal, and from as far south as Nepal. Some came for an education and then returned to their home regions, while others remained for life. However, the majority of monasteries in Tibet were isolated places (as the Tibetan term for monastery, dgon pa, suggests), populated by a few dozen local monks who performed rituals for the local c o m munity and were supported by their families. Monastic life, whether in a major center or a remote hermitage, was not so m u c h a matter of doctrine or belief, but of behavior, a behavior that creates the identity of the monk. That behavior was governed by a monastic code inherited from India but adapted for each monastery in its constitution called a ja yik (bca' yig); a portion of that of Sera monastery is translated in chapter 20. Although a substantial segment of the male population of Tibetan was monks (estimated between 10 and 15 percent), the community of nuns (a ni) was m u c h smaller (perhaps 3 percent). They lived in some six hundred nunneries, the largest of w h i c h , a Kagyu institution called Gechak Thekchen L i n g (Dge chag theg chen gling), housed approximately one thousand nuns. Whereas Tibetan monks c o u l d eventually receive the full ordination of the gelong (dge slong), the order of full nuns was never established in Tibet, such that nuns could advance no higher than the rank of novice. (There have been efforts in recent years, led largely by Western women who have become Tibetan nuns, to receive full ordination from Chinese nuns in Taiwan and Singapore). Being a n u n carried little of the status held by a monk; there is a Tibetan proverb that if y o u want to be a servant, make your son a monk; if you want a servant, make your daughter a n u n . Unmarried daughters often became nuns (sometimes remaining at home). Other women became nuns to escape a bad marriage, to avoid pregnancy, or after the death of a spouse. The educational opportunities and chances for social advancement open to monks were generally absent for nuns, whose chief activities involved the memorization and recitation of prayer and the performance of ritual. The role of women in Tibetan religions was not, however, limited simply to the order of nuns. There are many important females divinities, both peaceful and wrathful, benevolent and malevolent. The goddess Tara stands w i t h Avalokitesvara as the most commonly invoked of Buddhist deities (see chapter 36). The wrathful tantric goddess Belden Lhamo is the special protectoress of the Tibetan state. A m o n g the many malevolent female forms, one finds the "gossip g i r l " (see chapter 34) w h o sows discord in the community. W o m e n have also played significant roles in various meditation and ritual lineages, such as the Indian yoginl Niguma (chapter 9), the wife of k i n g T r i Songdetsen and consort of Padmasambhava, Yeshe Tsogyal (Ye shes mtsho rgyal, see chapter 10 of Buddhism in Practice),


and the tantric master Majik Lapdon (Ma gcig lab sgron). There are lines of female incarnations, the most famous of w h o m is Dorje Pamo (Rdo rje phag mo, the " D i a m o n d Sow"). Beyond these famous figures, Tibetan women have played i m portant roles as mediums for deities (see chapter 3) or as messengers for b o d h i sattvas (such as the weaver girl in chapter 8). The majority of those w h o return from the dead to bring messages from the deceased and exhortations to observe the laws of karma are w o m e n (see chapter 32). Despite the disproportionate investment of religious power and authority in the males of Tibetan society, w o m e n enjoyed a greater economic and sexual autonomy in Tibet than generally was the case elsewhere in Asia. M a n y of the rituals and practices described in this volume w o u l d have been practiced by women as well as men. W i t h the decline of the monarchy, both political and religious authority (although the strict distinction between the two should not be immediately assumed in the case of Tibet) shifted gradually to Buddhist teachers. Since many of these were Buddhist monks who had taken vows of celibacy, the problem of succession eventually arose. In some cases, authority was passed from a m o n k to his nephew. However, by the fourteenth century (and perhaps even earlier) a form of succession developed in Tibet that, although supported by standard Buddhist doctrine, seems unique in the Buddhist w o r l d . This was the institution of the incarnate lama or tulku (sprul sku). In Mahayana literature there is a doctrine of the three bodies of the Buddha. The first is the dharmakaya. Prior to the rise of the Mahayana, this term meant the "body of [uncontaminated] qualities," those qualities of the Buddha, such as his w i s d o m , patience, and fearlessness, that were not subject to suffering and decay. It was this body that was deemed the true object of the practice of refuge. Thus, the term "body" came to shift its meaning from the physical form of the Buddha to a collection of timeless abstract virtues. In Mahayana literature, the dharmakaya is often represented as almost a cosmic principle, an ultimate reality in w h i c h all buddhas partake through their omniscient minds. For this reason, some scholars translate dharmakaya as "Truth Body." After the dharmakaya comes the enjoyment body (sambhogakaya), a fantastic form of a buddha that resides only in the highest pure land, adorned w i t h thirty-two major and eighty minor physical marks, eternally teaching the Mahayana to highly advanced bodhisattvas; the enjoyment body does not appear to ordinary beings. Many tantric deities are depicted in the enjoyment body form. The third body is the emanation body (nirmanakaya). It is this body that appears in the w o r l d to teach the dharma. The emanation bodies are not limited to the form of the Buddha w i t h w h i c h we are familiar; a buddha is able to appear in whatever form, animate or inanimate, that is appropriate to benefit suffering sentient beings. Tibetans chose the term for the third body of a buddha to name their notion of incarnation. That is, the next incarnation of a former great teacher is called a tulku (.sprul sku), the Tibetan translation of nirmanakaya, "emanation body." The implication is that there is a profound difference in the processes whereby o r d i nary beings and incarnate lamas take birth in the w o r l d . For the former, rebirth

is harrowing process, a frightful journey into the u n k n o w n , a process over w h i c h one has no control. One is b l o w n by the winds of karma into an intermediate state (bar do) and then into a new lifetime. There is a strong possibility that new life w i l l be in the lower realms as an animal, hungry ghost, or hell being; Tibetans say that the number of beings in these three lower realms is as large as the number of stars seen on a clear night and the number of beings in the realms of gods and humans is as large as the number stars seen on a clear day. The fate of the denizens of hell is particularly horrific, and Tibetans recount the journeys of those w h o are able to visit the lower realms of rebirth and return to tell the tale (see chapter 32). The process of powerless rebirth is a beginningless cycle and can only be brought to an end by the i n d i v i d u a l achievement of liberation and enlightenment through the practice of the path. ( C o m m o n attitudes toward death and the fear of rebirth and the appropriate responses to death can be found in chapters 28, 29, and 30.) The rebirth of an incarnate lama is a very different matter. As "emanation bodies," incarnate lamas are technically buddhas, free from the bonds of karma. Their rebirth is thus entirely voluntary. They need not be reborn at all, yet they decide to return to the w o r l d out of their compassion for others. Furthermore, they exercise full control over their rebirth. For ordinary beings, rebirth must take place w i t h i n forty-nine days from the time of death. Incarnate lamas are under no such constraints. For ordinary beings, the circumstances of the rebirth—the place, the parents, the form of the body, and the capacity of the m i n d — a r e all determined by karma. For the incarnate lama, all of these are a matter of choice and are said to have been decided in advance, so that a d y i n g incarnation w i l l often leave instructions for his disciples as to where to find his next rebirth. (For a famous incarnate lama's memories of past life, see chapter 12.) Since the fourteenth century, all sects of Tibetan B u d d h i s m have adopted the practice of identifying the successive rebirths of a great teacher, the most famous instance of w h i c h being of course the Dalai Lamas. But there some three thousand other lines of incarnation in Tibet (only several of w h o m are female). The institution of the incarnate lama has proved to be a central component of Tibetan society, providing the means by w h i c h authority and charisma, in all of their symbolic and material forms, are passed from one generation to another. Indeed, the spread of Tibetan B u d d h i s m can usefully be traced by the increasingly large geographical areas in w h i c h incarnate lamas are discovered, extending today to Europe and N o r t h America. A c o m m o n use of the term "lama" is as the designation of incarnations. In ordinary Tibetan parlance, such persons are called "lamas" whether or not they have distinguished themselves as scholars, adepts, or teachers in their present wes. The ambiguity in usage between "lama" as a religious preceptor and "lama" as an incarnation has led the current Dalai Lama in his sermons to admonish his o owers that a lama (as one's religious teacher) need not be an incarnation and that an incarnation is not necessarily a lama (in the sense of a fully qualified religious teacher).



The period of the thirteenth through fifteenth centuries was among the most consequential for the history of Tibetan Buddhism, w i t h the development of distinct sects that evolved from the various lineages of teaching that had been i n i tiated during the previous periods. These sects are traditionally divided under two major headings: those who base their tantric practice on texts translated during the period of the first dissemination and those who base their tantric practice on texts translated or retranslated during the period of the second dissemination. These two groups are referred to simply as the old (rnying ma) and the new (gsar ma), with the old obviously including the Nyingmapa (Rnying m a pa) sect and the new including the Kagyu, Sakya, and Geluk. The Nyingmapa sect traces its origins back to the first dissemination and the teachings of Padmasambhava, w h o visited Tibet during the eighth century. "Treasures," called terma (gter ma), believed to have been hidden by h i m , began to be discovered i n the eleventh century and continue to be discovered even into the twentieth century; the fourteenth century was an especially active period for text discoverers (gter ston). According to their claim, these texts were sometimes discovered in physical form, often w i t h i n stone, or mentally, w i t h i n the m i n d of the discoverer. Often ignored in the old-new categorization are the Bonpos, w h o seem to have appeared as a self-conscious "sect" in the eleventh century, along w i t h new sects, but who represent themselves as even older than the old (Nyingma), predating the introduction of B u d d h i s m into Tibet. The various institutional entities of Tibetan B u d d h i s m are referred to in Tibetan as chos lugs, literally, "dharma systems." This term is generally rendered into E n glish w i t h one of three terms: order, school, or sect. Each of these translations is misleading. "Order" implies a monastic unit w i t h its o w n code of conduct, whereas in Tibet all Buddhist monks followed the same Indian monastic code. Furthermore, many adherents of the Tibetan groups are not monks or nuns. "School" implies a group distinguished on the basis of philosophical tenets, and although there are differences among the Tibetan Buddhist groups, there is m u c h more that they share. "Sect" carries the negative connotation of a group dissenting from a majority that perceives it as somehow heretical. If that connotation can be ignored, however, "sect" provides a serviceable translation and is used here. What is perhaps more important than the translation used is to understand that central to each of these groups is the notion of lineage (see chapter 6). Like other Buddhist traditions, the Tibetans based claims to authority largely on lineage, and in their case, they claimed that the B u d d h i s m taught in Tibet and by Tibetan lamas abroad could be traced backward in an unbroken line to the eleventh century, when the founders of the major Tibetan sects made the perilous journey to India to receive the dharma from the great masters of Bengal, Bihar, and Kashmir, who were themselves direct recipients of teachings that c o u l d be traced back to the Buddha himself. (For accounts of such journeys and the teachings received, see chapters 8 and 9.) Moreover, this lineage was represented as essentially oral, w i t h instructions being passed d o w n from master to disciple as an unwritten commentary on a sacred text. Even those sects that c o u l d not so easily list a successive line of


teachers stretching back through the past, such as the Nyingmapas and Bonpos, were able to maintain the power of their lineage through the device of the hidden and rediscovered text, the terma, designed to leapfrog over centuries, bringing the authentic teaching directly into the present. These texts thus provided the present w i t h the sanction of the past by ascribing to their ancient and absent author (usually Padmasambhava) the gift of prophecy.

Nyingma (Rnying ma) The Nyingma sect traces its origins back to the teachings of the mysterious figure Padmasambhava, who visited Tibet during the eight century. The Nyingmapas include in their canonical corpus a collection of tantras (the Rnying ma rgyud 'bum) as well as these discovered texts, all works that the other sects generally regard as apocryphal, that is, not of Indian origin. The Nyingma sect produced many famous scholars and visionaries, such as Longchenpa (Klong chen rab 'byams, 1308-1363, see chapters 18,19, 30), Jigme Lingpa ('Jigs med gling pa, 1729-1798, see chapter 22), and M i p h a m ('Ju Mi pham rnam rgyal, 1846-1912, see chapters 1 and 26). N y i n g m a identifies nine vehicles among the corpus of Buddhist teachings, the highest of w h i c h is k n o w n as Atiyoga or, more commonly, the Great Perfection (rdzogs chen) (see chapters 18 and 19). These teachings, found also in Bon, describe the m i n d as the p r i mordial basis, characterized by qualities such as presence, spontaneity, luminosity, original purity, unobstructed freedom, expanse, clarity, self-liberation, openness, effortlessness, and intrinsic awareness. It is not accessible through conceptual elaboration or logical analysis. Rather, the primordial basis is an eternally pure state free from dualism of subject and object, infinite and perfect from the beginning, ever complete. The Great Perfection tradition shares w i t h certain Indian Buddhist schools the view that the m i n d creates the appearances of the w o r l d , the arena of h u m a n suffering. A l l of these appearances are said to be illusory, however. The ignorant m i n d believes that its o w n creations are real, forgetting its true nature of original purity. For the m i n d willfully to seek to liberate itself is both inappropriate and futile because it is already self-liberated. The technique for the discovery of the ubiquitous original purity and self-liberation is to engage in a variety of practices designed to eliminate karmic obstacles, at w h i c h point the m i n d eliminates all thought and experiences itself, thereby recognizing its true nature. The Great Perfection doctrine does not seem to be directly derived from any of the Indian philosophical schools; its precise connections to the Indian Buddhist tradition have yet to be established. Some scholars have claimed a historical l i n k and doctrinal affinity between the Great Perfection and the Chan tradition of Chinese B u d d h i s m , but the precise relationship between t e two remains to be fully investigated. It is noteworthy that certain of the earliest extant Great Perfection texts specifically contrast their o w n tradition w i t h that of Chan.


U n l i k e the Geluks, Kagyu, and Sakya, the Nyingma (along w i t h the Bonpo, w i t h w h o m they share m u c h in common) remained largely uninvolved in politics, both w i t h i n Tibet and in foreign relations. They also lacked the k i n d of hierarchies found in the other sects. Although they developed great monasteries such as M i n d r o l i n g (Smin grol gling), they also maintained a strong local presence as lay tantric practioners (sngags pa) who performed a range of ritual functions for the community.

Kagyu (Bka' brgyud) The Kagyu sect derives its lineage from the visits by Marpa the Translator ( 1 0 1 2 1099) to India, where he studied under several of the famous tantric masters of the day, including Naropa (the disciple of Tilopa, see chapter 7) and Maitripa. Marpa's disciple Milarepa ( M i la ras pa, "Cotton-clad Mila") is said to have achieved buddhahood in one lifetime (an achievement usually considered to require aeons of practice) through his diligent meditation practice in the caves of southern Tibet, despite having committed murder as a youth through the practice of black magic. His moving biography and didactic songs are among the most famous works of Tibetan literature. (For a story of another cotton-clad yogin, see chapter 11.) Milarepa's most illustrious disciple was the scholar and physician Gampopa (Sgam po pa, 1079-1153), who gave a strong monastic foundation to the sect. His o w n disciples, in turn, are regarded as the founders of the four major schools and the eight minor schools of the Kagyu. The most important of these is the Karma Kagyu, led by a succession of incarnate lamas called the Karmapas, headquartered at Tshurpu (Mtshur pu) monastery. A m o n g the prominent p h i losophers of the Kagyu sect are the eighth Karmapa, Migyo Dorje ( M i bskyod rdo rje, 1507-1554), Pema Garpo (Padma dkar po, 1527-1592, see chapters 5 and 7), and Kongtriil (Kong sprul yon tan rgya mtsho, 1813-1899, see chapter 9). The defining doctrine of the Kagyu sect is the Great Seal (phyag rgya chen mo, mahamudra), w h i c h Kagyus regard as the crowning experience of Buddhist practice. The Great Seal is a state of enlightened awareness in w h i c h phenomenal appearance and noumenal emptiness are unified. Like the Great Perfection of the Nyingmapas, it is considered to be primordially present, that is, not something that is newly created. Rather than emphasizing the attainment of an extraordinary level of consciousness, the Great Seal literature exalts the ordinary state of m i n d as both the natural and ultimate state, characterized by lucidity and simplicity. In Kagyu literature, this ordinary m i n d is contrasted w i t h the w o r l d l y m i n d . The former, compared to a mirror, reflects reality exactly as it is, simply and purely, whereas the worldly m i n d is distorted by its mistaken perception of subject and object as real. Rather than seeking to destroy this w o r l d l y m i n d as other systems do, however, in the Great Seal the worldly m i n d is valued for its ultimate identity w i t h the ordinary m i n d ; every deluded thought contains w i t h i n it the lucidity and


simplicity of the ordinary m i n d . This identity merely needs to be recognized to bring about the dawning of w i s d o m , the realization that a natural purity pervades all existence, i n c l u d i n g the deluded m i n d .

Sakya (Sa skya) The Sakya sect looks back to another translator, D r o k m i Shakya Yeshe ('Brog mi Shakya ye shes, 993-1050), w h o studied in India under disciples of the tantric master Virupa (see chapter 10). K h o n Gonchok Gyalpo ('Khon d k o n mchog rgyal po), a disciple of D r o k m i , founded a monastery at Sakya ("gray earth") in 1073. This monastery became the seat of the sect, hence its name. The most influential scholars of the Sakya sect in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were members of the ' K h o n family, the most notable of w h o m was Gunga Gyaltsen ( K u n dga' rgyal mtshan, 1181-1251), better k n o w n as Sakya Pandita. He studied under one of the last generations of Indian Buddhist scholars to visit Tibet, notably Sakyasribhadra. Sakya Pandita claims two important achievements in the history of T i betan philosophy. First, he defeated a H i n d u pandita in formal philosophical debate. Second, his master w o r k on logic, the Treasury oj Reasoning (Rigs gter), was so highly regarded that it is said to have been translated from Tibetan into Sanskrit and circulated in northern India. In his other writings, Sakya Pandita insisted on rational consistency and fidelity to Indian sources in all branches of Buddhist theory and practice. This conviction resulted in often polemical evaluations of the doctrines of other sects, particularly the Kagyu. In 1244 Sakya Pandita was selected to respond to the summons to the court of the M o n g o l prince Godan, w h o had sent raiding parties into Tibet 1239. He impressed the Mongols with his magical powers as m u c h as w i t h his learning and offered submission to Godan on behalf of Tibet in return for freedom from military attack and occupation. He remained at Godan's court as regent, sending orders to officials in Tibet. For roughly the next century, the head lamas of the Sakya sect exercised political control over Tibet w i t h M o n g o l support. Sakya Pandita's nephew, Pakpa (Thags pa bio gros rgyal mtshan, 1235-1280?), became the religious teacher of Qubilai Khan. The early Sakya tradition was concerned primarily w i t h tantric practice, especially the "path and fruition" (lam 'bras) tradition associated with the Hevajra Tantra, but there was very soon a move to balance and harmonize tantric studies with the study of scholastic philosophy (mtshan nyid). Sakya scholars wrote extensively on Madhyamika philosophy but are particularly famous for their w o r k i n logic and epistemology (tshad ma, pramana). It was the Sakya scholar B u d o n (Bu ston, 1290-1364) who systematized the various collections of Indian B u d dhist texts circulating in Tibet into the w e l l - k n o w n Kanjur (bka' 'gyur, literally, translation of the w o r d [of the Buddha]") and the Tanjur (bstan 'gyur, literally translation of the sastras").


Geluk (Dge lugs) U n l i k e the other major sects of Tibetan Buddhism, the Gelukpas do not identify a specific Indian master as the source of their tradition, although they see themselves as inheriting the tradition of Atisa, the Bengali scholar who arrived in Tibet in 1042 (see chapter 8). The preeminent figure for the sect (who may only retrospectively be identified as the "founder") is Tsong kha pa (1357-1419). While k n o w n in the West primarily as a reformer, apparently because of his commitment to monasticism, Tsong kha pa was also a creative and controversial interpreter of Buddhist philosophy, especially of Madhyamika. H i s stature, w h i c h seems to have been considerable during his lifetime, was only enhanced by the subsequent political ascendancy of his followers through the institution of the Dalai Lama, the first of w h o m (identified as such retrospectively) was Tsong kha pa's disciple Gendundrup (Dge 'dun grub, 1391-1474). Tsong kha pa founded the monastery of Ganden (Dga' ldan, named after the Buddhist heaven Tusita) outside Lhasa in 1409, and his followers were originally k n o w n as the Gandenpas (Dga' ldan pa). This eventually evolved to Gelukpa, the "system of virtue." The Gelukpas established large monastic universities throughout Tibet, one of w h i c h , Drepung ('Bras spung), was the largest Buddhist monastery in the w o r l d , w i t h over 13,000 monks in 1959. The third of the "three seats" of the Geluk, in addition to Drepung and Ganden, is Sera monastery, just outside Lhasa. A portion of Sera's monastic constitution is translated in chapter 20.

Bon Some scholars regard Bon as a heterodox sect of Tibetan Buddhism that began (or a least developed a self-conscious identity), like the other sects (with the exception of Nyingma), in the eleventh century. This is a characterization that both Buddhists and Bonpos w o u l d reject. There has been a long antagonism between the two, w i t h Buddhists regarding Bonpos as the descendants of benighted performers of animal sacrifice who plagued Tibet prior to the introduction of the true dharma. For Bonpos, Buddhists are adherents of a heretical alien religion whose interference deprived Tibet of its past glory (see chapter 4). The Buddhists look back to India as the source of their religion, portraying Tibet prior to the introduction of B u d d h i s m as an amoral and even demonic realm. The Bonpos look back to Tibet and to Shangshung as their source, seeking to establish a l i n k w i t h the religious tradition(s) of Tibet prior to the seventh century, a link that most scholars regard as tenuous. Both Buddhist and Bonpo chronicles suggest that there was strong opposition to Buddhism among certain factions of the Tibetan court during the seventh and eighth centuries, especially among the priests who were called bon. But w i t h the eventual t r i u m p h of the Buddhism, those priests seem to have completely disappeared. Little more than the name remained, to be


taken up in the eleventh century by those who claimed to represent the continuation of that lost tradition. However, the pre-Buddhist practices centered around a royal funerary cult dedicated to assuring the arrival of the k i n g in a pastoral heaven. The practices of post-eleventh-century Bonpos represent a fully elaborated path to enlightenment ending in liberation from rebirth and buddhahood (see chapter 31). Both Buddhists and Bonpos regard a buddha as their founder. For the B u d dhists, he is the Indian Sakyamuni; for the Bonpos, he is the great teacher Shenrap (Ston pa Gshen rab), from the land of Tazig (Stag gzig, identified by some scholars with Persia and Tadzhikistan) to the west of the k i n g d o m of Shangshung. W h e n Shenrap arrived in Tibet, he subdued the local demons and converted them to the true religion, m u c h like Padmasambhava d i d . (Indeed, recent scholarship has shown that some of the accounts of Padmasambhava's conquests are based on Bonpo accounts of Shenrap.) Bonpos themselves regard their religion as having been imported by the teacher Shenrap, the true Buddha, long before the arrival of Indian Buddhists. U n l i k e the Indian Buddha, Sakyamuni, Shenrap was enlightened from birth and lived the life of a layman (eventually becoming a m o n k late in life). Thus, his extensive biography is not simply a version of the life of the Indian Buddha (although he also is said to have performed twelve major deeds) but tells a very different story. In an attempt at reconciliation and appropriation, later Bonpo texts state that Sakyamuni was actually an emanation of Shenrap. Buddhists and Bonpos have different names for their traditions; Buddhists call theirs did (chos) while Bonpos call their bon. The terms are equally untranslatable and multivalent, ranging from " l a w " to "truth," but their use is perfectly parallel in the two traditions. Each has its o w n canon, containing similar genres of texts, each believes in karma and rebirth, each has a bodhisattva path, and so forth. Like the Nyingmas, Bonpos have continued to rediscover treasure texts since at least the eleventh century. (However, rather than being texts left by Padmasambhava to be revealed at an appropriate moment in the future, the texts the Bonpos discover are said to be as those hidden to escape destruction during the persecutions of Bon by T r i Songdetsen.) Like N y i n g m a , the highest teaching is the Great Perfection (and the lines of influence are uncertain). Like the Geluks, Bonpo monks engage in formal debates on points of doctrine. Because Bonpos do things in an opposite direction to Buddhists (they circumambulate and turn their prayer wheels counter-clockwise, for example), B o n has been long regarded as simply a "backwards B u d d h i s m " that plagiarized everything from Buddhism, only substituting the w o r d bon wherever the term cho occurred. Recent scholarship has demonstrated that this is inaccurate, that despite the protestations of both parties there has been significant mutual influence between the two, such that it is often very difficult to regard any Tibetan ritual as purely Buddhist or purely Bonpo (see chapter 33). It is also not the case, as was ° ^ assumed, that all non-Buddhist Tibetan religion is by default Bonpo. Both uddhists and Bonpos regard their lineages as self-conscious traditions w i t h specific histories. A n d again, despite their protestations, both partake fully of rituals, n


beliefs, and pantheons that predate either of them. However, whereas Buddhists insist on the Indian origins of those practices, Bonpos appropriated pre-Buddhist Tibetan cosmologies, deities, and terminology, all of w h i c h were employed to establish the historical priority of Bon in Tibet and thus to demarcate their traditions from those of the Buddhists. Thus Bon is not the pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet, not Tibetan "folk religion," and not a primitive animism. It is perhaps best described as a heretical sect of Tibetan Buddhism, w i t h its o w n creation myths, cosmology, and pantheon (sometimes w i t h obvious Buddhist correlates, sometimes without), w h i c h does not accept the teachings of Sakyamuni Buddha and his tradition as the true dharma. It must be noted, however, that such a characterization could be taken to i m p l y both a devaluation of Bonpo innovation and a capitulation to the anti-Bon polemics of Tibetan Buddhists. It may be, as some scholars have postulated, that Bon is a form of B u d d h i s m that entered Tibet from Central Asia rather than from India. Regardless, the Bon tradition that exists today is difficult to trace back beyond the formation of the other sects of Tibetan Buddhism in the eleventh century. As is clear from the foregoing description of the major sects, Tibetans (usually Buddhist or Bonpo monks or lamas) have produced a large corpus of what might be termed philosophical literature. Due to the generally technical nature of these writings, w h i c h often involve the detailed exegesis of Indian scholastic works and the refutation of conflicting exegeses, such philosophy (works on logic, on epistemology, on emptiness) has not been included here, although the works of some of Tibet's most famous authorities on these topics (figures such as Longchenpa, Tsong kha pa, M i p h a m , and Kongtrtil) are to be found in this volume. What is clear from their works is that the Buddhist or Bonpo philosopher was also a Buddhist or Bonpo and thus a participant in rituals and institutions that provided the setting for his writing. Thus, what we might term "philosophy" was but one concern of these authors; a perusal of the titles in the collected works of any of Tibet's most revered scholars reveals that among the commentaries on Indian logical treatises and expositions of emptiness are works devoted to tantric initiations and consecrations, propitiations of deities, biographies of Indian and T i betan masters, and instructions for drawing mandalas, m a k i n g rain, stopping smallpox, and manufacturing magical pills. Hence, the contents of this volume should not be mistaken as a compendium of the popular or lay practice of the c o m m o n folk in contrast to what the philosophers d i d . Rather, this volume is intended to represent a wide spectrum of the religious practices of Tibetans, some of w h o m also composed philosophical treatises. As mentioned above, during the M o n g o l Yuan dynasty (1260-1368), Tibetan Buddhism played an important role at the court of Q u b i l a i K h a n , where the emperor's Buddhist preceptor was the famous m o n k Pakpa ('Phags pa, died 1280) of the Sakya sect. W h e n Pakpa's uncle, Sakya Pandita, was summoned to the court of the M o n g o l prince G o d a n in 1244, he took his young nephew with h i m . As a result of Sakya Pandita's influence, the head lamas of the Sakya sect were given political rule over Tibet w i t h M o n g o l patronage. W i t h the founding of the


Yuan dynasty, the new emperor of C h i n a , Q u b i l a i K h a n , wished to keep an i m portant member of the Sakya hierarchy at his court to ensure Tibet's continued submission to M o n g o l rule. Pakpa thus went to the Chinese court as a hostage. He soon so impressed the emperor w i t h his learning and magical powers that he was asked to bestow tantric initiation on the emperor and his consort and later converted the members of the court to Tibetan Buddhism. Their interest seems to be have been based less on an appreciation of Buddhist doctrine than on the fact that Tibetan medicine and magic proved more efficacious than that of the court shamans. Q u b i l a i K h a n appointed Pakpa as teacher to the emperor (dishi) and teacher to the state (guoshi), m a k i n g h i m in the process the vassal-ruler (in absentia) of Tibet. Their relationship provided the model for the subsequent relationship between Tibet and C h i n a , at least as perceived by the Tibetans. In this relationship, k n o w n as "patron and priest" (yon mchod), the leading lama of Tibet (in subsequent centuries, the Dalai Lama) was seen as spiritual adviser and chief priest to the emperor, w h o acted as patron and protector of the lama and, by extension, of Tibet. W i t h the decline of M o n g o l rule, there occurred a new sense of Tibetan national identity, especially under the rule of Jangchup Gyaltsen (Byang chub rgyal mtshan, 1302-1364). A nostalgia for the ancient Tibetan empire and its military dominance of Inner Asia was manifested in festivals in w h i c h officials dressed in the garb of the ancient kings. Native Tibetan deities, even those tamed by B u d dhism, such as the dapla (dgra lha, see chapter 26), are depicted as fierce warriors clad in armor and riding battle steeds. D u r i n g Jangchup Gyaltsen's reign, many terma texts were unearthed that told of the glory of the imperial age. Jangchup Gyaltsen and his descendants ruled Tibet for over a century. After that, rule came into the hands of the princes of Rinpung (Rin spung) and then the kings of the western province of Tsang (Gtsang), both groups being patrons of the Karmapas. Meanwhile, in C h i n a , the M i n g (1368-1644) emperors continued to confer gifts and titles on lamas of the Kagyu, Sakya, and Geluk sects. The Gelukpas received important patronage from the Turned Mongols when the third Dalai Lama, Sonam Gyatso (Bsod nams rgya mtsho), was summoned to the Altan Khan in 1578. It was actually the Altan K h a n who bestowed the appellation "Dalai Lama" on the third incarnation of Tsong kha pa's disciple by translating part of his name, Gyatso ("ocean"), into Mongolian; Dalai Lama means "Ocean Lama." The Mongols converted to Tibetan B u d d h i s m and proved powerful patrons of the Geluk, especially when, after Sonam Gyatso's death, a grandson of the Altan K h a n was identified as the fourth Dalai Lama. Another M o n g o l leader, G u s h r i K h a n of the Qoshot, supported the fifth Dalai Lama against his Kagyu rivals, eventually establishing h i m as the ruler of Tibet in 1642. This consolidation of religious and secular power in a single figure was an important moment in Tibetan history, a consolidation that received strong ideological support through the promotion of the cult of Avalokitesvara. m a treasure text discovered in the twelfth century (but w i t h significant additions apparently made in the fourteenth century) called the Hundred Thousand


Words oj Mara' (Manx bka' 'bum, see chapter 2), Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion, was retrojected into Tibet's past as both Tibet's protector and the central agent in Tibetan history. Thus, in the prehistoric past, the bodhisattva was said to have taken the form of a monkey and mated w i t h a ogress; their offspring were the first Tibetans. The illegible text that fell into the king's palace was none other than the Karandavyuha, w h i c h tells many tales of Avalokitesvara. A n d the three great "dharma kings" (chos rgyal) who oversaw the introduction of Buddhism into Tibet were none other than incarnations of Avalokitesvara. The great epic hero Gesar of L i n g is an emanation of Avalokitesvara (see chapter 1). Finally, the fifth Dalai Lama identified himself not only as the fifth incarnation of Tsong kha pa's disciple but as the present incarnation of Avalokitesvara. F r o m that point on, the bodhisattva protector of Tibet was believed to take human form as the Dalai Lama, thus establishing an unbroken l i n k w i t h Tibet's prehistoric past and exalti n g the religious lineage of one of many lines of incarnation to the level of kingship through identification with Avalokitesvara; the Dalai Lama was both Tsong kha pa's historical successor and the h u m a n embodiment of the transhistorical bodhisattva of compassion. The fifth Dalai Lama also declared his o w n teacher to be an incarnation of Amitabha, the Buddha of Infinite Light, and Avalokitesvara's teacher, bestowing u p o n h i m the title of Panchen Lama, establishing a new line of incarnation, w h i c h was to have its seat at Tashilhunpo (Bkra shis l h u n po) monastery in Tsang province, the former center of his opponent's power. (See chapters 23 and 29 for works by the first Panchen Lama.) The Dalai Lama moved the capital back to Lhasa, the seat of the ancient kings, and built his palace there, a massive edifice called the Potala, taking its name from Potalaka, the name of Avalokitesvara's palace. Thus, the power and authority that had once descended in the form of the ancient kings, w h i c h had then devolved to local incarnate lamas, was n o w arrogated (at least in part) back to a single divine figure, the Dalai Lama. D u r i n g the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Gelukpas maintained their political control over central Tibet, w i t h the occasional aid of the M a n c h u rulers of China's Q i n g dynasty. Especially from the time of the Kangxi emperor (ruled 1661-1722), imperial favor was directed especially toward the Gelukpas. Under the Qianlong emperor (ruled 1736-1795), for example, the entire Tibetan Kanjur was translated into M a n c h u under the direction of the Geluk hierarch Janggya (Lcang skya rol pa'i rdo rje, 1717-1786, see chapter 29). W i t h the fall of the Q i n g , Chinese influence in Tibet d w i n d l e d through the Second W o r l d W a r (during w h i c h Tibet remained neutral). In 1950 Tibet was invaded and occupied by troops of the People's Liberation A r m y . The situation deteriorated over the next decade. A popular uprising against the Chinese began on M a r c h 17, 1959. W h e n it became clear that the Chinese intended to arrest the Dalai Lama, he escaped to India, eventually to be followed by some 250,000 of his people, one-fourth of w h o m arrived safely in India and Nepal. Today there are over 100,000 Tibetans living in exile, while Tibet, m u c h of its territory divided among Chinese provinces, remains a Chinese colony. Since 1959 the practice of Tibetan religion has taken place in two very different


domains. In Tibet, Tibetan religion has been severely proscribed, as have all forms of traditional Tibetan culture. The violent suppression reached its peak during the Cultural Revolution when all but a handful of the thousands of monasteries and temples that existed in Tibet in 1959 were destroyed. F r o m 1959 to 1979 it has been estimated that one m i l l i o n of the six m i l l i o n ethnic Tibetans died as a result of Chinese policies. Since 1979 there has been some relaxation of the strictest constraints, and a number of monasteries and temples have been rebuilt, although whatever Chinese funds have been provided for this purpose seem d i rected ultimately toward the promotion of Western tourism. The monastic population has been reduced drastically, as has the program of monastic education. The other domain of Tibetan religious practice is in exile, w i t h most refugees living in India and Nepal. Of the approximately 70,000 Tibetans who successfully followed the Dalai Lama into exile in 1959 and 1960, an estimated 5,000-7,000 were monks, a tiny fraction of the monastic population of Tibet. But a disproportionate number of the monks w h o escaped (and remained monks in exile) were from the ranks of incarnate lamas and the scholarly elite, and they w o r k e d to reestablish their monastic institutions (of all sects) in exile. Their presence and accessibility has attracted the attention of a large number of Western scholars and enthusiasts, and the last three decades have seen an explosion in interest in T i betan Buddhism, w i t h a wide variety of translations of Tibetan Buddhist texts. Indeed, a certain reversal in the perception of Tibetan religion has taken place since 1959. D u r i n g the Victorian period and lasting well into this century, representations of Tibetan religions generally fell into one of two categories. By some it was portrayed as the most depraved deviation from the Buddha's true teaching, an abomination b o r n from m i x i n g superstition and animism (identified w i t h Bon) with the decrepit remnants of original Buddhism, the remnants named Mahayana and tantra. By others, Tibet was seen as the abode of Atlantean masters who held the secrets of the universe; Tibet was a land of "magic and mystery," a ShangriLa. The Victorian representation of Tibetan B u d d h i s m as the most corrupt and therefore least truly Buddhist of the Asian traditions reached its inevitable antipodes. In the 1960s and 1970s, the earlier Buddhological valuation of Tibetan Buddhism was reversed, as a generation of young scholars came to exalt Tibet, just at the moment of its invasion and annexation by C h i n a , as a pristine preserve of authentic Buddhist doctrine and practice. U n l i k e the Buddhisms of C h i n a , Japan, and Southeast Asia, Tibetan B u d d h i s m was perceived as uncorrupted because it had been untainted by Western domination. The value of Tibet to scholars of Buddhism was no longer simply as an archive of the scriptures of Indian B u d dhism. The Tibetan diaspora after the Dalai Lama's flight to India in 1959 made widely available to the universities of Europe and N o r t h America (largely through the efforts of the Library of Congress office in N e w Delhi) a great flood of autochthonous Tibetan Buddhism literature, heretofore unstudied. This literature, scorned by scholars at the end of the last century as "contemptible m u m m e r y , " was now hailed as a repository of ancient w i s d o m whose lineage could be traced


back to the Buddha himself. M u c h of the scholarship and more popular translations produced since the Tibetan diaspora have, as if, sought to counter the prior negative valuation of Tibetan religion as polluted by representing it as pristine, reflecting largely the normative Buddhism of the scholarly elite, such that the essential ritual practices of Tibetan religions have been ignored to a great degree. In Bonpo studies, Bon has moved from being dismissed as a primitive animism to being hailed as the authentic and original source of Tibetan culture. W o r k s on meditation, compassion, and the stages of the path to enlightenment are certainly famous in Tibet and hold an important place in the histories of the traditions. But without placing such works w i t h i n their larger ritual context, the religions of Tibet can be misconstrued as merely a sophisticated philosophy divorced from the concerns of the everyday. This attitude is sometimes found among m o d e m Buddhist clerics who see Tibetan B u d d h i s m as entirely of Indian origin, free from any pollution by the pre-Buddhist past. One of the purposes of this volume is to provide the materials for the foundation of a middle ground between these two extreme views of Tibetan religion by presenting a wide range of Tibetan religious literature, derived from many different centuries, regions, and sects, w i t h no attempt to occlude those elements that some might construe as "magical," while attempting to demonstrate how those elements are designed most often to address the most quotidian of h u m a n concerns. Since 1959 the b u l k of scholarly attention has been focused on two periods: that of the dissemination of B u d d h i s m to Tibet from India (which, as discussed above, occurred in two waves, in the ninth and eleventh centuries) and that of the "classical p e r i o d , " generally seen to ran from the fourteenth through the sixteenth century. Relatively little attention has been paid to the "medieval period," from the sixteenth to the late nineteenth century, a period dominated politically by the Gelukpas. This period has generally been characterized as one of hermetic scholasticism, m u c h as the entire Tibetan Buddhist tradition had once been portrayed, but here w i t h the scholars of the major sects represented as devoting m u c h of their attention to the interminable exegesis of the works of the creative geniuses of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Of the m o d e m period, to the extent that such is recognized, histories usually make mention of the largely unstudied revivalist movement k n o w n as the " U n b o u n d e d " (ris med), of Nyingma, Kagyu, and Sakya scholars against the Geluk orthodoxy. Otherwise, the modern period is portrayed as an even more stultifying period of abstruse philosophical mechanics among the Geluk. But Tibetan religion has not been static since the sixteenth century, as the many selections of works from subsequent centuries contained in this volume testify. Rather than being organized chronologically, or according to sect, or by a division into Buddhist and Bonpo, the chapters of this volume are organized thematically, in an attempt to juxtapose the selections in interesting and illuminating ways. (Like any system of organization, there is an inevitable element of randomness, and some of the chapters c o u l d easily fit under another of the categories.) There are indeed works here from each of the major sects, but the purpose of the volume


is not to be representative in that sense. Instead, works from different sects are organized thematically to illustrate the continuities that all forms of Tibetan religious practice share. The doctrines, prayers, and ritual forms of the sects of Tibetan religion share m u c h in terms of both content and structure; it is often only by the lineage of lamas listed at the beginning or end of a text that one can easily identify the sectarian source. In important ways, Tibetan sects are affiliations based on such lineages. What is perhaps more interesting to observe is the ways in w h i c h the same aspirations, the same fears, the same strategies for success, the same logics of representation recur in works from sects that sometimes seem so different from each other, and h o w points of contestation and change must somehow be confronted in order that lineages may represent themselves as a selfidentical transmission. The contents of this volume offer m u c h to ponder in this regard. ' The first section, "Accounts of Time and Place," offers examples from an early Tibetan chronicle in w h i c h the great k i n g Songtsen Gampo, himself considered an incarnation of the great bodhisattva, sets forth the mantra of Avalokitesvara. Here there also pilgrimage guides, showing again the pivotal importance of place in Tibetan religions. There is an excerpt from the great Tibetan epic poem about the warrior k i n g Gesar of Ling, a Bon history that counters the claims to authority of Indian Buddhism, and a portion of the history of a Tibetan tribe whose name means "Upside D o w n Heads." The second section, "Remarkable Lives," brings together a number of life stories, hagiographical accounts that are such a popular and pervasive element of the religions of Tibet. Some of the accounts tell of great tantric saints of India w h o m the Tibetan founders of the major sects traveled so far to meet or who were the previous incarnations of later Tibetan lamas. Others recount events from the vivid and sometimes humorous biographies of Tibetan yogins. The third section is called "Rites and Techniques." Here are found a number of tantric practices, from a fasting ritual to a meditation to overcome attachment to clothes. The meditation texts are placed here to emphasize the importance of thinking of meditation as a ritual act; in some of the chapters, meditation is better understood as a programmed visualization, punctuated by the recitation of mantra. Elsewhere, it is a reflection on the nature of awareness itself, but everywhere it comes with precise instructions directed toward a specific goal. This is followed by a selection of prayers and sermons, some of w h i c h are recited daily, some of w h i c h are the centerpieces of solemn rituals, some of w h i c h are accompanied by feasting and merrymaking. The book concludes with techniques for confronting the unwanted, whether it be the hail that can destroy a barley crop, the gossip that divide a village, or that most unwelcome of intruders, death. Because of the inordinate popularity in the West of the so-called Tibetan Book of the Dead, there is a general impression that Tibetans are obsessed with death. It is unlikely that Tibetans are more concerned with death than is any other culture, but they have developed a wide range oi sophisticated responses to it, some of w h i c h are presented here. Taken together, the contents of the volume dispel the o l d views of Tibetan


religion as either depraved superstition or disembodied philosophy, as a repository for Indian Buddhist texts or a blank landscape onto w h i c h the contents of the unconscious are projected. The volume provides a wealth of voices that together may lead to a new and more nuanced understanding of the religions of Tibet.

Further Reading For general surveys of Tibetan religion and culture, see David Snellgrove and H u g h Richardson, A Cultural History of Tibet (Boston: Shambala, 1968); Giuseppe Tucci, The Religions of Tibet (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980); R. A. Stein, Tibetan Civilization (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1972); Geoffrey Samuel, Civilized Shamans: Buddhism in Tibetan Societies (Washington, D . C . : Smithsonian Institution Press, 1993); and the articles "The Religions of Tibet" by Per Kvaerne and "The Schools of Tibetan B u d d h i s m " in The Encyclopedia of Religion, ed. Mircea Eliade (New York: Macmillan, 1987). For an encyclopedic survey of Tibetan literature, see Jose Ignacio Cabezon and Roger R. Jackson, eds., Tibetan Literature: Studies in Genre (Ithaca, N . Y . : Snow L i o n Publications, 1995).



Accounts of Time and Place

Gesar of Ling Robin Kornman

The oral epic The Gesar of Ling can be considered the Iliad or Odyssey of Central Asia, so popular and well known is it there. This ancient epic is still sung across Asia wherever dialects of Tibetan are spoken. Versions of it also exist in other languages, including several dialects of Mongolian, and in Chinese, but the Tibetan version has the most extensive tradition. The epic narrates the heroic adventures and campaigns against demonic enemies by the divine King Gesar, a name linked etymologically with kaiser and Caesar. Like the eulogies composed by the Romans to praise Caesar, this epic extolls the greatness of King Gesar, but there are significant differences in the various epic traditions about what made Gesar so great, why he reigned so successfully, and how he acquired his divine power to conquer his enemies. In the Tibetan versions there is some debate as to whether it is proper to characterize Gesar as a Buddhist hero or to say that his story is even a "Buddhist epic." Many of the versions discovered actually refer very little to Buddhism but evoke more explicitly native Tibetan religious beliefs and the non-Buddhist religion of Tibet called Bon; in fact, there appear to be both Buddhist and Bon versions of the Gesar epic. The version discussed here is explicitly Buddhist, having been edited under the direction of a Tibetan Buddhist scholar of the nineteenth century, Mipham Gyatso (Mi pham rgya mtsho). Mipham is most famous as a philosopher and a master of the most abstract metaphysical texts in the Buddhist tradition. But he was also an avid aficionado of the Gesar epic, and, in addition to editing the epic, he wrote numerous ritual practices dedicated to Gesar as a heroic protector of Buddhism and the Tibetan nation. There are hundreds of such practices in the cult of Gesar throughout Tibet, but Mipham's have become popular in recent years and have even begun to be translated into Western languages (see chapter 26). Mipham's edited version of the Gesar epic was based on manuscripts found in the library of the King of Ling, a man who actually claimed to be descended from the family of Gesar. The epic tells the story of a divine hero named Gesar who begins as an enlight-


ened deity in a Buddhist heaven. There his name is " G o o d N e w s " (Thos pa dga', literally "joyful to hear") or in some versions of the epic "Accomplishment of Actions" (Skt. Siddhartha, Tib., D o n 'grub). The epic begins w i t h a crisis: everything is going badly on Earth because of an infestation of dharma-destroying demons. These demons in previous lifetimes were powerful magicians and enemies of the Buddhist teachings. Some were simply enemies of Tibet, bent on invading and capturing the country; others were actually Buddhist practitioners gone bad, especially tantric adepts who developed great powers through their yogic practices, but later turned these powers against their teachers. Their evil aspirations and perverted karma have resulted in their rebirth as kings of countries that surround and threaten the Tibetan Buddhist k i n g d o m of L i n g . Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion, requests the buddha Amitabha to send d o w n a hero to L i n g in order to r i d the w o r l d of these "beings with perverted aspirations." This leads to a meeting in heaven of the buddhas and gods, m u c h like the O l y m p i a n councils of the gods found at the beginning of many Western epics following Homer. The council of Buddhist divinities decides that one of their number should incarnate on Earth to become the magical warrior hero Gesar, who w i l l take over L i n g and conquer one-by-one all the enemies of the Buddhist teachings in Asia. After selecting the i n d i v i d u a l w h o w i l l become Gesar, the gods and buddhas next try to convince h i m to leave his place of bliss and enter the w o r l d l y realm of action. In some versions of the epic the future Gesar is not anxious to become a human being and fight demons, so the gods must pursue h i m throughout the universe, confront h i m , and finally persuade h i m of the seriousness of the problem. In other versions, the future hero's vow of compassion as a bodhisattva instantly occurs to h i m and he makes the sacrifice. In still other non-Buddhist versions of the epic, Gesar's willingness to abandon heaven for the benefit of h u m a n k i n d marks h i m as a favored son of the gods. Whatever the religious framework, the tradition of Gesar narratives explores the mystery of incarnation, what the H i n d u epics call the avatara, meaning literally the "descent" of the divine to Earth. W h e n the hero agrees to enter the flesh, the action of the epic proper begins. A magical mother is found among the race of dragons (nagas) and chosen to receive the hero in her w o m b . She leaves her k i n g d o m at the bottom of the sea and travels to L i n g where, because of her great beauty, she becomes a member of the king's retinue. M a n y other enlightened beings and magical servants are b o r n into the tribe of L i n g to assist Gesar in his future quest. Gesar's miraculous birth and childhood are featured in an entire book of the epic. A l t h o u g h perfect in form and completely enlightened, the c h i l d Gesar disguises himself as an i l l favored hunchback, w h i c h is intended to deceive his opponents of his true ide tity as an incarnation of the Buddha. Nevertheless, the forces of evil attempt to destroy h i m even though he is a deformed c h i l d , and he uses magic and deception to elude them and defend himself. W h e n Gesar reaches young manhood he finally reveals himself in all his glory and power, being transformed from a deformed trickster into a splendid version of the Central Asian knight. In a scene typical of


T u r k i s h and Mongolian epics, he enters a special horse race, competing w i t h the warriors of Ling, w h i c h he wins easily, and as a reward he gains the hand of the Princess of L i n g in marriage. Through such contests Gesar becomes K i n g of L i n g and thus begins his righteous reign and campaigns against the evil foes of the dharma. One of Gesar's first deeds as a k i n g is to recover the magical weapons and armor, left by the gods for the people of L i n g buried in the mountain range of Magyel Pomra (Rma rgyal spom ra). Magyel Pomra is both an actual mountain in eastern Tibet and one of the most powerful native Tibetan deities, who in the epic becomes a great friend and supporter of Gesar (see chapter 3). Once armed w i t h the magical weapons and shielded w i t h wondrous armor, Gesar and his troops become invincible. The rest of the epic is devoted to a lengthy recounting of his martial adventures, as he subjugates demons and invades one by one the many kingdoms that threaten Tibet. In the early versions of the Gesar epic, there were probably only four major enemies in the cardinal directions, to the north, south, east, and west of L i n g . But as bards across Inner Asia elaborated on the story, additional sagas were added, w i t h new enemies being located in the intermediate directions, u n t i l in some versions Gesar conquers the great historical empires of Asia. In fact, episodes are still being composed. Sometimes a Tibetan bard w i l l seem to "remember" more material than the previous generation sang. Often it is clear that the epic is being elaborated on the spot for the audience's entertainment, after the manner of storytellers across the w o r l d . There are also additional chapters added to the Gesar by Tibetan literati. For example, during W o r l d W a r II w o r d reached Tibet that a demon k i n g named Hitler was trying to conquer the w o r l d . A famous Buddhist lama named Kamtrul Rinpoche actually composed an additional book of the epic entitled Gesar Conquers the Kingdom oj Jarman. In this episode Gesar travels to Germany and assassinates Hitler for the benefit of all sentient beings. The selection translated below is excerpted from the first chapter of the first book of Mipham's Gesar. The central figures in the action of the first chapter are Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion, and Padmasambhava, both of w h o m are considered the special protectors of Tibet. A c c o r d i n g to Tibetan m y thology, Padmasambhava was an all-powerful enlightened magician w h o brought the tantric teachings to Tibet and tamed the local deities into defenders of the dharma. After he had done his w o r k he departed to another continent, the demon island of Camara, where a race of cannibal demons called raksasas dwell. The epic opens w i t h Avalokitesvara's mission to the island continent of Camara, w h i c h is entirely inhabited by these dangerous, shape-shifting demons and other occult monsters. They all surround Padmasambhava's palace L u m i n o u s Light on the Copper-Colored M o u n t a i n of Camara. The scene of Avalokitesvara's mission to the demonic land of Camara is a commonplace of epic literature, but it is also reminiscent of a Tibetan literary genre called delok, i n w h i c h male and particularly female yogins describe their out-of-body journeys to the netherworld and to mystical lands (see chapter 32).


Avalokitesvara tries to enter Paemasambhava's palace but is blocked by an ignorant demon minister with sever heads, in a scene that is quite humorous, for both the bodhisattva and Padmasatbhava are enlightened beings, w h o are well aware of each other's presence and what cosmic issue brings them together. The exchange between Avalokitesvara and the demon minister is thus a deceptive charade performed for the enjoyment of the reader and the edification of the minister. Avalokitesvara plays withthe m i n d of the minister, p u z z l i n g and challenging h i m and generally leadinghim into confusion. Avalokitesvara's skillful use of tantric methods may have betn intended to serve as an example of enlightened diplomacy and politics; the play of phenomena and political power is transformed here into an occasion to sing songs about the Buddhist teachings. But one important point is mad again and again, almost as a second level of meaning in the text. Avalokitesvara sings songs to the demon minister to convince h i m that he should be escorted immediately into Padmasambhava's presence. He argues his determination with couiless metaphors about what it means to have an important goal or a serious cast or a profound meaning to one's actions. A person w i t h such strong determination is thought to have a strong life-energy force or soul (srog), a crucial notion for understanding the Tibetan sense of selfhood. Understanding the role of this occult energy is also an important key to understanding native Tibetan literature, especially the popular stories about warrior heroes. The warrior must know h o w to guard and nourish his life-energy force, to ensure his strength, end-rance, and determination. It is believed that when a person's life-energy force .eaves them, often caused by a feeling of sudden fright, that person w i l l display a lumber of symptoms, such as becoming depressed or susceptible to outside iriluence, gullible, easily fooled, and vulnerable to demonic attack or possession. Once weakened by the loss of one's life-energy force, if a demon invades or possesses the susceptible person, he or she may be driven to suicide, severe depression, or death by destruction. But a person w i t h a strong life-energy force can easily repel the demonic forces and indeed any negative external influence, and tht person displays strength, full of confidence and determination. Gesar is the ultimate symbol of his determination. Completely empowered by the five buddhas, hardened and foned by aeons of training as a bodhisattva in heaven, called forth by the determination of the bodhisattva of compassion and the tantric yogins of Tibet, he is teyond the possibility of depression or suicide. In addition to having a strong life-energy force, he possesses a consummate aura of power that surrounds and infases his being, m a k i n g h i m nearly invincible. There are many Tibetan terms for oris charismatic quality: it is called "windhorse" because it can be ridden like a horse as a personal sense of energy; it is called "field of power" because in the best warriors it forms a globe around them that radiates a sense of effectiveness,! is also called "the aura of merit," w h i c h is connected to one's karmic store if life-energy. W h e n it has been drained away by a lifetime of action, then noionly does a person become i l l , but Tibetan methods of diagnosis, which are oased in part on readings of this aura through


the pulses, are unreliable or report nothing. The songs sung by the characters in this first chapter seem straightforward, but all of them are full of references to this philosophy of determination and life-force. Finally, to the utter confusion of the demon, Avalokitesvara transforms into a gigantic lotus, the Mahayana symbol of compassion, w h i c h , when brought into the presence of Padmasambhava, dissolves into his heart center. This symbolism of Avalokitesvara's lotus and its dissolution into Padmasambhava's heart center may be interpreted as representing the two protectors of Tibet embodying the symbols of the Mahayana and the Vajrayana or tantric path, respectively, w h i c h are actually inseparable. The next scene shows Padmasambhava actually creating the god G o o d News, who w i l l live in heaven and then be reborn into the h u m a n realm as Gesar of Ling. In other, less metaphysical and overtly Buddhist versions of the epic, Good News already lives in heaven and is merely sought out by the other deities. But in this Buddhist edition of the epic, he is constructed by Padmasambhava. He is a composite deity, formed out of a combination of native Tibetan gods and famous Buddhist tutelary deities. This illustrates the occult meaning of the Gesar legend in Mipham's version—that it is, in a sense, a transmutation of a Central Asian war epic into a sermon on the Buddha dharma. It shows in its symbolic language exactly h o w local gods are tamed and transformed into Buddhist deities. In other words, the rough and warlike elements of Tibetan culture, w h i c h once combined to form an Inner Asian empire, have n o w been tamed and reformed into a nationwide instrument of moral instruction and contemplative training. The Tibetan empire has been refashioned into a Buddhist pure land. The moment G o o d News is b o m , he sings a song of moral admonition. Then, a few days later, he is given the all-important ritual empowerment of abhiseka by the "five buddha families." This section requires a somewhat lengthy explanation. Tantric B u d d h i s m employs colored diagrams called mandalas as a basis for its sophisticated visualization practices. These mandalas are representations of palaces occupied by five buddhas who sit at the four gates and in the center of the palace. Each buddha represents one aspect of reality in the tantric fivefold analysis of the energies of the w o r l d . The most elaborate tantric practices are those in w h i c h the disciple identifies w i t h one of these energies and becomes inseparably joined w i t h the corresponding buddha. To do such practices, one must first receive a ritual consecration in w h i c h the energy of the buddha associated w i t h the practice is assumed by the practitioner. This is done by i n v o k i n g the mandala of that deity and blessing the disciple w i t h symbols of that deity's power, enabling the disciple to enter into the buddha's mandala palace. Usually these ceremonies are highly secret and the texts of their practices are rarely seen except in the recondite societies of tantric practitioners. Here though, in the last section of the first chapter of the Gesar epic, we see something like a public and generic empowerment that can be described to a general readership without breaking oaths of secrecy. The empowerment section is a strange but interesting passage. Even Tibetan


lay people and novice yogins, who are not advanced meditators w i t h the skills to visualize the mandalas in all their intricate detail, nevertheless go to receive empowerments if they can. They regard them simply as elaborate blessing ceremonies and rarely understand the ritual acts being performed. Perhaps M i p h a m inserted this ritual into the text as a way of explaining this ceremony to the untutored faithful. Or perhaps it is a way of introducing young Tibetans and inexperienced practitioners to the empowerment liturgy. In any case, its presence in a text meant for a universal readership provides us w i t h a rare opportunity to discuss the main ritual of Vajrayana without violating its laws of secrecy. The abhiseka is organized i n a special way, based u p o n the pentad structure of the mandala. Each of the five buddhas w i l l be called u p o n to grant G o o d News his special brand of empowerment. Each has his o w n color, his o w n single-syllable "seed mantra," and each transforms a certain moral flaw into a specific form of buddha w i s d o m . A l s o , each is associated w i t h a certain aspect of life: body, speech, m i n d , quality, or activity. Thus when Padmasambhava invites the five, he does so w i t h appropriate lights emanating from the five centers of his body, w h i c h represent respectively these five dimensions of sentient existence. Padma's song i n v o k i n g the five lists the usual sets of mystical correspondences by w h i c h the family of five buddhas can be mapped across all of enlightened and unenlightened reality. But he adds a section that is actually a form of political commentary, w h e n he mentions the various classes of society: "It is a poor ruler who has no supporters to honor and magnify h i m / A n d poor lower classes who have no respect." A n d there is a stanza that mentions weapons, herbal medicine, and agriculture. A l l these are subjects that concern the Tibetan laity and mark this empowerment as a w o r k related to folk poetry, not simply a normative religious ritual meant for the Buddhist clerics alone. This chapter of the epic contains many different examples of poetry found in Tibetan literature. The first few pages of verse are typical of the tightly constructed classical Indie poetry k n o w n in Sanskrit as kavya. This Sanskrit court poetry is full of complex figures and multiple layers of meaning, and it is a favorite vehicle for the Buddhist literati, who use it in lyrical poetry and also in the highly formal language of ritual. But when the demon minister begins to sing to Avalokitesvara, we shift to a heroic song, a form of poetry native to Tibet. This indigenous form is sung to tunes k n o w n by the particular bard who performs the work. It seems that each character had his or her o w n signature tune. The melody w o u l d actually be given in the opening lines w i t h the Tibetan equivalent of "tra-la-la": lu a la lu tha la. Tibetan epic ballads begin w i t h a half-line of alliterative nonsense syllables that give the tune of the song. A literal rendering w o u l d be " l u a la, the song is sung w i t h this tune. . . ." Tha la art the same sort of musical sounds, like "tra-la" in English. These songs are the heart of the epic, written in a racy, humorous style of colloquial speech. Tibetans enjoy the moral or heroic sentiments evoked, as well as the cleverness of the songs, w h i c h are filled w i t h two-line proverbial expressions and tricky analogies. The twisty quality of the songs delights the


Tibetan audience and challenges their understanding. The alternation of prose sections with these songs and verses is typical of almost all Tibetan narrative literature. The prose sections are usually written in a careful, concise, but highly ornamented language, sometimes in elegant parallel prose couplets. But when we enter the world of the empowerment ceremony, the prose changes to the high church language of Tibetan liturgies, with its rich baroque symbolism, which requires some explanation. The empowerment proceeds as ordinary abhiseka rituals do, beginning with the figure of Vairocana, the white buddha at the center of the mandala, who represents the transformation of the moral fault ignorance into the enlightened wisdom of all-encompassing space. Each of the five buddhas has a "sceptre." Vairocana's sceptre is the wheel of dharma. The wheel is an ancient Indian symbol for sovereignty, and here it is the symbol for the buddha family at the center of the mandala. Om, the mantra of enlightened body, is his seed syllable. The empowerment he gives is directed to the body of Good News, and the verses speak of the virtues of his body. The wheel finally dissolves into Good News's forehead, the center of which represents the body among the five centers of body, speech, mind, quality, and activity. These are the correspondences that constitute the empowerment of the first family. But in the midst of them is a sermon composed in the epic mode and recited by this buddha Vairocana. It speaks of the moral flaws that arise in society because of ignorance, and it suggests that Good News, having received the abhiseka of body, which transforms ignorance into wisdom, should cleanse society of these flaws. Each day during the consecration ritual of Good News, another buddha in the fivefold mandala presents his blessing and gives his sermon. The language of these passages is quite innovative and marks Mipham's version of the epic, combining both classical discourse and folk poetry. Epic passages like this illustrate the syncretic character of Tibetan Buddhist practice, for we see a representation of Buddhist and native elements combined, which is rarely admitted in more strictly orthodox canonical texts. At the same time, it must be noted that the construction of this chapter shows the hand of a great scholar. The heroic songs may indeed be transcriptions of songs sung by itinerant bards. But the careful construction of the empowerment section is too learned to have been composed whole cloth by an itinerant storyteller. For example, each of the songs sung by the empowering buddhas begins with two lines drawn from an Indian tantra, the Manjusrinamasamgiti. (For a translation, see chapter 4 of Religions oj India in Practice.) The

Sanskrit mantras of empowerment, such as padma abhisinca hrih, the sceptres, and body-centers are correctly presented according to the exacting rules of Tibetan ritual. Only a scholar could do this. The translation is from Lha gling gab tse dgu skor: An Episode from the Tibetan Epic

oj King Gesar oj Gling, reproduced from Szechuan People's Publishing House ed., 1980 (Gantok, Sikkim, 1983).


Further Reading A summary of the epic was written by the French explorer Madame Alexandra D a v i d - N e e l and Lama Yongden, The Superhuman Life of Gesar of Ling, (New York: Claude Kendall Publisher, 1934). There are two interesting versions that may be more primitive versions of the epic: A. H. Francke, A Lower Ladakhi Version of the Kesar Saga, in Biblioteca lndica, n. 1543, (Calcutta, 1904), and Francke, The Epic of Gesar, v o l . 29 ( T h i m b u , Bhutan, 1981). The most complete study of the Gesar Epic to date is in French. It is by R. A. Stein, w h o also wrote a partial translation of one version of the epic: L'epopee tibetaine de Gesar dans sa version lamaique de Ling (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1956). There is also an English translation of Stein's excellent study of native Tibetan culture: Tibetan Civilization, trans. J. E. Driver (Stanford: Stanford University Press: 1972). This work provides a good anthropological background for understanding the epic, since it explains the system of gods that occur in The Gesar. Geoffrey Samuel has done a book-length study of the cults associated w i t h the Gesar epic: Civilized Shamans: Buddhism in Tibetan Societies (Washington, D . C : Smithsonian Institution Press, 1993). Samuel has also produced a number of articles on Gesar, and they provide a good bibliography of Gesar studies: "Gesar of L i n g : Shamanic Power and Popular Religion", in Tantra and Everyday Religion, ed. Geoffrey Samuel (New D e l h i : Aditya Prakashan). Here are two other good articles by Samuel in the anthropological mode: "Gesar of L i n g : The Origins and Meaning of the East Tibetan E p i c , " in Proceedings of the 5th International Seminar on Tibetan Studies, Narita, Japan, 1989, and " M u s i c and Shamanic Power in the Gesar E p i c , " in Metaphor: A Musical Dimension, ed. Jamie Kassler (Sydney: Currency Press). The notion of a shamanic epic is explored by a specialist in the European Renaissance, Thomas Greene. H i s most famous book, and a good introduction to the k i n d of epic studies that w o u l d apply to the Gesar of Ling, is The Descent from Heaven, a Study in Epic Continuity (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1963). There is a fascinating essay by h i m on poetry and magic in a collection: Creative imitation: new essays on Renaissance literature in honor of Thomas M. Greene, ed. David Quint (Binghamton, N . Y . : Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1992).

Chapter 1 of Gesar of Ling Epic: The Divine Land of Ling, the Nine-Squared Divination Board: The Epic of the King of the War Gods, Gesar the Jewel, Tamer of Enemies Om svasti W i t h i n the essence of dharma (dharmata), y o u r


Unobstructed compassion gave rise to The impartial awakened m i n d (bodhicitta), w h i c h benefits beings. Never abandoning that, y o u took the vajra-like oath To p e r f o r m the f o u r - f o l d spontaneous b u d d h a activity, The h u n d r e d points of the adamantine sceptre. O n c e w h e n perverted ambitions p i l e d h i g h into a m o u n t a i n of evil merit A n d pride rose up to a r o c k y peak of haughty arrogance, To s h o w the teaching of cause and effect y o u crushed it w i t h this vajra [adamantine sceptre]. Greatest of heroes, supreme being, j e w e l tamer of Enemies, may y o u be victorious. The noble Supreme Compassionate One's m o o n l i g h t Dissolves into the heart center of the O n e W h o s e Splendor Tames the Phenomenal W o r l d . The five families of the blessed victorious ones Grant empowerment to G o o d N e w s . N o w in this time w h e n the five corruptions are rampant and increasing, it is difficult to liberate f r o m evil karma these savage sentient beings through the causal path of characteristics, the Mahayana alone. It is even difficult to r i p e n them through tantra, the f r u i t i o n path of the secret mantra. F o r their m i n d s are h a r d as r o c k and stone: if y o u do not carve its hard surface w i t h a chisel, even if y o u soak it in a stream, it w i l l not give way. E v e n if y o u rub it w i t h butter and o i l , it w i l l not become flexible. They are too stiff to be bent by the teachings on this life and the next. They w i l l not submit to the restraint of the temporal and spiritual laws. F o r m e r l y , d u r i n g the lives of the three dharma kings [of Tibet's i m p e r i a l period, namely, Songtsen G a m p o , T r i Songdetsen, and Ralpajen], the ancestor and his descendants, w h e n the l a n d of Tibet passed f r o m B o n to B u d d h i s m , in order to pacify naturally the temperamental demons of Tibet, Lotus Skullgarl a n d [i.e., Padmasambhava], the mantra holder, b o u n d them by oath. If he had managed to make them swear their oaths of fealty to the B u d d h a dharma three times, then the dharma kings w o u l d have been l o n g - l i v e d . But even though the sovereign and their subjects shared bliss and happiness, d e v i l i s h ministers, noblemen, and warlords turned the subjects f r o m the c o m mands of their l o r d k i n g . [Faced w i t h s u c h opposition, Padmasambhava failed to complete his taming of the native spirits of Tibet.] Padmasambhava's failure to b i n d the spirits of Tibet more than twice l e d to disordered conditions in the state, and the auspicious coincidence of the glorious gateway, the perfect astrological c o n j u n c t i o n , was missed. As a result there was the t u r m o i l of weapons in the four directions, the foreign borderland demons wandered into cen-


tral Tibet, and the dynasty of the dharma kings fell down to the level of commoners. The whole world in general, and the land of Tibet in particular, became oppressed by suffering. The noble excellent Great Compassionate One [Avalokitesvara] gazing on all this with unbearable compassion, supplicated the lord of the Happy Land [Sukhavati], Amitabha:

Om mani padme hum. I pay homage to the refuge, the lord of countless realms, Amitabha, lord of the Happy Land in the West. Even though your compassion is truly unbiased, Look down on the world of impure samsara. In the vast whirlpool ocean of suffering You are skilled in killing the crocodiles of evil deeds. Have compassion for sentient beings in endless cyclic existence. Surrounded by the ocean waves of the five poisons, The mirror of their minds is blinded by the obscurations. Circling endlessly in cyclic existence, they are truly to be pitied. Out of compassion please show supreme skillful means. With these words he reverently supplicated. The blessed one Amitabha answered with these words: Good, good, O son of noble family. For sentient beings ignorant and confused, If they are not fortunate enough to be tamed, it is difficult to pull them From the ocean where they drown. Thus, if beings near and far Have no iron ring of faith, Even the teacher who pulls beings out of the three worlds Has no way of catching them with the iron hook of compassion. Nevertheless, in the divine buddhafield of the Thirty-Three [a heaven where gods who study the dharma dwell] The father, the great god, Lord White Luminosity A n d the supreme mother Manda Divine Beauty Had a son, Supreme Bliss Good Nature. He and the divine princess Illusory Beauty United as e and vam [together meaning "thus"] and gave miraculous birth Through the radiance of their unwavering compassion To the magical child whose blessings accomplish all purposes. He is joyful to hear and delightful to see. If he were to transfer into a human body in Jambudvipa That heroic bodhisattva would tame the difficult to tame. Sentient beings in the land of Tibet would experience bliss and happiness.


There is no doubt they would be free from rebirth in the lower realms. Therefore go to the continent of Camara. And request Padmasambhava Skullgarland Power for this. Strive for the benefit of beings, supreme warrior of the mind. Remember this! e ma ho! [an exclamation of jubilation] He praised and complimented Avalokitesvara with these words of prophecy and confirmation. Then, in a single instant, the greatly compassionate lord [Avalokitesvara] went to the blissful, spontaneously arisen Limitless Palace of Lotus Light on the subcontinent of Camara. Around it was the city of the terrifying raksasas [cannibal demons], his subjects—a place so horrible that it frightens even the death gods and makes the lord of life himself, Brahma, withdraw—a land so terrible that even the Vinakayas [obstructing spirits] shun it, not to mention ordinary men, who cannot even stand the sight of Lotus Light Palace. In this place, in order to effect the measureless benefit for beings, Avalokitesvara manifested as a cannibal-demon child, his head surrounded by oysters and enveloped in a halo of glimmering white light. He went to the eastern Gate of A l l Pervading Mercy (maitri). There he met a demon minister raksasa with seven heads who said: Wondrous indeed, your inner reality and outward appearance. I would say you are a god, but you look like a demon cub. I would say you are a demon, but for your aura of light. Within the walls of this blazing lotus land We sentient beings, confused by ignorance, Have never seen, would be lucky even to hear, Of the coming of such a unique individual. With this speech he asked Avalokitesvara for what great purpose he had come. Then the demon minister sang to the lord this miraculous song: Lu A La Lu, the song is sung; in case you do not understand, Tha La, this is the melody of the song. Surrounding this land of Camara, the country of the demons is The place of the impure raksasas and demons And the field of the pure wisdom holders and dakinis. This morning, young child, you landed here. From what place and from what direction do you come? What aims can you have that are such great matters? If you do not have in mind great matters, Then it is meaningless to pursue ends of no great importance. Only a person possessed by the evil spirits (gdon) of great suffering Would drown himself in the river! If you have not become involved in a great quarrel, There is no great cause for you to bring to court.


In Camara's Blood Lake of Sin The food of the cannibal demons is hotter than fire. The reach of the cannibal demonesses is longer than a river. The tramen [wrathful naked women with animal heads] seek you out faster than the wind. Why have you come to this place? Who are your father and mother, their race and religion? Keep back no secrets; be straight in your speech. In the monastery our commerce is all straightforward speech. Straight arrows strike the target yonder. If your path is straight, the road between central Tibet and China is not long. If you understand, you are a superior man: a single sign is enough. If you do not, you are an aging ox and only understand the stick. If that is what you need, then look to your red-blooded life. If you understand, these are the words of my song. If not, I'm not going to sing it again. Thus he sang and the lord answered: " O h yes, I understand sir: The secret meaning of the essence of speech like yours must be clarified Or else the profound and secret meaning of the words will be silenced. If the meaning of the words does not place the fruition in your hands, Then all those words are just bubbles of spit. If the earth in early spring is not first fed with water, Then the spirits of weather, the southern turquoise dragon and the venomous serpent, will be silent. In the sky Mount Meru is circled by the sun and the moon. If they do not benefit the plains of the four continents, Then Meru is of no benefit or harm. Then the sun and the moon would just be distractions for the spinning heads of brainless dupes. Then there would be no gratitude for the good done by the Sun and Moon. It is impossible that things should be that way. For the black earth is thick with settlements And the measureless white clouds float freely above. If my cause is great, China and Tibet are circled by the heavenly bodies each day. If my cause is important, then these words carry great weight. "I realize that most cases are brought by petitioners to the court of the chief, the majestic Lotus Skullgarland, and heard by the great ministers in the im-


perial assembly h a l l . But just as it is pointless to plant seed anywhere else but in a p l o w e d field, so the nature of my discourse is too great to explain before the plenary c o u n c i l and I must see Lotus S k u l l g a r l a n d himself. The tale I must tell is l i k e this," and he sang this song: Om mam padme hum hrih I supplicate the dharma of the six perfections. Just rest in y o u r o w n place, ultimate emptiness. In case y o u do not recognize me, I am k n o w n as the A l l - B e n e f i t i n g , Compassionate, Beloved C h i l d . M y father i s Enlightenment M i n d Sovereign L o r d . M y mother i s Emptiness D h a r m a T o r c h . This m o r n i n g I came f r o m the P l a i n of Great Bliss [Sukhavati]. The benefit I seek is the benefit of b o t h self and other. My goal is the Isle of Camara, that goal. My supplication is to supplicate the Master Skullgarland. Thus, the ancient proverb says If y o u travel back and forth, as a merchant, between C h i n a and Tibet, It is not that there is n o t h i n g of value in one's o w n home valley: This is the mental relationship of trust that unifies C h i n a and Tibet. The master transmits to the disciples empowerments and teachings. Passing them d o w n does not mean the teachings are not precious, But that they are a connection of aspirations and commitments. Between the people and the ruler the great minister travels back and forth. It is not that w i t h o u t h i m there is no way of c o n d u c t i n g government. He connects the two ranks of the law-giver and the subjects. These w o r d s of i n f o r m a t i o n I offer to y o u . Please intercede on behalf of my h u m b l e self, A n d tell the master the essence and inner meaning of my message. Initiate the all-pervading activity of y o u r compassion. My i m p o r t is not s m a l l , it is of great importance. Of great i m p o r t is the welfare of a l l beings. If it were meaningless, w h y w o u l d I explain to y o u w h y I have come? Those w h o pointlessly travel a r o u n d in distant lands Purchase for themselves thirst and famine. Those w h o suffer not, yet t h r o w themselves into deep gorges, Have let their life force be carried away by demons. The wealthy w h o bear the b u r d e n of material goods W i l l be carried away by profit and loss. The p o w e r f u l w i t h their many evil reports W i l l cast themselves d o w n i n s e l f - h u m i l i a t i o n . The poor w h o utter p r o u d w o r d s


Will bind themselves to false friends. Things such as these are indeed without point. But into the entrance hall of Lord Raksa Skullgarland I have had no choice but to enter. May I be seized by his compassion. Taking the form of a dragon-being, this song is my offering. Please let my words enter your heart and hearing. Thus he requested and the demon minister answered, "Hey, you! [The minister's speech is thick with colloquialism and clever folk sayings. His language would be absurd and incongruous in any other situation. But we must remember that this man-eating demon does not necessarily realize that a buddha in wrathful aspect has taken over the government of his country.] According to ancient history, our demon king Raksa Skullgarland's royal lineage is terribly strict. In court they strike with the accuracy of hot lightning bolts. Their sovereignty covers the country, more vast than the blue sky. Their clout is mightier than Rahu [a planet that can eclipse the moon]. What can a little gypsy kid like you hope for? Even people like me, the interior minister, when we stand before such kings we are just waiting to be punished, even when we have done nothing wrong. They are ready to jump on us for no reason or arrest us for no real cause. They are ready to gobble up the flesh of a living man and gulp down the blood of a live horse. In this lineage there have been such men. In recent generations, however, their guts seem to have broadened somewhat and their minds, which are empty in nature yet full of mercy, unite all three temperaments: peaceful, wrathful, and relaxed. "In recent generations they have all been the same that way, like sleeves all cut from the same pattern or beads all chosen from the same rosary. In the strictness of our monastic law, we don't let anything get swept under the carpet. "We must formally request that you be allowed the kindness of entering. Otherwise the two of us will be just like an old ox leaping into the river when it is thirsty, or an old cow heading for grass, or an old donkey driven by rain and wind. No one has ever dared to break in upon him like that. Generally when you visit a temple, you offer the guru there a white scarf. So what do you have as a presentation offering to give to the ruler?" Avalokitesvara answered: "I have the thirty varieties of formal offerings to present. If you want to count them they are: as dharma, the six syllable mani mantra; as path, the six perfections; as the six objects of outer appearance, the six consciousnesses of inner knowing, and the six gates of the sense faculties that lie between these. Are these suitable offerings to present?" When he said this, the minister answered, "I can't really say they will be okay. The more the poor man values food, the more the rich man tightens his stomach for him. The more the rich man values a horse, the more stubbornheaded the merchant becomes on his selling price. If you don't have one, then a dzo [a cross between a yak and a cow] is like a horse. But for a great band


of robbers, the dzo is n o t h i n g but a q u i c k snack on the road. The j a c k a l w h o usually eats horses sometimes wonders, "Perhaps this sheep's b o d y w o u l d d o ? " W h o k n o w s what w i l l be satisfactory as a presentation offering? " A t the same time I cannot say that these presentation offerings w o u l d not do: the sacred s y m b o l , the souvenir of a pilgrimage to Tsari M o u n t a i n , is really nothing but a nine-node bamboo stick. To harvest C h a o H s i M o u n t a i n ' s tea, you must find y o u r way across h i l l and dale. But anybody w i t h m o n e y can have it if they want. "Generally speaking, y o u can say that these things are at the same time b o t h r i c h and abundant, and tiny and insignificant. Indeed, they are not great, for these precious qualities of being free and well-favored [that is, being reborn as a h u m a n w i t h the o p p o r t u n i t y to practice B u d d h i s m ] all fit w i t h i n the two spans and four cubits of the h u m a n body. On the other h a n d , they are not tiny, because if y o u possess analytical [intelligence], they are the inexhaustible p r o visions for this life and the next, the materials that f u l f i l l all wishes in the cycle of existence, the w i s h - f u l f i l l i n g gem, so difficult to acquire. But if y o u do not possess an analytical m i n d , then these things are the anchor of the three poisons in the ocean of cyclic existence; the stick that drives us w i t h happiness and sadness; a sack f u l l of i m p u r e substances. " W e l l n o w , whoever y o u are, I w i l l go and request p e r m i s s i o n for y o u to enter into his presence. W a i t here for a m o m e n t , " he said and entered the palace. There on top of a w r a t h f u l seat of corpses, on a d a z z l i n g l y beautiful throne of gold, sat Lotus Raksasa Skullgarland [Padmasambhava] himself, his m i n d resting in meditation on the great nature of phenomena. E v e n though he a l ready understood that Avalokitesvara was outside, he feigned ignorance and said to the great raksasa minister w i t h seven heads: "Hey y o u ! This m o r n i n g y o u were singing pointless songs, chanting u n l o v e l y melodies w i t h i m b e c i l i c w o r d s ! W h o sang in response to you? W h a t great goal does he a i m to attain? To w h o m does he pay homage? In w h o m do his m i n d and heart trust? In w h o m do his b o d y and s k u l l take refuge?" The minister thought to himself, " H e seems to be sitting here on his l o r d l y throne, but his fine bright eyes see the bridge outside. H i s sight must be l i k e the proverbial royal parasol of the S u n traveling across the sky, its light pervading the w o r l d , or like the southern clouds p i l e d h i g h in the mid-heavens, raining all across the dense earth." He uttered these sayings t h i n k i n g that Padmasambhava in his chamber had probably seen everything that had just happened outside. He said to Padmasambhava, " O h precious crest jewel, in the m u l t i c o l o r e d demon village, H u n d r e d T h o u s a n d Great Blisses, at the second gate in the i r o n mountain w a l l , the eastern gate named Great G a r d e n of M e r c y , a little boy, who is neither h u m a n , d e m o n , nor god, but w h o has an aura of white light, says that he has an essential matter of importance to impart. He says this w i t h Words clear, bright, concise, and lovely to the ear. Please do not wander, but


listen carefully." W i t h these w o r d s he prostrated three times and then sang this song: A la la sing the song this way. A b o v e in the Palace of Padma Raga, A m i t a b h a o f U d d i y a n a , k n o w me! M a y I and all sentient beings filling space A t t a i n the deathless state of a w i s d o m holder. On a peaceful and w r a t h f u l jeweled corpse throne On a b l a z i n g lotus, Leader in this life, dear l o r d and chief, listen. G u i d e in the next life, O g u r u , listen. Today at the m o m e n t w h e n the golden rays of the royal parasol Struck the peak of the glorious m o u n t a i n At the eastern gate of the G a r d e n of Great M e r c y In the m i d d l e of the P l a i n of A l l - P e r v a d i n g Great Bliss Appeared a little boy made f r o m beautiful rays of light, W r a p p e d in garlands of light rays and rainbows. H i s name i s C o m p a s s i o n Benefiting A l l . H i s great a i m is the limitless benefit of others. He says: "There is an urgent need to see y o u . There is no time to spare." W h e t h e r y o u condescendingly praise y o u r gift as "alms" Or elegantly call it "offerings," It really makes no difference at a l l . It s t i l l goes to the erudite g u r u w h o has mastered the ten sciences. It may be payment to p u r i f y one's sins, Or else the extortion exacted by a minister. It really makes no difference at a l l . In any case it is a fine, the p u n i s h m e n t meted by the m i g h t y chieftain. C l o u d s in the sky may be a storm front c o m i n g i n , Or else the gaping m o u t h s of the eight classes of demons. It really makes no difference at a l l , F o r i n b o t h cases the rain w i l l help to r i p e n the eight fruits. A beggar's prayers for y o u r good health may be altruistic aspiration prayers. Or else he calls y o u friend just to get some food. W h a t does it really matter? Either way, his stomach's hunger is pure as a white silk scarf. I couldn't grasp h i m , but I said that I w o u l d ask the favor. Please grant whatever he requests w i t h his l o n g white scarf.


Do not make a minister s u c h as myself wander back and forth about the monastery. Please let h i m make his request personally before y o u r golden throne. These r o c k l i k e w o r d s of a s t u p i d , p r i d e f u l person Y o u have heard. He s h o u l d not just wander in before y o u r golden throne in the monastery. H o w e v e r , if the affair is important, it is y o u r honor's business! If y o u listen to my song, it is an offering up to y o u . T h e n please give y o u r reply to what he has requested. T h e n the magnificent Skullgarland Lotus answered: " O h , excellent! These sayings are good. As for what y o u give the g u r u w h o is a guide and a teacher, he is more pleased by the abandonment of evil deeds than by a h u n d r e d offerings. As for what y o u give to the chief whose sovereignty is vast, he is more pleased by the straight truth than by a h u n d r e d offering gifts. W h e n y o u begin to practice dharma and accumulate merit, he is more pleased by one auspicious sign of success in meditation than by a h u n d r e d measures of provisions for travel. "Today, in the Fire M o n k e y year, the eighth day of the first m o o n , on the glorious M o u n t of A u s p i c i o u s C o i n c i d e n c e , whatever of the eight orders of beings he is, whether god (lha), m o u n t a i n spirit (gnyan), serpent, or m a n , let h i m n o w enter the audience h a l l and stand before me." The minister went out to the gate, but the little boy had disappeared w i t h o u t the least trace. L i k e the track left by a b i r d in the s k y w h e n it makes its way in the paths of the w i n d s , just so were the traces of the little boy on the g r o u n d — n o t h i n g , not even an indentation in the s o i l . But straight ahead was a golden lotus w i t h eight petals a n d a white hrih on its anthers. On the petals were om mani padme hum hrih ah. These eight syllables were repeating their o w n sounds. He thought, " H o w strange! W h a t shall I declare to the chief? H o w w i l l I e x p l a i n this to the ministers? W h a t w i l l I say to the servants? W h a t w i l l I p r o c l a i m to the people?" T h e n he began to strategize. In his m i n d he went through his strategy twelve times; he w o r k e d out twenty-five tricks and tactics. F i n a l l y he thought, "I must decide. Since the m i n d , being by nature empty, is inexhaustible, the intellect of a superior m a n is inexhaustible as w e l l . If y o u do not clamp d o w n on y o u r little tongue, there is no end to the speech of a learned m a n . If y o u do not control the measure of your little step, the l o n g white strip of road w i l l stretch out endlessly before y o u . If y o u do not touch it w i t h blue water, what w i l l control the red fire?" T h e n he had the thought, " T h i s thing might be meaningless, l i k e relic pills f r o m the grave of a p i g , w h i c h have no blessings. But what can I say in answer to Padma's command? L i k e the mute trying to explain the taste of b r o w n sugar, I have no w o r d s of reply to h i m . But even though it may be pointless to try to describe this w i t h my m o u t h , maybe I can carry it in my hands.


"I guess the person that I saw this morning must have been some kind of transformation. So it seems that this flower here is the child's magical transformation. If that's so, then why not carry the flower in and place it before the king? It's a sign of something and signs are necessary—like the auspicious signs [of visions and experiences of insight] that are so necessary for the practitioner collecting merit [while performing religious practices]. And after all, the king gave me orders, saying: "Whether it is a god or a demon, bring it i n ! " This thing is not solid; it is a form like that of a rainbow. Maybe it is a magician's illusion? Or perhaps the flower is all there ever was and I have been hypnotized. Whatever it is, I am certain that it is a miraculous thing! "On top of that, whatever this thing is, I cannot talk to it. But since it is all I have to show for this morning's events, I will carry it in and just present it. Just as white snow is pleasing to the mind and colored ornaments are lovely to the eyes, so this is probably an auspicious sign." Then he picked up the lotus and carried it to the door of Lotus Self-luminosity's living room. The flower in his hand turned into a white light the size of the moon and dissolved into the heart center of the demon king Raksasa Skullgarland. At that moment the noble supreme Greatly Compassionate One [Avalokitesvara] told Padmasambhava to invoke and call forth from the self-luminous thought stream the mind of Gesar. His words were poured into a song so that they were easy to understand. [The "thought stream" is a technical term in Buddhist psychology that refers to the stream of impressions and self-transformations that make up an individual. When the thought stream is evoked from the breast of Padmasambhava, it will arise as the mind of Good News, the deity who will later be reborn as Gesar. The song that follows is an invocation designed to "call forth" the deity who will become Gesar of Ling. The "calling forth" is an important aspect of the technology of tantric ritual. The idea is that by singing this song Avalokitesvara can provoke, and stimulate Padmasambhava to action, arousing him to generate the deity Good News. The deity is an emanation of Avalokitesvara, who is himself an emanation of the buddha of the Lotus Family, Amitabha. Thus we have a complex series of emanations. First, Amitabha confers authorization on his bodhisattva emanation, Avalokitesvara, who transforms himself into a magical demon-child. The demon-child becomes a lotus, the symbol of Mahayana compassion, and then dissolves into the heart center of Padmasambhava. Now, Avalokitesvara, even though he has evolved into rays of light, still exists in an absolute sense outside this series of transformations. Thus his voice can sing the following invocation, which asks Padmasambhava to call forth Gesar.]

Om mani padme hum hrih From the pure land of the flaming lotus Blessed one Amitabha, know us. And you who are supreme in the Lotus Family, omniscient treasury. Miraculous king, I ask you to give thought to me.


It is difficult to tame the wilderness of Tibet. W h e n they passed away in the Snowy K i n g d o m , N i n e oath-breaking demons uttered perverted aspirations [that is, these demons are the i n d i v i d u a l s w h o violated tan trie vows] A n d so were reborn as the nine evil kings and ministers: The The The The

eastern d e v i l , L o t r i ( L h o k h r i ) Tiger Eye, southern devil, Sadam (Sa dam) P o i s o n Tree, western d e v i l , Lutsen ( K l u btsan) o f the M u C l a n , northern d e v i l , W h i t e Tent The'u Rang C u b .

[Next we have the demons of the intermediate directions] Turquoise Peak L u m i n o u s C h i l d , Earth l o r d K i n g N y e n r a w a (Snyan ra ba), The l i o n devil Ase K h y i l p a (A bse ' k h i l pa), The borderland d e v i l K i n g Shingtri (Shing k h r i ) , A n d the general demons of the w o r l d s u c h as black bear, etc. Each one of them is s u r r o u n d e d by an innumerable r e t i n u e — The enemies w h o have f o r m and the obstructing spirits w i t h o u t f o r m . They lead the l a n d of Tibet into suffering. They treat the teachings of cause and effect, the rare and precious three jewels, w i t h contempt. They guide all sentient beings on the path to the lower realms. They plant deep d o w n [in sentient beings] the seed of rebirth in h e l l . [Now Avalokitesvara directly addresses G o o d N e w s , w h o s t i l l exists as a p o tentiality in the breast of Padmasambhava; but he is " c a l l i n g h i m f o r t h " at the level of his thought stream:] " O h pity the ignorant i n samsara! Y o u are the Great P o w e r f u l O n e w h o defeats those difficult to t a m e — Great Being, god c h i l d , G o o d N e w s , P r i m o r d i a l l y pure, A l l G o o d , self-liberate them. A n d grant them the empowerments of the five families of the B u d d h a . Grant them the blessings of the three protectors [Manjusrl, Vajrapani, and Avalokitesvara]. The time has come to f u l f i l l y o u r sacred v o w A n d evoke the transformation body to tame the vicious. Therefore, don't be idle, protector of beings." Thus h e supplicated. A n d then H e W h o Overpowers the P h e n o m e n a l W o r l d w i t h H i s Brilliance [Padmasambhava] s m i l e d b r i l l i a n t l y , his heart glad, he said, G o o d , " and sang these w o r d s in a sweet melody: "Kye ho, good, supreme bodhisattva; Y o u r striving for the benefit of beings is good.


In the limitless sky of y o u r enlightenment m i n d The W h i t e L u m i n o u s O n e is y o u r compassion w h i c h benefits others. The innumerable constellations are y o u r aspiration prayers. Y o u r kindness eliminates the darkness of ignorance. L i k e the M o o n s h i n i n g in the midst of the m o v i n g stars A r e y o u , c h i l d w h o w i l l master the phenomenal w o r l d . A great bodhisattva, hearing y o u , rejoices and liberates sentient beings. Y o u are the l o r d w h o embodies the activity of a l l the buddhas. F o r all the buddhas are one in the space of w i s d o m . The b u d d h a nature pervades all sentient beings. Beings in cyclic existence, not understanding this, M u s t be liberated. T h u s the buddhas Never abandon their vows to benefit beings. Protector, whatever thoughts y o u have for the benefit of others W i l l come true for all sentient beings. So may y o u r practice of the perfection of aspiration be perfected." T h i s was his utterance of an aspiration prayer that confirmed the invocation of the m i n d v o w of all the buddhas of the ten directions. T h r o u g h it and the w o n d r o u s liberation through seeing, that d e m o n minister of the enjoyment b o d y b u d d h a field of disciples was established in bliss. T h e n the Greatly C o m passionate O n e returned to Potala M o u n t a i n . [Here begins the section in w h i c h Padmasambhava initiates the process by w h i c h G o o d N e w s is m i r a c u l o u s l y b o r n as a deity in heaven. M i r a c u l o u s b i r t h is a technical term for the method by w h i c h gods come into being. The entire process of emanating and gathering lights, sounds, and tantric symbols that is depicted in this passage c o u l d be regarded as a technical description of the b i r t h of a deity.] Later, on the h o l y day w h e n the dakas and the dakinis especially gather, the tenth day of the m o n t h , deathless Lotus Skullgarland himself was s u r r o u n d e d by a vast assembly p e r f o r m i n g a tantric feast. At that time he was d w e l l i n g in the meditative absorption of the all-pervading dharmakaya. F r o m the top of his head he emitted a green ray of light that i n v o k e d the m i n d stream of the dharma realm Samantabhadra. T h e n f r o m the heart center of the d h a r m a realm Samantabhadra there emanated a five-pointed blue vajra m a r k e d in the center w i t h the syllable hum. It flew to the garden of the Heaven of the Thirty-three and entered the top of the head of the g o d l i n g W h i t e Supreme Bliss. He experienced inexpressible bliss and his appearance transformed into that of the w a r r i o r b u d d h a HayagrTva, the neighing horse. F r o m the heart center of the supreme mother O p u l e n t Goddess of the Space Element emanated a red lotus w i t h sixteen petals, the anthers m a r k e d w i t h the syllable ah. It entered into the top of the head of the goddess Illusory Bliss


Beauty. An indescribable meditation experience blazed w i t h i n her, and her appearance transformed into that of the adamantine sow, Vajravarahi. Horse and p i g j o i n e d i n passionless u n i o n . The s o u n d of their u n i o n of bliss and emptiness i n v i t e d the m i n d streams of the sugatas of the ten directions. F r o m the heart centers of the blessed ones, the victorious ones of the five families, various colored lights emanated in the ten directions, cleansing the obscuratons of the five poisons of all sentient beings. The lights gathered back here and transformed into a crossed double vajra, the essence of the activity of a l l the buddhas of the ten directions. That vajra entered into the top of the head of W h i t e Supreme Bliss where it was melted by the fire of great bliss, flowed t h r o u g h his body, and entered into the space of Illusory D i v i n e Beauty as w i s d o m w i n d . T h i s w i s d o m w i n d was blessed into the transformation body. A little w h i l e after that it m i r a c u l o u s l y appeared in her lap as a god c h i l d b l a z i n g w i t h s u c h a magnificent dignity and splendor that, like a l l good news, to see h i m w o u l d b r i n g i l l u m i n a t i o n and to hear h i m w o u l d b r i n g joy. As soon as he was b o r n he began to produce the s o u n d of the h u n d r e d syllable mantra of purification. He was floating in the air in vajra posture at the height of an arrow-length above an eight-petaled golden lotus. He p r o d u c e d this song, w h i c h teaches the meaning of cause and effect. [This song by the n e w l y b o r n G o o d N e w s presents a traditional sermon to exhort people to practice w i t h great diligence, describing the horrors of sickness, old-age, and death. Realizing the impermanence of ordinary h u m a n life and the certainty of suffering s h o u l d motivate the proper detachment. ] Om mani padme hum hrlh F r o m the buddhafield of the A k a n i s t h a dharma realm Blessed ones of the five families of the victorious ones, k n o w me. F o r I and all sentient beings like space Please naturally pacify discursive thoughts of the five poisons. M a y we meet the five w i s d o m s of the five bodies [i.e., body, speech, m i n d , quality, and activity]. The single generative essence drop dharma b o d y — If y o u see it, b u d d h a h o o d is delivered in the p a l m of the hand. Nevertheless, for ignorant sentient beings E v e n if y o u explain it, it is difficult to understand. A c c o r d i n g to the p r o v i s i o n a l meaning, gods and m e n A r e protected f r o m fear of cyclic existence By seeking refuge in the three rare and supreme ones. Suffering is naturally pacified By g i v i n g b i r t h to the m i n d of enlightenment, w h i c h holds others dearer than self.


Beings of the three lower realms, border tribes, a n d erring gods, Those of perverted views, inhabitants of buddhaless lands, a n d the mute: W h e n y o u are free from the faults of these negative eight states of being [in w h i c h y o u do not have the o p p o r t u n i t y to hear a n d practice the Buddha's teachings] A n d w h e n y o u are b o r n in the central l a n d , w i t h sense organs w h o l e , w i t h faith, Free f r o m evil intentions in your actions, i n c l i n e d to v i r t u e — T h e n if y o u do not practice the h o l y d h a r m a in the present, W h a t w i l l happen w h e n he comes, the one k n o w n as the L o r d of Death [Yama], the sharp and swift? He comes to friend and foe alike, to g o o d a n d b a d . The h i g h ones famed as the "Sun" a n d the " M o o n " M a y seem to pervade the four continents w i t h their rays. But there is no way they can overcome the e c l i p s i n g planet R a h u w i t h their light. E v e n so are the h i g h kings; think about t h e m ! The distant red rock cliffs are h i g h a n d strong. O n l y the vulture can make his w a y to t h e m . A n d yet there is no way they can beat their r i v a l , the l i g h t n i n g meteoric i r o n . E v e n so are the mighty unrivaled ones; t h i n k about them! In the t h i r d m o n t h of summer, tiny creatures emerge above g r o u n d . At harvest time one speck of frost alone w i l l destroy their precious lives. T h e p o o r a n d feeble are humble and weak; t h i n k about t h e m ! Generally, at first y o u are born in y o u r mother's lap. Y o u are fed w i t h soft food, the delicious three sweets. Y o u are dressed in soft clothes, Chinese s i l k . In the m i d d l e time, y o u wander in w o r l d l y activities. Y o u t u r n the w h e e l of friends a n d enemies, passion a n d aggression. If y o u are h i g h u p , not satisfied w i t h y o u r station in life, y o u suffer fear of falling l o w . If y o u are l o w , y o u suffer from taxes, war, a n d corvee labor. The strong suffer, worrying about h o w to a v o i d an evil end. If they lose out, then they suffer fear of others' contempt. If y o u are r i c h , y o u suffer because y o u cannot manage to keep up the level of y o u r livelihood. If poor, y o u cannot feed your face or clothe y o u r back.


The suffering of h u m a n life is endless, suffering is inexhaustible. The four h u n d r e d diseases are stirred by sickness as the w i n d . M a n y w i l l die because of sudden obstacles. W h e n y o u are o l d , y o u cannot bear up against sickness. A n o l d b o d y i s l i k e dry sticks o n the river bank. F e w are those w h o listen to the w o r d s of o l d speech. W h e n the m i n d is o l d it gathers all the suffering in the k i n g d o m . W h e n y o u catch a l o n g fatal illness: The nine sweets and the ten delicious flavors nauseate y o u . Y o u r soft and w a r m bed becomes harder than stone. Y o u are fed up w i t h taking beneficial medicines. The sleep guardian [someone w h o prevents the i l l f r o m sleeping, w h i c h is believed to be unhealthy] makes y o u angry. Y o u r grunts and groans are inexhaustible. A day and a night take forever to pass. The divinations mislead, the incantations no longer w o r k . T h i s short life, so dear to y o u , Is n o w w i t h o u t pure dharmas; it is too late to plant virtuous roots; F o r the avaricious w h o h e l d back generosity, It is too late to hope for help in the forty-nine days [during the intermediate state]. On the day w h e n death has finally come, Feeling for the pulses is l i k e p o k i n g a stone. On the day w h e n y o u are facing Y a m a , A v e r t i n g ceremonies is l i k e a l a m p w i t h water for fuel. Y o u r aura of merit sinks and The more y o u try the worse it gets. Y o u r field of power and w i n d h o r s e are expelled and Y o u r strength is l i k e a water bubble. The castle of the wargods [i.e., the deities w h o protect you] is turned away. N o w y o u r fortress against enemies threatens y o u r o w n life. A l l y o u r heroic champion's brave accomplishments A r e just a m o u n d of earth p i l e d on top of y o u . The r i c h man's avaricious i n n e r stores [where l o n g - t e r m provisions are kept for emergencies] A r e just a w o o d e n stake of attachment d r i v e n into the g r o u n d . Y o u wasted y o u r life in confusion about food and clothes. W h e n y o u die y o u are naked w i t h empty hands. E v e n the h i g h k i n g on his golden throne M u s t p i l l o w his head that day on c o l d earth.


A n d the queen w i t h silken robes on her back Burns in an oven, clothed in red flames. E v e n the y o u t h f u l tigers in their prime [i.e., y o u n g w a r r i o r s ] , w i t h their six attributes of a w a r r i o r [arrow, s w o r d , spear, etc.], Are dragged a r o u n d by the k i n g of birds, the vulture. A n d the mothers and aunts w i t h their six accomplishments A r e b o u n d tightly hand and foot by the black rope. In the red charnel g r o u n d of stupefying fear On the day w h e n the corpse is cut to pieces, s h o w i n g the r o u n d white marrow, It is a l l over—too late for regret. The The The The

hot and c o l d of h e l l are unbearable. h u n g r y ghosts are starving and parched. animals are b o u n d and s t u p i d . jealous gods struggle and die by the knife.

A n d we gods of the higher realms suffer in o u r o w n way: E v e n if we avoid sickness and o l d age, we are carried away by sybaritic distractions. Seven days before death the portents of a god's death arise: The brightness of their lovely palaces fades. T h e i r dear wives w i t h d r a w far away. T h e i r sweet-smelling garlands of flowers wither. T h e i r bodies start to stink, rhinoceros s k i n n e d , their light n o w obscured. The negative force of cause and effect blazes up in terrible suffering. The regret of a d y i n g god is useless—just a cause of further suffering. A l l y o u thoughtless and crazy beings of the six realms D o not wander, t u r n y o u r m i n d w i t h i n ! L o r d gurus, resolve us about the nature of m i n d . Imperial rulers, make no mistake about cause and effect. M i g h t y ones, do not disturb the king's p o l i t i c a l plans. R i c h m e n , offer up and give d o w n most generously. O r d i n a r y people, do prostrations, circumambulations, and say the mani mantra. The more exertion and mindfulness y o u practice, The more y o u w i l l not fail to be free and well-favored. I am the great indestructible being, Vajrasattva The p r i m o r d i a l l y pure dharma realm Samantabhadra. O beings pervaded by i m p u r e illusions, Listen to this song's w o r d s and put their sense into practice! Carefully guard that understanding, the gem of great price.


If y o u do not understand the song, I w i l l not repeat it anyway, F o r our c o m m u n i c a t i o n has failed. Thus he p r o c l a i m e d this dharma in a great voice w h i c h was heard by all sentient beings, either m o v i n g or u n m o v i n g , each in their o w n language and each acc o r d i n g to his or her o w n capacity. T h e n , k n o w i n g that the time had come to grant empowerment (abhiseka), f r o m the glorious C o p p e r - c o l o r e d M o u n t a i n on Camara, the master, Lotus Skullgarland, called forth the m i n d stream of the buddhas. F r o m his forehead white rays of light i n v o k e d the m i n d stream of the b u d d h a Vairocana in the Akanistha buddhafield. F r o m Padma's heart center blue rays of light i n v o k e d the m i n d stream of A k s o b h y a in A b h i r a t i . F r o m his navel y e l l o w rays of light evoked the m i n d stream of Ratnasambhava in the buddhafield of G l o r i o u s Beauty. F r o m his throat center red rays of light i n v o k e d the m i n d stream of A m i t a b h a of the H a p p y L a n d [Sukhavati]. F r o m his secret center green rays of light i n v o k e d A m o g h a s i d d h i of Supreme A c t i o n buddhafield. T h e n he raised this song in order to supplicate for the f r u i t i o n of the truth. Om The five poisons p u r i f i e d are the w i s d o m s of the five buddhas. I i n v o k e the m i n d stream of the buddhas f r o m u n b o r n space. The five elements p u r i f i e d are the five goddesses A r i s i n g f r o m unceasing space for the benefit of beings. F r o m w i t h i n the u n i o n of supreme s k i l l f u l means and the nature of phenomena, w h i c h is emptiness, Has appeared the self-existing f o r m of w i s d o m and compassion. To this transformation b o d y w h o w i l l rescue beings f r o m the f l o o d , G r a n t empowerment so that he may conquer the hosts of M a r a . This is the meaningful song of self-luminosity. A c c o r d i n g to the traditional w o r l d l y proverbs, It is a poor guru w h o has neither empowerment n o r textual transmission. It is a p o o r student w h o has not taken the sacred vows of the tantric pledge; It is a p o o r ruler w h o has no supporters to h o n o r and magnify h i m , A n d poor lower classes w h o have no respect. W e a p o n s that are neither sharp nor tempered, E v e n if they have b o t h handle and sheath, cannot handle the enemy. If y o u have the m a i n six herbal ingredients, but not the additives, E v e n if the medicine is fragrant, s h i n i n g , and wholesome, it w i l l not heal. F i n a l l y , a field that has not been fertilized, E v e n if it sprouts, w i l l not ripen to the six fruits. So therefore enthrone h i m , praise h i m , and c o m p l i m e n t h i m . F o r the w e a p o n of compassion cuts off the lives of enemies.

The medicine of blessings heals the six realms. A n d b u d d h a activity makes the field of disciples flourish. F u l f i l l i n g the aspiration to liberate all beings, M a y the auspiciousness of complete fulfillment of goals be present. T h u s he i n v o k e d the compassionate m i n d streams of the five buddhas and their consorts w i t h these w o r d s . T h e n f r o m A k a n i s t h a , Vairocana's forehead light rays streamed out in the ten directions. They purified the obscurations of ignorance of all sentient beings and gathered back here in the f o r m of a syllable om, the embodiment of the b o d y blessings of the buddhas of the ten directions. T h i s became a white wheel w i t h eight spokes. The wheel traveled in the realm of the mid-heavens and hovered before the divine c h i l d . F r o m it came the self-proclaiming s o u n d resounding w i t h these words: Om. F r o m the self-existing w i s d o m of the realm of dharma L o r d of beings, y o u were just b o r n . Y o u are the k i n g w h o possesses various magical transformations. Y o u dispel delusions f r o m deluded m i n d s . It is sad to see the unhappiness of sentient beings. The border tribes, because of doubt and delusion, M e n t a l obscuration and i g n o r a n c e — If they have free time, s t i l l wander in the activities of cyclic existence. E v e n though they are well-favored, they are too lazy for the dharma. W h e n the time for death finally arrives, T h o u g h the dharma-less g u r u has a b i g golden hat, T h o u g h he radiates majesty and seems quite h i g h , He w i l l have trouble s h o w i n g the path to the next life. The ruler w h o has no gentle m i n d , A l t h o u g h he looks great w h e n he m i g h t i l y executes the law, T h r o w s his k a r m a in the air, like a c h i l d throws a stone. The disciple w h o has taken no sacred v o w of the tantric pledge, E v e n though he is learned and seems w i d e l y read, H i s explanations are like a mist of spit. The ungenerous r i c h m a n , E v e n though he has collected bribes through avarice, At the time of death w i l l be naked and empty-handed. These are the philosophers of cyclic existence. On this learned c h i l d is bestowed The name " G o o d N e w s . " Because he is f u l l of blessings, this b u d d h a Is j o y f u l to hear and exhausts sin.


This ruler who is sovereign of a vast area, If he remains will make the kingdom happy. May his body defeat the enemies of the four directions! May everyone who has relations with him be free from rebirth in the lower realms! May everybody who sees him be purified into the buddha land! buddha abhisinca om After the wheel had uttered these words, it dissolved into the child's forehead. From this day on he was known as Good News. At dawn the next day from the pure land of Abhirati, from the heart center of Aksobhya, light rays streamed out in the ten directions. They purified the obscurations of aggression of all sentient beings, gathered back here in the form of a blue five-pointed vajra, the embodiment of the mind blessings of the buddhas of the ten directions, and then dissolved into the heart center of the divine child. As a result he mastered the treasury of the meditative absorptions. Then he was offered a bath by the entire assembly of the five families of deities, who bathed him with nectar poured from a precious vase and this song was sung: Hum. From the great vajra space of emptiness Flows forth the nectar of mirror-like wisdom. May the weapons of vajra aggression Conquer the hosts of enemies, the poisons! The ignorant angry sentient beings of samsara: The guru who has no compassion, Even though he exerts himself in mantra recitation and retreat practice, He will still not become a buddha. The ruler who has no gentle mind May be strict in the law, but still his people will leave the country. The hero who has no restraint, May be both hearty and brave, yet he will die by the sword. Therefore, in the savage minds of sentient beings May no sinister thoughts of aggression arise! Supreme being, divine child, Good News, Even though you are not obscured by the three poisons, I grant you the empowerment of the completely pure three bodies. May you spontaneously accomplish the buddha activity of pacifying! vajra abhisinca hum Thus they bathed him with nectar. Again, from the Beautiful pure land, from the navel of Ratnasambhava light rays streamed out, purifying the obscurations of pride of all sentient beings. They gathered back here as all the qualities and merit of the victorious ones


of the ten directions in the f o r m of a b l a z i n g j e w e l a n d dissolved into the navel of the divine c h i l d . He was then adorned by the bodhisattvas of ten levels w i t h priceless precious ornaments: jeweled crest ornaments; throat, shoulder, hand, leg, a n d ear ornaments; rings; the l o n g a n d short necklaces of crystal; the divine clothes of silk; a n d so forth, ornaments w o r t h y of a great b e i n g — w i t h all of these he was clothed a n d enthroned. A n d then this auspicious song was raised: Tram. T h e precious w i s d o m of equanimity, The noble j e w e l w h o completely purifies pride, The meritorious one, the accumulator of all merit, A n d the great source of j e w e l w i s d o m , Ratnasambhava, In order to tame those difficult to tame, y o u are granted empowerment, So that y o u r compassion may achieve the benefit of beings. In the s k y of y o u r m e r c i f u l compassion M a y the auspiciousness of unbiasedness be present! F o r disciples w h o are like constellations, M a y the auspiciousness of y o u r limitless a n d fast b u d d h a activity be present! F o r y o u r life span w h i c h is like a vajra, M a y the auspiciousness of indestructibility a n d deathlessness be present! F o r the swastika of y o u r v o w s to benefit beings, M a y the auspiciousness of u n c h a n g i n g spontaneity be present! By these beautiful ornaments, the precious j e w e l c r o w n , M a y the auspiciousness of exalted majesty be present! By these earrings a n d r i c h g o l d e n necklaces, M a y the auspiciousness of the sweet s o u n d of y o u r fame pervade space! By these s i l k e n , soft, a n d broad vestments, M a y the auspiciousness of c o n q u e r i n g the hosts of M a r a be present! Great being, precious G o o d N e w s , A l t h o u g h y o u are not attached to conventional ornaments, Y o u are granted the empowerment of these five precious qualities. M a y y o u r vast b u d d h a activity be spontaneously accomplished! ratna abhisinca tram. T h u s he was enthroned w i t h auspiciousness. A g a i n , f r o m the pure l a n d , the H a p p y L a n d [SukhavatI], f r o m the throat center of A m i t a b h a light rays streamed out, p u r i f y i n g the obscurations of pass i o n of all sentient beings. T h e y gathered back here as the embodiment of the blessings of the speech of all the buddhas in the f o r m of a red lotus and dissolved into the throat center of the d i v i n e c h i l d . He was then empowered w i t h the sixty limbs of speech a n d singing. F u r t h e r m o r e , the s y m b o l and support


of the sacred vows of all the buddhas, a golden five-pointed vajra fell f r o m the sky into his h a n d : H n h . F r o m the space of passion purified as d i s c r i m i n a t i n g awareness wisdom Great desire, great bliss, L o r d of dispassionate lotus speech, Y o u are the supreme s k i l l f u l means of coemergent w i s d o m . T h i s vajra is the s y m b o l for your sacred vows. U n t i l the ocean of cyclic existence is emptied, Y o u w i l l free the ocean of sentient beings. H a v i n g realized the ocean of w i s d o m s , M a y y o u f u l f i l l the ocean of aspiration prayers! Receive the empowerments of the gods above. R e m i n d the nyen in the m i d d l e of their previous vows. A n d below open the treasury of the dragons. F r o m L i n g , the country of desire, l o o k after the benefit of beings. The black devils and the golden H o r [untamed demons and nations] Those w i t h f o r m and those w i t h o u t — b i n d them all by oath. A l t h o u g h the bodhisattva w h o looks after the benefit of beings Needs no encouragement to keep these vows, Nevertheless we ask: please take care to save them f r o m the ocean of cyclic existence. M a y y o u spontaneously a c c o m p l i s h the activity of magnetizing! padma abhisinca h n h . This song was heard, p r o n o u n c e d in the mid-heavens. A g a i n , f r o m the pure l a n d of C o m p l e t e l y A c c o m p l i s h e d A c t i o n , f r o m the secret center [at the genitals] of the blessed one A m o g h a s i d d h i , light rays streamed out, p u r i f y i n g the obscurations of jealousy of all sentient beings. They dissolved into the secret center in the f o r m of a green double vajra, the essence of the activity of all the buddhas. He received empowerment in all the vast b u d d h a activities. Furthermore, a silver b e l l fell into his left h a n d : it represented the spontaneously accomplished four karmas of all the buddhas. Ah. Jealousy is purified into A m o g h a s i d d h i , The completely pure w i s d o m of a l l - a c c o m p l i s h i n g action. The greater voice of the great w r a t h f u l one Overpowers the self-proclamation of the five poisons, Tames the five dark ages, subjugates them w i t h its s k i l l f u l means. The great p o w e r f u l one, the tamer of all others, Conquers the great m o u n t a i n of the phenomenal w o r l d . Y o u w h o have perfected all b u d d h a activity, F r o m great b i l l o w i n g clouds of y o u r peaceful compassion


Flash out the terrible thunderbolts Which conquer the rock mountain of the pride of great sinners. The guru who is full of attachment to rich offerings If he is not converted by the philosophical systems of the learned, Then his chest is filled with nothing but words! The ruler who is full of pride, If karma does not strike him in the face, Then it will ripen as agony for the kingdom and people! Like the callow youth, full of himself, the tiger of the east [a healthy young man who is brave, proud of his physical prowess], If a real warrior does not knock him out Then his hollow bragging will be like the roaring of a dragon. Like a stuck-up young girl, full of pride, If famine does not exhaust her arrogance, Then her brash self-centeredness will be high as the sky. Therefore in this time of the dark age The tough guys full of black thoughts Have disrespect for cause and effect and pile-up perverted aspirations. Let not your compassion abandon them; liberate them into the pure lands! Strike down the aggregates of the self with the vajra weapon. Dissolve their consciousness into this vajra of the dharma realm. Your warriorship is the embodiment of compassion. Even though you do not hesitate to apply your buddha activity, May your wrathful buddha activity be spontaneously accomplished.

karma abhisinca ah. Thus he received abhiseka. A l l the assemblies of great, supreme wrathful deities enthroned him completely with the four empowerments. Then the divine child, Good News, himself was full of learning, good qualities, splendor, and dignity unrivaled in the world. COLOPHON

This was the chapter on the empowerment and the chapter on the birth by magical transformation, known as "Blessings Flaming Continuously Like a Stream." It has been composed in ordinary language, easy to understand.



The Royal Way of Supreme Compassion

Matthew Kapstein


The reign of K i n g Songtsen Gampo (Srong btsan sgam po, 613/14-649/50) marks the beginning of the age of Tibetan imperial power, w h e n for some two centuries Tibet vied w i t h China's Tang dynasty for the control of what is today northwest China. Relentlessly pursuing the expansionist policies of his father, N a m r i Songtsen (Gnam ri srong btsan), the l o r d of the small Yarlung valley, Songtsen Gampo consolidated his rule over most of the Tibetan plateau and then proceeded to move into the surrounding countries in all directions. In tandem w i t h the growth of the empire, Songtsen Gampo concerned himself too w i t h the problems relating to the administration of his vast territories, and so it was under his rule that the Tibetan system of w r i t i n g was developed and the creation of a legal and a d m i n istrative code was begun. F o l l o w i n g the arrival of the Tang Princess Wencheng, who was certainly accompanied by her o w n court w h e n she came to wed the Tibetan monarch, elements of Chinese learning began to make inroads in Tibet at this time as well. Scholars at present debate whether B u d d h i s m was in fact adopted in Tibet under K i n g Songtsen, but a considerable body of tradition suggests that some presence of the foreign religion was at least tolerated during his reign. This, in brief, summarizes our rather scanty historical knowledge of Songtsen Gampo, but Tibet writers have woven around such threads a rich tapestry of legend and tradition. In many respects, Songtsen Gampo, Princess Wencheng, and the other members of the king's family and court figure in Tibetan literature and folklore m u c h as do Arthur, Guinevere, and the Knights of the R o u n d Table in the medieval traditions of England and France. In recent years the Chinese government has even sought to manipulate the popularity of this lore for its o w n ends, by promoting the notion that Tibet's modern "marriage" w i t h C h i n a had its origins in the u n i o n of the Tibetan emperor w i t h the Tang princess. For the Tibetans, however, K i n g Songtsen is an enduring emblem of Tibetan sovereignty and power, a conception reinforced both by history and by legend. Perhaps the most influential of the popular traditions connected w i t h Songtsen


Gampo are those associated with the collection of texts called the M a n i Kambum (Manilka' 'bum). The writings found here originated as terma (gter ma) or "treasures," texts said to have been concealed by ancient masters and rediscovered duringa later age by prophetically designated "treasure-finders." Their discovery is attnluted to three such persons w h o lived during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and by the fourteenth century the Mani Kambum was already in circulation in a form close to that w h i c h we have today. According to the tradition contained here, Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion, is the special d i vine protector of Tibet and in fact is to be identified w i t h the fundamental p r i n ciple of enlightenment throughout the universe as a whole. This principle, w h i c h is also the name preferred by Avalokitesvara as he appears in the Mani Kambum, is Supreme Compassion (Skt. Mahakarunika, Tib. Thugs rje chen po). Supreme Compassion is the basis for love, kindness, and nurturing among all l i v i n g creatures, but it is m u c h more than a positive sentiment alone; for Supreme C o m passion is none other than the open and creative power of m i n d or spirit, whose infinite potentialities for self-actualization constitute the very basis for creation itself. The bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, therefore, is in effect the concrete embodiment of the abstract and unlimited principle of Supreme Compassion. In his special relation w i t h Tibet, Avalokitesvara is said to have taken birth as the monkey w h o , having united w i t h an ogress, became the progenitor of the Tibetan people. W h e n the Tibetans later mature to the point at w h i c h they are receptive to the Buddha's teaching, Avalokitesvara takes birth among them once more as none other than K i n g Songtsen Gampo. The Mani Kambum, then, represents the collected teachings of this figure, who is at once the father of the Tibetan people, the highest spiritual principle, the bodhisattva of compassion, and the k i n g of Tibet. According to the Mani Kambum, the k i n g marries two foreign princesses, the second being Tritstin ( K h r i btsun), daughter of the ruler of Nepal. Both princesses are themselves the emanations of goddesses, and both bring w i t h them, as part of their dowries, sacred images of the Buddha Sakyamuni, w h i c h are installed in temples specially built to house them. The tale of the k i n g and his brides, as it is told here, is the drama of Buddhism's introduction to Tibet. The image said to have been brought by the princess of Wencheng, and k n o w n as the Jowo or " L o r d " (Jo bo), and the Jokhang temple constructed for it in Lhasa became Tibet's greatest center of pilgrimage, w h i c h virtually all Tibetans aspire to visit. The Mani Kambum played a crucial role in the promotion of the cult of the Jowo, and the pilgrims who flock to it find there Tibet's ancient ruler and his court always present before theit eyes in the statuary of the temple itself. Text and monument together engender a u n i f o r m vision of Tibet's imperial past and its enduring spiritual presence. This perspective is strengthened in popular belief by strong associations with the living figure of the Dalai Lama, w h o , as a contemporary emanation of Avalokitesvara, is also identified w i t h K i n g Songtsen. The title M a n i Kambum literally means the "Collected Pronouncements [concerning] M a n i , " referring here to the famous six-syllable mantra of Avalokitesvara, om Manipadme hum. As early as the seventeenth century, European visitors noted



THE ROYAL WAY OF SUPREME COMPASSION

the importance of this formula in Tibetan popular religion—it is often uttered aloud while a "prayer-wheel," containing the mantra written many times on a paper scroll, is turned. The recitation of the "six-syllable mantra" is indeed a ubiquitous devotional act, and even a 1992 popular song in Lhasa used it as a lyric, expressive in this modern context of a Tibetan national prayer, and hence a prayer for the Tibetan nation. The mantra is to all intents and purposes the central teaching of the M a n i Kambum, as indeed its title suggests (see chapters 16 and 32). Since the nineteenth century Western writers on Buddhism have frequently asserted that the six-syllable mantra may be translated as " H a i l to the jewel in the lotus!" This expression has even become, for many, emblematic of Tibetan B u d dhism as a whole. It is ironic, therefore, that not only w o u l d such a translation require that the mantra be composed in grammatically incorrect Sanskrit, but the popular Western interpretation of it is not supported by any k n o w n Indian or Tibetan sources. The Indian interpretation, k n o w n also to Tibetan scholars trained in the study of Sanskrit grammar, understands Manipadme to be a term of address for Avalokitesvara, meaning "[possessor of] jewel and lotus," for these indeed are the objects most frequently held by the bodhisattva in his iconographic representations. Om and hum are purely symbolic expressions, not capable of translation, but commonly used in the formation of mantras. They are interpreted in many ways, according to context, but are generally taken as utterances bridging the gap between mundane and sacred planes of experience. The M a n i Kambum, however, is not at all interested in Sanskrit grammar and treats each of the six syllables as being purely symbolic. It elaborates literally dozens of ways of understanding their symbolism, intending that the devotee should incorporate this rich field of meaning into his or her meditations while reciting the mantra. Thus, for example, the six syllables represent the six states of being (gods, demigods, humans, animals, tormented spirits, and creatures in the hells) that Avalokitesvara seeks to liberate through compassion; they are the six psychological poisons (pride, envy, lust, stupidity, greed, and anger) that must be pacified in meditation; they are the six basic colors (white, green, red, blue, yellow, and black) of w h i c h visual experience is constituted; and so on. The devoted religious practitioner, w h o w i l l sometimes aspire to recite the six-syllable mantra one hundred m i l l i o n times during the course of a lifetime, by contemplating such associations thus endeavors to find Supreme Compassion permeating all possibilities of experience. The Mani Kambum is a large work, occupying two thick volumes in most editions. It has three major sections concerned, respectively, w i t h the legends of Avalokitesvara and his emanation in Tibet as K i n g Songtsen, w i t h the rituals of Avalokitesvara according to the "royal tradition" associated w i t h the k i n g , and with the ethical and meditational teachings that the k i n g is said to have delivered. In the selections that follow, the first and third sections are represented. The first text is drawn from a recent history of the ancient Nyingma school of Tibetan B u d d h i s m by the late head of the school, H. H. D u d j o m Rinpoche ( 1 9 0 4 -


1 9 8 7 ) . In summarizing the traditional story of Songtsen Gampo, he bases himself p r i m a r i l y on the accounts given at length in the Mani Kambum and includes a b r i e f discussion of its discovery. The second and third texts are taken from the t h i r d section of the Mani Kambum itself, where they are said to be the king's teachings to his o w n son and daughter regarding the way of Supreme Compass i o n . See Mani bka' 'bum: A Collection of Rediscovered Teachings (New Delhi: Tray a n g and Jamyang Samten, 1975), v o l . 2.

Further Reading f o r a more detailed introduction to the M a n i Kambum, refer to my article "Rem a r k s on the M a n i bKa'-'bum and the Cult of Avalokitesvara in Tibet," in Steven p. G o o d m a n and Ronald M. Davidson, eds., Tibetan Buddhism: Reason and Revelation (Albany: State University of N e w York Press, 1992). On the cult of Avalokitesvara in the Tibetan Nyingma tradition, see D u d j o m Rinpoche, Jikdrel Yeshe D o r j e , The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism: Its Fundamentals and History, v o l . 1, trans. Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein (Boston: W i s d o m Publications, 1 9 9 1 ) , p p . 510-12. The selection on "The Legend of K i n g Songtsen G a m p o " has b e e n made available for the present publication, w i t h minor editorial emendat i o n s , by permission of the translators and W i s d o m Publications. The story of Songtsen Gampo's construction of temples over the supine ogress is discussed in Janet Gyatso's " D o w n w i t h the Demoness: Reflections on a Feminine G r o u n d in T i b e t , " i n Janice D . W i l l i s , ed., Feminine Ground: Essays on Women and Tibet (Ithaca: Snow L i o n Publications, 1987), p p . 3 3 - 5 1 .

The Legend of King Songtsen Gampo T h e r e is a p r o p h e c y in the Root Tantra of Manjusri: In the place called the divine l a n d , S u r r o u n d e d by snowy mountains, A k i n g called " G o d among M e n " w i l l b e b o r n Into the L i c c h a v i race. T h e fifth hereditary m o n a r c h after L h a T o t o r i was the religious k i n g Songtsen G a m p o , an emanation of Avalokitesvara in the f o r m of a mighty l o r d of m e n , w h o began to rule the k i n g d o m at the age of thirteen. W h e n he was fifteen the emanational m o n k A - k a r M a t i s i l a brought h i m a self-created image of the Subl i m e O n e [Avalokitesvara]. T h e n , the k i n g c o m m a n d e d the religious minister G a r , an emanation of Vajrapani, to invite the Nepalese princess T r i t s i i n , an emanation of BhrkutI, and the Chinese princess of W e n c h e n g , an emanation of Tara, b o t h of w h o m were agreeable to the people, to be his two consorts.


This he did in order to introduce two images of the Teacher, representative of the Buddha himself, which were, respectively, the size of an eight-year-old and a twelve-year-old. The princesses came to be known as the two "Lotuses of the Lake." While the Triilnang Temple [i.e., thejokhang, the "Cathedral of Lhasa"] was being constructed, the building-work was disrupted by nonhuman beings. Therefore, the king and his two consorts went into retreat in the palace known as Maru, at Nyangdren Phawongkha in the valley of the Kyichu. They attained accomplishment by propitiating their meditative deity, on whose advice the king built the temples to tame the borders, frontiers, and districts, which were situated on geomantic sites on the body of the supine ogress [that is, Tibet]; and so it was that he exorcised the malignant earth spirits. He then erected Triilnang and Ramoche temples and the images they housed. Songtsen Gampo invited the master Kusara and the brahman Sarikara from India, the master Silamanju from Nepal, and the master Hoshang Mohoyen from China. With others, they translated many sections of the tripitaka and of the tantras and thus introduced the teaching to Tibet. Though no actual teaching or study took place, the king himself secretly gave instruction on the peaceful and wrathful forms of Supreme Compassion to many fortunate beings, who then practiced these teachings. No one was ordained [as a monk] prior to the "seven men who were tested," but it is said that there were always about a hundred long-haired yogins engaged in the practices of Supreme Compassion at Nyangdren Phawongkha. At that time the scriptures that formed the king's testament were collected and hidden in separate treasures. Later, these treasures were revealed by the accomplished master Ngodrup, Lord Nyang, and the teacher Sakya-6. Today they are renowned as the Collected Works of the King Concerning the Mantra "Om Manipadme Hum" the first Tibetan doctrinal work. The king also sent Tonmi Sambhota, an emanation of Manjughosa, to India to study grammar and writing. On the basis of the Indian scripts he created the forms of the Tibetan letters, and he composed eight treatises on Tibetan grammar. Before Songsten Gampo's time there had been no proponents in the Land of Snows of a code of conduct in accord with the doctrine, but thereafter the great door of the true doctrine and of theories in accord with the doctrine was opened for the first time. The king innovated the just spiritual and temporal laws, as illustrated by the ten divine virtues and the sixteen pure human laws. In these ways, King Songtsen Gampo blessed the country of Tibet to become a prosperous and luxurious source of the true doctrine.



TWO SELECTIONS FROM THE MANI KAMBUM

Om Manipadme hum! King Songstsen Gampo, who was himself an emanation of Supreme Compassion, gave these precepts to his son Kungsong Kungtsen:


M e d i t a t i o n u p o n the b o d y of Supreme C o m p a s s i o n may be associated w i t h the six bodies of enlightenment: H i s body, endowed w i t h the signs and attributes of the fully enlightened B u d d h a , is like the Sun. It is the b o d y of perfect spiritual rapture. H i s speech, a u n i o n of s o u n d and emptiness, w h i c h arises w i t h incessant variety, is like the M o o n , w h i c h has many varied reflections. It is the emanational body. H i s mind, abiding w i t h o u t change, birthless and empty, is like the sky. It is the b o d y of a l l that is real. The qualities of his enlightenment, whereby he acts o n behalf of l i v i n g beings w i t h o u t interruption, are l i k e the planets and stars. They are the b o d y of essential being. H i s enlightened activity, w h i c h teaches beings throughout the three realms in accord w i t h their particular spiritual needs, is like a panacea. It is the b o d y of actual awakening. A n d Supreme Compassion itself, w h i c h remains one-pointed, w i t h o u t change or transformation throughout the three times, for the sake of l i v i n g beings, is the vajra-like body, the b o d y of indestructible reality. T h u s Supreme C o m p a s s i o n is fully endowed w i t h the six bodies. They are not something that is attained by meditation or practice directed to anything outside of yourself. W h e n y o u cultivate the realization that y o u r o w n m i n d is Supreme C o m p a s s i o n they arise by themselves. T h u s his body, w h i c h is free f r o m b i r t h and death, is like a reflected image: it is free, it appears, but it is d e v o i d of substantial existence. Speech as Supreme C o m p a s s i o n is like an echo, and is incessant. Om Manipadme Hum, the natural voice of reality, is u n i n t e r r u p t e d : Om stills pride, purifies the heavens of the gods, and cuts off b i r t h a m o n g them. Ma stills jealous rage, purifies the realms of the demigods, and cuts off b i r t h among them. Ni stills lust, purifies the w o r l d of h u m a n beings, and cuts off b i r t h among them. Pad stills stupidity, purifies the habitats of animals, and cuts off b i r t h among them. Me stills greed, purifies the lands of tormented spirits, and cuts off b i r t h among them. Hum stills hatred, purifies the hells, and cuts off b i r t h w i t h i n them.


W h e n the six afflictions are thus stilled, and the realms of the six classes of beings thus are emptied, Y o u w i l l realize that samsara arises and subsides by itself. A n d it is something that is not f o u n d elsewhere, but occurs w h e n the six-syllable heart-mantra is uttered. The m i n d of Supreme C o m p a s s i o n is clear like a m i r r o r , free f r o m the ideas and concepts, and endowed w i t h the five modes of enlightened cognition. Hence, it is pure intuitiveness that is free f r o m conceptualization. Because m i n d emerges by itself, arises by itself, it is the enlightened c o g n i t i o n of the foundation of all that is real. Because it is clear and incessant, it is the enlightened cognition that is like a m i r r o r . Because it abides in equality, w i t h o u t divisions, it is the enlightened cognition of sameness. Because it arises and subsides by itself, c o m i n g to rest at its point of origination, it is the enlightened c o g n i t i o n that distinguishes particulars as they arise and subside. A n d because it abides as the i n d i v i s i b l e u n i o n of clarity and emptiness, it is enlightened cognition engaged in action. N o n e of that is to be f o u n d elsewhere, for it emerges f r o m m i n d itself and dissolves into the m i n d itself. Therefore, it is enlightened cognition that is coemergent, the enlightened i n t e n t i o n that arises and subsides by itself. These are the precepts the k i n g gave to his son, s i x f o l d precepts i n t r o d u c i n g Supreme Compassion's body, speech and m i n d . Om Manipadme hum] Songtsen G a m p o , the dharma-protecting k i n g w h o was himself an emanation of Supreme C o m p a s s i o n , gave these precepts to his daughter T r o m p a - g y e n ["the ornament of the t o w n " ] : The view of Supreme C o m p a s s i o n is the i n d i v i s i b l e u n i o n of appearance and emptiness and is like the sky. External appearances, the incessant appearing of whatever may be, is nonetheless the appearance of m i n d , w h i c h appears by itself. The essential character of m i n d is that it is empty. A n d the essential character of appearance is that it is empty in being apparent, but w i t h o u t substantial existence. The meditation of Supreme C o m p a s s i o n is the i n d i v i s i b l e u n i o n of clarity and emptiness and is like a r a i n b o w appearing in the sky. Y o u must cultivate the realization that the essential character of m i n d ,


w h i c h is clear a n d u n o b s c u r e d , and w h i c h emerges by itself, arises by itself, is that it is empty. T h e action of Supreme C o m p a s s i o n is the i n d i v i s i b l e u n i o n of awareness and emptiness and is l i k e the s u n r i s i n g in the sky. A c t i o n is freedom f r o m h a n k e r i n g after whatever there is that arises incessantly in m i n d , whose nature is pure awareness. T h o u g h y o u act, y o u act in emptiness, not grasping at entities as real. The fruit of Supreme C o m p a s s i o n is the i n d i v i s i b l e u n i o n of bliss a n d emptiness. M i n d itself, w i t h o u t contrivances, is blissful w i t h i n the expanse that is the foundation of a l l that is real. Being empty a n d free f r o m grasping, it is l i k e the m o o n reflected in water. Being free f r o m all superimposed l i m i t s , it is w i t h o u t features that serve to define it. A n d because it has forever abided w i t h i n y o u , it cannot be achieved. The spiritual commitment of Supreme C o m p a s s i o n Is emptiness of w h i c h the core is compassion. Its characteristic being just that, Y o u w i l l grasp a l l l i v i n g beings i n all three realms W i t h unqualified compassion. Being equal, y o u w i l l act w i t h o u t "levels." T h e enlightened activity of Supreme C o m p a s s i o n Grasps beings w i t h a snare of compassion in w h i c h Buddhas a n d sentient beings are no different. It slaughters their p a i n w i t h the weapon of emptiness, A n d draws sentient beings to the level of bliss supreme. These are the precepts he gave to his daughter, six precepts i n t r o d u c i n g Supreme C o m p a s s i o n .



A Tribal History

The History of the Goloks appears in the autobiography of the nineteenth-century master of meditation, Do Khyentse ( M d o m k h y e n brtse ye shes rdo rje). In theory, this text is a history of the family lineage of Do Khyentse, a reincarnation of the famous N y i n g m a teacher, poet, philosopher, and text-revealer Jigme Lingpa ('Jigs med gling pa, 1730-1798, see chapter 22); but actually it is the fabulous story of the development of his tribe, the Golok, from their mythical origins to the magical birth of Do Khyentse himself. We begin w i t h the story of a short-term marriage between the daughter of a mountain god and a particularly inept h u m a n being, the first Golok. The narrative style used to describe their misadventures is pithy, informal, and quite humorous. M u c h of the h u m o r comes from the fact that Khyentse Rinpoche has written this passage in the earthy Golok dialect of T i betan—giving the story an informal, at times highly colloquial tone—quite different from typical, elegant, classical Buddhist prose. It is interesting to note the particular tribal origins of such a learned teacher, connected, as he is, w i t h a subtle philosopher like Jigme Lingpa, for the G o l o k were and are still today a rough, extremely p r o u d ethnic group who live and fight in their mountain c o u n try. They are lovers of songs and epics like the Gesar of L i n g story, and one of Do Khyentse's special points in telling The History of the Goloks is to show the natural relationship that exists between the origins of the G o l o k tribe and the hybrid religious w o r l d of the Gesar epic (see chapter 1). The History thus consciously combines the Indie teachings of philosophical B u d d h i s m w i t h themes from native Tibetan religion. The Goloks are a fascinating people, notorious for their aggressiveness and fierce independence, w h o inhabit a sparsely populated territory of eastern Tibet. Located at the heart of the territory that they control lies the mountain range of Magyel Pomra (Rma rgyal spom ra), also k n o w n as A m n y e Machen. As both an imposing mountain and a powerful deity, Magyel Pomra is second only to Nyenchen Thanglha in importance as a mountain deity of Tibet (see chapter 24). Magyel Pomra also acquires special significance from his association in the Gesar


of L i n g epic as the site where Gesar's magical weapons and the marvelous war implements destined for his warriors of L i n g were all buried; Gesar is said to have left his miraculous sword behind, and local legends claim it is still buried in Magyel Pomra, m a k i n g the mountain a source of power for the Golok. J.F. Rock, an American scientist who spent many years living in the region during the late nineteenth century, explored as m u c h of the G o l o k region as he c o u l d safely visit before writing his fascinating monograph on the A m n y e Machen range. In characterizing this rough nomadic group, he tells stories that one hears quite often w h e n discussing the G o l o k w i t h other Tibetans, reminding us of the cowboys of the W i l d West: A l t h o u g h m u r d e r was said to be outlawed w i t h i n the sanctuary of the A m - n y e M a chen, the G o - l o g attack anyone approaching the region west of the Y e l l o w River. They acknowledge no one's authority except that of their chiefs, and as the Shing-bzah incarnation told us their w o r d c o u l d not be trusted. They enjoy attacking anyone, especially foreigners w h o penetrate their m o u n t a i n fastness. They have always been thus, and w i l l probably remain so. . . . Their life is spent on horseback, always ready for battle and even a m o n g themselves they squabble to the point of combat. . . . I quote a speech made by a G o - l o g : " Y o u cannot compare us G o - l o g w i t h other people. Y o u obey the laws of strangers, the laws of the Dalai Lama, of C h i n a , and of any of y o u r petty chiefs. Y o u are afraid of everyone; to escape punishment y o u obey everyone. A n d the result is that y o u are afraid of everything. A n d not only y o u , but y o u r fathers a n d grandfathers were the same. We G o - l o g , on the other h a n d , have f r o m time i m m e m o r i a l obeyed none but our o w n laws, none but our o w n convictions. A G o - l o g is b o m w i t h the knowledge of his freedom, and w i t h his mother's m i l k imbibes some acquaintance w i t h his laws. They have never been altered. A l m o s t in his mother's w o m b he learns to handle arms. H i s forebears were warriors—they were brave fearless m e n , even as we today are their worthy descendants. To the advice of a stranger we w i l l not hearken, nor w i l l we obey aught but the voice of our conscience w i t h w h i c h each G o - l o g enters the w o r l d . This is w h y we have ever been free as n o w , and are the slaves of none—neither of B o g d o k h a n nor of the Dalai Lama. O u r tribe is the most respected and mighty in Tibet, a n d we rightly l o o k d o w n w i t h contempt o n both C h i n a m a n and Tibetan."

Even today, under the rule of the People's Republic of C h i n a , the area around Machen Pomra is still a dangerous place to travel, and the Golok people are considered a problematic presence. A c c o r d i n g to the chronicle excerpted here, at the time of its founding the Golok region was a thinly populated, mountainous district, only gradually settled by h u m a n beings. W h e n humans first arrived, they discovered that the territory had been inhabited since time immemorial by a society of deities, w h o had their o w n politics and a form of social organization associated w i t h the physical structure of the land. Each district was thought to belong to a lord or proprietor, who is the god of that land. These deities are called "earth lords" (sa bdag), "ground lords" (gzhi bdag), "place lords" (gnas bdag), or sometimes just "the l o r d " (bdag


po). They are of various "races" (rig pa) or types of beings. For example, Nyenchen Thanglha is said to be of the "race" of the "cannibal demons," the raksasas of Indian storytelling and epic traditions, but here it simply means "intelligent and fanged monsters." Each earth l o r d is thought to have sovereignty over a certain amount of territory, extending out from a center where he dwells when he is in the ordinary w o r l d of humanity. This center is called his "gateway," w h i c h leads to another divine realm where the god truly dwells. Buddhist and native Tibetan liturgies refer to these realms as "palaces." In this account we actually see the interior of one of these palaces described, when the future mother of Do Khyentse is kidnapped by gods. F r o m this description we learn that the true home of the gods is a separate realm, where spatial and temporal relationships are profoundly altered. Most of the gods in this account are "wrathful," meaning that they appear in an angry, martial manner, wearing ornaments of bone and h u m a n s k i n , w i t h fierce features, long fangs, and talons. In the language of Buddhist iconography, "wrathf u l " is a technical term, indicating h o w the gods are depicted, in distinction to the other two iconographic categories of "peaceful" and "semiwrathful." Often the wrathful aspect is interpreted philosophically as representing the principle of transmutation, while the peaceful aspect w o u l d represent the serene state of enlightenment. In this text, however, we see the special jargon of tantric B u d d h i s m used colloquially in a social context to tell a story, and the technical vocabulary takes on a more direct, less alchemical meaning. Here, if the deities should appear to the characters in their peaceful form, it is not because they are manifesting the fundamentally serene nature of their enlightenment, but because they "have made friends" with humans or have "promised to be friendly." Similarly, the gods are wrathful not in the symbolic sense, but in the conventional meaning of the w o r d : they are irascible and easily angered. They tend to regard human beings as invaders of their land and become infuriated by what we w o u l d regard as ritual pollution. For example, at one point in the narrative the father of the saint-to-be considers moving to Yutse but then decides against it because Yutse is a sensitive and reactive land (phug thog shor ba). There, a person could all too easily make a mistake and harm the local spirits of the soil, for example, by urinating in the w r o n g place (and "pissing them off," as we might say), or by inadvertently moving a stone that is the power spot of a dragon (naga), or by polluting the atmosphere while cooking rotten meat and sending out stinking, impure smoke. A n y such actions might infuriate the local deities and attract catastrophe, illness, and death. In short, the deities have their o w n organic approach to ecology, if you w i l l . A w o r d should be said about the nagas, or dragons, w h i c h are very important mythical beings in Inner Asian religious lore. They usually do not appear in an actual snakelike form, as Indian nagas do, but they may appear in any number of manifestations, often marked by signs of the water element. For example, in this story there is a boy in the second generation of Goloks, whose father is the first Golok man but whose mother is from the race of gods. Periodically, this boy


is favored by a nagi, a dragoness, w h o arises out of the lake to offer h i m gifts of wealth, blessings, and prophecies. She appears as a w o m a n w i t h blue-green hair and feeds h i m m i l k , the very substance used as an offering to propitiate the nagas themselves. Like serpent spirits throughout the w o r l d , the nagas are possessors of great wealth. To high lamas they give secret Buddhist texts they have held in trust at the bottom of the ocean or in their mountain lakes. To the nomads in this story the nagas give gifts of wealth, specifically horses and cattle and the valued domestic property of a Tibetan encampment. In the beginning of the story the first Golok man allies himself w i t h gods w h o also appear i n the great Tibetan national epic, The Gesar oj Ling. These are the local deities of a certain region of eastern Tibet, the home of the shamanic hero Gesar. The History shows them to us in peculiar d e t a i l — i n effect, we see the daily life of the local gods. Like humans, they are constantly engaged in territorial conflicts; like humans, they have marriages and the usual contractual agreements that accompany family unions; and, like humans, they must periodically go to war. The gods also interfere in h u m a n life in a particular way. They are specifically responsible for the origin and creation of each of the great tribes of Tibet, for like the Homeric heroes, the founders of tribal states are generally sons or daughters of local gods. Khyentse takes advantage of this fact to retell a story that refurbishes his Buddhist birth mythology in non-Buddhist ethnic particulars. Khyentse's ethnicity is expressed in four aspects of the historical narrative: the gods are local rather than Indian Buddhist; the efficacy of religious practice is based on the dynamic of native Tibetan rituals rather than Buddhist contemplative practice; the ancestors are favored by providence and because of their compacts w i t h local deities, not because of their Buddhist virtue; and finally, the liturgical performances described here come from the rituals and songs of epic bards, not from the Buddhist religion. Laid over the surface of these core native Tibetan elements is a veneer of Buddhist mythology, w h i c h accounts for all the various divine couplings as part of an overall plan to tame or convert Tibet to Buddhism, a plan initiated by Padmasambhava. The saint's magical rebirth is regarded as part of Padmasambhava's program to return his original disciples continually to Tibet as incarnations, so that they may propagate the subtle practices of Buddhism there. One of the most interesting episodes of the narrative occurs d u r i n g the p i l grimage of the Golok villagers from eastern Tibet to Lhasa in central Tibet, when we are given a picture of the religion of the people w h o live around Magyel Pomra. The description is filled w i t h humor, for we see the villagers' naive beliefs and their quarreling, as they respond in ignorance to every miraculous foreshadowing of the coming birth of the saint. The pilgrims have two primary aims motivating their visit: to increase their merit by paying homage to the famous shrines in Lhasa, and to increase their good fortune by receiving the blessings of famous lamas. The lamas may be celebrated Buddhists, but w i t h i n the framework of this narrative their powers are really little different from those of village shamans. For example, the pilgrims attend an audience w i t h the eighth Dalai Lama, Jampel


Gyatso ('Jam dpal rgya mtsho, 1758-1804), who remains somewhat anonymous and mysterious. A l l we k n o w of h i m is that he can see the true nature of Do Khyentse's holy mother, that she is a reincarnation of a goddess. He singles her out in a crowd of what must be thousands of peasants paying their respects and gives her a magical statue made of herbs. His aim is to create a "connection," so that he may have the "good fortune" to be reborn in her w o m b in his next i n carnation. The terms "connection" (brel pa) and "good fortune" (rten 'brel) play an i m portant role in Tibetan Buddhist popular religion. Both are technical terms used in Buddhist philosophy and psychology to indicate the presence of a karmic l i n k and to describe the chain of cause and effect, respectively. But in this literature the terms have less philosophical import and more of a magical and ritualistic flavor. " G o o d fortune" applies to the auspicious events that happen to a person seemingly by magical coincidence. For example, if a person committed virtuous acts in a previous lifetime, their karma might make them wealthy in this one, although being so may seem effortless, resulting from an accident of birth or just plain luck. The w o r d "connection" takes on a related meaning, often associated with notions of ritual purity and taboo. If a person has a connection w i t h a saint in one lifetime, this creates the good fortune for them to be reborn near this saint in the next lifetime. In some Tibetan literature reminiscent of the inferno scene of Dante's Divine Comedy, there are depictions of Buddhist lamas and saints traveling through the hell realms, surrounded by the damned beings who had some previous connection w i t h them. The lamas walk through hell, gather those w i t h connections, and lead them out, w h i c h is referred to as the damned beings' "good fortune." In this way the abstruse Buddhist doctrine of karma and the chain of causal events is absorbed into the magical principles of practical religion (see chapter 32). In the episode in w h i c h the Dalai Lama interacts w i t h the holy mother, he recognizes that she is a pure vessel into w h i c h he may be reborn, for she has a divine nature. If she were just an ordinary person she w o u l d not be able to "sustain" his merit, and the reincarnated c h i l d w o u l d die. Tibetans believe that in order to assure the success of an emanated lama's rebirth, it is imperative that the mother be kept pure and clean. Even if she touches another person who is p o l luted, she w i l l become i l l because of her o w n purity and that of the child w i t h i n her. If she has a connection w i t h anything touched by the hand or m o u t h of an impure person, she w i l l suffer. W h e n the Dalai Lama gives her his little statue, then, her touching of it should create the positive connection. But inadvertently it is passed from hand to hand and so is touched by a "great sinner" and thus becomes impure. The connection is broken, and the lama loses the auspicious coincidence or good fortune to be reborn in her womb. There are other requirements for the rebirth of an emanation or tulku (sprul sfcu). After the mother has been impregnated, the parents travel from country to country, seeking a land conducive to the birth of a tulku. There are countries that cannot support" such a c h i l d , lands that w o u l d not be suitable or conducive to


the upbringing of such an enlightened being. The baby w o u l d die if he were raised in such an impure environment. This message w i l l be brought to the parents several times. It is a general belief of Tibetan Buddhists that tulkus, reincarnations of great lamas, must have very special families or else they w i l l suffer irreversible mental and physical injuries in their childhoods. If they are not placed in an environment suitable for the study and practice of religion, they may go mad or die. The assimilation of these Buddhist terms to a native context is a sign of the power of the narrative tradition in w h i c h it participates. Here we see not the assimilation of local tales into Buddhist philosophy, but the reverse assimilation of Buddhist teachings into indigenous beliefs. Notice, for example, that the prevalent ceremonies in this text are juniper smoke purifications (lha sangs) and offerings to the nagas. At the time of Rainbow Body Vajra's (Do Khyentse's) birth, an invisible shrine is constructed on w h i c h offerings are made to the retinue of gods who attend the birth. It is not a Buddhist altar, however, but the special furnace used for the performance of incense offerings. The deities are described as wearing armor and blue silks in the fashion of the Tibetan martial spirits called "war gods" (dgra lha, see chapter 26). Like the war gods, these deities sing about the excellence of weapons and horses, not about Buddhist themes like the six perfections of the bodhisattva path. A n d most interestingly, the actual birth of the Buddhist saint is heralded not by Buddhist gods and bodhisattvas, but by troops of invisible bards chanting epics and wearing their special Gesar hats. The child is bathed just as the Buddha was bathed at his birth, but not in pure sanctified water; rather, he is bathed in a mixture of m i l k and water, one of the ritual materials offered in the native ritual fumigations. The practice of B u d d h i s m is almost never separate from the worship or propitiation of local deities, but here the text is structured to place local gods in the foreground. The native beliefs about the nature of divine forces require some commentary. Native Tibetan deities are sometimes called "the eight classes of gods" (lha sde brgyad). These include a famous triad: gods (lha), mountain spirits ignyan, pronounced nyen) and dragons (klu, pronounced lu). The lha rule in the bright spaces of the sky and the tops of mountains. The nyen art the mountains themselves and the land. The lu or serpents inhabit bodies of water, clouds, and anything associated w i t h water: wells, rivers, etc. These three classes of deities roughly match the ancient Chinese division of the w o r l d into heaven, earth, and humanity. Magical creatures can give humans gifts of power and wealth, as in the lha and nyen, or they can cause illness, as when the serpents turn against one. A person possessed fully of the blessings and health that come from the gods is said to be "full of splendor" (gzi brjid can). This splendor, majesty, or, as it is pronounced in Tibetan, ziji is an actual radiant force that envelopes a healthy and prosperous being, whether god or man. A l l of this is, of course, subordinate in theory to the highlight of the narrative, w h i c h is that the birth of Do Khyentse is an aspect of the ancient machinations of the founder of tantra in Tibet, Padmasambhava. Do Khyentse is a being of such


vast w i s d o m and meditation power that he is called by many names. Sometimes he is called Rainbow Body Vajra, a name that refers to a sign of supreme accomplishment he can exhibit, w h i c h is that at the time of death his body does not undergo earthly corruption but slowly dissolves into a rainbow. A less beautiful image comes to m i n d w i t h his name "the b l o o d - d r i n k i n g H e r u k a . " This gruesome name is actually tantric code language, for there are wrathful buddhas called Herukas who represent the ability of enlightened beings to drink the b l o o d of ego and thus destroy its essence. But despite all this Buddhist jargon, the imagery that surrounds his birth is native to the Central Asian steppes rather than to India, and the long story of the development of his tribe, the Golok, makes this Buddhist saint into a native cultural hero. The fact that a great Tibetan philosopher, Do Khyentse, was w i l l i n g to show this connection in his life story illustrates the reverence for local traditions that is part of B u d d h i s m as it is actually practiced in Central and Inner Asia. The translation is from M d o m k h y e n brtse ye shes rdo rje, Rig 'dzin 'jigs med glin pa'i yan srid Snags 'chan 'ja' lus rdo rje'i mam thar (The autobiography of the knowledge holder Jigme Lingpa's later existence, the mantra-holder Rainbow Body Vajra) (Gangtok: D o d r u p C h e n Rimpoche, 1974).

Further Reading On the G o l o k people, see Joseph F. Rock's study TheAmnye Ma-Chhen Range and Adjacent Regions (Rome: Istituto Italiano per il medio ed estreme oriente, 1956). For more historical material on Do Khyentse and his lineage, see, T u l k u T h o n d u p , Masters of Meditation and Miracles (Boston: Shambala Publications, 1996), and Dudjom Rinpoche, The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism ( W i s d o m Publications, 1991). T w o well-illustrated paperbacks give short biographies and icongraphic representations of Jigme Lingpa and the Khyentse incarnations: Crystal Mirror VI: Indian and Tibetan Masters, and Crystal Mirror XI: Masters of the Ning. They contain biographies of the great Nyingma gurus (Berkeley: Dharma Publishing).

History of the Goloks, from the Autobiography of Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje As for the great w i s d o m holder Jigme L i n g p a (Jigs m e d gling pa), he belongs to the lineage of the l o r d of secrets Garab Dorje, and he is an emanation and manifestation of ManjusrI, as w e l l as an aspect of the play of the dharma k i n g T r i Songdetsen ( K h r i srong lde btsan), w h o manifested in every lifetime o n l y as a treasure finder, the last of the thirteen prophesied in the Dgongs 'dus lung bston bka' rgya ma (The Confidential Prophecy of the Gong du).


N o w in this life, what was his race, his tribe, his maternal lineage, and so on? He was f r o m the place k n o w n as G o l o k . It is the practice place of the buddhas of the eight great H e r u k a sadhanas, the practices of the eight l o g o i , a place blessed by Vajravarahi, the place where the great master Padmasambhava practiced for six months a n d visited seven times. The l o r d of that place always maintained a p o w e r f u l , black, w r a t h f u l form. H i s name was N y e n c h e n T h o p a Tsel ( G n y a n chen t h o d pa rtsal). He was a great being of the tenth level [of the bodhisattva path]. He was always accompanied by his great consort, a goddess, a serpentess, and a lady m o u n t a i n spirit (gnyan), these four, as w e l l as his retinue of sons, his emanations, a n d the emanations of his e m a n a t i o n s — a numberless retinue! In that place there are eight great outer lakes. A m o n g them are the upper a n d lower Blue Lakes, one k n o w n as the Lake of the G o d s (lha) a n d one k n o w n as the Lake of the Devils. Near the upper lake there is a white boulder shaped l i k e a c r o u c h i n g tiger, w h i c h is the great gateway of the chief earth spirit (zo dor). Once a m a n unsurpassed in his s k i l l at archery came up to the place of that m o u n t a i n spirit a n d stayed there. H i s name was L o n g c h e n Thar ( K l o n g chen thar, "Great Space Freedom"). O n e day w h i l e he was l i v i n g there he saw two water buffaloes come out of the upper a n d lower lakes and start fighting w i t h each other. They fought and fought—they d i d n o t h i n g but fight. That evening the m a n slept next to the w h i t e boulder, a n d he dreamt that a w h i t e m a n r i d i n g a w h i t e horse came up to h i m a n d said, " W h e r e do y o u come from?" "I come f r o m U p p e r N g a r i , " he said. " W h a t is y o u r name?" "Longchen Thar." " W h a t abilities do y o u have?" "I am an archer of great power a n d ability," he said. " W e l l then, listen! T o m o r r o w two b u l l yaks w i l l leave the upper a n d lower lakes a n d w i l l fight each other. The upper one is the life substance (bla) of the gods. [The la (bla) is a k i n d of s o u l that all people possess. W h e n it leaves the body, death soon follows, for it is responsible for the life principle.] The one that comes out of the lower lake is none other than the life substance of the devils. If y o u pierce h i m and cut off his life, we gods w i l l w i n and those devils w i l l be defeated. Y o u and I w i l l become close friends, and we, the gods, w i l l completely f u l f i l l a l l y o u r desires." W i t h these words the god gave his promise. But [on the f o l l o w i n g day], w h e n two o x e n emerged f r o m the lakes and fought, their shapes were so similar that the m a n c o u l d not figure out w h i c h ox to slay. He stayed there all day but c o u l d not shoot his arrow. That evening the m a n on a white horse came and said, " W h y d i d y o u not shoot the arrow?" He answered, "I couldn't tell one ox f r o m the other, they were so m u c h alike."


" W e l l then, t o m o r r o w there w i l l be a mark on my life substance so that y o u can recognize it. Be alert! We w i l l f u l f i l l your every desire," he said and then left. The next m o r n i n g , once again the oxen fought. H o w e v e r , this time, after l o o k i n g very carefully, the m a n saw that one of them had a brightly s h i n i n g m i r r o r hanging f r o m among its nape hairs. He aimed straight at the heart of the other one w h o had no m i r r o r and pierced h i m w i t h an arrow. That ox j u m p e d into the lower lake and disappeared. The water of the lake was stained w i t h red b l o o d and the h i l l s , rocks, lake, and trees f r o m the upper part of the valley all cried out, " K i ki so so, the gods are v i c t o r i o u s ! " The s o u n d of the victory cries was great enough to shake the earth. But everything in the lower part of the valley was f u l l of groans and a w f u l sounds. That evening the same m a n came and said, " N o w the white gods are victorious and the black devils are defeated—our wishes have been f u l f i l l e d ! We w i l l repay y o u r kindness! T o m o r r o w m o r n i n g at the foot of this boulder some k i n d of frightening a n i m a l w i l l appear. [You must touch it!] The best way w o u l d be [to touch it] w i t h y o u r h a n d ; the next best way w o u l d be to stroke it w i t h the feathers of y o u r arrow; the last and worst w a y w o u l d be to throw two handfuls of sand on its b o d y . " He said this and left. The next m o r n i n g w h e n the s u n rose, f r o m the top of the boulder came a divine white yak, a frightening [sight], w i t h its m o u t h open and its tongue sticking out into space and m o v i n g about. Steam issued f r o m its m o u t h and piled up into clouds of mist. Its hooves p o u n d e d the boulder to rubble. The m a n was so frightened he c o u l d not even l o o k at the creature, and he remained frozen that way, u n t i l finally it disappeared into the lake. That evening the friendly deity came just as before: " Y o u weren't m u c h of a man, were you? But t o m o r r o w another creature w i l l come. Don't be afraid! A l l y o u need do is to act as I t o l d y o u last time." He said this and left. The next m o r n i n g at d a w n , f r o m the top of the boulder appeared a fearful tigress, her m o u t h w i d e open, her eyes b u l g i n g , her fangs clenched. H e r claws reduced the stones to rubble, and she crouched, as though ready to leap fiercely. The m a n was petrified w i t h fear a n d remained that way, not daring to move, u n t i l the beast finally disappeared into the lake. That evening the friendly deity came just as before. "You're the k i n d of blunderer w h o has exhausted his merit! W h e r e is there another m a n l i k e y o u w h o can't get anything done? It's really hard for us on our end to help y o u ! " The m a n said, " N o w you're not going to keep y o u r p r o m i s e ! " "I'm not breaking my promise—it's y o u w h o can't p e r f o r m ! The divine yak who came the day before yesterday was my younger daughter, the goddess L u m i n o u s G l o r y Lady. Others have begged for her h a n d in marriage, but all have been rejected. She is superior to all others and therefore, if y o u had w o n her, y o u r family lineage w o u l d have gained great merit in the dharma and w o u l d have certainly produced an u n c o r r u p t e d line of w i s d o m holders de-


scending through the family line. T h e y w o u l d have subdued India and Tibet and their greatness and fame w o u l d have spread all across those lands. But y o u missed y o u r chance for this good fortune! "The tiger w h o appeared today was of the race of m o u n t a i n spirits (nyen), named M e r i t G l o r i o u s Treasure. She is my m i d d l e daughter. There have been suitors and I have given her h a n d in marriage. If y o u had attained her, the religious rite that confers empowerment on y o u r family lineage w o u l d have taken place; or y o u w o u l d have attained prosperity, might, glory, and the respect of a l l . But y o u missed y o u r chance for that g o o d fortune, too! " N o w there is my oldest daughter, Brilliant Superb V i c t o r i o u s Over Enemies. A l t h o u g h I have her, it has been decided to give her in marriage to Magyel P o m r a . Nevertheless, I w i l l a l l o w her to be given to y o u once! " W e have been trying to help y o u for some time, but it is hard. W h e n y o u w i n her, this is what y o u w i l l receive: y o u r family lineage w i l l always thirst for s i n ; their w o r k w i l l be war and all sorts of thievery; they w i l l make their l i v i n g off the wealth and prosperity of others and o n l y that way; they w i l l k i l l l i v i n g creatures and diligently strip the carcasses, taking the meat and red b l o o d . As l o n g as y o u r h u m a n lineage lasts, y o u w i l l never be dominated by others and y o u r heads w i l l never be lowered. T h i s is the last good fortune I can grant to you! " H o w e v e r , if t o m o r r o w m o r n i n g y o u cannot s h o w y o u r courage, there is n o t h i n g more I can do for y o u . In that case, leave this place in peace and find another country. I w i l l give y o u as m a n y cattle as y o u can take w i t h y o u . " He said this and left. N e x t m o r n i n g at sunrise, once again there came f r o m the top of the boulder a fearful crocodile, its m o u t h y a w n i n g open, its eyes b u l g i n g , and its tongue s t i c k i n g out. The m a n was not brave enough to r u b it w i t h his h a n d or w i t h the arrow feathers, but he d i d manage to throw a h a n d f u l of sand toward the creature's tail. In a m o m e n t it transformed into a lovely and c h a r m i n g w o m a n , dressed in s i l k e n clothes w i t h precious jewels, w h o offered her help and friendship. Three days later the g i r l said, " G o today to the upper part of the valley. There is a little lake there. By its shores is my d o w r y , some of my herds. Drive the sheep d o w n here!" So he set out [to the lake and f o u n d the flock], and h e r d i n g about a h u n d r e d head of sheep w i t h different colors of w o o l , he came back d o w n the valley. By the time he had arrived on the banks of Sky Lake it was already night. He found a fine yak hair tent set up and inside were a l l the property and belongings of a home. A l l the property and excellent wealth had been set up and neatly arranged. He asked, " W h e r e d i d we get all this stuff?" " M y brother brought it," she said. "Is y o u r brother the same as my friend f r o m yesterday?" he asked. "It's possible!" she said.


F r o m then o n , the two prospered together in comfort and happiness and sported together all the time. They had a male c h i l d . W h e n he was a year o l d the wife said, " N o w we have been friends for three years. A l l that time our life has been f u l l of comfort and joy. O u r son is one year o l d and we have never had a birthday celebration. Three days f r o m t o m o r r o w , let's have a b i g party, and we can present a huge offering for the family of his maternal u n c l e . " The husband thought this was an excellent idea. The w o m a n said, "Sleep comfortably this evening—I w i l l make all the preparations." In the m i d d l e of the night, m a n y people and animals of all sorts assembled there. T h e y bustled about, p e r f o r m i n g j u n i p e r smoke offerings and m a k i n g ritual cakes for offerings. They butchered animals for food offerings, stripping away the meat and d r a i n i n g the b l o o d . They made inconceivably vast offerings. They set out hundreds of thousands of ritual cakes as offerings to the nagas and to various other deities. F r o m m o m e n t to m o m e n t the offerings were enjoyed by countless troops of gods, m o u n t a i n spirits, and serpents such as had never been seen before. After all of them had gone back to their o w n places, there remained the white m a n on his white horse. " H e y , friend! Y o u r wife, as I told y o u before, is the elder daughter of the k i n g of the m o u n t a i n spirits, and she was given to M a g y e l P o m r a . Three days from n o w , he w i l l come in all his power to take her back. At that time, do not look over at y o u r son, y o u r cattle, or any of y o u r wealth. Just h o l d onto this girl w i t h y o u r left h a n d , h o l d this s w o r d aloft in space w i t h y o u r right h a n d , and say these words: 'I am Great Space F r e e d o m V i c t o r y Banner. The name of this s w o r d is Resistless B l a z i n g Blade. No one w i l l take f r o m me the w o m a n w h o m I have f o u n d on this g r o u n d ! ' Say this, expand y o u r bravery, and remain that way. T h e y w i l l not take y o u r w o m a n . Y o u w i l l once again be s u r r o u n d e d by e v e r y t h i n g — y o u r son and y o u r w e a l t h . " He said this and disappeared. Three days later, a black c l o u d m o v e d in f r o m the n o r t h , sending forth a terrifying screaming s o u n d . Terrible bolts of red l i g h t n i n g and stones rained d o w n , and there were various frightening manifestations. The wife said, "The troops of M a g y e l P o m r a are c o m i n g ! N o w whatever happens today depends on y o u ! " He seized his wife and h e l d on to her tightly, just the way his friend had told h i m . He gripped his s w o r d p o m m e l and stood his g r o u n d . The tent, his possessions, his f l o c k s — a l l were carried away by a mist and a w i n d . Nevertheless, he h e l d his g r o u n d fearlessly. F o r a m o m e n t his son was also lifted by the w i n d . T h e n the man's heart was tortured by an unbearable sense of poverty, so he left his wife and ran q u i c k l y to grab his little boy. The m o m e n t he seized h i m , the h o w l i n g and roaring, great red w i n d and the fog m i x e d together, enveloped his wife, and carried her away. Father, son, and s w o r d — o n l y these three were left. F o r three days they remained there in misery, u n l i k e that ever experienced by anyone else. F i n a l l y , he went back to the foot of the boulder and stayed there. Eventually two riders came. O n e was r i d i n g a supreme steed Turquoise M a n e . He was a


[raksasa and a] w a r r i o r of indescribable splendor. The other was the white m a n on the white horse. He said, "Soulless being, y o u r s p i n n i n g head is distracted and deceived! W h e n y o u don't heed the commands I utter, y o u r action and activities w i l l be carried away by the w i n d just in this way. I've come here to take a l o o k at my nephew; y o u just do whatever y o u l i k e . " Since he n o w had neither wife, property, n o r cattle, he thought they had come to steal away his son as w e l l . He cowered there in fear. T h e n out of the lake there came a w o m a n w i t h turquoise locks of hair. She took the c h i l d in her arms and then p o u r e d out for h i m a small cup of m i l k , saying, "I pity the poor motherless little boy. I must give h i m a tiny p o r t i o n of my w e a l t h . " She then leapt back into the lake. The raksasa said, "Little c h i l d , [you are u n l u c k y ] . Y o u lack merit i n both dharma and wealth. N o t o n l y that, but since y o u are motherless, y o u also lack the good merit of a comfortable and happy life. M a y y o u be brave, s k i l l f u l , and penetrating in y o u r actions! U n t i l the end of y o u r family lineage, may your personal power and independence be great, and may y o u r head never be lower than others!" Saying this he stroked his head. To the father he said, " E v e n though y o u are a b l u n d e r i n g idiot, since I have become y o u r friend, I have no choice but to r e m a i n y o u r b o o n friend. Therefore, I have no choice but to take revenge on P o m r a for what he has done to y o u . " He took back the s w o r d and thrust it into the sheath at his waist. M o u n t i n g the horse, he disappeared. H i s earlier friend remained there before h i m . The m a n asked, " W h o was that s p l e n d i d m a n w h o was just here?" "That was the raksasa T h o p a T s e l . " " A r e y o u his son?" " O h n o ! H o w c o u l d that be? Y o u mustn't talk like that. I am the inner minister g o d l i n g N y u r K h y o g . N o w , return to y o u r o w n bed and stay there. The child's p o r t i o n of the wealth w i l l arrive then." That evening he slept at home. The next m o r n i n g w h e n he awoke f r o m his dream there was the little tent w i t h all his things in it: the domestic utensils and provisions and the fifty head of sheep. T h e n they went up and l i v e d between the two lakes for three years. O n e day, w h e n the boy was five years o l d , he was p l a y i n g a r o u n d the upper lake. Out of the lake came the blue w o m a n w h o had appeared before. "Little boy, your horses are in the village over yonder. I confer on y o u the name Patsel B o o m (Dpa' rtsal ' b u m , Brave Power M y r i a d s ) . " The c h i l d said, " D i d y o u say Patar B o o m (Dpa' thar ' b u m , Brave Freedom Myriads)?" " N o , and since y o u m i s p r o n o u n c e d y o u r name, y o u r merit w i l l be small and y o u r wealth nonexistent. A l t h o u g h y o u r descendants w i l l be brave (dpa'), if y o u always r u n away, y o u w i l l be free (thar) f r o m h a r m . G i v e them exactly the same name as yourself." She said this and disappeared into the lake. The little boy went back d o w n and said, "Father, I was w a n d e r i n g a r o u n d that lake over there and met the blue lady again. She gave me the name Pathar


Bum. And my portion of horses is over in that village." His old father replied, "The day before yesterday [sic] when the troops of Magyel Pomra came, I was as brave (dpa') as a man need be. If you are brave enough you will be called brave; if you are free enough you will be called free." Then father and son went down into the village to see what was there. Near the white stone was a small blue horse wearing a saddle, blanket, and so forth. And there was the sword and panoply of a warrior. The old father began to perform sacred dances, crying out, "O great, O great, my young boy, all your wishes have been fulfilled!" Since that day that valley has been called "O Great" (O bzang). There at O Great Valley the father and son lived for several years, and the son became even braver and more effective in his skills. There was a woman from the region around Nyarong named Iron Lady. She had been stolen away and taken off by the power of an earth lord [sa bdag, a kind of local spirit attached to a specific locality]. Now she had come to that place where the young man lived. The two met, and by the power of karma through the desire connection they fell in love. They became man and wife and settled in Upper Ma Thama. A boy was born, pleasing his grandfather, who said, "The land here is happy and with my grandson I am even more happy. Therefore I name this land Happy Valley (dga' mdo)." When the little boy grew older, he first settled in a place called the Valley of Mar. The mountain valleys there were all under the control of All Glorious Shul, so the couple became subjects of Glorious Shul. After a while, however, all the tribes and people in the highlands there were gradually brought under the control of the young man. [Finally] even Glorious Shul could not hold his own seat and had to flee to Kha Khog. Since the one who bowed his head became himself the head [chief], the son of Iron Lady was given the name Golok, which means "Switch Heads." He had three sons: the oldest was Great Power Myriads (Dbang chen 'bum), the middle one was Lotus Myriads (Padma 'bum), and the youngest one was A Kyong Myriads. They settled in Upper, Middle, and Lower Mar Valley, respectively. Their descendants spent all their time in war, banditry, stealing, and so on—only unvirtuous activities. This was all they did. . . . In the fifth generation the father was Dharma Wheel Merit Benefit. Now, there was once a woman named Arrow of Praise who was famous for having descended from a Tsen spirit [btsan, gods who inhabit the sides of mountains and are often the gods of impressive boulders, usually red in color. In the iconography they appear in copper-colored armor]. Her youngest daughter, Garza (Mgar za), was different from other women: during her menstrual period, milk flowed out instead of blood. She had all sorts of different visions and dreams. Her daughter was named Life Power Maid (Tshe dbang sman), and Life Power Maid married Dharma Wheel Merit. Once they [decided to] go on pilgrimage, and so they set out on the lengthy journey to Lhasa, in order to perform prostrations [there]. One day while they were there [in Lhasa], they approached the statue of the One Mother Glorious


Goddess ( M a gcig dpal lha). O u t of the statue came two w o m e n , w h o grabbed Life Power M a i d f r o m among the large c r o w d there. A door appeared on the right side of the statue, w h i c h opened, and she was actually taken through it. H e r senses became intoxicated and confused. She felt as if she were traveling d o w n a l o n g road, finally c o m i n g to the door of a miraculous palace. H e l d between the two w o m e n , she was taken inside, and they c l i m b e d a crystal staircase. Inside there was a vast court filled w i t h many beings—some h u m a n , others w i t h h u m a n bodies but w i t h various n o n h u m a n heads. Some were dancing. Some turned their faces away w h e n they saw her. Some of them w i t h d r e w far away. Some h i d to the side. She asked the two ladies what these people were. The two w o m e n answered, "These are the retinue of the Great K i n g . They are of the race of the gods, and they are p l a y i n g and sporting. Some are of the race of m o u n t a i n spirits and some are dragons. M o s t of them are poisonous and y o u c o u l d be h a r m e d merely by seeing them, t o u c h i n g them, or through the poisonous vapor of their breath. So, out of fear that they might h a r m y o u , they went into a corner." T h e y continued on and came to a little door on the side. It opened and they t o l d her, " Y o u go in and stay there." W h e n she went i n , two little boys led her u p w a r d . There she f o u n d a h a n d some, effulgent, y o u t h f u l prince sitting on brocade cushions on top of a jeweled throne. He was clothed in brocade clothes and wore a s i l k e n head ornament and was adorned w i t h many j e w e l ornaments. H e said, " C o m e u p , w o m a n . Y o u are not tired, are you? Y o u used to live here and y o u were one of my lovers. Once, for certain reasons, y o u had to be reborn in eastern Tibet [ K h a m ] . There is a reason that we have n o w met again." He had her seated before h i m and offered her food and d r i n k . In her visionary experience it seemed that they spent a w h o l e night together in j o y and pleasure. The next day that great being placed an excellent silk scarf on her neck: "I am the son of Z u r p i i ngapa—the divine c h i l d w i d e l y k n o w n as G o d l i n g C o n c h s h e l l T o p k n o t . Y o u and I have a k a r m i c connection f r o m a previous life. In this life, through the play of Padmasambhava's b u d d h a activity, y o u have entered into a w o m b . But actually, I am the son of a m o u n t a i n spirit of the race of gods, and y o u are the flesh-eating d a k i n i . " W h e n they were sporting in great bliss, d u r i n g the u n i o n of the essence drops of the red and white elements [the sperm and the egg], R a i n b o w Body Vajra ('Ja' lus rdo rje), Do Khyentse, took b i r t h in a b o d y of flesh and b l o o d . "In the future may he blaze above the hosts of demons and dominate them," he said. T h e n the same two w o m e n as before came in and said, " N o w y o u go back h o m e ! " That great being [the divine king] went so far as actually to escort her for three steps and took her before the door to the h a l l . He said, "In the future, w h e n y o u r time in the l a n d of h u m a n beings has come to an end, return here." She herself d i d not want to go for she was quite attached to h i m , but there was n o t h i n g she c o u l d do, and so she went out. There a blue w o m a n arose and said [addressing the c h i l d in her belly]:


I am the mother of all y o u r cycles of lives. C h i l d , in the space of the w i s d o m of awareness Y o u have been p l a y i n g in complete enjoyment of great bliss. That the time has come for y o u to benefit beings Has been signaled by the sign dakinis of space [wisdom d a k i n i s ] . I w i l l always help y o u . She placed a white scarf a r o u n d the woman's neck. A b o v e Life Power M a i d a little w i n d o w opened in the w a l l , and out of it leaned a m a n f u l l of splendor. He l o o k e d d o w n and strew flowers on her, saying: Once L o r d Padma confirmed h i m As the l o r d of the life force of the whole w o r l d : In the future, at the end of the aeon, He w o u l d take rebirth in a w o m b to p e r f o r m benefit through various s k i l l f u l means. At that time I p r o c l a i m e d and p r o m i s e d that I w o u l d function as his servant. N o w the time has finally come: it is marvelous, w o n d r o u s indeed! E v e n if he does not offer to me, I w i l l not be idle to protect h i m . A n d even if he does not c o m m a n d me, I w i l l s t i l l act for h i m . I p r o c l a i m this: I w i l l not break m y promise! Samaya [let m y oath be sealed!] M a y the garden of the teachings flourish in L o w e r Do K h a m [northeastern Tibet]. It is in the region of R o n g where he w i l l benefit beings, his disciples. A n d ultimately he w i l l be active in the field of disciples of M a h a C h i n a . M a y his life and activities be completely f u l f i l l e d ! He said this and closed the little w i n d o w . A w o m a n w i t h a dark b r o w n b o d y f u l l of splendor placed a white scarf around her neck and said, "A la la ho.' Om svasti"; then, s m i l i n g , she went inside. The two w o m e n took her between them and went outside. N e x t to the door was a frightening bhante [monk] w i t h a l o n g braid that coiled o n the g r o u n d . He said, O, this is the b l o o d - d r i n k i n g H e r u k a . Great and w o n d r o u s that he takes b i r t h a m o n g humans. The g i r l is the flesh-eating d a k i n i . The self-existing l o r d , emanation of the Sovereign [i.e., T r i Songdetsen], Once again comes to the l a n d of Tibet. Y o u are the w o m a n w h o w i l l give b i r t h to h i m . W h e n she l o o k e d over at h i m her body became so n u m b that she felt as if she

were going to fall to the ground. The two girls lifted her by h e x arms and stayed there for a while, waiting for her to come back to her sensed - Then again they descended the staircase and went out by the great door. A w a v e of unsteadiness passed over her, like a person in a coracle boat [a Tibetan lboat made of yak hide], and then in an instant she found herself before t h e door. She went through it and found herself again before the statue of the O n e Mother Glorious Goddess. Then she came out of the real door [of the temple ]. Her husband, Merit Further Benefit (Bsod nams phan y a n g s [sic]), had also arrived there. The two women said, "Here is your woman b a c k . " She herself cowered there in shock and fear. Her husband said, "Three d a y s have gone by since I lost you. I lost track of you when you were in front of the statue of the Glorious Goddess. After a day spent searching for you, I finally thought maybe you had fallen into the well over there on the left. But I d i d n ' t see any hint of the body of my wife there. [I almost gave up,] but I was a s h a m e d and embarrassed. I thought, 'I will never be able to return to my o w n country without my wife.' It's really great that you're back! Where have y o u been? Who gave you all these scarves?" She said, "There were two ladies who took me away. T h e r e were women, and many beings—they gave me food, and scarves, and all s o r t s of things." She told him vaguely and with some confusion about how s h e had been given things, but she could not explain everything in detail. From that day on, she was not the same. Her body was l i g h t and her intelligence was greater. She had clear dreams and saw various visions from time to time; she would at times become possessed by a godlilce being. At those times she would tell about things that were hidden from people's knowledge— and it would turn out to be the truth. The other people w h o were companions on the pilgrimage said [to the husband], "This girl has e i t h e r been seized by a demon or else has gone mad. She's not going to be of help to you anymore." They went to have an audience with the Sovereign C o n q u e r o r Jampel Gyatso [the Dalai Lama]. There were many people who went together to the audience. When they were all there, he said, "That woman over t h e r e , have her come here." He bestowed on her a medicine statue and a protection cord to wear. When they arrived at the hostel that evening, the whole c i r c l e of companions passed the statue from hand to hand to look at it. Unfortunately, it fell into the hands of a man who was a great sinner. This was a mistake, and because of it the Conqueror himself, who had wished to be reborn in her womb, missed his opportunity for that good fortune. Gradually the pilgrimage journey returned to its starting point. When they had returned to their home in eastern Tibet, to the region called Dungbu Tra, they were surrounded by rainbows and snow clusters in t h e shape of flowers snowed down on them. The lady had a vision in which s h e saw thirteen horsemen riding across the land. Her traveling companions as well as she saw the thirteen horsemen ride around her three times and then s p e e d off into the high country. This was Nyenchen Thanglha's way of seeing her o f f from his country.


In gradual stages they traveled the rest of the way to their own home, and arrived there easily. Then it came to pass that the Only Mother, the protectress of mantra, Ekajati [the protectress of the Ati teachings, the ultimate and highest instructions in meditation practice, is depicted with one eye, one turquoise lock of hair, one breast, and one fang], suddenly descended on her, possessing her, and said [through her]: "Demons and devils are propagating in this land! People with perverted views, corruptors of vows, and people with perverted aspirations are gathering here. This land cannot support the birth of the little child! Both of you as a couple are just a hotel that has been rented for a while. In reality he is just like me, a child of the gods." She said that and showed many signs. Then some people in the village said that she had been taken by the great king of the demons. Some said that he was a magical emanation, and they thought that maybe Gesar would be born from her; someone else said that a devil was going to be born who would bring about the degeneration of the country of Khams. And everyone quarreled with each other. In the village there was a seer who said that he saw from time to time visions near the house of the father and mother. He said that on top of their house, and in the field to the right of the house, and in other places as well, there were sometimes many people wearing the bard's sacred hat. And they had pitched tents and were invoking the gods and performing supplications to them, but only through the chanting of the melodies of epics. They would sing of horses and they would sing of weapons, and the seer saw that that was all they did. So he thought that they might be the demonic cause of the mother's sicknesses. The father's attitude, however, was neither positive nor negative. He just listened and obeyed whatever the god possessing the mother said. So he asked the god: "Now to which country do we have to go?" "Go southwest and then it will be clear," it said. So they did not listen to the others and one night just went off. They went upland to the family of the maternal uncle. That turned out not to be a suitable place for them to stay either, and so they kept on going upward farther and farther. They then came to a place called Dothog. The mother was possessed by a god again, and while possessed she sang in the melodies of the epics: Ki Ki So So imperial god, Protector inseparable from the divine, rare, and precious three jewels. And the three roots of guru, yidam, and dakinl. Stay always inseparable as my crest ornament. Lord Uddiyana Padma, look on me with compassion! Lords of the five families of the victorious ones [buddhas], sing the accompaniment! The song is led by the mother dakinl. It is sure that I will not stay in this place. It is caught between the devils and raksasas.


It is the r u n n i n g g r o u n d of the tsen a n d the demonesses. Here y o u w i l l t o u c h tantric pledge corruptors w i t h h a n d and m o u t h [i.e., y o u w i l l have contact w i t h the corrupt t h r o u g h eating and touch]. Otherwise, go to Yutse Ja. On the other side of lake Yutso C h u g m o , In a p o n d in the right corner called Dark Red Rakta, There is a boulder that looks like a white tent. In this place, mother, y o u can give b i r t h to y o u r little boy. Or else, go to the country of Ma in K h a m . That is the place where That is the place where That is the place where That is the place where M a Yang C h u g M o , the

the richness of the Indian dharma gathers. the richness of the laws of C h i n a gathers. the r i c h herds of the Y e l l o w M o n g o l s gather. the g o o d fortune of the land of Tibet gathers. land o f L i n g ,

F u l f i l l s the aspiration prayers of the gurus of the oral lineages. That is the place where the siddhis of the tutelary deities (yi dam) enter the disciple. A l l the auspicious coincidence of the mothers a n d d a k i n i s w i l l arise there. The protectors and protectresses of the dharma perform their b u d d h a activity there. The eight orders of demons w i l l help and protect there. If the y o u n g c h i l d is b o r n in that l a n d , He w i l l be the jewel on the crest of the black-headed humans [Tibetans]. T h e n the father thought, "I don't even k n o w where the l a n d of Yutse is! If she h a d another divine possession, maybe we c o u l d find out? The local spirits of the l a n d are so w r a t h f u l and p o w e r f u l that if the c h i l d were b o r n there, we might accidentally irritate them one day a n d excite their w r a t h and p u n i s h ment, a t h i n g not to be desired. So maybe the place of M u r r a Go Do in Ma K h o g is better. There are a few communities of people l i v i n g there. I t h i n k it w o u l d be advisable to go a n d stay there." So they went there a n d stayed a few days, but because of some really subtle negative conditions the mother became gravely i l l . T h e y d i d the practical rituals to cure her, but they h a d no effect. N o w , in that village there l i v e d an oracle w h o was a m e d i u m for the oathb o u n d deity Vajrasadhu. In a trance he said: "I am the l o r d of half the sky and l a n d of this w o r l d . I am the protector of the c h i l d w h o is in this woman's box. The m a n y acts y o u have c o m m i t t e d w h i l e l i v i n g a m o n g these m a n y c o m m u nities have caused this reaction. Do not stay here! Go to a place where y o u w i l l not t o u c h w i t h m o u t h o r h a n d anything touched b y other w o m e n . G o d o w n n o w toward M e . T o m o r r o w m o r n i n g w h e n the m o o n of the fifteenth day arises, a little circular light w i l l arise. Near there are grasslands. On them y o u w i l l find five-colored rainbows in a circle. Go stay there. It is certain that y o u r aims w i l l be fulfilled spontaneously!"


So they decided to do that, and early next m o r n i n g they left. They arrived at the top of the m o u n t a i n at night. W h e n they l o o k e d d o w n , they saw clearly manifesting all the signs the oath-bound deity had told them w o u l d be there. They went d o w n and rented a small tent nearby. The father and mother, a sister-in-law on the father's side, and two servants all l i v e d in that tent. A l l the others returned to their o w n country and the mother lived there t o u c h i n g nothing w i t h her h a n d or m o u t h touched by anyone else. T h e n on the eight day of the m o n t h that is in the Pleiades, the t h i r d l u n a r mansion, the mother was again possessed by a god: The s i x t h b u d d h a , the dharma b o d y Vajradhara, F u l l of the blessings of the buddhas of the five families, Tara goddess, long-life goddess, Please grant this c h i l d the supreme empowerment. If y o u do not k n o w this place, On the right is the waterfall of the Ma River. On the left is the waterfall of the K o n g River. In front is the waterfall of the G o l d e n River. It is called K o n g Ser T r a s h i K h a D o . On the throne of the w i s h - f u l f i l l i n g gem If y o u don't k n o w what w o m a n I a m , A m o n g the h i g h rank of the i m p e r i a l gods I am the Q u e e n of Practice, the l i f e - h o l d i n g mother of longevity. I have come to grant long-life empowerment to this baby. A mist of blessings piles layer on layer. A rain of siddhis falls t i n k l i n g l y . A sheath of light rays of compassion flashes out. M a y y o u r indestructible b o d y be clothed in vajra armor! M a y y o u r u n c h a n g i n g speech magnetize the three realms! M a y y o u r indestructible m i n d h o l d the treasury of dharma O f the w i d o m holder Padmakara! M a y y o u be the ruler over the p r o f o u n d treasure texts (gter ma)! May And May May May

y o u h o l d the teachings of the B u d d h a ! may it come to pass that y o u defeat the troops of M a r a ! y o u unite the eight tribes of L i n g and y o u r power and ability for the white [good] side be great! y o u establish sentient beings in bliss

A n d may y o u take their aspirations to the ultimate end! M a y y o u unite the three realms A n d subdue w i t h y o u r light the three aspects of the phenomenal world! M a y the auspicious s u n of dharma d a w n A n d may y o u completely enjoy bliss, happiness, and g l o r y ! "


W h e n she h a d sung this, then f r o m inside the mother's stomach a voice said, " N o b l e lady, it is g o o d ! " E v e r y b o d y heard it. T h e n on the tenth day of the m o n t h , a god possessed the mother: "Today the time has come for the c h i l d to be b o r n . " After a little w h i l e the god said, " O , the dakinis s t i l l have not arrived! The planets and constellations have not come together in the appropriate pattern yet. The time has not yet come." A n d the god disappeared. A g a i n , on the fourteenth day, in the early m o r n i n g the father h a d a dream in w h i c h he saw before their little tent m a n y tents that h a d been p u t u p . M a n y great beings a n d divine w o m e n gathered and set up a large r i t u a l furnace altar in the m i d d l e , on w h i c h they arranged a feast w i t h all sorts of foods. A b o v e that, on a great throne sat a great being, wearing the sacred hat of a bard, i n v o k i n g the gods w i t h the melodies of epic songs. Some beings sang songs. Some d i d sacred dances on the dancing grounds. Some others were racing horses. Some were shooting arrows. A g a i n , on top of the ritual altar, seated on a throne, was a w o m a n adorned w i t h m a n y ornaments a n d f u l l of splendor. She said, " T h i s birthday celebration must go on for three days." Others there were of the race of m e n , w h o seemed to speak a variety of different languages. They wore all sorts of different ornaments a n d numerous different styles of clothes. In his dream v i s i o n it seemed that the place was completely filled w i t h all these beings. T h e n on the fifteenth day at daybreak, the mother was again possessed, but by an extremely w r a t h f u l deity. He said " H e y y o u , set out a c u s h i o n q u i c k l y ! M a k e offerings of barley a n d butter, d r i n k , and the select offering. The time has come for the c h i l d to be b o r n ! " T h e father was not used to taking orders f r o m his wife, but he was afraid of the god w h o possessed her, so he p u t out the white w o o l c u s h i o n . He made offerings a n d sent up the j u n i p e r smoke. He sent the servants out of the tent, a n d then he too left. W h e n the s u n struck the peak of the tent, that god shouted out " H a , ha, y o u the m a n , come in here a n d if y o u do not serve this little boy I w i l l indeed immediately destroy y o u r life, for I do not care m u c h about the actions a n d behavior of those w h o have a h u m a n f o r m ! " The m a n was terrified and q u i c k l y went into the tent. The b i r t h of the c h i l d h a d been accomplished, and he was sitting there in the vajra (lotus) posture. Rays of light came t h r o u g h a slit in the d w e l l i n g , a n d the son h e l d them in his h a n d as he said, "a a i 1," a n d so on as he sat there. [This is a B u d d h i s t mantra of purification composed of all the letters of the Indian Sanskrit alphabet.] The god spoke various different languages a n d gazed up into the m i d d l e heavens. The father himself cut the u m b i l i c a l c o r d of the baby a n d performed the other w o m a n duties. He handed the c h i l d into the arms of the mother. The mother, s t i l l in a state of possession, said, " B r i n g soft m i l k and water a n d wash his w h o l e body care-


fully- M a n , y o u come f r o m the race of rdksasas. W e were connected by previous karma. E v e n then y o u were a mediocre servant! T h i s time, be a good servant to this c h i l d ! If y o u and the w o r l d have the merit to support this being, then it w i l l be enough to benefit beings indeed." T h e n the god disappeared. A n d then it was m o r n i n g .


W h i l e the majority of Tibetans are Buddhists, a large minority are followers of a religion k n o w n by its Tibetan name, Bon (bon). This religion may, at first glance, appear to be nearly indistinguishable from B u d d h i s m w i t h respect to its doctrines, monastic life, rituals, and meditational practices. However, both Tibetan B u d dhists and Bonpos (bonpo) ("adherents of Bon") generally agree that the two religions are entirely distinct. The basic difference above all concerns the issue of religious authority and legitimation. A l t h o u g h limited to Tibet, Bon regards itself as a universal religion in the sense that its doctrines are true and valid for all humanity. The Bonpos also believe that in former times their faith was propagated in many parts of the w o r l d , as conceived in their traditional cosmology. For this reason it is called yungdrung bon, "Eternal B o n . " A c c o r d i n g to its o w n historical perspective, it was introduced into Tibet many centuries before B u d d h i s m and enjoyed royal patronage until it was supplanted and expelled by the "false relig i o n " (i.e., Buddhism) coming from India. But before reaching Tibet, Bon, it is claimed, prospered in a land k n o w n as Shangshung (Zhang zhung), a country that served as the center for the religion before it was conquered by the expanding Tibetan empire in the seventh century C . E . and eventually assimilated into Tibetan culture and converted to Buddhism. There is no doubt as to the historical reality of Shangshung, although its exact extent and its ethnic and cultural identity are far from clear. But it does seem to have been situated in what today is, roughly speaking, western Tibet, w i t h Mount Kailash as its center. Bonpos claim that the original homeland of Bon, however, lies farther to the west, beyond the border of Shangshung, in a land called Tazik (Stag gzig, or Rtag gzigs). Although this suggests the land of the Tajiks in Central Asia, the exact identification of this holy land of Bon cannot be specified at this point. For the Bonpos, Tazik is the holy land of religion (just as India is for the Buddhists), for it is the land of their founder Tonpa Shenrap (Ston pa Gshen rab), "The Teacher Shenrap," a fully enlightened being, the true buddha of our v/orld age.


The Bonpos possess a voluminous hagiographical literature in w h i c h his exploits are extolled. W i t h o u t delving into the many problems concerning the historical and literary genesis of this extraordinary figure, one may at least note that his biography is not closely related to the biographical traditions connected w i t h Sakyamuni Buddha. For most of his career, Tonpa Shenrap was the ruler of Tazik and a layman, and he incessantly journeyed out from his capital in all directions to propagate Bon. H i s numerous wives, sons, daughters, and disciples also played significant roles in this soteriological activity, for w h i c h there is no parallel in Sakyamuni Buddha's life story. Their activity also included the institution of n u merous rituals, some still performed by Bonpos today, w h i c h find their justification and legitimation in the exemplary action of Tonpa Shenrap. He is regarded as a fully enlightened being from his very birth, endowed w i t h supernatural powers. His importance in the Bon religion is crucial; it is he w h o lends authority to the religious literature of the Bonpos and, indeed, to their entire religious tradition. The Bonpos have a vast literature, w h i c h non-Tibetan scholars are just beginning to explore. Formerly it was taken for granted in the West that this literature was nothing but uninspired and shameless plagiarism of Buddhist texts, as the Buddhists themselves have argued. The last thirty years have seen a radical change in the view of the Bon religion. David Snellgrove initiated this reassessment in 1967, making the just observation regarding Bonpo literature that "by far the greater part w o u l d seem to have been absorbed through learning and then retold, and this is not just plagiarism." (The Nine Ways of Bon [London, 1967], p. 12). Subsequently, other scholars have demonstrated conclusively that in the case of several Bonpo texts that have obvious, even w o r d - b y - w o r d Buddhist parallels, it is not, as was formerly taken for granted, the Bonpo text that reproduces a B u d dhist original, but in fact the other way around: the Bonpo text has been copied by Buddhist authors. This does not mean that Bon was not at some stage powerfully influenced by Buddhism; but once the two religions, Bon and Buddhism, were established as rival traditions in Tibet, their relationship was a complicated one of mutual influence. Bon tradition holds that the early kings of Tibet were adherents of Bon, and that consequently not only the royal dynasty but the entire realm prospered. This happy state of affairs came to a temporary halt during the reign of the eighth k i n g , Drigum Tsenpo (Dri gum btsan po), who persecuted Bon and forced the Bonpos to flee, w i t h the result that a large number of Bon texts were hidden away so that they might be preserved for future generations. As far as B o n is concerned, this was the beginning of the textual tradition k n o w n as terma {gter ma, "treasures"), concealed texts that are rediscovered at an appropriate time by gifted individuals called tertons (gter ston, "treasure-revealers"). A l t h o u g h B o n was reinstated b y Drigum Tsenpo's successor and flourished during the reigns of subsequent kings as it had done before, it was once again persecuted by K i n g T r i Songdetsen ( K h r i srong lde btsan, r. 740-797). W h i l e this k i n g is portrayed in mainstream Tibetan tradition as a devout Buddhist under whose patronage the first Tibetan monks were ordained (see chapter 24), Bonpo sources suggest that his motives for sup-


porting B u d d h i s m were questionable, both spiritually and politically: on the one hand, his conversion to B u d d h i s m was based on the selfish belief that he could prolong his life, and on the other hand, he accepted the argument put forward by certain evil ministers at his court that the Bonpo priests, already equal to the k i n g in power, w o u l d certainly take over the whole government of Tibet after his death. Whatever the truth of the matter may be, both Buddhists and Bonpos agree that during the reign of T r i Songdetsen, the Bonpo priests were either banished from Tibet or compelled to conform to B u d d h i s m . Once again Bon texts were concealed, to be taken out again w h e n the time w o u l d be ripe for propagating Bon anew. In the vast body of literature that forms the Bon canon of sacred scriptures, most of it belongs to this class of terma, regarded as having been hidden away during the successive persecutions of Bon and duly rediscovered by tertons in the course of the following centuries. Bonpos also claim that many of their sacred scriptures were transformed by the Buddhists into Buddhist texts, thus reversing the accusation of plagiarism. The Bonpos claim that the rediscovery of their sacred texts began early in the tenth century c . E . The first discoveries are said to have been made by chance. One account that has an authentic ring to it tells of w a n dering beggars who stole a box from the monastery of Samye (Bsam yas), believing that it contained gold; m u c h to their disappointment, the contents turned out to be only Bonpo books, w h i c h they then exchanged for food. Another accidental discovery is described in the account of Buddhists l o o k i n g for Buddhist texts, w h o , on finding only Bonpo books, simply gave them away. Gradually, however, the textual discoveries came to be surrounded by supernatural signs and prophetic circumstances. Discoveries of texts were frequently preceded by initiatory preparations, sometimes lasting several years, culminating in visions in w h i c h supernatural beings revealed the place where the treasure was hidden. Often the treasure was not a concrete book at all, but an inspired text arising spontaneously in the m i n d of the treasure-revealer. Those texts considered by the Bonpos to be ultimately derived from Tonpa Shenrap himself were eventually collected to form a canon. This vast collection of texts constitutes the Bonpo Kanjur (bka' 'gyur, a current edition of w h i c h consists of approximately 190 volumes), as such forming an obvious parallel to the Tibetan Buddhist canon, likewise styled "Kanjur." W h i l e no precise date for the formation of the Bonpo Kanjur can be given, it is claimed that it does not contain texts that came to light later than 1386. A reasonable surmise w o u l d be that the Bonpo Kanjur (as well as the Bonpo Tenjur, bstan 'gyur, the collection of texts containing commentaries to the Kanjur) was assembled by around 1450. This collection, w h i c h in turn forms only a fraction of the total literary output of the Bonpos, covers the full range of this Tibetan religious tradition. O n l y a handful of Bonpo texts have been explored at all, and of these only one major text (the Gzer mig) has been partially translated. The Bonpo Kanjur (and Tenjur) is in all likelihood the last major textual collection from Asia to remain almost entirely unexplored by Western scholars.


A particularly significant genre w i t h i n Bonpo literature is that of historiographical texts. The importance of this genre resides in the particular perspective on Tibetan history that it presents, a perspective that is radically different f r o m that found in Tibetan Buddhist texts. In Buddhist texts, the introduction of B u d d h i s m in the seventh and eighth centuries C . E . under the patronage of successive Tibetan kings is regarded as a great blessing, preordained by Sakyamuni B u d d h a and carried out by saints and scholars from the holy land of India. The Buddhist historical texts claim that only after the Tibetans' conversion to B u d d h i s m d i d they acquire a higher ethical code, the art of writing, the subtleties of a sublime philosophy, and the possibility of reaching spiritual enlightenment: in other words, Tibet became a civilized nation. The picture presented in Bonpo historical literature is altogether different, as is illustrated by the following passage taken from an unpublished B o n p o text, entitled Grags pa rin chen ghng grags (a title that at present cannot be interpreted in a convincing manner and must therefore be left untranslated). The text, w h i c h traces the history of Bon from its very inception in Tibet u n t i l the banishing of the Bonpo priests during K i n g T r i Songdetsen's reign (at the end of the eighth century), presents a picture of the early history of Tibet that differs radically from the standard Buddhist version. In this text Bon, as the national religion of Tibet, ensures the power of the k i n g and the prosperity of the realm. In fact, the passage translated below claims that the Tibetan k i n g also successfully rescued B u d d h i s m in India from destruction at the hands of a "heretical" k i n g . "Heresy" must be understood here in the particular context intended by the author, w h o distinguishes between "the doctrine of enlightenment" (which he also refers to as "the doctrine of the insiders"), by w h i c h he means the doctrine of Sakyamuni, and a false, evil doctrine of an unmistakable tantric type, w h i c h , as the text explains later on, was the religion brought to Tibet by Padmasambhava in a later period, thus causing the decline of Bon and, ultimately, the dissolution of the Tibetan realm. The interesting point to retain in this passage is not whether it conforms in a strict sense to historical reality, but that it reflects a Tibetan sense, clearly formulated more than seven hundred years ago, of being a powerful nation w i t h a significant role to play in the w o r l d .

The translation is from an unpublished manuscript in the Oslo University Library (Ost. As. II no. 14), fol. 48 ff.

Further Reading Pot a general survey of Bon, w i t h a special emphasis on art and iconography, see e r Kvaerne, The Bon Religion of Tibet (Boston: Shambhala, 1995). p


H o w the T i b e t a n s C a m e t o the R e s c u e o f B u d d h i s m i n I n d i a First the creator, Sangpo B u m t r i , and his consort appeared. T h e i r son Sije Drangkar a n d his consort L h a z a Gangdrak h a d thirty-six male a n d female offspring. The youngest of the eighteen males, Sibu Logpachen, and the youngest of the eighteen females, Sicham Bhurema, d o n n e d the garb of ascetics a n d were expelled. In Varanasi in the l a n d of India there is a place k n o w n as the Cave of Demons, facing toward the southwest. There the brother a n d sister practiced a perverted doctrine: they wrote letters on the g r o u n d ; they s p r i n k l e d water; for food they ate m u s h r o o m s a n d scraps of vegetables; for clothes they wore y e l l o w , r o u g h shawls a n d cloaks w i t h o u t sleeves; a n d their hair was cut. As a sign of h a v i n g renounced the w o r l d , they were given a vajra w i t h a b r o k e n point, a n d a bell. F r o m the incestuous u n i o n of the brother and sister, two offspring appeared: a brother and a sister, k n o w n as M a r a l i a n d M a t a l i . They in t u r n copulated, and a s o n was b o r n ; his name was Ngame Semladen. In that country of India, starting f r o m K i n g Suddhodana up to Prince G e d o n , the doctrine of the Enlightened O n e [Sakyamuni] flourished. As for the doctrines of the heretics, there were 360 false views. Since there was no royal law in India at that time, everyone f o l l o w e d their o w n personal view. That e v i l l o o k i n g m a n , Ngame Semladen, created novel doctrines by m i x i n g the Doctrine of the Insiders [of Sakyamuni] w i t h the evil spells of heretics. That doctrine of his thereupon caused fierce controversy a m o n g the teachers in India, w h o consequently split into two parties, competing w i t h each other in magic and p h i l o s o p h y . The u p h o l d e r of B u d d h i s m , Dharmaraja, and the heretic L a w a N a k p o ("Black Shawl") j o i n e d battle; the heretic h u r l e d a great disc, breaking the neck of the k i n g w h o u p h e l d B u d d h i s m , so that he d i e d . Since the Buddhists of India were almost destroyed, they conferred together and said: "Since this heretic cannot be destroyed by p h i l o s o p h i c a l debate or by military might, we must ask the k i n g of Tibet for h e l p . " They called on Tibet to send an army; Wa Kyesang T a k n a n g , r i d i n g the steed M u k h e n K h o n g m a , soaring like a b i r d , was the general of the Tibetan army; he came w i t h w o n derful banners flying. A l t h o u g h the chief priest of India [the leader of the "heretics"], L h a d a k N g a k d r o , evoked the "enemy-gods" a n d subdued the "enemy-demons," the heretics were vanquished and the enemies of B u d d h i s m in India were overcome. That the "Insiders" [Buddhists] in the end were happy a n d fortunate was due to the favor of the Bonpos a n d priests a n d the m i l i t a r y assistance of Tibet.


The Guide to the Crystal Peak

A m o n g the characteristic religious activities in w h i c h virtually all Tibetans at some time or other participated, pilgrimage was particularly prominent. It may be said that pilgrimage was traditionally one of the central phenomena contributing to, and perhaps even to some extent engendering, the cultural unity of Tibet. P i l grimage, among other things, promoted trade in both goods and information. It brought persons from far distant parts of the Tibetan w o r l d into direct contact with one another and thus militated to some extent against divisive regional tendencies. By ordering the cycles of pilgrimage according to calendrical cycles, by establishing the locations visited and the routes traversed, and by promoting specific religious teachings, historical narratives, and symbolic interpretations of the landscape and the events taking place w i t h i n it, the Tibetan religious w o r l d constructed for its inhabitants a universe of shared meaning. A m o n g the many famous Tibetan places of pilgrimage, most Tibetans regarded it to be particularly important to visit the religious shrines of the Tibetan capital of Lhasa. There they c o u l d behold and be blessed by contact w i t h the renowned image of Buddha Sakyamuni called the Jowo (Jo bo, "Lord") that resides in the central temple, the so-called Cathedral of Lhasa. The image itself was thought to have been brought from C h i n a in the early seventh century by the princess of Wencheng and so marked the beginning of Tibet's conversion to the Buddhist religion (see chapter 2). W h i l e in Lhasa, pilgrims could also make the rounds of the numerous important temples and monasteries in the vicinity of the capital and perhaps even attend a public blessing given by the Dalai Lama himself. The pilgrims who flocked to Lhasa brought offerings for the temples and monks and also frequently engaged in trade so as to finance their journeys. Pilgrimage thus came to play an important role in the Tibetan economy, besides its religious significance. The capital, however, was not the sole center of pilgrimage. In fact, there was a sort of national pilgrimage network in Tibet, whose routes, extending the length and breadth of the country, joined great and small temples and shrines, as well


as caves, mountains, valleys, and lakes that were imbued w i t h sacred significance. In far western Tibet, the greatest pilgrimage center was undoubtedly Mount K a i lash, regarded popularly as being substantially identical w i t h the world-mountain, the axis m u n d i . As such, it was a major destination for both H i n d u s and B u d dhists. The Tibetan pilgrims, w h o sometimes walked for months, even years, to reach the "most precious glacial peak" (Gangs ri rin po che), were often joined in the final stages of their journey by Indian holy men and devotees, w h o made the difficult trek from the Indian plains over the Himalayan passes. M o u n t Kailash was thought to be the center of a sacred mandala, around w h i c h , throughout an area extending for many hundreds of miles, all significant geographical features were arrayed in a well-ordered and meaningful fashion. Thus, the great Manosarovar and Rakshastal lakes, and the four rivers thought to have their sources near Kailash, all represented the symmetry and perfection of the natural mandala of the landscape. Traveling south from Kailash to Nepal, one of the important landmarks encountered in this respect was the "Crystal Peak of Rong" (Rong Shel mo gangs), the pilgrimage guide to w h i c h is translated below. "Rong," a generic term in Tibetan for the deep valleys into w h i c h one drops after crossing to the south of the Himalayas, here refers to the specific district in western N e p a l in w h i c h the Crystal Peak is located. Guidebooks like The Guide to the Great Pilgrimage Center of the Crystal Peak were available describing all important centers of pilgrimage and many minor sites, too. Most pilgrims probably never read such w o r k s — i n practice they were not used as the Tibetan equivalents of our Fodor's or Lonely Planet guides—but the traditions they contained were often repeated by w o r d of m o u t h , and they certainly represent the attitude toward pilgrimage sites that religious Tibetans sought to inculcate. The present guidebook w e l l exemplifies some pervasive themes relating to sacred places, emphasizing the symbolic significance of the landscape, specific sacred objects and "treasures" to be found there, and its legendary and historical associations w i t h some of the great culture heroes of the Tibetan past. The configurations of stone, designs seen in the cliffs, and so forth are described as the naturally formed images of deities. Indeed, religious Tibetans were so accustomed to regarding sacred landscapes in these terms that it was in most cases unnecessary to state explicitly that the gods and their attributes as described here were in fact formations of rock. Uncanny occurrences, unusual features of climate and environment, were all interpreted as being imbued with profound spiritual meaning. Besides such topics, this guidebook, like most others of its type, is also concerned to enumerate the great benefits that accrue to pilgrims by virtue of their acts of devotion performed at the places described. The text itself appears to be a recent work, though probably based in part on older guidebooks to Crystal Peak. It is clear, however, as w i l l be indicated in appropriate notes, that this is in some sections a m o d e m composition, seeking to establish authority by claiming to represent the words of great masters of the past. In this respect, the Guide to the Crystal Peak represents the deployment of declared antiquity as a means to achieve an aura of authenticity, a stratagem often used to


foster some measure of innovation in an otherwise conservative religious culture. Nevertheless, as the references to the Crystal Peak in The Sermon of an Itinerant Saint (chapter 21) demonstrate, the sanctity of the site itself was widely accepted long before the present guidebook was composed. The Tibetan manuscript of the Guide to the Crystal Peak was collected b y Nancy E. Levine of the University of California, Los Angeles, and Tshewang Lama of Khor G o m p a in H u m l a District, northwestern Nepal, d u r i n g the course of anthropological fieldwork in ethnically Tibetan communities of H u m l a . The manuscript is often very irregular in spelling and grammar, so that its interpretation is sometimes uncertain. In editing this translation of it for the present publication, I have aimed to facilitate the reader's understanding and so have avoided lengthy discussion of many of the difficulties that w o u l d be of interest to specialists alone. Explanatory material has been added in square brackets.

Further Reading For a detailed study of the N y i n b a community of H u m l a , see Nancy E. Levine, The Dynamics of Polyandry: Kinship, Domesticity and Population on the Tibetan Border (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988).

Here is contained a descriptive guide to the great pilgrimage center of the Crystal Peak, and a descriptive guide to its sacred relics, entitled: "Spontaneous Liberation by Seeing."

OPENING I N V O C A T I O N S Homage to glorious Cakrasamvara! I do homage to omnibeneficent Vajradhara, Who is the space embracing all buddhas of the three times, past, present, and future, The glorious one, who, having overcome all the ignorance and emotionality of the three worldly domains [subterranian, terrestial, and celestial], Establishes living beings of the three realms [desire, form, and formless realms] in buddhahood. I do homage to the masters of the spiritual succession: The peerless "Banner of the Sakyas" [Sakyamuni Buddha], endowed with ten powers, Saroruhavajrasri [Padmasambhava], who possessed the five miraculous abilities [including clairvoyance, telepathy, and the knowledge of past lives], Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa, Milarepa, and the rest [of the patriarchs of the Kagyu lineage].


/ do homage to the body oj Padmasambhava, The consummation of the authentic masters— the knowledge holders who are the roots oj my practice, and the past masters oj the lineage— And the consummation! all the sugatas [buddhas, literally "one who has fared well"], including the myriad peaceful and wrathful deities.

T H E SYMBOLIC S I G N I F C A N C E O F T H E L A N D S C A P E N o w , c o n c e r n i n g the condition of the especially great pilgrimage center at C r y s t a l Peak: Its e n v i r o n n e n t resembles the great world-system [of M o u n t M e r u c o s m o l o g y ] . On theupper slopes d w e l l the masters w h o are the roots of one's practice, a n d a l s o tfe past teachers of the lineage. On the m i d d l e slopes d w e l l the assembled m e d i a t i o n a l deities w i t h w h o m one forms spiritual bonds. On the lower f l a n k s t h e i a k i m s of the three spheres [of body, speech, and m i n d ] d w e l l l i k e a m a s s i f gathering clouds. The protectors of the teaching d w e l l all about. [ T h e m o i n t a i n is to be v i s u a l i z e d as a "refuge tree," i n c l u d i n g the entire p a n t h e o n of tachers, deities, and protectors to w h o m the practitioner directs h i s or h e r

To the r i g h t - h a n d side, in the r o c k fortress that is like a paltor [a type of large decorated offering-cake], there dwells the w r a t h f u l g u r u K i l a y a w i t h the deities of his retinue. On the left are the dakinis of the five families in the aspect of Simhavaktra, the lion-headed goddess. Adjacent to Simhavaktra are b o t h a large and a small pile of corpses. To the south there are once again the lords of the three families. To the northwest of that place, where there is a p o n d , one finds a pass, the secret path of the d a k i n i s . B e h i n d the pass is a s k u l l - c u p for the dakinis' bath. In the first m o n t h of the year, the "eye" of the p o n d , its drainage stream, opens as a sign that the dakinis are bathing. On the rock to the southeast there are naturally manifest images of the goddesses w h o bear offerings of w o r s h i p . To its northwest, in the fortress of a r o c k y h i l l , that is off to the side, there is the glorious l o r d of pure awareness, M a h a k a l a , w i t h his divine retinue. To the south of that spot, in the fortress of a j e w e l - l i k e rock, is the divine assembly of the wealth-granting deity Jambhala. Below that, on a rock that resembles black Jambhala, is the divine assembly of Vaisravana, the l o r d of riches, w h o is r i d i n g a horse. If y o u want the accomplishment of wealth, there y o u ' l l find it. On the lower part of that same r o c k there are the eight exalted sugatas. On the upper part there are the naturally manifest images of the sixteen exalted sthaviras, the arhats. A b o v e that, in the r o c k fortress that is like a mass of light, there reside the twenty-one Taras. If y o u supplicate them y o u w i l l be liberated from the eight great fears [of fire, f l o o d , earthquake, w i n d - s t o r m s , elephants, snakes, criminals, a n d k i n g s ] . In front of the Taras there is the dakinis' flower-garden. B e h i n d it is the socalled M i r r o r Lake, the s u m m e r home of the N a g i n i Anavatapta. On the b o u n d ary of water a n d w o o d is the cave called " H i d d e n Cave." That is an especially notable place of spiritual attainment. If y o u continue beyond that, y o u w i l l reach a rock that is like a stupa. Here there is a natural image of the black, wrathful goddess, T r o m a N a k m o ( K h r o s ma nag m o ) . Beyond that there is another pass. Descending f r o m that pass there is the place called the "Great Cave at the Pass," the place of achievement of the venerable M i l a r e p a , where there is a spring called the "Spring of Successful M e d i t a t i o n . " That is the v e n erable Milarepa's "water of attainment," for the s p r i n g appeared as a sign of his success in meditation. C o m i n g this way f r o m there, there is a cave called "Hayagrlva C a v e , " the meditation cave of D r u k c h e n Pemakarpo ['Brug chen Padma dkar p o , 1 5 2 7 1592, a famous meditation master, scholar, a n d poet, a n d the fourth incarnate head of the D r u k p a K a g y i i order]. At the threshold of the cave there are the natural images of the domains of Hayagriva, Vajrapani, a n d A m r t a k u n d a l i n , the three deities of protection and p u r i f i c a t i o n . A b o v e that is a place called Cave of the Protector." That is where the venerable B l o o d - d r i n k i n g M a d m a n °f Tsang [Gtsang s m y o n H e r u k a , 1452-1507] practiced the meditation of the Protector.


T H E BLOOD-DRINKING M A D M A N O F TSANG'S MEDITATIONS A T CRYSTAL PEAK It is related that once upon a time a girl of pale bluish complexion [a protective deity of the Crystal Peak, identical to the dakini mentioned at the end of the paragraph] called to him, saying, "Come out of your cave!" At that, when the venerable Madman of Tsang came outside, the head of the glacier melted and he saw an avalanche. He saw the lakes in front of him disappear. The venerable Madman then performed a miracle here. At the spot where he braced up the rock with his right foot there is still a footprint, even today. Though at that time there was an avalanche on the outer Crystal Peak, the "inner relic" of the mountain, a crystal stupa, remained unharmed. The dakini therefore asked him, "What is the meaning of this?" The venerable Madman answered, "It is a sign that at this place there have been an early propagation, a middle propagation, and a later propagation of the teaching. The black entrance to the site of the Crystal Peak is a sign that the gateway of the place was opened by a Nyingma mantra-adept." [A sacred place is "opened" when a great adept first discloses its prospects as a place for contemplative practice. The ancient Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism depicts certain of its masters as black-garbed sorcerers; hence the symbolic reference here. Though the exact identity of the mantra-adept is not specified, the text seems to suggest that he is none other than Padmasambhava himself. The early, middle, and later propagations probably refer to the activities of Padmasambhava, Milarepa, and the Madman of Tsang at Crystal Peak.] Then, he continued, "On this footprint of mine there is a sign that six protectors have opened the gateway to this especially distinguished place. Now, among them, if you wonder where the Speech-protector is to be found, then know that it is owing to my prayer that you can hear the sound of the waters of India's holy places in Kha-rang Cave. "In the Lion Cave there is a natural image of a lion. In Eternity Cave there is an auspicious lattice-work. At Vajra-rock there is the Medicinal Cave of the Sun. Below Prostration Ridge there is the Fortress of Garuda. If lepers supplicate well there, they will be greatly benefited and will be freed of their illness. At the southeastern boundary is a Tiger-banner, above which is the Cool Grove Cremation Ground. On the southwestern boundary is the dakinfs lake and glacier. In Raling Cave there is a spring that brings about liberation naturally. If you bathe in it or drink or scatter some its waters about, all disease, demons, sins, obscurations, and obstacles will be removed. Above Prostration Ridge is the Gateway to Hell. If you enter it once, the gateway to rebirth in the vicious states of existence will be closed. Then you need not experience the vicious states. On the upper portal of the Gateway is the body-print of the revered Rechung Dorjetrak [Ras chung Rdo rje grags (d. 1161), the leading disciple of Milarepa, and the main heir to his yogic teachings]. By its blessing, too, you


w i l l be freed f r o m the v i c i o u s states. This Crystal Peak is an especially great holy place, the place of attainment of the venerable M i l a r e p a , master Padmasambhava, D r u k c h e n Pemakarpo, and others."

P A D M A S A M B H A V A ' S C R E A T I O N O F T H E M E D I C I N A L PILLS C o n c e r n i n g n o w the way in w h i c h the "cosmic m e d i c i n a l p i l l s " were created: T h i n k i n g that this especially exalted h o l y place s h o u l d not be w i t h o u t an esoteric relic, Padmasambhava remained m o m e n t a r i l y absorbed in that idea. T h e n , the dharma-lords and dakinis, w i t h the group of the five Long-life Sisters [(she ring mched Inga, important protective divinities associated w i t h some of the major peaks of the Himalayas] foremost a m o n g them, arrived altogether and said, " W e have gathered together in a fissure in our side various earths and stones f r o m Vajrasana, where the B u d d h a attained enlightenment, and various stones f r o m M o u n t W u t a i i n C h i n a , w h i c h i s Manjusri's earthly abode, as w e l l as lake-stones f r o m Pemaling, the lake of achievement, and also various earths and stones of the h o l y places of M o u n t K a i l a s h , together w i t h gemstones gathered f r o m the m a n y quarries, excepting none, as far as Tsari in Me [Smad tsa r i , a famous place of pilgrimage to the n o r t h of B h u t a n ] , and also the various earths and stones of all the h o l y places of J a m b u d v i p a , w i t h the jewels of gods, nagas, humans, and others. These have been blessed by a l l the buddhas of the three times, and n o w we offer them before y o u , O master Padmasambhava." The master kneaded together all that they had offered thrice w i t h his feet and again kneaded it thrice w i t h his hands. H a v i n g made two globes of equal size, he fashioned them into nearly identical "medicine p i l l s , " though in one there was also s p a r k l i n g dew, as an auspicious token. In the medicine p i l l s he placed physical remains of the Blessed L o r d S a k y a m u n i and of B u d d h a Kasyapa, and a lock of Nagarjuna's hair, a m o n g other things, and in this way he made them not deficient in blessings. He shaped the p i l l s in an o b l o n g manner, and w h e n he consecrated them rainbows immediately appeared in the sky. The conquerors of the five families, the lords of the three families, and others, surrounded by an immeasurable host of buddhas and bodhisattvas, then dissolved into those medicine p i l l s that he had placed in front of h i m . A g a i n , it occurred to the master Padma that it w o u l d be w e l l to conceal the medicine p i l l s as treasures, w h e r e u p o n he said to himself, " M a y these precious medicine p i l l s , w h i c h subsume all buddhas, and w h i c h are like the w i s h - f u l filling gem, be indeed as is the w i s h - f u l f i l l i n g gem in order to be the basis for the prayers of the defiled beings of the future, and so f u l f i l l their yearnings and hopes!" He then concealed them in the m i d d l e part of a Jambhala-like rock. After d o i n g this, Padmasambhava prayed: " M a y w o r t h y persons come to encounter them in the f u t u r e ! "


MILAREPA OPENS C R Y S T A L PEAK AS A P L A C E OF PILGRIMAGE T h e n , concerning the opening up of this h o l y place: W h e n the venerable M i larepa arrived, he opened the h o l y place and brought forth the medicine pills f r o m the R o c k of Black Jambhala. In the Dakinl's Enclosure he placed them on top of a w h o l e square of white l i n e n placed u p o n a flat rock a n d , having offered prostrations before them, remained there for some time. The d a k i n i s , local divinities, and ogres were displeased, so to his right the rock split apart, and to his left there was a landslide. They h u r l e d a boulder the size of a house onto b o t h the venerable one and the p i l l s . M i l a r e p a immediately offered up an "oath of t r u t h , " and the boulder became fixed in place at roof-height, w i t h the i m p r i n t of his body u p o n it. Nevertheless, the dakinis still danced above it, so M i l a r e p a went up to take a look. As if they had been treading on a m u d hole, he found many footprints of the dakinis and of the eightfold groups of divinities and ogres. Indeed, the divinities and ogres of the eight classes had already melted into that boulder. T h e n p i n k water p o u r e d out f r o m beneath the boulder. The venerable once again l o o k e d at his b o d y - p r i n t on the outside of it and exclaimed, " M y goodness! The boulder that crashed d o w n on me is shaped like a s t u p a ! " G o i n g back inside, he erected an image in his o w n likeness and sealed it up from b o t t o m to top w i t h a great stone slab. He prayed, "In defiled future times, may a 'vase' and a spire be affixed to that b o d y - p r i n t stupa!" ["Vase" and "spire" are here technical terms of stupa architecture. The stupa-like boulder, therefore, is an incomplete, natural stupa that must be finished by h u m a n effort. As the line immediately f o l l o w i n g makes clear, it is regarded as an apt metaphor in this way for the site as a whole. ] Because of the fulfillment of his prayer, the place is at the present time a center of pilgrimage and of meditation caves. The great h o l y Crystal Peak is the outer shrine, the b o d y - p r i n t of venerable M i l a r e p a is the i n n e r relic, and master Padmasambhava's pills are the secret relics. Homage to that h o l y abode of body, speech, and m i n d ! The section concerning the hermitage of the Crystal Peak, where master Padmasambhava was b o d i l y present, has n o w been related. [This perhaps marks the c o n c l u s i o n of an earlier version of the guidebook.)

S O M E O T H E R U N U S U A L F E A T U R E S O F T H E SITE A N D ITS TREASURES A b o v e the body-print stupa is the fountain of f l u i d f r o m Varahl's w o m b . D u r i n g the bright half of the m o n t h red menstrual f l u i d comes forth, and d u r i n g the dark half of the m o n t h white f l u i d of the w o m b . At auspicious times w o r t h y persons really meet dakinis there.


To the east of Prostration Ridge is a golden m o u n d , at the edge of w h i c h is boulder. Beneath it is pressed the right foot of a demoness. That m o u n d is the demoness's earth. If y o u scatter it on someone w h o is afflicted by d i v i n e , demonic, or elemental spirits it w i l l be of benefit. B e l o w Prostration Ridge, beneath the throne-shaped boulder, is pressed the left foot of the demoness. A t that place there are four w i l d tsen-spirits (btsan rgod). [The tsen (btsan) are powerful and fearsome indigenous divinities, whose importance i n ancient T i betan belief is underscored by their association w i t h the Tibetan emperor, the tsenpo (btsan po). In later times, however, the tsen came to be regarded as powerful, sometimes malevolent, godlings. W h e n s u c h spirits are called "laymen," it generally indicates that they were a m o n g the Tibetan deities subjugated by Padmasambhava, therefore assuming the vows of the Buddhist laity.] To the right is the white divine tsen, w h o is a layman, to the left is the b r o w n demon tsen (bdud btsan). In front are the seven brothers w h o are the b l a z i n g tsen of R o n g (Rong btsan 'bar ba). On the inside is the divine tsen B l a z i n g Vajra (Lha btsan Rdo rje 'bar ba). a

There are four treasures h i d d e n in this place. The first is entrusted to the b r o w n d e m o n tsen. In front there is a copper treasure. That is entrusted to the seven blazing brothers. To the west is a grain treasure. It is entrusted to the white divine tsen, w h o is a layman. On the inside is a treasure of wealth, i n c l u d i n g g o l d and silver. It is entrusted to the divine tsen B l a z i n g Vajra. It is not permitted for treasure-seekers to open those treasures; for if y o u do uncover them, then because of the oaths of the spirits to w h o m those treasures are entrusted, y o u w i l l have to contend w i t h them first! Again, o n the embankment a katora [a k i n d of brass bowl] is h i d d e n . So long as the spire and "vase" are not yet affixed to the b o d y - p r i n t stupa, it is not permitted to uncover it either. M o r e o v e r , this h o l y place has m a n y mines. To the southwest of Prostration Ridge there is a secret compartment in a boulder. The treasure-keys are h i d d e n in it. In Milarepa's cave there is the w i n d of India. E v e n if y o u try to cook rice there, the heat w i l l not reach the pot. Again, in this h o l y place, there is a natural image of a vase, a natural image of a conch, a natural image of a stupa, a natural image of a vajra, a natural image of a c r o w n , and so forth. So it is an inconceivably h o l y place.

MILAREPA'S D E C L A R A T I O N TO HIS DISCIPLE R E C H U N G , C O N C E R N I N G T H E BENEFITS O F T H E MEDICINE PILLS As has been described above, the venerable M i l a r e p a dwelt there. He once said that to offer a butter-lamp in this especially h o l y place a stone l a m p was needed, and so the venerable one brought forth a stone l a m p f r o m w i t h i n the Jambhalarock. In that place R e c h u n g rolled medicine p i l l s , and after the venerable Harepa examined their size and their weight, he compressed them, consecrated them, and h i d them as treasures. He said, "In the future, the master


called Pemakarpo must b r i n g them forth f r o m the treasure!" [The prophetic references, here and below, to figures l i v i n g l o n g after Milarepa's time suggest that these sections are of recent authorship. The l o n g enumeration of the benefits of w o r s h i p and other religious activity at Crystal Peak that follows appears to have been taken f r o m another w o r k , having n o t h i n g to do originally w i t h the Crystal Peak in particular, and has been inserted here, attributed to M i l a repa to l e n d it an aura of authority.] A f t e r w a r d R e c h u n g dwelt there. He asked his master, "In this precious w i s h f u l f i l l i n g gem of a place, w h i c h is the gateway to the abode of the body, speech, and m i n d of the buddhas, what are the benefits of p e r f o r m i n g prostration, c i r c u m a m b u l a t i o n , w o r s h i p , and so forth, and of other acts of service?" The great venerable M i l a r e p a then made this declaration: "Listen and c u l t i vate faith! If y o u pray to the precious medicine p i l l s , the receptacles of s p i r i tuality into w h i c h the blessings of all the buddhas and bodhisattvas of the three times have melted, whatever y o u have prayed for w i l l be effortlessly, spontaneously achieved. W h o e v e r performs prostration, c i r c u m a m b u l a t i o n , and w o r ship w i t h a pure, noble aspiration to s u c h precious, w i s h - f u l f i l l i n g gems s h o u l d k n o w the benefits are to be explained in this way: E v e n all the buddhas of the three times cannot express it, But in brief just in order to inspire their followers, T h e n let it be said: The medicine p i l l s are the supreme spiritual receptacle of all the buddhas and bodhisattvas of the three times. T h e y are the field for the w o r s h i p of the entire w o r l d w i t h its ordinary beings and gods. By supplicating them whatever y o u pray for w i l l be effortlessly achieved! T h e y confer the supreme and c o m m o n attainments. F o r a l l beings w h o see w i t h their eyes the "great p i l l s , " w h i c h are like precious w i s h - f u l f i l l i n g gems, The gates to rebirth in the v i c i o u s destinies w i l l be closed. E v e n if y o u just hear of them, the seed of supreme enlightenment w i l l be planted. A l l those w h o t h i n k of them w i l l be freed from madness, fainting fits, and paralysis, A n d special samadhi w i l l arise i n their m i n d s . A l l those w h o j o i n their hands i n prayer before them w i l l f i n d the authentic path. A l l those w h o prostrate here w i l l be b o r n as universal emperors. A l l those w h o circumambulate w i l l acquire the seven virtues of heaven [i.e., the seven virtues of higher rebirths, namely, h a v i n g a good family, physical beauty, longevity, good health, good l u c k , wealth, and w i s d o m ] .


A l l w h o supplicate w i l l spontaneously achieve the two goals, of enlightenment for self and for others. W h o e v e r offers d r i n k i n g water here w i l l be b o r n w i t h o u t afflictions of thirst. W h o e v e r offers washing-water here w i l l be freed f r o m emotional afflictions, sins, and obscurations, and w i l l obtain the five modes of enlightened c o g n i t i o n [the c o g n i t i o n of the expanse of reality, m i r r o r - l i k e c o g n i t i o n , c o g n i t i o n of sameness, d i s c r i m i n a t i n g c o g n i t i o n , and a c c o m p l i s h i n g cognition—associated w i t h the five buddhas]. A l l those w h o endowment A l l those w h o A l l those w h o

offer flowers w i l l obtain the perfect liberty and of h u m a n b i r t h . offer incense w i l l attain pure m o r a l discipline. offer butter-lamps w i l l be freed f r o m all the darkness of

unknowing. A l l those w h o offer perfumed water w i l l be liberated f r o m all mental distress and suffering. A l l those w h o offer foodstuffs w i l l thrive on the food of samadhi. A l l those w h o offer the m u s i c of large cymbals w i l l s o u n d the m e l o d y of the doctrine in the ten directions. A l l those w h o offer the m u s i c of finger-cymbals w i l l obtain p r o f o u n d and perfect intellectual brilliance. A l l w h o offer the m u s i c of bells and miniature bells w i l l obtain the authentic voice of Brahma, a sweet voice, clearest speech. A l l w h o offer mandalas [symbolic offerings o f the M o u n t M e r u w o r l d system] w i l l fully perfect the p r o v i s i o n a l and ultimate goals, acquiring merit and w i s d o m . A l l w h o offer mandalas of the five gems [gold, silver, turquoise, coral, and pearl] w i l l be relieved of all poverty and w i l l come to possess the inexhaustible treasury of the sky. A l l w h o offer mandalas of the seven jewels [gold, silver, turquoise, coral, pearl, emerald, and sapphire] w i l l p r o v i s i o n a l l y enjoy the seven jewels of k i n g s h i p and ultimately w i l l attain the seven aspects of enlightened embodiment [the realization of the absolute truth in its ontological and epistemological aspects, and the enlightenment of body, speech, m i n d , attributes, and activity]. A l l w h o offer the five medicines [ginseng and other s i m i l a r l y valuable herbal remedies] w i l l be freed f r o m the illnesses of the four aggregated elements [earth, water, fire, and air] and f r o m the consumptive illness of samsara. A l l w h o offer mandalas of the five heart-mantras [om, hum, tram, hrih, ah, respectively the "seed syllables" of the five buddhas Vairocana, A k s o b h y a , Ratnasambhava, A m i t a b h a , and A m o g h a s i d d h i ] w i l l b e liberated f r o m all the sufferings of the five classes of beings [gods,


humans, animals, h u n g r y ghosts, a n d denizens of the hells] and w i l l obtain the bodies of the five b u d d h a families [Tathagata, Vajra, Jewel, L o t u s , and A c t i o n , corresponding to the five buddhas mentioned above]. A l l w h o offer mandalas of the five grains [barley, rice, wheat, peas, a n d sesame] w i l l obtain a fine harvest from whatever grains they plant. W h o e v e r offers mandalas of the five k i n d s of incense w i l l be fragrant, handsome, a n d pleasing to a l l . A l l w h o offer mandalas of the five perfumes [sandalwood, m u s k , jasmine, saffron, a n d camphor] w i l l attain a pure abode a n d be freed f r o m all taints. A l l w h o offer mandalas of the five "sights" [symbolic representations of the five sensory organs] w i l l obtain an increase of all their merit, power, wealth, possessions, and enjoyment. W h o e v e r offers parasols a n d ensigns w i l l obtain perfect, enjoyable possessions and be freed f r o m the eight great fears [fire, flood, earthquake, w i n d - s t o r m s , elephants, snakes, criminals, a n d k i n g s ] . W h o e v e r offers garlands a n d crowns w i l l obtain the true happiness of gods a n d m e n , adorned w i t h the seven jewels. A l l those w h o offer lamps w i l l really see the faces of the buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions [the four cardinal directions, the four intermediate directions, and zenith and n a d i r ] . A l l w h o offer the seven emblems of k i n g s h i p [discus, w i s h - g r a n t i n g gem, queen, minister, elephant, horse, a n d military commander] w i l l obtain the great k i n g d o m of r e l i g i o n . W h o e v e r offers the eight auspicious emblems [eternal knot, lotus, parasol, c o n c h , wheel, royal banner, vase, a n d golden fish] w i l l obtain a b o d y adorned w i t h the signs a n d marks of a b u d d h a . A l l w h o offer the eight auspicious substances [mirror, c u r d , durvagrass, bilva-fruit, a c o n c h w i t h a clockwise spiral, the digestive stones of a r u m i n a n t , v e r m i l l i o n , a n d w h i t e mustard seed] w i l l become fortunate and s p l e n d i d a n d w i l l enjoy the perfect glories of gods and men. A l l w h o offer c l o t h i n g w i l l enjoy religious garb made of cast-off rags [signifying the p u r i t y of renunciation] and various clothes that are soft a n d comfortable. A l l w h o offer white l i n e n w i l l obtain perfect c o m p l e x i o n a n d luster and w i l l overpower gods, demons, a n d m e n . A l l w h o offer w o r s h i p w i t h the three w h i t e substances [milk, butter, and curd] w i l l enjoy the p l e n t i f u l feast of the d a k i n i s . A l l w h o offer the three sweets [sugar, molasses, and honey] w i l l enjoy the feast of divine food, all that is yearned for. W h o e v e r offers porridge w i l l be free f r o m hunger and w i l l not be reborn a m o n g the tormented spirits.


A l l w h o offer w o r s h i p w i t h "grain j u i c e " [alcohol] w i l l enjoy a n ocean of ambrosia. A l l w h o offer w o r s h i p w i t h fruit w i l l enjoy many-flavored food. A l l w h o offer w o r s h i p w i t h a feast offering w i l l attain the supreme and c o m m o n accomplishments, and whatever it is they desire. A l l w h o offer bathing water w i t h the five fragrances [five perfumes, above] w i l l obtain freedom f r o m all p o l l u t i o n and obscurations and obtain taintlessness, pleasantness, and good c o m p l e x i o n . A l l w h o offer the supreme lotus-seat w i l l be m i r a c u l o u s l y b o r n atop a soft and beautiful lion-throne on a lotus flower. [This is to say that one w i l l be reborn in a b u d d h a paradise.] W h o e v e r acts as this site's treasurer w i l l be liberated f r o m all the sufferings of the vicious states of existence and w i l l be endowed w i t h all perfect attributes. W h o e v e r acts as a ritual attendant here w i l l w o r s h i p all the buddhas and w i l l attain the enlightened activity of all buddhas. A l l w h o w i p e off dust and grime w i l l obtain handsome and agreeable form. W h o e v e r sweeps away dirt and filth w i l l uproot a l l sins and obscurations. W h o e v e r makes a spiritual c o m m i t m e n t here w i l l obtain the c o n d i t i o n of a k n o w l e d g e - h o l d e r of the mahamudra. A l l w h o do recitations w i l l obtain the c o n d i t i o n of a knowledge-holder of spiritual maturation. A l l w h o make this place their g u r u w i l l obtain the c o n d i t i o n of a knowledge-holder of spontaneity. A l l w h o w o r s h i p here w i l l obtain the c o n d i t i o n of a knowledge-holder of longevity. A l l w h o repair the site w i l l in this lifetime attain the four k i n d s of ritual action [pacification, enrichment, attraction, and sorcery] and all they desire, and also attain precious, unsurpassed enlightenment. W h o e v e r collects clay here w i l l become a universal m o n a r c h as m a n y times as there are particles in that clay. W h o e v e r carries loads of earth and stone w i l l be freed f r o m all obstacles to life and longevity and w i l l enjoy l o n g life, health, and beauty. A l l those w h o assist virtue w i l l , in all rebirths and lifetimes, enter the authentic path of the ten virtues, be inseparable f r o m spiritual friends, and obtain whatever accomplishments are desired. W h o e v e r directs the w o r k w i l l be b o r n as the senior disciple of all the buddhas of the ten directions and a c c o m p l i s h enlightened activity. If one walks seven paces in this direction he or she w i l l obtain a pure h u m a n b o d y for seven lifetimes and w i l l remember past lives.


A l l w h o d o beneficial deeds vocally w i l l become learned, adorned w i t h virtues. A l l w h o do beneficial deeds verbally w i l l , whatever they say, be heard by all l i v i n g beings in a l l rebirths and lifetimes. W h o e v e r writes d o w n the histories and tales of liberation of the p i l l s w i l l in future lifetimes write d o w n the entire canon of all the buddhas of the ten directions and three times. A l l w h o pray that the p i l l s remain intact for a l o n g time w i l l obtain the c o n d i t i o n of a knowledge-holder of i m m o r t a l i t y . A l l w h o repeat their consecration w i l l be free, throughout the three times, f r o m war and famine, w i l l pacify epidemics and make the w h o l e k i n g d o m peaceful. A l l w h o perform rites to protect people f r o m h a r m w i l l be freed from all fears of u n t i m e l y death. A l l w h o speak of their virtues and praise them to others w i l l come to recite all the virtues of all the buddhas and bodhisattvas of the three times. A l l those w h o study and teach w i l l p e r f o r m all the enlightened activity of a l l the buddhas of the three times. W h o e v e r rejoices w i l l be b o r n w i t h all the m a n y virtues of the buddhas of the three times. A l l w h o receive blessing f r o m them w i l l obtain empowerment f r o m all the buddhas of the ten directions. A l l w h o go about w h i l e t h i n k i n g of them w i l l , w h e n they pass away, be m i r a c u l o u s l y b o r n on a lotus-flower in the Western paradise of Sukhavati. A l l w h o h a r m them w i l l experience various nonvirtues d u r i n g this lifetime and in the next w i l l be b o r n in a great h e l l that is devoid of h u m a n riches; w i t h no chance to escape, they w i l l have no way to repent. In brief, these great m e d i c i n a l p i l l s are like precious w i s h - f u l f i l l i n g gems. W h o e v e r prays to them w i l l obtain the supreme and c o m m o n accomplishments and whatever things they desire according to their prayers. Therefore, these p i l l s are named the " G e m s That Grant A l l One Seeks i n Prayer." So he spoke, and the retinue became amazed, awe-struck, and confident. Great faith being b o r n , they wept. H u r l i n g themselves to the g r o u n d , they offered a thousand prostrations. Samaya gya gya gya\ [This exclamation indicates that the text is "sealed" as a treasure, concealed u n t i l the appointed time for its discovery. T h i s convention is somewhat out of place in a discourse attributed to M i l a r e p a and seems to reflect the heterogenous c o m p o s i t i o n of the guidebook as a whole.]


FURTHER TESTIMONY ATTRIBUTED TO MILAREPA At the order of translator M a r p a of Lhotrak, M i l a r e p a dwelt in isolated h o l y places, as he himself said: I stayed in r o c k y hermitages, glacier hermitages, and forest hermitages. N o w , concerning those h o l y places: I meditated at Togya Lasi (Stod rgya la sri) because it is a m o u n t a i n that was blessed by the mahasiddhas of India. I meditated at M o u n t Tise [Kailash] because it is the h o l y fortress s u r r o u n d e d by snow mountains that was prophesied by the B u d d h a . I meditated in L a p c h i (La phyi) because it is the k i n g of mountains, W i l d F o x Peak, among the twenty-four glacial lands. I meditated at M o u n t G l o r y Blaze ( D p a l 'bar) in M a r - y u l and at Y o - ' a m snow m o u n t a i n in N e p a l because they were prophesied in the Avatamsakasutra. I meditated in T r i n c h i C h u w a r ( B r i n p h y i c h u bar) because it is a place of residence and assembly of dharma-protectors and dakinis. I meditated in the h o l y place Resembling a Crystal D r a g o n (Shel gyi 'brug 'dra) because it is the city of V a r a h i . I meditated at the h o l y Crystal Peak because it was blessed by the great guru Padmasambhava. Thus I meditated in whatever u n i n h a b i t e d places are favorable and raised up the banner of attainment! By just hearing of those h o l y places y o u w i l l be released f r o m samsara and meet w i t h the deities in person. Y o u must cultivate meditation at them, d o i n g prostrations, circumambulations, and s u c h l i k e . That way y o u w i l l swiftly realize y o u r o w n m i n d . On the glaciers I b o u n d demonesses to oaths. In Powanamgo Cave (Bo wa m a m s go phug) I b o u n d a rock-ogress to oaths. To restrain them thus was an act of compassion! T h e n at T s o - l o - k h a r I b o u n d a N a g a - d e m o n to oaths. At the "water of attainment" and the "great snakehead" there is a natural image of D z a m a Kaba (Rdza ma kab pa). At Phag-thang-yul there is my o w n jewel-footprint. There is also my "water of attainment." In Gyagrong (Rgyag rong) there is my venerable meditation cell and image. In Bar-khang valley there are handprints and footprints where I b o u n d the spirit of the l a n d to oaths. In the H i d d e n Cave (Sbas phug) there is the stupa of the eight sugatas, A n d there are also many treasures.


Outside is the b o d y - p r i n t of Orgyen Padma. He went there m i r a c u l o u s l y and prayed for the spread of the doctrine i n Tibet. A b o v e that is the spiritual hermitage of Vajradhara called Park of the M o s t Blissful D o c t r i n a l W h e e l , W h e r e Shabkar, my o w n rebirth, and the rebirth of the Indian master Javaripa, W i l l t u r n the wheel of the doctrine. At this place there are upper, m i d d l e , and lower c i r c u m a m b u l a t o r y paths. F o r the wrathful deities, they cross the s u m m i t pass; W h i l e for Tara, there is the s u m m i t path. N o t h i n g is incomplete in this h o l y place. V a r i o u s m e d i c i n a l plants are completely present. V a r i o u s perfumes are completely present. V a r i o u s woods are completely present. It is a place w i t h the sweet songs of birds, large and small. It is a place where monkeys and apes leap about. It is a place where stag and doe play. It is a place where various beasts of prey roam. I take refuge i n , and prostrate to, this w o n d r o u s place! So he spoke, and at his w o r d s both gods and m e n rejoiced. Venerable Rechung also dwelt there and constructed the blessed fountain. The venerable M i l a r e p a then said to h i m : T h i s fountain, w h i c h brings natural liberation, is the water of attainment of g u r u Padmasambhava. The Je-zur fountain is the water of attainment of P u m p a Dzagpa (Bum pa rdzag pa). The Goddess fountain is the water of attainment of the M a d m a n of Tsang. The Tiger fountain is my water of attainment. In the future, in P e n d r i (Pan 'gri), Pemakarpo's water of attainment w i l l burst forth. In the Yol-chab rock is the fortress of the five sisters of longevity. There is a natural mandala there. On the rock in Phug-go-la there is a natural image of the M a n i dharani [mantra]. I, M i l a r e p a , declare all this. A n d that on Sibri R o c k (Srib ri brag) is the natural image of eight treasure vases. In this place there are the natural images appropriate to a great h o l y place—none is l a c k i n g .


So saying, the venerable M i l a r e p a praised the place. T h i s place is also called Sukhavatl. It is also called C o p p e r - c o l o r e d M o u n t a i n . It is also called M o u n t potalaka. [These are the "pure lands" of A m i t a b h a , Padmasambhava, and A v a lokitesvara, respectively.] It is called the "pass beheld by a l l . " If y o u don't visit this place Crystal Peak, where else w i l l y o u see M o u n t Kailash? Homage and praise to this w o n d e r f u l place! The H u m l a valley is like the passage to h e l l , and C r y s t a l Peak is the obstruction to the entrance to h e l l ! COLOPHON This eight-page catalogue originated w i t h a brief declaration given by the five dakinis, the sisters of longevity, to the venerable and great M a d m a n of Tsang in a Dragon Year. In the w o r d s of g u r u Padmasambhava, it is said, " A m o n g the twenty-one great snow peaks there are h i d d e n places, h i d d e n treasures, and h i d d e n lands. Especially in the great place Crystal Peak, all w h o pray, w h o offer feasts, w h o make material offerings, w h o perform beneficial acts of body, speech, and m i n d , w i l l actually be guided by the mother goddesses and dakinis to Sukhavatl—no doubt about it! E v e n if the worst among y o u p i l g r i m s is merely b o r n in the mundane h u m a n w o r l d , that one w i l l still avert all the h a r m of strife and violence, and the bad fortune of illness, war, and famine—there is no doubt!" G u r u Padmasambhava made this declaration to his Tibetan consort, the dak i n i Yeshe Tsogyel, to benefit all beings in the future age of c o r r u p t i o n . He h i d it in H u m l a Cave for the time w h e n people travel to foreign lands and the i r o n bird lands in the p l a i n of Le. It w i l l be especially important then that m e n and women w i t h pure spiritual commitments pray! [This reference to m o d e r n aviation further suggests the text to be a recent c o m p o s i t i o n . Professor Levine was told that the " p l a i n of L e " (Ble k y i thang) mentioned here is a slope above the N y i n b a villages of H u m l a District. She says that the local people made m u c h of the fact that the predictions have been nearly met by planes l a n d i n g in Simikot, Humla's district capital and half a day's w a l k away f r o m the N y i n b a villages. Plane service began in the late 1970s or early 1980s.] Again there is an extensive and clear history, catalogue, and guidebook concerning this place. He entrusted them to the five dakinis, the sisters of longevity, to conceal them in 'Dongs M a n d a l a Rock, saying, " A t some future time may some h i d d e n y o g i n meet w i t h t h e m ! " So saying, he entrusted them to the protectors of the land, to the five l o n gevity-sisters and to the other protectors of the doctrine.



Guidebook to Lapchi - Toni Huber

The translation that follows comprises the opening three chapters of a Tibetan pilgrimage manual, bearing the abbreviated title Guidebook to Lapchi (La phyi gnas yig). This example of noncanonical Tibetan literature serves to introduce a paradigmatic feature of Tibetan religious culture: the representation of interplay between the Buddhist belief system and the indigenous Tibetan w o r l d view. The opening narratives of the Guidebook to Lapchi are complex in terms of both space and time and invoke a host of cultural discourses and icons. These need to be briefly introduced so that the text can be appreciated from points of view that begin to reflect the Tibetan understandings and uses of the guidebook. But first, a few comments are in order concerning the type of document and associated cultural practices we are dealing with here. The Guidebook to Lapchi is a modest text by Tibetan standards. Although guidebooks can vary greatly in style and content, several general features are worthy of particular note. M a n y are compilations of a range of materials, w h i c h might include anything from cosmology and points of formal doctrine to local songs, detailed travel instructions, or personal anecdotes. W h e n reading guidebooks it is important to recognize that they are constructed and styled in particular ways in order to direct and to evoke certain responses from those who use them. They are actively advertising the sanctity of sites and promoting the powers and beliefs that play a significant role in controlling and shaping the lives of individual pilgrims. This is no less true today than it was in traditional times, and it should be noted that editions of the Guidebook to Lapchi are still being printed and are used by contemporary Tibetan pilgrims. As a genre, pilgrimage guidebooks have a very significant oral dimension, w h i c h sets them apart from many other types of Tibetan religious literature. Their contents are often publicly repeated by clerics, shrine-keepers, and local residents for the benefit of pilgrims, and they are always elaborated u p o n by oral traditions in different ways. Moreover, they are often composed on the basis of oral texts that their authors collect while on pilgrimageThus, in both oral and written forms, guidebooks constitute a popular and widely


circulated type of religious literature in Tibetan culture. This reflects the fact that pilgrimage, the raison d'etre of such texts, is one of the most widespread ritual ensembles practiced in the Tibetan w o r l d (see chapter 5). Textual narrative and ritual journey or action are not separate modes for T i betan pilgrims. Because oral and written guides present certain scenarios and then anchor them in the landscapes and features of pilgrimage sites, such texts become manuals for explaining and interpreting the very terrain that the pilgrim is negotiating and, indeed, experiencing. By relating the great events of the past that occurred at a site, guides do not simply direct one to ascend to the very same stage on w h i c h these dramas occurred in order to reenact retrospectively the roles that various divine and h u m a n superheroes once played there. They are also unequivocal in i m p l y i n g that what initially happened in bygone eras at a particular place remains both evident there and active in certain ways. Thus, the very details of topographical form are attributed to the results of battles of magic, struggles for power, or other acts, while the landscape becomes named and recognized on the basis of these events. Furthermore, the physical environment is regarded as being animated in various ways. Places, objects, and their substances are thought of as becoming purified or morally superior through a process of empowerment effected by the presence and actions of deities and saints. M a n y Tibetans conceive of empowerment in ways that are not too different from the nature and effects of the fields of energy or radiation posited by modern physics. An empowered site or thing is credited w i t h the ability to transform subtly that w i t h w h i c h it comes in contact. Aspects of both the natural and the human-made w o r l d are also considered as the abodes (gnas) of a wide variety of n o n h u m a n beings. The Tibetan word for pilgrimage literally means "circling around an abode" (gnas skor), referring to the general practice of circumambulation as a way of relating to such places. The specific environments, objects, and persons u p o n w h i c h pilgrimages focus, and the pattern of relationships between these and the pilgrims themselves, are what forms the basis of pilgrimage practice for Tibetans. Thus, although most Tibetans identify themselves and their culture as Buddhist, it is often misleading to justify—as outside observers and interpreters often do—aspects of Tibetan life primarily in terms of abstract Buddhist doctrines. This is a tendency shared to a certain extent by highly educated Tibetan Buddhist clerics as well. Explaining Tibetan pilgrimages in terms of a static system of Indie metaphysical imperatives, such as karma, samsara, and nirvana, not only lacks the explanatory power required to account for such complex phenomena, but it also negates the fundamental assumptions and categories Tibetans draw from their o w n worldview in order to construct and negotiate their social reality. The fact that Indian Buddhist and indigenous Tibetan views of the w o r l d exist in complex relation to one another is well attested in the discourses operating throughout Tibetan cultural history. O u r small Guidebook to Lapchi provides some specific local examples of this. The text was written by a learned lama named Tenzin C h o k y i Lodro (Bstan 'dzin chos k y i bio gros, 1868-1906), the thirty-


fourth hierarch of the Drigungpa ('Bri gung pa) sect, a branch of the important Kagyu (Bka' brgyud) school of Tibetan Buddhism. He compiled his Guidebook to Lapchi from a number of sources after a pilgrimage to the area 1901. His text purports to offer a Buddhist account of the process of the introduction of Buddhism into a Tibetan-speaking zone of the high Himalaya. Its central narrative reveals a dramatic ideological struggle between the powers represented by Indian tantric B u d d h i s m , and those identified w i t h other Indian belief systems and the spirit forces that many Tibetans recognize as inhabiting and animating their physical environment. W h i l e this contest of powers is played out between divine beings on a cosmic level, it also comes d o w n to Earth and involves h u m a n beings and their history, as our text situates the story at a geographical location, the place of Lapchi, in the actual landscape of Tibet. Lapchi, or more fully in Tibetan, the "Snowy Enclave of Nomadic L a p c h i " ('Brog la p h y i gangs k y i ra ba), is an area of glaciated mountains and luxuriant alpine valleys located on the present border between Nepal and the Tibetan Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of C h i n a . It lies just to the west of the great Himalayan summit of Gaurishankar (7,150 m), or Jomo Tseringma (Jo mo tshe ring ma) as it is k n o w n to Tibetans. At present the region is inhabited by pastoralists and seasonally frequented by pilgrims and traders from both sides of the border. W h i l e today it is possible for people to locate the place on a map and visit it as a pilgrim or nomad, according to the Guidebook to Lapchi this has not always been the case. To explain the ways in w h i c h Lapchi became an empowered landscape worthy of performing pilgrimage at, and how h u m a n beings "opened the door to the place" (gnas sgo phye ba), the author resorts to two important narrative traditions. Both of these, the story of Rudra's subjugation in chapters 1 and 2 and the exploits of Milarepa (1040-1123 C . E . ) in chapter 3, require some interpretive commentary. First, the story of the subjugation of the evil Indian god Rudra by the virtuous buddha Vajradhara. Both main characters are referred to in the text under various names that mark their different manifestations and qualities, w i t h Rudra also being called Mahadeva, Mahesvara, and Bhairava in places, while the buddha Vajradhara is identified as Heruka, Samvara, or Cakrasamvara as well. Both are also coupled with female consorts and served by their respective demonic or divine retinues. F r o m a Buddhist point of view, Rudra can be seen to represent the powers and teachings of the heterodox Indian school of Saivism, particularly as it developed in its tantric mode. The Tibetan area of Lapchi itself has a double Indian identity in the text, being equated w i t h the tantric power place of Godavari. This is a site found listed in both Buddhist and Saiva tantric literature and is associated with an area in the southern part of the Indian subcontinent. H o w , therefore, did Godavari come to be located in the high Himalaya by Tibetans, and become the setting for such a divine contest? The answer to this question is complex and still not fully understood, but a few points seem clear. W h e n Tibetan scholars and their Indian teachers began systematically to transfer late N o r t h Indian tantric B u d d h i s m across the Himalaya

into Tibet, they carried more than just texts, religious icons, and philosophies with them. They took w i t h them a series of sophisticated narratives and rituals that related conceptions of the inner person to the ordering of the cosmos and the cult geography of the Indian subcontinent. As Tibetans began to engage in tantric meditation and yoga in their o w n land, many of the set of twenty-four or thirty-two famous tantric cult places of India gradually became identified w i t h accessible locations in the high Himalaya and great plateau lands to the north. Some of the places at w h i c h Indian sites became duplicated were already significant to Tibetans as being the dwellings of powerful mountain gods and goddesses, along with a host of other local spirit forces. The Snowy Enclave of Lapchi is one such area. The initial spatial setting for the story of the subjugation of Rudra at Lapchi is the universe itself, but more specifically our southern cosmic continent (Jambudvipa), as it is conceived of in Buddhist cosmologies that have long been k n o w n in Tibet. The events unfold in the context of cosmic time, over the countless millions of years of the four world-ages (yuga). It was at the beginning of the present age of disharmony (kali yuga) that a cosmic drama unfolded i n w h i c h two sets of divine forces competed for hegemonic power, and the control of the w o r l d changed hands. The fact that Buddhist gods are vanquishing those that represent other non-Buddhist Indian religious schools in the story in part reflects the themes in the earlier Sanskrit sources u p o n w h i c h Tibetan storytellers later based their own versions, and not necessarily any actual conversion struggle that took place in Tibet itself. As we shall see, there are other interpretations of this conflict to consider. On a grand scale, then, the entire world-system is converted in this drama, although d u r i n g the process essentially the same scenario is played out locally at each of the twenty-four tantric power places located on Earth, Godavari (alias Lapchi) being one of them. The subtle operations by w h i c h this conversion takes place are of great importance if we are to appreciate the multiple i m p l i c a tions of the story for Tibetans. In the Buddhist tantras, one of the primary systems of representation is that of the cryptogram or psycho-cosmogram (mandala). Essentially, a mandala is a c o m plex, three-dimensional system of organization or interrelations applied to reality at different levels. It can be conceived of as an elaborate, tiered palace inhabited by buddhas or their emanations, together w i t h a divine host of beings all hierarchically assembled from top to bottom, and from center to periphery. For T i betan Buddhists the universe is ordered in this way, w i t h the Buddha dwelling upon the central cosmic mountain (Meru) and the w o r l d arranged around it in a great circle divided into different planes. The particular mandala found in the Guidebook to Lapchi, that of Heruka or Samvara as a heroic emanation of the uddha Vajradhara, is organized on three planes: the celestial or "sky" zone, the surface of the Earth, and the subterranean or " u n d e r w o r l d " zone. This threefold ordering of space (known as tribhuvana in Sanskrit or sa gsum in Tibetan) is Pervasive in both Indian and Tibetan worldviews. The twenty-four tantric power P aces are arrayed w i t h i n this system, w i t h eight existing on each of the three

planes. A further eight sites are included, these being a series of chamel grounds located around the circumference of the great circle of the mandala itself, thus yielding a total of thirty-two locations often mentioned in the texts. Godavari or Lapchi is counted as existing on the celestial plane of the world-system mandala, hence its designation as one of the "eight sites of celestial action." For Tibetans, the organization of the mandala is also repeated on various subcosmic levels. Thus, the Guidebook to Lapchi goes on to describe the conversion of the spirit powers at the site in terms of the establishment of a mandala right there in the actual mountain environment of Lapchi, and the place becomes animated in a particular way as a result. This is one of the main reasons w h y Lapchi is regarded as empowered and important to visit by pilgrims, whether they be tantric yogins or lay worshippers. Many oral and written sources make it clear that to the ordinary observer such places appear mundane, as just earth, rock, sky, and water, although features of the landscape are often held to be shaped in certain ways as they reveal the form of another level of reality beneath their surface. To highly qualified meditators and enlightened beings w h o visit Lapchi, the true reality of the mandala, as a celestial palace w i t h divine inhabitants, is visible and accessible there. Furthermore, on another, more esoteric level, the same mandala is also repeated w i t h i n the human body itself, particularly so w h e n it is activated during the specialized meditation and yoga performed by advanced tantric Buddhist practitioners in Tibet. Thus, when the subtle psychic body of the meditator is generated in accord w i t h this, it too has twenty-four related internal power points organized like the cosmic mandala. This yogic network is often referred to as the adamantine-body (vajrakaya), and its internal points are homologized w i t h the external tantric cult sites, such that the reality of the microcosm and macrocosm are equated. Thus, w i t h i n the logic of this system we find that in the text the external power place of Lapchi is equated w i t h , and said to correspond to, the left ear of the adamantine-body. Furthermore, it is to the external cult places like Lapchi, w h i c h had become established as natural mandalas, the yogins made actual pilgrimages to develop and perfect their internal adamantine-body. Bearing all this in m i n d , it is possible that the story of Rudra's subjugation can also be read as an implicit description of internal psychic transformations that the practitioner of tantric Buddhist yoga undergoes. In later parts of Milarepa's story we find these meditative processes explicitly referred to. Thus, the character of Rudra and his vile horde of demons also represent the negative predispositions that need to be overcome by the tantric yogin. The Buddhist Heruka and his potent and virtuous assembly are also the yogin's o w n overcoming of tendencies toward defilement. Attempting to understand such esoteric levels of meaning that the Guidebook to Lapchi may have is valuable as a key to h o w Tibetans might relate to the site itself as pilgrims. But it is also essential if we are to grasp the Tibetan significance of the character featured in the final part of the story of Lapchi, that is, the universally popular Tibetan saint and yogin Milarepa. After its conversion into a Buddhist mandala and subsequent empowerment,


the place of Lapchi is finally fully opened to human beings by the bold activities of Milarepa. As his capsule biography in the text indicates, Milarepa wandered to remote tantric power places and through his meditative training became an accomplished yogin who was able to activate the adamantine-body within himself and identify with the powers and qualities of the divinities in residence. It is common knowledge for Tibetans that yogins attain many potent magical abilities, the so-called paranormal powers (siddhi), as a partial result of their practice toward enlightenment. From this point of view alone they are very highly regarded figures in Tibetan culture. Furthermore, as embodied representatives of realized divinity and the mandala, they are personally empowered individuals whose psychophysical body is highly purified and morally superior. Given all these qualities, in our story of Lapchi, Milarepa is able not only to defeat successive waves of demonic attack with his superior tantric magic, but also at times seemingly to play with reality and leave miraculous traces behind, such as footprints in rocks, at the places he passes. For the Tibetan pilgrim at Lapchi these amazing traces of the saint, and the other places where he spent time in his supercharged body, are all empowered sites in their own right. They are important not only to witness as a record of his actions, but also to encounter and experience personally because of the spiritual transformations they are believed to be able to effect. Finally, we should reflect on the general theme of subjugation and conversion that runs throughout the whole three chapters below. Discerning readers will notice that at no point are the forces of evil and perversity ever completely banished or totally annihilated by Buddhist deities or tantric yogins. Using the full force of Buddhist magical and moral superiority, divine residences are taken over and redecorated, the accessories and symbols of the vanquished are adopted and employed by the vanquishers, and identities and allegiances are changed and fixed with binding oaths. The benefits of Buddhist doctrines, including salvation, are available to those conquered and converted. In the case of Milarepa, the potent human conduit through which this process operates, he becomes the principal teacher or lama (bla ma) of the spirit world as well as that of the human one. We should note that while this tantric yogin wages magical warfare to battle male demons into submission, he conquers a feminine environment and its female spirit leader by means of ritual sexual penetration. The idea of the land of Tibet as a feminine ground tamed and converted by an introduced male Buddhist power is a recurrent theme in subjugation narratives surrounding the introduction of Buddhism to the high plateau. Ultimately, then, there would seem to be no final or complete victory in the story of Lapchi. The indigenous forces of evil and perversity are still present in the world, although now pinned down, bound, or contained; they are neutralized and held in check by Buddhism in a variety of ways. Considering this, there is perhaps an important question that this small pilgrim's guide to Lapchi should provoke in its critical readers: Can we ever afford to assume that the Buddhist conversion of Tibetan culture was a historically or socially complete process? Or is it still an ongoing one; the maintenance of a balance between two sets of forces,


w h i c h must be replayed or reconstituted continually by way of a welter of narrative and ritual scenarios developed and reproduced for the best part of a m i l lennium? There is m u c h in traditional Tibetan religious culture that is dedicated to this end, and this itself is a fact that has important social ramifications. As the powers of B u d d h i s m must be continually employed to maintain this state of affairs and keep the balance, we find that they are channeled especially via its human representatives, that is, the high-status specialist figures of lamas, yogins, oracles, clerics, and various others, w h o occupy significant loci of social power in the Tibetan w o r l d . Such issues are surely worthy of continuing debate and inquiry in the study of Tibetan religion. The translation below is based on two editions: Bstan 'dzin chos k y i bio gros, 34th 'Bri gung gdan rabs (1868-1906), Gsang lam sgrub pa'i gnas chen nyer bzhi'i ya gyal gau da wa ri 'am I 'brog la phyi gangs kyi ra ba'i sngon byung gi tshul las tsam pa'i gtam gyi rab tu phyed pa nyung ngu rnam gsal. In Dpal 'khor lo sdom pa'i sku yi gnas gangs ri ti se dang gsung gi gnas la phyi gangs ra gnyis kyi gnas yig (Delhi: Damcho Sangpo Jayyed Press, 1983), ff. 2 6 1 - 4 0 2 (translation covers ff. 264-92 = 2b-16b); Bstan 'dzin chos k y i bio gros, 34th 'Bri gung gdan rabs (1868-1906), Gsang lam sgrub pa'i gnas chen nyer bzjni'i ya gyal gau da wa ri 'am I 'brog la phyi gangs kyi ra ba'i sngon byung gi tshul las brtsams pa'i gtam gyi rab tu byed pa nyung ngu rnam gsal (An account of the place oj meditation known as Lachi in western Tibet) (Gangtok: Sherab Gyaltsen, Palace Monastery, 1983) (translation covers pp. 1-16).

Further Readings For more on the life and travels of Milarepa, see G. C. C. Chang, The Hundred Thousand Songs oj Milarepa, 2 vols. (Boulder: Shambhala, 1977); and L. P. Lhalungpa, The Life oj Milarepa (Boulder: Shambhala, 1984). For more on Indian and Tibetan conversion and subjugation narratives, see Ronald Davidson, "The Bodhisattva Vajrapani's Subjugation of Siva," in Religions oj India in Practice, ed. Donald S. Lopez, Jr. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995), p p . 547-55; Janet Gyatso, " D o w n w i t h the Demoness: Reflections on a Feminine G r o u n d in Tibet," i n Feminine Ground: Essays on Women and Tibet., ed. J. D . W i l l i s (Ithaca: Snow L i o n , 1989), pp. 3 3 - 5 1 . On Tibetan tantric pilgrimage sites and the area of Lapchi, see T o n i Huber, "Where Exactly are Caritra, Devikota and Himavat? A Sacred Geography of Controversy and the Development of Tantric Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites in Tibet," Kailash, a Journal oj Himalayan Studies 16, 3-4 (1990): 121-65; Huber, "Guide to the La-phyi Mandala: History, Landscape and Ritual in South-Western Tibet," in Mandala and Landscapes, ed. A. W. Macdonald (New Delhi: D . K . Printworld, 1996); A . W . Macdonald, "Hindu-isation, Buddhaisation, Then Lama-isation or: W h a t Happened at La-phyi?," in Indo-Tibetan Studies: Papers in Honour and Appreciation oj Projessor David L. Snellgrove's Contribution


to Indo-Tibetan Studies, ed. T. Skorupski (Tring, U K : Institute of Buddhist Studies 1990), p p . 199-208.

An Elucidatory and Concise Analysis of Stories Concerning the History of Godavari, alias the Snowy Enclave of Nomadic Lapchi, One of the Twenty-four Power Places for Accomplishing the Secret Path i HOW THIS INANIMATE MOUNTAIN ITSELF WAS ORIGINALLY TAKEN OVER BY THE ARROGANT RUDRA L o n g , l o n g ago, after the elapse of a very great p e r i o d of time f o l l o w i n g the creation of this very world-system, the l o r d of this w o r l d , the great god called Mahadeva alias Mahesvara, ferocious Bhairava [or R u d r a ] , appeared in fierce and violent forms and then took up residence in and r u l e d over the country of Magadha in India. At the same time, there appeared four serpent deities and four demigods f r o m the u n d e r w o r l d , four bestowers of h a r m and four ogres from the surface of the E a r t h , and four gods and four gandharvas f r o m the sky. These twenty-four fierce and violent spirits assumed c o n t r o l of their respective d w e l l i n g places in those twenty-four countries extending f r o m Pulliramalaya to K u l u t a in the southern cosmic continent and then took up residence in them. In particular, at that time the S n o w y Enclave of L a p c h i was k n o w n by the name G o d a v a r i . A certain fierce and venomous couple w h o were gods of the d e m o n class, the gandharva Suravairina and his consort ViramatI, appropriated this place, establishing a palace there. Thereafter, because of their excessive anger these twenty-four fierce ones consumed the life force of m a n y sentient beings. Because of their excessive lust they made love at all times. Because of their excessive ignorance they accepted heretical views themselves and then i m p o s e d them on others. H a v i n g also taken Mahadeva as their ultimate refuge, they performed obeisance to h i m . As a result Mahesvara, after abandoning his o w n f o r m and having manifested in the f o r m of twenty-four stone p h a l l i c symbols (lingo), dwelt thus in each of those places. II HOW THE PLACE WAS CONVERTED INTO A FIELD OF CELESTIAL ACTION, AFTER BEING SUBDUED BY AN EMANATION OF SAMVARA W h e n the present cosmic age of disharmony issued i n , f o l l o w i n g a passage of incalculable hundreds of thousands of years, after the c o m p l e t i o n of the cosmic age of perfection and the second and t h i r d cosmic ages accordingly, the great b u d d h a Vajradhara saw that the time had come to descend and subdue those fierce ones. H a v i n g arisen in the f o r m [of H e r u k a , a heroic archetype deity]


w i t h four faces and twelve arms, expressing h i g h l y enraged great w r a t h , even w h i l e his m i n d was not m o v e d f r o m objectless compassion, and assuming a dancing pose, he trampled ferocious Bhairava and his consort underfoot, as a result of w h i c h Bhairava attained great bliss, and gained complete awakening under the earth. T h u s , after conquering ferocious Bhairava, H e r u k a remained on the s u m m i t of the central cosmic m o u n t a i n , at w h i c h time he was presented w i t h a heavenly m a n s i o n p r o v i d e d w i t h a throne by the b u d d h a A k s o b h y a , w i t h twenty-four male and twenty-four female bodhisattvas by the b u d d h a Ratnasambhava, w i t h twelve goddesses by the b u d d h a A m i t a b h a , w i t h armored gods by the b u d d h a A m o g h a s i d d h i , and w i t h gods representing the magically empowered aggregates, constituents, and sources by the b u d d h a Vairocana. After w h i c h , the mandala of the sixty-two emanations of Samvara was completed. At that time, the twenty-four pairs of male and female bodhisattvas, having also arisen in the f o r m of w r a t h f u l father-mother u n i o n s (yab yum), subdued the twenty-four arrogant ones [and their consorts] l i v i n g in the twenty-four countries of the southern cosmic continent. Eight of the w r a t h f u l father-mother u n i o n s , having manifested as eight guardians of the cardinal gates and intermediate points, subdued the eight w r a t h f u l goddesses of the cemeteries [surr o u n d i n g the mandala]. In particular, f r o m among the aforementioned twenty-four pairs of bodhisattvas, b o t h the male bodhisattva Vajrapani and the female bodhisattva Vajravetali, having arisen in the f o r m of a w r a t h f u l fathermother u n i o n , subdued b o t h of the couple of gandharvas w h o resided at the Snowy Enclave of L a p c h i . The manner of their subjugation was as follows: H a v i n g seized the abode of those venomous ones, they transformed it into a palace; having taken away their power and strength, they rendered them powerless; h a v i n g seized their elephant hides, tiger skins, and other garments, they dressed themselves in them; having seized their knives, s k u l l - c u p s , ceremonial staffs, and other hand-held accoutrements, they used them as their o w n i n struments; having appropriated their essential cries of rage, and so forth, they reempowered them as their o w n p r i m a r y ritual formulas; h a v i n g seized their meat, beer, and other edibles and drinkables, they performed circular feast offerings w i t h them and then made their m i n d s dissolve in the clear light an brought them to awakening. In particular, they empowered the receptacles o Mahadeva's emanations [i.e., the stone p h a l l i c symbols] so that the mandala o the emanations of the sixty-two deities of Cakrasamvara was directly manifest there. A n d in that way, the mandala of the emanations of Cakrasamvara as vanquishers was completed w i t h o u t abandoning the f o r m of those to be vanquished. Regarding that, at the time w h e n the twenty-four [external] countrie were assigned to the internal adamantine-body, it was said: "The face was Pulllramalaya, the c r o w n of the head was Jalandhara, the right ear was Oddiyana, and the neck was A r b u t a . " T h i s place, L a p c h i , was k n o w n as the left ear, G davari, and nowadays the proof of this is so made as a self-manifest ear on a rock called Left Ear.


In brief, after the subjugation of ferocious Bhairava by glorious H e r u k a d u r ing the cosmic age of disharmony, the district k n o w n as G o d a v a r i , w h i c h is one of the eight sites of celestial action, was established as the physical field of Cakrasamvara. But it s h o u l d be understood that before ferocious Bhairava was conquered, it was n o t h i n g but a heap of earth and rock, or an ordinary abode of n o n h u m a n beings.


HOW THE ENTRANCE TO THE PLACE WAS OPENED BY THE MASTERS REALIZED IN TRUTH

F o l l o w i n g glorious Heruka's magical transformation of it into a place of attainment of the powers of secret tantric B u d d h i s m , for a l o n g time after there were just flesh-eating celestial heroes and amazons r o a m i n g and p l a y i n g there at w i l l , and because of this there were no ordinary beings b e l o n g i n g to the h u m a n race there. But 336 years after the Buddha's passing b e y o n d suffering and rebirth, in the h o l y l a n d of India the great realized meditation master glorious Saraha appeared and initiated the vehicle of the Vajrayana of secret tantric Buddhism, after w h i c h he visited a l l the twenty-four countries and thirty-two places. F r o m that time on there is really no question that m a n y of the great accomplished ones of India came to that place. N o w , due to the vicissitudes of time, we can no longer be certain exactly w h o went there. However, after the exalted Avalokitesvara manifested as the k i n g of Tibet, Songtsen G a m p o (Srong brtsan sgam po), and acted as the protector of Snowy Tibet [see chapter 2], the flesh-eating celestial amazons became a little m i l d e r , whereupon M a n g y i i l ( M a n g y u l ) and N y a n a n g ( G n y a ' nang) and other locations on the borders of this place began to be habitable by h u m a n beings. After that, because the great meditation master Padmasambhava visited the place and b o u n d the flesh-eating celestial amazons by oath, they became even m i l d e r than before, and h u m a n beings c o u l d travel, to a certain extent, to the very center of L a p c h i as w e l l . Later o n , because the learned and accomplished great Yuthogpa Dreje Badzra ( G . y u thog pa 'dre rje badzra) went there, there are also various acknowledged meditation caves of Y u t h o g p a there nowadays. F i n a l l y , concerning the f u l l c o m p l e t i o n of the entrance to the place, since the mightiest of yoga practitioners, the master M i l a r e p a , is the one w h o opened it, I shall relate the brief account of that n o w . As for the master M i l a r e p a himself, he was b o r n in M a n g y i i l G u n g t h a n g (Gung thang) d u r i n g the water-dragon year (1052) of the first sixty-year calendrical cycle (1027-1087), the time at w h i c h the translator M a r p a ( M a r pa) reached the age of forty. D u r i n g his y o u t h , he employed the black arts against is paternal relatives w h o had come forward as his enemies, and he destroyed irty-five members of the enemy party. H a v i n g made it h a i l , he destroyed the arvest. O u t of remorse for that, he came into the presence of M a r p a the transf e r i n the valley o f L h o d r a k D r o w o ( L h o brag gro w o ) . H e w o n his favor b y

single-handedly erecting a nine-storied tower many times, as w e l l as performi n g other deeds, and requested the teachings that had been handed d o w n from glorious N a r o p a . After he mastered them, on the occasion of his going to Lato, his lama prophesied to h i m the best meditation places at w h i c h to perform his practice, i n particular: Because the Lato G y e l g i r i ( L a stod rgyal g y i ri) is a m o u n t a i n e m p o w e r e d by the great a c c o m p l i s h e d ones of India, meditate there. Because Tise ( T i se) s n o w m o u n tain [ M o u n t M e r u ] was p r o p h e s i e d by the B u d d h a to be the " s n o w y m o u n t a i n " [in B u d d h i s t scriptures] a n d is the palace of C a k r a s a m v a r a , meditate there. Because the S n o w y E n c l a v e of L a p c h i is G o d a v a r i , one of the t w e n t y - f o u r countries, m e d itate there. Because M o u n t Pelbar ( D p a l 'bar) of M a n g y i i l a n d the S n o w y E n c l a v e of Y o l m o ( Y o l m o ) in N e p a l are the places p r o p h e s i e d in the Garland Discourse (A\atamsaka Sutra), meditate there. Because C h u b a r ( C h u dbar) of D r i n (Brin) is the place where the celestial amazons w h o are field-protectors assemble a n d reside, meditate there. F u r t h e r m o r e , in any deserted place that is perfectly suitable, m e d itate a n d raise the banner of realization in each one.

T h u s was his prophecy. After that, the master returned to M a n g y i i l Gungthang and as a consequence of observing the c o n d i t i o n of his h o m e l a n d , his m i n d was softened by a liberating aversion to this w o r l d . T h r o u g h the perfection of ascetic practices d u r i n g his twelve years at Drakar Taso (Brag dkar rta so), he acquired special qualities, to the extent of being able to fly t h r o u g h the air. At that time, he resolved to go to open the entrance to the area of the Snowy Enclave of L a p c h i and f u l l y realize the instructions of his p r i n c i p a l teacher. After he had traversed the D r i n g i Poze ( B r i n gyi spo ze) pass, he went to D r a k m a r C h o n g l u n g (Brag dmar m c h o n g lung) and gained realizations there. As a result, at that time the k i n g of the obstacle-making demons k n o w n as V i n a y a k a , w h o is at present the field-protector of L a p c h i , transformed himself into seven i r o n festival clowns w i t h h o l l o w and s u n k e n eyes and appeared l o o k i n g for an o p p o r t u n i t y to get at the master. T h e n M i l a r e p a said: I, M i l a r e p a , am not afraid of demons. If M i l a r e p a was afraid of demons, There w o u l d be little profit in a knowledge of things as they really are. Y o u ! Hosts of obstacle-makers, demons, and evil spirits w h o have come here, H o w w o n d e r f u l it is that y o u have arrived. Do not hasten to leave, but please stay here. Let us discuss this together clearly. T h o u g h y o u may be in a h u r r y , by all means stay here tonight. W e s h o u l d vie i n s k i l l o f body, speech, and m i n d , A n d see the difference in greatness between the white and the black religions. Do not leave w i t h o u t h a v i n g made a nuisance of yourselves.


If you leave without having made a nuisance of yourselves, How shameful your coming here on this occasion! Having said that, he raised the pride of his archetype deity and went directly for the festival clowns. The festival clowns, their eyes bulging in panic from their fear, fright, and terror, disappeared rapidly one into the other until the last remaining one, having formed itself into a whirling tornado, disappeared from sight. After, he performed a little meditation in that place. Following the field-protector's failure to get at him with this first magical trick, he resolved to go to the central place of Lapchi. He traversed the Drin Poze pass and the Nyanang Thong (Gnya' nang mthong) pass and went to the entrance of Lapchi, Nyanang Tashigang (Bkra shis sgang). Since the people of Tsarma (Rtsar ma) had already heard of the master's fame, there was a desire to meet him that coincided favorably with the master's arrival in Tsarma on this occasion. Because of that a wealthy resident of Tsarma, Shendormo (Gshen rdor mo), and his wife Leksebum (Legs se 'bum), and also Kyoton Shakya Guna (Skyo ston shakya guna) and others, were overjoyed when they realized that it was the master. At that time, Lapchi was the nomadic pastureland of the residents of Nyanang Tsarma. But because it had become a physical field of celestial action, a land roamed by flesh-eating celestial amazons, there was a frequent occurrence of open attacks by goblins and demons against the people who went there. As a result, the name of Drelung Kyomo ('Dre lung skyo mo, "Discontented Demon Valley") was given to the region. They requested that the master go there to subdue the demons and open the entrance to the place. Then the master also went toward the Zuleigang (Zul le'i gangs) pass of Lapchi, and from the top of the pass the nonhuman beings produced specters to frighten him. As soon as he reached the summit of the pass there were violent claps of thunder and flashes of lightning, and the mountains on both sides of the valley moved, so that the mountain torrent, diverted from its course and churned up in violent waves, turned into a lake. At this, the master gave a concentrated stare, took his staff and pushed it in, and the lake drained out from the bottom and disappeared. The place is known as Mudzing (Dmu rdzing, "Demon Pond"). From there, he descended a little way, and the nonhuman beings stirred up waves consisting of many boulders, to the point where the mountains on both sides were thrown down. The celestial amazons provided a safe path for him out of a hill running downward like a snake, between the sides of the valley. That "wave-stilling" path is known as the Khandro Ganglam (Mkha' 'gro sgang lam, "Dakini Ridge Path"). Then, the nonhuman beings of lesser powers became calm of their own accord, while those of great powers, even though they did not find a point of attack, once again sought to get at him. The master, at the point where the Khandro Ganglam terminates, gave a concentrated stare causing reversion of their views and subjugation, whereby the magical tricks ceased completely,


and after, in the spot where he stood, a footprint appeared on the rock. On a ridge a short distance from there, after the sky had cleared, he dwelt and c u l tivated the meditation of benevolence, and that spot is called Jamgang (Byams sgang, " C o m p a s s i o n Ridge"). W h e n he went to C h u z a n g ( C h u bzang) f r o m there and stayed a short time, once again the field-protector of L a p c h i the l o r d of obstacle-makers V i n a y a k a himself, in the guise of a Nepalese d e m o n called Bharo w i t h a d e m o n i c army as retinue, w h i c h filled the earth and sky of the valley of C h u z a n g , came and displayed m a n y magical tricks, such as t h r o w i n g mountains d o w n on the master's head, p o u r i n g d o w n fierce deluges of weapons, and so forth. The master said such things as: D u e to the essential instructions of my supreme p r i n c i p a l teacher, By the power of the firmly cultivated p r o d u c t i o n and c o m p l e t i o n stages of meditation, and Because of an understanding of the causal nexus of inner being, In the outer w o r l d , I am not afraid of demons. In my lineage, that of Saraha, A r e m a n y yogins, effulgent as the sky. H a v i n g repeatedly meditated on the significance of p r i m a l m i n d , Illusory thoughts disappear into space. I see neither the hindered n o r the hinderer. A n d then he b o u n d the n o n h u m a n beings by oath. On that occasion they gave h i m various things, such as provisions for a m o n t h , and f r o m then on they became the master's patrons. After that, w h e n he stayed in a cave at Ramding (Ram sdings), m a n y celestial amazons f r o m L a p c h i performed prostrations, gave h i m offerings of every k i n d of desirable t h i n g , and circumambulated h i m , and as a consequence there appeared here on a rock the footprints of two celestial amazons. On the way d o w n f r o m there the n o n h u m a n beings created the magical appearance of m a n y enormous vulvas on the path before h i m . The master, his penis h a v i n g become erect in anger, advanced on his way brand i s h i n g it, and through r u b b i n g his penis on a rock in w h i c h was collected the quintessence of the place at a point past nine of the i l l u s o r y vulvas, and by g i v i n g a p o w e r f u l stare, the magic tricks were all brought to a stop. That place is called L a g u L u n g u (La dgu l u n g d g u , " N i n e Crests N i n e Valleys"). T h e n , w h e n he was close to a r r i v i n g at the central place, again the fieldprotector, the l o r d of obstacle-makers himself, went to meet h i m and present offerings to h i m . After constructing a religious throne, he requested Buddhist teachings and finally was absorbed into a boulder in front of the throne, w h i c h is w h y nowadays in that place there is a ritual cairn of stones. T h e n , at the center of the place, w h i c h has the appearance of three matrix-triangles stacked one u p o n the other because the sky outside it is triangular, the g r o u n d inside it is triangular, and the rivers in between it are triangular; in the presence of Vajrayogini, and other celestial heroes and amazons h a p p i l y amusing them-

selves like the gathering clouds, he remained in meditation for one m o n t h in a cave k n o w n as the D u d i i l P h u k m o c h e ( B d u d ' d u l p h u g mo che, "Great D e m o n Subduing Cave"). After that, he went to the place of his patrons f r o m N y a n a n g and told them: "I have stayed at y o u r grazing grounds in D r e l u n g K y o m o . Since I have subdued all the demons it has become a place of practice, and I shall be the first to go there and meditate." Because of this they rejoiced and were filled w i t h faith, and also this is said to be the beginning of the h u m a n practice of p e r f o r m i n g prostrations, m a k i n g offerings, and c i r c u m a m b u l a t i n g there. T h e n , many years later, after the master had converted the hunter K h y i r a Repa ( K h y i ra ras pa), w h e n he went into the presence of the ear of the B u d d h a glorious Cakrasamvara, w h i c h had arrived self-manifest on the r o c k k n o w n as L a p c h i N y e n y o n (Snyan g.yon, "Left Ear"), and stayed there, the five field-protecting celestial amazons, the Tsering Chenga (Tshe r i n g m c h e d lnga), came to snoop and see what the master's meditative understanding was. At the time, the master was enjoying a low-caste g i r l in the forest of Sengdeng (Seng ldeng), and through l o o k i n g in a white silver m i r r o r he spotted them and finally disappeared into the sky. A year later, w h e n he was staying in C h o n g l u n g , they came to snoop as before. At that time they saw the master r i d i n g on a l i o n , his b o d y smeared w i t h funeral ashes and b l o o d , w i t h a garland of flowers u p o n his head, wearing the s u n and m o o n as clothing. In his hands he h e l d a parasol and a banner. F i n a l l y he went, disappearing into the sky, so that they were unable to get at him. Later o n , in the year of the water-dragon (1112) w h e n the master was age sixty-one, on the occasion of his sojourn in the K h y u n g gong ( K h y u n g sgong) cave in the center of M e n l u n g C h u b a r (Sman l u n g c h u dbar) d u r i n g the first summer m o n t h , one night an army of eighteen great demons, w h i c h filled the sky, the Earth, and the intermediate realm, came w i t h these five at its head: a w o m a n w i t h a skeleton-like appearance, bearing the central cosmic m o u n t a i n in her arms; a red jackal-faced w o m a n , whose orifices were all gushing b l o o d , w h o was disgorging an ocean by the m o u t h f u l ; a fierce w o m a n w i t h the appearance of the l o r d of death, w h o was p l a y i n g the S u n and M o o n like a pair of cymbals; a black, terrifying w o m a n , the color of coal, w h o was t h r o w i n g the Sun, M o o n , and stars to the g r o u n d , laughing o u t l o u d , "Strike, k i l l ! " ; and a w o m a n as beautiful as a goddess, whose smile was seductive and coquettish. Even though they sought an opportunity, the demons failed to get at h i m , and once again they became faithful and earnest. As a result of that, they said, " Y o u are a y o g i n w h o has attained a state of firmness. In our ignorance, we formerly r i d i c u l e d and hindered y o u , and because of this we are greatly ashamed and remorseful. F r o m n o w o n , w e w i l l obey whatever y o u c o m m a n d . W e , the demons, w i l l carry out all those actions and duties, whatever they are, that y o u c o m m a n d . " H a v i n g promised this, they returned to their o w n abodes. Later, in the water-female-snake year (1113) w h e n the master was aged sixtytwo, the queen of medicine deities, the auspicious Tsering Chenga, having


come in the guise of five beautiful w o m e n , placed in the master's hands a f u l l gemstone ladle, telling h i m it was w i l d - o x yogurt. After offering the five types of w o r l d l y paranormal powers, w h i c h are the powers of i m m o r t a l i t y , the d i v i n i n g m i r r o r , food and prosperity, a treasury of jewels, and four-footed livestock, they requested to take the v o w connected w i t h conceiving the aspiration to highest awakening. Later, the five w o m e n made eye-viewed offerings consisting of incense, flowers, food, and d r i n k , and as a result of their request he bestowed on them the teachings of definitive meaning and conferred the i n i tiation of the goddess Tara and the essence of the cycle of views of the A d a mantine Path of B u d d h i s m . He bestowed afterward the i n i t i a t i o n of the goddess K u r u k u l l a and advised them of the cycle of vows of the supreme ritual formula, and so forth. Later, in the wood-horse year (1114), because some cowherds of D r i n p o l luted their campfire w i t h scraps of meat, the auspicious Tseringma became afflicted by a severe illness. W h e n she i n v i t e d the master himself f r o m Chubar ( C h u dbar), he arrived w i t h the speed of flashing l i g h t n i n g on the path of magic light, Sa-manta tsa r i . On the left slope of the snow m o u n t a i n T h o n t i n g G y e l m o ( M t h o n m t h i n g rgyal m o ) , there was a tent of white silk, w i t h golden walls, whose ropes were all made of precious stones. Inside, the center pole was a c o n c h , and the tent pegs were of coral. W i t h i n this tent, l o o k i n g gravely i l l , was the auspicious lady Tseringma. She made a request, after w h i c h , from that evening, the master performed an ablution by means of the h u n d r e d syllable ritual, made an i n v o c a t i o n to the p r i n c i p a l teachers and precious ones, and prolonged her life by means of the Usnisavijaya ritual. She recovered gradually f r o m the illness and gave thanks in gratitude to the master, her p r i n c i p a l teacher. After that, the master gave her an explanation of the intermediate state between death and rebirth and the three bodies and led her on to the path of great awakening. The chief of the field-protecting celestial amazons, Tseringma, was accepted as his ritual sexual consort. Thus, as she was the chief and was n o w under his power, all the celestial heroes and amazons of the region of L a p c h i perforce came under his power and were bound by oath. He took the life-force of all the eight types of demons and commanded that f r o m then on they s h o u l d not h a r m h u m a n beings. The various demons listened obediently. F r o m that time up u n t i l the present day, there has never been any h a r m f r o m the demons for us h u m a n beings w h o went there. This is due solely to the grace of the p r i n c i p a l teacher and master M i l a r e p a , his spiritual sons, and those aforementioned accomplished ones. Those narrations concern the manner in w h i c h the entrance to the place was opened.



The Life of Tilopa

Tilopa was a Bengali yogin, crazy saint, and poet w h o lived during the tenth century. He was one of the most important figures in an antinomian movement that practiced tantric B u d d h i s m in an especially colorful and v i v i d manner—the yogins k n o w n as the mahdsiddhas or "great accomplished ones." The mahasiddhas believed that the essence of enlightenment was present throughout reality, and thus any ordinary activity could be transformed into a Buddhist practice by d i recting it toward awakening the m i n d itself. The mahasiddhas sometimes chose professions and life-styles that ordinarily w o u l d have been considered a violation of the principle of "right livelihood" set forth by the Buddha. Their special method of transforming daily activities into meditation practices involved seeing mundane things as mudra, as "seals" or "symbols" of deeper truths. For example, the m a hasiddha Saraha made arrows for a living, w h i c h might be considered an impossible profession for a Buddhist guru, since weapons enable violence to occur. But Saraha regarded the arrows as a mudra, as a symbol: just as ordinary arrows k i l l people, so Saraha's arrows w o u l d k i l l ego-clinging itself. The mahasiddhas wrote religious songs in a popular style, some of w h i c h seemed to be about sexual subjects. Each line i m p l i e d or evoked a special symbolic or "code" meaning. As a result, the biographies of these teachers are full of esoteric symbolism, making them very difficult to interpret or decode. At times they are downright obscure, and even great tantric scholars have trouble unraveling some of the allusive and elusive writings of Tilopa and his colleagues. An important and lengthy biography of Tilopa was written by W a n g c h u k Gyaltsen (Dbang phyug rgyal mtshan), a student of the " M a d Yogin of Tsang Province" (Gtsang rnyon Heruka, 1452-1507), a Tibetan yogin whose o w n life exemplifies the w i l d s s and love of esoteric symbolism that marks the Bengali mahasiddhas. This n e

g r a p h y is a compilation of a variety of disparate stories about Tilopa, and w h e n ^erna Karpo (Pad ma dkar po, 1527-1592) summarized them in his abbreviated ography, he maintained the disparity. Thus, we have three biographies, directed, ° Perna Karpo says, toward students of "lesser, middle, and greater" abilities. We 10



have translated here the "lesser" and "greater" biographies and skipped the extremely obscure middle biography. First we have "The Ordinary Biography" for students of "lesser capacity," even though the text is replete w i t h obscure symbolism. This account tells the traditional Buddhist story of the rise of an ordinary person to fame and royal power through the magical assistance of a Buddhist hermit. Tilopa is a c o m m o n oxherding boy w i t h an extraordinary destiny. He meets the most famous philosopher in the history of Mahayana B u d d h i s m , the master (acarya) Nagarjuna. The T i betans believe that after Nagarjuna gained enlightenment by means of Mahayana contemplative practices, he began to practice tantra and lived for hundreds of years as a yogin. At the outset of the story, Nagarjuna has just gained mastery of the magical ability (sidd'hi) k n o w n as "the good vase," w h i c h enables h i m to fulfill all wishes. He makes Tilopa into a k i n g and teaches h i m to rule through magical means. A l l of the tricks and illusions that Tilopa employs to convince his subjects of his power and to defeat his enemies are commonplaces of Indian storytelling. Like the Buddha, however, Tilopa becomes dissatisfied w i t h the suffering in samsara, so he renounces the w o r l d in order to become a Buddhist ascetic. After abdicating his kingship and establishing his son on the throne, he joins a religious community and begins to study Buddhist teachings. Pema Karpo tells his story in a simple, straightforward manner, but it is full of tantric symbolism. It is almost as if this text were a primer in esoteric symbolism for people w h o have not been initiated into the secret and complex practices of tantra. An example of this w o u l d be the multiple meanings and functions of the vase. The vase plays a central role in the empowerment ceremony of tantric Buddhism k n o w n as abhiseka (see chapter 13). Abhiseka means "sprinkle and pour," and it originally referred to the annointing ceremony in w h i c h Indian princes were consecrated to become kings. The vase was placed over the head of the prince, and he w o u l d drink from it and then be bathed w i t h the water. In this story we see the vase being used in its original function, as if Pema Karpo were introducing us to the history of the vase symbol. A special feature in the biographies of the Kagyii saints like Tilopa is that their conversion to tantric practice occurs through the intercession of the same divine p r i n c i p l e — a certain mother goddess—the fierce, passionate, and wrathful Vajrayogini. She personifies transcendent w i s d o m (prajna) as a vivid and intimate experience and can appear to practitioners in a variety of forms. To remind the ignorant that they have missed the point, she can appear as an ugly old woman or as a beautiful young girl. In every situation she embodies the energy of wisdom, untamed by conventional thought, social norms, or preconceptions. Often her name is not literally given in the biographies, perhaps because the practices that the name evokes are secret. Sometimes she is identified as Vajravarahi, a name that literally means "Indestructible Sow," although no h u m o r is intended by this curious appellation. The pig is often associated in Buddhist texts and iconography w i t h ignorance, and Vajravarahi, the Indestructible Sow, symbolizes the transmutation of ignorance into w i s d o m through tantric practices.



Vajrayogim or Vajravarahi is also a type of dakini, a term that in Tibetar means literally a "sky-goer" (mkha' 'gro ma). In iconographic images, dakinis fly through the sky into the w o r l d of the yogin or yogini, bearing messages of enlightenment. Esoterically, they represent the phenomenal w o r l d to the practitioner. The meditator is to contemplate the nature of the self and the external w o r l d . But if he or she focuses too m u c h on the self or becomes too intellectual, then the w o r l d as an external force, as a consort, w i l l seduce or frighten the yogin back into awareness of the essence. Her buddha consort is Cakrasamvara, whose name means "binder of the psychic centers (cakras)" and refers to inner yogic practices. Often he is simply called " H e r u k a . " In this version of his biography, when Tilopa abdicates his throne, he moves to a charnel ground where a huge stone has gradually changed shape, until it became a statue of Heruka. Vajrayogim first meets Tilopa after he has been ordained as a conventional Buddhist monk, while he is studying the famous Mahayana sutras on emptiness called the Perfection of W i s d o m Sutras (Prajnaparamitd). A l t h o u g h tantrikas regard these texts as the profound w o r d of the Buddha, they are difficult to practice and do not lead to enlightenment as quickly as their tantric equivalents. She initiates h i m into tantric practices, and so he begins his education in the Vajrayana. This involves a system of practices in w h i c h one is introduced to the secret assembly of various tantric buddhas, such as Vajrayogini's o w n consort C a k r a samvara, Guhyasamaja, Mahamaya, and many others. These practices i n c h d e the use of liturgies, during w h i c h mantras are chanted and complex visualizations are performed, in what is k n o w n as the "developing stage" (utpattikrama) These developmental practices lead to a more direct experience of realization, without the mediation of chanting or visualization practices, called the "completion stage" (sampannakrama). Vajrayogim explains both aspects of tantric practice to Tilopa in a marvelously succinct way. In story after story the ordinary biography continues to explain in subtle symbols and coded language the multifarious methods used in the Vajrayana. Tilopa was famous for combining four traditions of tantric practice in his o w n teachings, w h i c h were systematized and passed on to his disciple Naropa, the next mahasiddha in the Kagyii lineage. Here we see Tilopa meeting four different accomplished yogins and receiving one of these "special transmissions" (bka' babs) from each. These Bengali mahasiddhas, such as Lavapa and Krsnacarya, are i m portant for specialists in South Asian literature, for their songs in Apabtiramsa and O l d Bengali are some of the first vernacular literature ever written in India (see chapter 12). W h e n their songs or dohas were translated into Tibetan, they r e treated as esoteric instructions to tantric meditation, and they were given sophisticated commentaries. The practices recommended in the songs are still done to this day.


Biographies of Tilopa vary over what his true profession was once he abandoned nis monastic robes and became a mahasiddha. M a n y different forms of livelihood are presented here, as if Pema Karpo had collated and conflated the various accounts. Tilopa is perhaps best k n o w n for being a maker of tila or sesame oil, from


w h i c h he gets his most famous name. Tilopa's song on sesame o i l , unusual for being clearly expressed and unobscure, offers us an excellent example of the mahasiddha's technique of transforming ordinary, mundane activities into subtle meditative practices. At the conclusion of these biographies, though, we w i l l have seen Tilopa engaged in an amazing range of livelihoods. He was a k i n g , a sesameo i l salesman, a p i m p , a mendicant Buddhist monk, and a professional teacher. In another biography of his disciple Naropa, Tilopa is presented as an unemployed street person, who survives by eating the leftover fish parts thrown away by fish merchants—the guts and scales. Based on this story, images of Tilopa often show h i m wearing rags, w i t h an unshaven face, holding up a dead fish in his hand as if it were some sacred icon. The last part of Tilopa's "Ordinary Biography" depicts his mission as a tantric guru, w h e n he defeats and converts numerous H i n d u heretics, most of w h o m then become famous Buddhist yogins themselves. These yogins tend to establish their permanent homes in chamel grounds or, as m o d e m Indians call them, "burning grounds." These are areas where cremations are performed, the South Asian equivalent of a cemetery. C h a m e l grounds are considered both sacred and lawless places. Ghosts, demons, and w i l d animals live there, feeding on the remains of the dead who have not been totally consumed by the cremation fire. Criminals gather there too, because these sites are shunned by the citizenry as places of ill-omen. A n d so too do tantric yogins dwell there, for not only are these sites ideal places to meditate on life's impermanence, they also enable the tantric yogin to realize that such impure places are fundamentally sacred, that the entire nature of reality is equally beyond pure and impure. The chamel grounds named in the text, such as C o o l Grove, are famous in Buddhist literature and recur constantly, in stories, tantras, and tantric practice texts. Also worthy of note in this ordinary life of Tilopa are the peculiar pedagogical techniques he uses to introduce people to the Buddhist path. Tilopa tends to teach people by first irritating them and insulting them, a technique not so different from that of his irascible divine patronness, Vajrayoginl. This too is a special style of the mahasiddhas. Whereas the Buddha was famous for first soothing and comforting his audience before giving them teachings, the tantric yogins are notorious for employing the opposite method. They first wake an audience up by exciting their ire and then give them teachings that w i l l be all the more striking for having been delivered in such a violent manner. Tilopa's special magical powers (siddhi) enable h i m to revive the dead, defeat hostile armies, and conquer heretics in magical displays of power, thereby convincing his audience to place faith in h i m and change their o w n harmful habits. The "superior biography" or "Biography in Accordance with the Capabilities of Superior Students" reads like an allusive tantric fairy tale. It symbolically represents the practice of receiving tantric empowerment w i t h a story about h o w Tilopa became awakened to his true nature by Vajrayoginl. The story opens w i t h Tilopa being confronted by the usual ugly o l d dakinl, and they sing verses back and forth to each other as they discuss the nature of the self. Tilopa claims that he is just an ordinary person w i t h human parents, who is tending the buffalo. The ugly

old woman, symbolizing transcendent knowledge (prajna), retorts that he is actually a buddha by nature and his ordinary w o r l d is a sacred w o r l d full of deities and divine principles of insight. She tells h i m that if he wishes to "tend the buffalo of meditative experience in the forest of b o d h i trees" (that is, tame his o w n m i n d and achieve enlightenment) he must first gain the teachings of the "hearing lineage of that without letter." The "hearing lineage," also k n o w n as the "ear-whispered lineage," refers to the transmission to the disciple of the essence of the Buddhist teachings through the enlightened teacher's spoken words. These teachings are secret and not written d o w n , therefore they are "without letter." But in a deeper sense they are without letter because these ineffable teachings are meditative experiences and not mere discursive ideas. A l t h o u g h we can point to them w i t h words, these meditative states are utterly inexpressible. As cryptic as this speech by the ugly old w o m a n is, Tilopa understands its import immediately, and he sets off to gather the requisite materials for gaining access to the teachings beyond language. These special teachings are held by a matriarchy of dakinis who live in a magical palace, w h i c h the text describes as a vihara, a center for religious practice. Viharas usually have gardens, dormitories, rectories, and meditation halls, but this magical one is constructed like a mandala, a palace that houses Buddhist deities. The palace is surrounded by moats and iron mounds that serve as walls, forming a mandala pattern that expresses esoterically the sacred homological structure of the m i n d and the w o r l d . Some of these goddesses are lower-order beings, called "action dakinis," while others are "wisdom dakinis," female buddhas representing wisdom itself. The queen of this realm is "the mother of all the buddhas," but this ambivalent expression could also be translated as "the consort of all the buddhas." She embodies the transcendent w i s d o m that gives birth to the buddhas by turning ordinary people into enlightened beings: hence, she is the mother of all the buddhas. She is the consort of the buddhas because, as the female buddha who embodies w i s d o m , she is complemented by the male tantric buddha, Cakrasamvara, who embodies skillful means. Just as the goddess and Cakrasamvara appear iconographically in sexual u n i o n , so enlightenment itself is the u n i o n of wisdom and skillful means. Tilopa, who n o w realizes his o w n innate nature as the buddha Cakrasamvara, meets some resistance at the palace from these dakinis, but this dramatic conflict is merely a symbolic gesture used to test his confidence, for Tilopa's victory is assured since he is none other than Cakrasamvara. His determination to receive the teachings represents the ideal attitude of the advanced tantrika. For tantrikas, complete confidence in one's o w n innate buddhahood is the psychological key to gaining enlightenment rapidly. This doctrine is not without its dangers, since can easily lead to false arrogance and a sense of entitlement. But in this allegorical tale Tilopa is the very embodiment of tantric confidence. A n d so, he does not meekly request the teachings, w h i c h might express his hesitation or doubt about his innate buddhahood. Instead, he demands them and takes them by force as he storms the palace. 11

Once inside the palace, he declares himself Cakrasamvara, the buddha k i n g of


this mandala, but before he can take the queen as his c o n s o r t and become satisfied w i t h the oral teachings of the hearing lineage, he must first receive empowerment. The empowerment ceremony is described in cryptic t e r m s , and it relies on the esoteric instruments of initiation: painted e m p o w e r m e n t c a r d s (tsa ka li), mantras, and mudras. The empowerment cards are representations of divine principles that are transferred from guru to disciple d u r i n g e m p o w e r m e n t ceremonies (see chapter 24). Mantras and h a n d gestures k n o w n as m u d r a s are used in the same way. F r o m here on the language of the biography becomes so symbolic and esoteric that it is extremely difficult to understand. A l m o s t every t e c h n i c a l term has a code meaning. For example, Tilopa sings of the "path that r i p e n s " and the "path that frees." " R i p e n " and "free" are code terms for the c o n f e r r i n g of abhiseka or empowerment and practical instructions. T h r o u g h the p o w e r of the ritual, the guru communicates a direct experience of the f r u i t i o n , a n d t h i s is "ripening." Then, the guru transmits the special oral instructions (man n g a g ) for the student's practice, and this is "freeing." In principle this secret direct t r a n s m i s s i o n of the truth can only be communicated to a disciple w h o is a l r e a d y b o u n d to the empowering guru through samaya or "commitment." T h u s , the c o m m i t m e n t is considered to be a key to the entire process. Here it is represented c o n c r e t e l y as a key made of grass. But h o w c o u l d such a seemingly flimsy t h i n g w o r k to open a real door? The answer is that one must have confidence in the p o w e r of commitment to bring enlightenment. W i t h such confidence, even a k e y of grass can open the gate of the palace. This confidence is confirmed w h e n t h e d i s c i p l e receives his or her guru's prophecy that they w i l l become enlightened. S u c h a prophecy was uttered to Sakyamuni Buddha by the then reigning b u d d h a w h e n he began the bodhisattva path in a previous lifetime. The ritual u t t e r i n g of this prophecy for the disciple has become a key moment in the tantric e m p o w e r m e n t ceremony. Often in esoteric biographies, the prophecy that c o n f e r s indestructible confidence is communicated not by a male b u d d h a , but by the g o d d e s s e s of tantra, the dakinis. This is the case w i t h Tilopa. The biography continues w i t h more esoteric r e f e r e n c e s to the secret practices of the Vajrayana. Each line of the superior b i o g r a p h y c o u l d receive a whole book of commentary. In fact, tantrikas traditionally s t u d y e a c h of these points—the nature of ripening and freeing through e m p o w e r m e n t a n d instruction, the nature of commitment, the notion of prophecy a n d t a n t r i c confidence in one's own nature—for years. The ability to understand e a s i l y e v e r y line of this biography w o u l d indicate that one was indeed a student of s u p e r i o r capacities. A n y reader, therefore, w h o finds this passage easily c o m p r e h e n s i b l e is to be congratulated. The biographies of Tilopa are important w o r k s in t h e literature of Tibet. A n d yet they do not present the story of a Tibetam t e a c h e r at all, but that of a Bengali mahasiddha, one of the forefathers of the T i b e t a n K a g y i i lineage. The strange names of these Bengali saints, the peculiar m i r a c l e s they w o r k e d , the colorful stories of yogic contests, of kings, and of d e l i u d i n g sorcerors w h o w o u l d be king, and finally, the constant glorification of the c o u n t r y of Bengal—all these are narrative motifs that passed into Tibetan literature a n d became a part of their tradi-


tion. They evoke in the Tibetan reader a sense of the exotic Indian origins of their religion. One feels as if one has entered a time warp and received a magical, indeed fantastic, telescopic view of the long-vanished past. The works below were translated from Chos byung bstan pa'i padma rgyas pa'i nyin byed, v o l . 2 of the Collected Works (gsun-'bum) ojKun-Mkhyen Padma-dkar-po (Darjeeling: Kargyud Sungrab Nyamso Khang, 1973), p p . 226:3-250:5. Subheadings have been added by the translators.

Further Reading For Tilopa's relationship w i t h his most famous disciple, Naropa, see Herbert Guenther, The Life and Teachings oj Naropa (London: O x f o r d University Press, 1963) and The Life of Marpa the Translator, trans. Nalanda Translation Committee (Boulder: Shambhala, 1982). For a collection of songs and poetry by Tilopa and members of his lineage in Tibet, see The Rain oj Wisdom, trans. Nalanda Translation Committee (Boulder: Shambhala, 1980).

The Life of Tilopa The one w h o is u n r i v a l e d in the w o r l d for the taming of beings by means of the Vajrayana, and whose name is as famous as the s u n and the m o o n , is T i l o p a . Teaching in accordance w i t h ordinary students, the story tells h o w he trained on the path. In accordance w i t h intermediate students, it tells h o w he m a n i fested as a transformation b o d y (nirmanakaya). In accordance w i t h superior students, it tells h o w he manifested as a perfect b u d d h a . THE ORDINARY BIOGRAPHY: TRAINING ON THE PATH Birth and Family In the eastern region of Jago, Tilo's father was the b r a h m a n Radiance, his mother the b r a h m a n Radiant, and his sister was named Radiant T o r c h . H e r brother, T i l o p a , was n a m e d Radiant L i g h t at b i r t h . He was brought up l o v i n g l y . First Meeting with Nagarjuna: Tilopa Is Tested

T i l o p a along w i t h a group of y o u n g c h i l d r e n tended o x e n and played together. At that time the noble master, Nagarjuna, had been l i v i n g in the forest of Bharendra, where he was p e r f o r m i n g the practice k n o w n as "the g o o d vase." This was a practice that was said to f u l f i l l a l l one's wishes. He thought, " A s a test, I w i l l carry this vase as I go for alms." But before he had even p i c k e d it

up, d i v i n e a n d delicious food appeared w i t h i n the w a a s e , a n d so he k n e w that he had indeed attained accomplishment. After a w h i l e , the master came to eastern India. ( D m the way he saw a group of c h i l d r e n tending their cattle and playing. The rtnaster thought, "Is there anyone a m o n g these c h i l d r e n w h o belongs to the IrvMahayana family and is a suitable vessel for the Mantrayana?" In order to test t T h e m , he pretended not to k n o w where to ford a small river that flowed b e t w e e ^ n the forest a n d city. He took off his shoes a n d prepared to cross to the other ssside at a place where there were some rapids. F r o m a m o n g those c h i l d r e n , one boy, T i l o p a , c a r m . e forward a n d said, " M a s ter, stay there!" T h e y o u n g boy prepared to carry t l h _e master across and lifted h i m u p . In order to test the boy, w h e n they h a d r « e a c h e d the m i d d l e of the river, the master blessed the river to make it m i r a c r a l _ously increase, a n d it rose u n t i l the b o y was almost underwater. H o w e v e r , t l r i _ e y o u n g b o y d i d not feel regret even for an instant. H i s o n l y thought was, "UMlBo h a r m must come to the master." At that point, the master said, " W h o e v e r does n(o» t h o l d onto a corpse, root, or tree w i l l d r o w n in the m i d d l e of the river and me v e r reach the other bank." " H o l d me by the neck and don't let g o ! " the b r o y v replied. T h u s the master k n e w that the boy had good karma, and so he c a . u a s e d the magically swollen river to subside. T h e n , the master went off on his l b r -usiness a n d the y o u n g boy remained w i t h his friends. :;

Second Meeting with Nagarjuna: Tilopa Becomes King

One day, the master Nagarjuna returned. The y o u i r m g boy f r o m before, T i l o p a , was sitting on the t r u n k of a tala tree. T w o y o u n i g g girls on his right and left acted as his queens. Three or four boys were his; : inner ministers, a n d about ten were his outer ministers. A b o u t twenty were t i b n e r e as his subjects. T h e y o u n g boy descended f r o m the tree, p r o s t r a i t t . e d , and offered his respects saying, " A r e y o u well? D i d y o u enjoy bliss a n d j o y ' - ? " T h e master was pleased and said, " W o u l d y o u l l i i i k e to be a k i n g ? " "Yes, I w o u l d , but because I lack fortunate k s a i r r m a , I was b o r n as a comm o n e r , " the boy answered. "I have the means for y o u to become a real k i n i g g , " said the master. "Please grant it to me." T h e master then consecrated his vase again fcotrr seven days. In accordance w i t h the boy's desire, he wrote the w o r d s " k i n g , " ' " q q u e e n , " "minister," "subject, "wealth," "vehicle," a n d " k i n g d o m " a n d placed t r n e i e m in the vase. B r i n g i n g the vase near the y o u n g boy, he said, "Place y o u r m o u x i t h in the vase and say three times, 'I shall be k i n g of this country.' " T h e boy d i d so, and t h r o u g h the power of th



Possessing the Power of the Sun w h o c o u l d read omens. A c c o r d i n g l y , if war was c o m i n g , he w o u l d scatter dirt. If sickness and the like were about to arise in the l a n d , he w o u l d not eat his food and w o u l d shed tears. At auspicious events, he w o u l d gather flowers f r o m the park w i t h his trunk and scatter them about. W h e n it was the right time to enthrone a k i n g , he w o u l d bear aloft in his trunk the vase that w o u l d empower the k i n g , and he w o u l d place it on the top of a person's head. At this time, the elephant took the vase from the palace of the k i n g and went in the direction of the forest where the c h i l d r e n were playing. A l l the king's retinue were astonished. "Either our k i n g w i l l die or our k i n g d o m w i l l be lost! W h o w i l l become the k i n g n o w ? " they thought, and they followed the elephant into the forest. There the elephant placed the vase on the small boy's head. A l l the ministers and the others then w e l c o m e d h i m . They placed h i m on the precious throne in the palace and empowered h i m as k i n g . A f t e r w a r d , however, many people of the palace w o u l d not carry out his orders. Consequently, people in the s u r r o u n d i n g countryside thought, "This k i n g is a fake, as even the people in his o w n palace w i l l not carry out his orders." T h u s it came about that no one w o u l d obey his commands. Tilopa supplicated master Nagarjuna, and he arrived, carrying his good vase. He said, "Don't be afraid. Ride y o u r elephant, h o l d i n g y o u r shield and b r a n dishing your s w o r d . Go to the park w i t h y o u r retinue. T h e n , slap y o u r h a n d against a tree and say, ' V r k s a ! ["tree"] G o to w a r ! ' In this way, y o u w i l l tame those subjects." W h e n T i l o p a d i d all this, all the trees became soldiers, and everyone saw the park filled w i t h m e n in armor. A l l his subjects then k n e w that Tilopa possessed great merit and felt the greatest respect toward h i m . Thus Tilopa reigned over the k i n g d o m for a very l o n g time. One day, many Persians filled the p l a i n in that country. Everyone thought they were merchants, but instead they opened the baskets on the backs of their horses and elephants and removed various k i n d s of armor and weaponry. O u t fitted in their armor, the Persians then prepared to wage battle. Everyone in the country was terrified. The k i n g consoled them, saying, 'Don't be afraid!" and took up his s w o r d and shield. G o i n g forth to meet them, he waved his shield a r o u n d , and there arose a great light, at w h i c h the enemy soldiers c o u l d not bear to look. T i l o p a took out his s w o r d , and they saw the land filled w i t h troops of soldiers. T h u s the enemy fled and was gone. After this, Tilopa's subjects were filled w i t h even more respect than before. After a l o n g time, T i l o p a became depressed w i t h samsara, and so he enthroned his o w n son as k i n g . At the charnel g r o u n d religious settlement of Somapuri, there was a spontaneously arisen statue of H e r u k a . T w o religious communities dwelt there; Tilopa's uncle was the abbot, and his mother attended the nuns. T i l o p a approached his uncle and received ordination f r o m nirn. W h i l e T i l o p a was studiously reading one day, a d a r k - s k i n n e d w o m a n appeared, w h o was bald but had a grey moustache. H i s attention was diverted to

her for a little w h i l e , and she called to h i m , " W o u l d y o u like to understand what y o u are reading?" Realizing that she was a d a k i n i , T i l o p a asked, "Please, I w o u l d like to u n derstand." "This p h i l o s o p h i c a l m e t h o d of the perfection of w i s d o m (prajnaparamita) that y o u are s t u d y i n g is a hard path to travel. It is very difficult, there are many obstacles, and so it is difficult to attain perfect b u d d h a h o o d that way. W i t h the fruitional Mantrayana, however, it is easy to travel the path—the difficulties are small and the obstacles few. I w i l l admit y o u into the gate of that teaching," she said. She then emanated the mandala of Sri Cakrasamvara in the s k y before h i m a n d gave T i l o p a empowerment (abhiseka). She taught T i l o p a the [visualization practices of the] developing stage so that he w o u l d abandon attachment to ordinary reality, and she taught h i m the meditation practices of the c o m p l e t i o n stage so that he w o u l d abandon any attachment to the deities. " N o w speak like a m a d m a n a n d , after t h r o w i n g off y o u r m o n k ' s robes, practice in secret!" she said, and then disappeared. T h i s was Tilopa's first special transmission. The exalted M a r p a has said: As granted by the mother Excellent G o o d Fortune (Subhagini) W h o s e river of blessings is continuous, The four empowerments were transmitted. A l t h o u g h T i l o p a acted according to her orders and exerted himself in his m e d i tation, he d i d not attain anything special. T h u s he desired to see the noble master Nagarjuna again, and he traveled to the south. He asked some m e n of Bhedarbha [Vidarbha] where Nagarjuna was, and they said, " H e dwells at Sri Parvata." On the road leading there, in a clearing of the forest, T i l o p a saw a w o v e n grass hut shaped like an u m b r e l l a . A p p r o a c h i n g it, he saw a y o g i n seated inside w i t h n o t h i n g a r o u n d h i m . " W h a t are y o u d o i n g ? " T i l o p a asked. "The master t o l d me to e x p o u n d the dharma to the gandharvas [divine m u sicians] and so I am d w e l l i n g here," the y o g i n replied. " W h a t is y o u r name?" "Matangi." " W h o brings y o u y o u r food?" "The forest goddesses." " W h e r e does master Nagarjuna live?" T i l o p a asked. " H e has left." A n d so T i l o p a asked h i m , "Please accept me as y o u r disciple." Matangi assented, emanated the mandala of the b u d d h a Guhyasamaja, and gave h i m empowerment. T h e n he bestowed b o t h the tantra itself and the oral instructions. " Y o u s h o u l d also receive this f r o m A r y a d e v a , " M a t a n g i said. At that point, T i l o p a perfected the developing stage. W h e n he was close to obtaining heat in the c o m p l e t i o n stage [an advanced stage, w h e n the experience of f r u i t i o n begins to o c c u r ] , T i l o p a returned to

Bengal in eastern India. W h i l e he was there, he went to Krsnacarya (Dark Master) and received all the oral instructions on the three traditions of C a k rasamvara. He also heard teachings f r o m Vijayapada, a disciple of Krsnacarya. It is said that T i l o p a also obtained i n s t r u c t i o n f r o m Darikapa and Vajraghanta. D u r i n g this time he completely mastered the signs of heat [that is, signs of tantric realization]. H o w e v e r , because he had not f u l l y realized suchness, T i l opa went to meet a master in U d d i y a n a whose o n l y garment was a blanket (lava). He received oral instructions on the heart teachings of the siddhas. Thus T i l o p a attended gurus of four special transmissions—Krsnacarya, N a garjuna, Lavapa, and M a t i Subhagini. Twelve Years of Pounding Sesame Seeds: Tilopa's Realizations of Suchness

Then master M a t a n g i said, " G o to Bengal and cultivate this realization for twelve years by p o u n d i n g sesame seeds. W h e n y o u have realized suchness, everyone in the s u r r o u n d i n g country w i l l attain the s i d d h i of the celestial realm." Thus he prophesied. W h e n T i l o p a arrived at Pancapana in Bengal, a marketplace filled w i t h delights of the five senses, he acted as the attendant of a prostitute. Because he also practiced by p o u n d i n g sesame seeds, the w i s d o m of the path of seeing [reality directly] was b o r n i n h i m . Then, at times, the people saw the attendant T i l o p a as a mass of light surrounded by twelve lamps. Sometimes they saw h i m s u r r o u n d e d by nineteen w o m e n ; at other times, they saw h i m as a f u l l y ordained m o n k , or as a y o g i n . They related what had happened to the prostitute, w h o was filled w i t h remorse and went to confess to T i l o p a . A m a z e d by the news, all the people of the city gathered there. Master T i l o p a said to the prostitute, "Because I p u r i f i e d my o w n evil deeds in w o r k i n g for y o u , there is no fault attributed to y o u . " T h e n he sang this song: Sesame o i l is the essence. A l t h o u g h this innate coemergent w i s d o m Exists in the hearts of a l l beings, If it is not s h o w n by the g u r u , it cannot be realized. A l t h o u g h the ignorant k n o w the o i l is in the sesame seed, They do not understand the nature of cause and effect A n d therefore are not able to extract the essence, the sesame o i l . O n e removes the chaff f r o m the beaten sesame, A n d the essence, the sesame o i l , appears. In the same way the g u r u shows the truth of suchness, A n d one s h o u l d b r i n g out what rests inside, just as w i t h the sesame o i l . A l l phenomena become inseparable i n one essence. Kye ho! The far-reaching, unfathomable meaning Is apparent at this very m o m e n t ! Oh h o w w o n d r o u s !


B y merely hearing the s o u n d o f his song, t h e people's m i n d s were blessed, and they traveled instantly to the celestial r e a l m . T h u s the country was emptied for the first time, and he became r e n o w n e d as l i l o p a . Tilopa's Travels and Teaching T i l o p a said: I went to a h u n d r e d b u d d h a realms. I appeared in ten thousand e m a n a t i o r u . s . Near U d d i y a n a in the west, there was a k i n g w h o was so devoted to his mother that he w o u l d f o l l o w anything t h a t she said. " W h a t can be done to make y o u happy?" he asked his mother. "If all the panditas and kusulus (ascetic y « o g i n s ) were gathered together and were to perform a feast offering {ganacakrcip, that w o u l d make me happy," she replied. T h u s the k i n g c o m m a n d e d , " F o r the s a l ^ e of my mother, assemble all the panditas and yogins so they can n o w p e r f o r ~ m a feast offering." Everyone gathered together and d i d t h e i r practice step by step to please their respective personal deities. T h e n they a g r e e c d that the y o g i n w h o had the greatest power w o u l d be made the leader of the f e i a s t . They tested each other's power, and the one w i t h the greatest power was a y o g i n named M a t i , w h o was designated the leader. W h e n everyone had taken their places, a n o l d w o m a n w i t h eighteen marks of ugliness said, "Let me inside the feast!" T h e y let her i n , and she said, "You do not have a suitable leader of the feast." " W h o w o u l d be suitable?" they asked. " M y brother!" she replied. "Where is he?" " A t the charnel g r o u n d . " " C a l l h i m here!" The w o m a n vanished. After a w h i l e , s h e reappeared, b r i n g i n g a y o g i n with her. The y o g i n M a t i said, "Let the one a r r m o n g us w i t h the greater power be made the leader." "Let it be done that w a y , " the y o g i n a g r e e d . B o t h sat d o w n on one mat. First M a t i c r r e a t e d a mandala and its deities in the sky, and T i l o p a destroyed it. T h e n T i l « o p a created another one, and Mati destroyed it. Next, M a t i sent forth an e m a n a t i o n and brought back many corpses f r o m the charnel g r o u n d — T i l o p a n n a d e them disappear. T i l o p a d i d the same thing, and M a t i made them d i s a p p e a r . T h e n T i l o p a rode on a l i o n and caused the s u n and m o o n to descend to t h e : g r o u n d . He turned his body inside out, and f r o m each hair pore he e m a n a t e d - the four continents. M a t i was not able to do this; therefore, T i l o p a was a p p o i n t e d the leader of the feast, and everyone b o w e d to h i m . T i l o p a accepted t i n e y o g i n M a t i as his disciple and he


bore the name Saktimati. W i t h o u t abandoning his body, even n o w Saktimati lives in U d d i y a n a in the west. N o w , in the southern country, there was a heretic teacher, a follower of Isvara (Siva), w h o was learned in the sciences. He debated w i t h m a n y Buddhist panditas and defeated them. Therefore it came to be said that the teachings of the Buddha were losing respect. T h e n master T i l o p a , dressed l i k e a f u l l y ordained m o n k , traveled there and behaved d i s d a i n f u l l y to the f o l l o w e r of Isvara. The Saivite said angrily, " Y o u and I s h o u l d debate and compete in power. Whoever is defeated must give up his o w n teaching." " O k a y ! " replied T i l o p a . Thrones were prepared for the questioner, the respondent, and the judge, and then they sat d o w n . W i t h the Saivite as the respondent, the master refuted his p h i l o s o p h i c a l system. N e x t they competed in magical power. The Saivite stopped the s u n , but the master p u s h e d it and made the s u n set. T h e n the master stopped the s u n , but the Saivite was not able to make it set. T i l o p a prepared to cut off the Saivite's l o n g h a i r , but the Saivite became angry and emitted flames f r o m his m o u t h . The master emitted even more flames than the Saivite and repelled his flames. Just before the Saivite was about to be consumed by the flames, he took refuge. T i l o p a gave h i m empowerment and oral instructions, and so he attained s i d d h i . He was called Krsnakalyana (Dark Virtue) and even n o w lives in the C o o l G r o v e charnel ground. Later, many people gathered in the country of Bengal in the east, and it became as before. After a w h i l e , a magician f r o m southern India, called Deceiver—who through the creation of i l l u s i o n s had managed to steal away the kingdoms of many lesser k i n g s — d e s i r e d to take over Bengal because it had such great wealth. T h u s he created an i l l u s o r y army and went there. At that time, the people of the country d i d not realize that this was an illusion. They thought, "Several great kings have assembled together to fight us!" and they were terrified, as the magician controlled everything up to the capital city itself. The k i n g and his retinue then assembled together in the palace. W h i l e they were discussing what to do, an ugly w o m a n appeared. "What are y o u d o i n g ? " she asked. 'We are discussing w h o can expel this danger f r o m Bengal," they replied. "I have some advice," she said. "What is it? Please tell u s ! " If you appoint my brother general of the army, he can expel t h e m . " "Where is y o u r brother?" they asked. In a charnel g r o u n d . He has tied a rope of fine horsehair on a b r a n c h of a shapa tree. It is ayojana [about a mile] h i g h a n d corpses are attached to it. H e °'ds them suspended and dances w i t h t h e m , " she said. They d i d not believe her, so they went to see for themselves, and they f o u n d irn just as she had described. So they invited h i m to return w i t h t h e m . T i l o p a n destroyed the i l l u s o r y army through his meditative concentration. The e

magician was arrested and put in p r i s o n . W h e n the magician learned w h o had done all this, he gained great faith in the master. The master taught h i m the dharma, and the magician and all the townspeople attained the r a i n b o w body. The y o g i n T i l o p a then dwelt in the great charnel g r o u n d called Resounding Laughter. It is said that all the others went to the celestial realm. In the center of the country, at Sravasti, there was a w o m a n called Sunlight, w h o sold l i q u o r . H e r l i q u o r was famous for being equal to ambrosia, and thus everyone bought her l i q u o r , w h i c h was very expensive. At that time, she was constantly o c c u p i e d w i t h her business. O n e day, the y o u n g m a n w h o w o r k e d at the store went to gather w o o d . T i l o p a , in the guise of a y o g i n , entered the deserted store, drank some of the l i q u o r , and then began p u l l i n g out the stoppers, causing the l i q u o r to r u n out. At that point the w o m a n arrived, angrily beat h i m , and threw h i m out the door. W h e n the w o o d collector returned and f o u n d her weeping, he asked "What's the matter?" " L o o k at what's h a p p e n e d ! " " H e ought to be k i l l e d , " the y o u n g m a n said. T h e n T i l o p a assumed the f o r m of a cat and took out all the r e m a i n i n g stoppers. They tried as best they c o u l d to stop h i m but were unable to do so. N o w there was no more l i q u o r to sell, and they were very upset. After a w h i l e , the y o g i n reappeared and said, " W h y are y o u in despair?" "First y o u took out the stoppers; then a cat d i d the same thing. N o w there is no more l i q u o r , and I have n o t h i n g to live D n , " she replied. " Y o u need not cry. L o o k inside. Y o u have l i q u o r again," he said. "Is this true?" she wondered. She l o o k e d , and there was l i q u o r of a higher quality and in m u c h more quantity than before. She sold a lot of it, obtaining a h i g h price. T h u s faith arose in her, and she supplicated T i l o p a to accept her as a disciple. T i l o p a gave her oral instructions, and she obtained spiritual accomplishment and was called T o r c h H o l d e r . E v e n n o w , she dwells on the Sosa Island. In the northern region, T i l o p a f o u n d a butcher called Bliss M a k e r (perhaps Sankara) w h o made his l i v i n g slaughtering animals. W h e n T i l o p a went into his house to ask for some meat, the butcher d i d not want to give anything to T i l o p a and so went out the door. So Master T i l o p a k i l l e d the butcher's son, put his corpse into a pot, and departed. W h e n the butcher returned, his son was not there; w h e n he opened up the pot to see if the meat was c o o k e d , he saw his son's corpse and wept. Seven days passed, and he thought of neither food nor d r i n k . He became extremely feeble and helpless. T i l o p a then approached the butcher, w h o was s t i l l weeping, and said, "What's the matter?" " Y o u k i l l e d m y s o n ! " the butcher accused.

"If y o u suffer so m u c h because y o u r o w n son is slaughtered, then other [animals] suffer just as m u c h w h e n their sons are slaughtered. W h y do y o u k i l l them in order to make y o u r l i v i n g ? " " H o w true!" the butcher thought. "If y o u r son were to come to life n o w , w o u l d y o u stop slaughtering?" T i l o p a asked. "I w o u l d not slaughter any more," he replied. Then the master revived his son. The butcher was happy a n d rejoiced. He prostrated to the master a n d was accepted as a disciple. He became the siddha Joy and n o w dwells on the island of the cannibal demons (raksasas). At Sri Nagara, there was a singer w h o was very arrogant. Everyone delighted in his songs w h i l e listening to them. T h u s he made a great profit. O n e day, he was singing his song in the center of the marketplace w h e n T i l o p a appeared as a second singer a n d challenged h i m . He tried to rival Tilopa's singing, but he could not. "Is he a god? Is he a naga? W h o is he?" he w o n d e r e d . The master appeared in his true f o r m . The singer experienced faith in Tilopa's miracles and requested to be accepted as a disciple. He was accepted and so attained siddhi. He was called M e l o d i o u s O n e a n d is s t i l l d w e l l i n g in that very city of Sri Nagara.

In the south, the p h i l o s o p h i c a l views of the materialists were spreading. O n e day, their foremost pandita, named J i n a , a n d the chief B u d d h i s t pandita were debating as to whether k a r m i c cause and effect was true. At that point, Master Tilopa arrived a n d said to both of them, " Y o u b o t h s h o u l d take h o l d of a corner of my robe." As soon as the two panditas h a d done so, they all went b e l o w the g r o u n d to hell, where those w h o h a d c o m m i t t e d evil deeds were being c o o k e d in a giant cauldron of b o i l i n g m o l t e n metal. In another c a u l d r o n b o i l e d m o l t e n copper, but there were no beings in it. The heretic questioned the guardian of h e l l about the cauldrons, and the guardian replied, "These beings, w h o previously c o m m i t t e d evil deeds, have been b o i l i n g in this c a u l d r o n since their death. Those heretics in J a m b u d v i p a who slander karmic cause a n d effect w i l l be b o i l e d in the other c a u l d r o n w h e n they die." The heretic became extremely terrified. He saw that it was true that appropriate effects w o u l d arise f r o m his evil actions, the cause. "Perhaps I w i l l not °e taken right n o w , " he hoped. Then T i l o p a took h i m to the realm of gods. There, other m e n were enjoying ernselves w i t h goddesses. At another place, several goddesses were gathered, ut there were no gods. The heretic questioned these goddesses, and they said, Those w h o practiced virtue previously were b o r n here after they died. N o w y are enjoying the fruits of their virtue. Those in J a m b u d v i p a w h o k n o w e

the existence of k a r m i c cause and effect and so abandon evil deeds w i l l be b o r n here after they die. T h e n they w i l l enjoy p l a y i n g w i t h us." W h e n they returned to Earth, the heretic prostrated to the master. He was accepted as a disciple and so attained spiritual accomplishment. He was called y o g i n Jina, and even n o w he dwells at Sri Parvata in the south. In the city called Pataliputra, " C h i l d of the Patali F l o w e r , " there was a heretic named P o w e r f u l O n e , w h o k i l l e d w i t h his magical powers anyone w h o d i d not agree w i t h h i m . T h u s everyone was terrified of h i m and tried to please h i m . T i l o p a went before this heretic, insulted h i m , and then said some other things. The heretic became angry and set a time to k i l l T i l o p a w i t h his magical power. The master challenged h i m , saying, "Show y o u r abilities." T h i s made the heretic even more angry than before, but w h e n he tried to practice his magical powers, their o n l y effect was to k i l l all his relatives. He wept in grief. The master came over and said, "I don't even have a toothache!" The heretic felt extreme sorrow. "Is it not the same for those others whose relatives y o u k i l l e d ? " T i l o p a asked. "It is the same," the heretic replied. " N o w , if y o u r relatives were to be revived, w o u l d y o u stop practicing y o u r magical power in the future?" "If remorse s u c h as this arises for previous actions, h o w c o u l d I consider d o i n g them in the future?" he repented. T h e n T i l o p a revived his relatives and taught the heretic about the dharma. T h u s the heretic realized that T i l o p a was a siddha and accompanied h i m as an attendant. He became the y o g i n H o l d e r of the S u n and M o o n and n o w dwells in the city A m i c i k a l i . T h e n the master went to Bengal and b u i l t a w o v e n hut in a charnel ground. W h i l e he was staying there, generally he was seen to be resting in meditative concentration in that place. At other times, his body resulting f r o m the ripening of karma w o u l d confer w i t h the perfect, complete b u d d h a in the realm of A k a n i s t h a , great Vajradhara, sovereign of the six families. A f t e r w a r d , he appeared to return to this w o r l d . He brought w i t h h i m the four and six aspects of all the development stages, the five levels of the c o m p l e t i o n stages of the father tantras, the four mudras of the mother tantras, and in particular "the extremely wonderous tantra, w h i c h condenses the teachings into three w o r d s . " He proclaimed these to others, and he attained the supreme s i d d h i of mahamudra. In Bengal, T i l o p a said: I have no h u m a n g u r u . My guru is the omniscient one. He also said, "I have conversed w i t h the B u d d h a . " A l l w o r t h y ones there heard h i m and attained the celestial realm. T h u s the country of Bengal was emptied for the t h i r d time.

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THE BIOGRAPHY FOR SUPERIOR STUDENTS: TILOPA MANIFESTS AS A COMPLETE BUDDHA W h e n T i l o p a was a c h i l d in Jago practicing his letters under an akaru tree, a w o m a n appeared and asked, " W h a t is your country, w h o are y o u r parents, and what is y o u r name?" T i l o p a answered: My My My My

c o u n t r y is Jago in the east. father is the brahman Radiance. mother is the brahman Radiant. sister is the brahman Radiant T o r c h .

I am the brahman Radiant Light. This tree is a shapa tree. F o r my herd, I am tending buffalo. After I learn my letters, I w i l l practice the h o l y dharma. The w o m a n became angry and said, "That is not s o ! " " W e l l , what is?" T i l o p a said. The w o m a n said: Your Your Your Your You,

country is U d d i y a n a in the west. father is Cakrasamvara. mother is Vajrayogini. sister is myself, She W h o Bestows Bliss. my brother, are Pancapana.

If y o u desire to tend the buffalo of meditative experience In the forest of b o d h i trees, The hearing lineage of that w i t h o u t letter Is in the hands of the stainless d a k i n i . " C a n I receive these teachings?" T i l o p a asked. She replied: Y o u are an emanation w h o possesses the prophecy and c o m m i t m e n t for these. If y o u take them by force, y o u w i l l get them. " W h a t is required to go there?" "A crystal ladder, a jewel bridge, and a key made out of grass and b u r d o c k are all that is necessary," she said and then disappeared. T i l o p a returned home and told his parents what had happened. They gave h i m the three things he needed and told h i m to go ahead. T h u s he departed, and in an instant he reached U d d i y a n a . There was a series of seven i r o n walls and seven moats there. In the center of these was the temple of the spontaneously arisen H e r u k a , also k n o w n as the Dharmaganja. First he came to the outermost w a l l . D e v o u r i n g action-dakinis were gathered there and said to h i m : We are d e v o u r i n g dakinis. We eat flesh and thirst for b l o o d .

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T h e n they displayed v a r i o u s miracles. T i l o p a said: Because I am not f r i g h t e n e d even by m a n y dakinis, N o t one tip of my h a i r hasirembled! He then s u b d u e d t h e m w i t h his overpowering brilliance. He set his crystal ladder against the i r o n v v a l l s and placed his j e w e l bridge over the moats. Thus he arrived in front of t h e monastery's door. The dakinis there said: Because we are w e a k , common w o m e n , If we do not ask t h e assembly of lady ministers, T h e y w i l l eat o u r f l e s h and drink our b l o o d . 0 h o l y m a n , c o n s i d e r our predicament w i t h kindness! They went to p e t i t i o n the enjovment body (sambhogakaya) dakinis, the assembly of lady m i n i s t e r s . Tilopa said: L i k e bees h o v e r i n g around a lamp, H o w can the l a d y doorkeepers possibly conquer me? He opened the d o o r - w i t h his key and forced his way inside. The dakinis w h o dwelt there appeared i n terrifyingguises and l o o k e d for a n o p p o r t u n i t y t o h a r m h i m . However, T i l o p a performed the gaze that overpowers body, speech, and m i n d , and so they a s k e d their queen, the dharma-body w i s d o m d a k i n i , for p e r m i s s i o n to let h i m e n t e r . She gave her assent. T i l o p a entered into the center of the mandala, but o n c e there he d i d not prostrate respectfully to the Blessed L a d y . The dakas a n d d a k i n i s said: This manner is disrespectful To the m o t h e r of the buddhas of the three times, the Blessed Lady. W h y don't we c o n q u e r him? However, the B l e s s e d L a d y herself said: He is the father of the buddhas of the three times, Cakrasamvara. E v e n if a h a i l of vajras fellfrom the s k y u p o n h i m , H e c o u l d n o t b e conquered. T h e n she asked T i l o p a . "Whydid y o u come here?" T i l o p a replied: 1 am P a n c a p a n a . My sister, She V V h o Bestows Bliss, sent me. I request the h e a r i n g lineage, that w i t h o u t letter. She showed h i m t h r e e signs: the empowerment card [pictures of sacred objects used in i n i t i a t i o n s ] of the body, the seed syllable of speech, and the m u d r a of mind. Tilopa s a i d : F r o m the t r e a s u r y of the empowerment card of the body I request the wish-fulfilling jewel of the lineage.

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F r o m the treasury of the seed syllable of speech, I request the w i s h - f u l f i l l i n g jewel of the path that ripens. F r o m the treasury of the scepter of the m i n d , I request the w i s h - f u l f i l l i n g j e w e l of the path that frees. The Blessed L a d y replied: In the treasury of the empowerment card of the b o d y Is the w i s h - f u l f i l l i n g j e w e l of the lineage. Because the l o c k of the commitments has been placed on it, O n e w h o does not have the commitments cannot open the door. In the treasury of the seed syllable of speech Is the w i s h - f u l f i l l i n g jewel of the path that ripens. Because the l o c k of prophecy has been placed on it, O n e w h o has not been prophesied cannot open the door. In the treasury of the scepter of the m i n d Is the w i s h - f u l f i l l i n g jewel of the path that frees. Because the l o c k of siddhas has been placed on it, O n e w h o is not a siddha cannot open the door. T i l o p a said: I have the key of the d a k i n f s p r o p h e c y ! T h e dakinis all gave a horse laugh, and the Blessed L a d y said: A l t h o u g h a b l i n d m a n l o o k s , he does not see a thing. A l t h o u g h a deaf m a n listens, he does not hear a s o u n d . A l t h o u g h a mute m a n speaks, he does not understand the meaning. A l t h o u g h a c r i p p l e d m a n runs, he does not get anywhere. T h e y are a l l deceived by M a r a [the d e v i l w h o creates obstacles], a n d there is no truth. In reply T i l o p a said: The discipline of m i n d w h i c h is the secret words of the dakinis, The torch of w i s d o m that dispells the darkness of ignorance, In itself, self-existing, s e l f - i l l u m i n a t i n g : I have the key to this self-existent c o m m i t m e n t . The nature of one's m i n d , in w h i c h all phenomena are u n b o r n , Is the nature of all phenomena, the truth b o d y (dharmakaya). In the great seal that prophesies this I have the key to the experience of spontaneous presence. Free f r o m concept, free f r o m any mental activity, Free f r o m even an atom of recollecting the past, The m i n d itself experiencing itself is s e l f - i l l u m i n a t i n g . I have the key to the experience of an accomplished one.

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Lest he c o m m i t an evil deed, he d i d not say a n y t h i n g untrue. The Blessed Lady said: To y o u , my consort, the Blessed O n e , Cakrasamvara, the supreme bliss, T i l o B u d d h a , protector of beings, I offer these three w i s h - f u l f i l l i n g jewels. T h e n she satisfied T i l o p a by offering herself passionately. She gave h i m the oral instructions of the hearing lineage and appointed h i m master of all the tantras in the Dharmaganja. After this, T i l o p a said: L i k e a b i r d in the sky, I soar unobstructed as excellent w i s d o m . T h u s , he became r e n o w n e d by the name Excellent W i s d o m (Prajnabhadra). T h e dakinis requested: 0 noble one, where are y o u going? Please stay here for our sake! T i l o p a replied: F o r the sake of my sons N a r o , R i r i , and Kasori, I, the y o g i n , w i l l go to C r o w n Jewel Monastery. As he was leaving, a voice resounded f r o m the formless realm a n d bestowed on h i m the teachings of the formless d a k i n i . T h e n T i l o p a said: W h e n I teach others, 1 w i l l do it like this. In the gandola (vessel or palace) of the i l l u s o r y body 1 w i l l place the secret of the formless d a k i n i . H a v i n g fastened the l o c k of inexpressible speech, The b i r d o f m y m i n d w i l l soar i n l u m i n o s i t y . T i l o p a went to stay at the monastery of O d a n t a p u r i . There he accepted worthy ones as his disciples, a n d he still remains there up to the present time. T i l o p a said: M y body i s Hevajra. M y speech i s M a h a m a y a . M y m i n d i s Cakrasamvara. My sense organs are Guhyasamaja. M y m a i n limbs are the Black Yamari Tantra. My secondary l i m b s are the great Vajrabhairava. The hairs of my body are inseparable F r o m the body, speech, and m i n d of the buddhas of the three times!

8

Atisa's Journey to Tibet

Hubert

Decker

Master Dromton's account of Atisa's travels, The Dromton Itinerary ('Brom ston lam yig), is composed as an experiential account, to be read as a companion piece to the more stately, standard sacred biography of Dipamkara Srijnana, better k n o w n by his honorific title Atisa, the Outstanding or Supremely Genuine One ( 9 8 2 1054). The first part deals essentially w i t h the complex reasons and circumstances that led to Atisa's decision to leave his home in central India for, first, Nepal and, later, the inhospitable highlands of western and central Tibet; the second part recounts the actual journey. The presumed author of the Itinerary, the lay disciple Gyalwe Jungne (Rgyal pa'i 'byung gnas), usually referred to as D r o m t o n ('Brom ston, the Master from the D r o m clan, 1005-1064), met Atisa shortly before the latter's near-departure from Tibet, at the close of a stay there as originally intended for "a m a x i m u m of three years." D r o m t o n was instrumental in m a k i n g Atisa instead choose the snowy land of Tibet for his main "sphere of taming"—a standard expression for leading capable candidates to the training—and remain there until the end of his life, for a full twelve years. As such, D r o m t o n is invariably depicted at Atisa's feet as one of his two main disciples.

The Framing Tale of the Itinerary At Bodhgaya's Vajra Throne, the very site where Sakyamuni attained enlightenment, Nagtso Lotsawa (Nag tsho lo tsa ba), in the presence of his senior Tibetan colleague Gya Tsondru Senge (Rgya Brtson 'grus seng ge), presents Atisa w i t h an account of all the previous efforts made by the rulers of western Tibet to invite the great pandita to their country. The first part of the Itinerary consists of one long flashback, starting w i t h Nagtso first being drawn into the enterprise when he is awakened by a royal messenger at his o w n residence, w i t h i n To ling's Golden Temple (Stod gling gser khang).

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Nested w i t h i n is another flashback, delivered by the princely m o n k Jangchub O (Byang chub 'od), in the course of w h i c h he reports the last wish of his royal uncle, K i n g Yeshe O (Ye shes od), a most ardent appeal for Atisa personally to come and resurrect the Buddhist teaching in Tibet. The k i n g sacrifices his life for the great goal; later, his nephew and successor offers nearly the entire wealth of his country as the gift to go w i t h a renewed request to Atisa. The accompanying message represents serious ceremonial bargaining, worded in such a way as to make it virtually impossible for Atisa to refuse. W h y were the royal "Uncle and N e p h e w " so set on inviting Atisa? After the forced disbanding of the Buddhist community's monastic core under K i n g Langdarma (Glang dar ma) one and a half centuries earlier, the newly acquired religion was in serious disarray throughout Tibet. Nagtso's royal patron sketches the desperate state of affairs in two short sentences: " A l l realized sages have passed away. The level of knowledge is enough to make one weep." In his view, the poor level of knowledge was often being compensated for by the improvisation of glib actorsturned-self-styled-gurus. Without the sure guidance of experienced mentors, the entire edifice of Buddhist theory and practice had lost its solid foundation. To the Uncle and Nephew, one thing was clear: either the full transmission was to be restored w i t h i n their lifetime, or the Buddha's teaching in Tibet w o u l d , by the following generation, merely survive as a "dharma cult," the memory of a souvenir about an echo. It was in western Tibet that, in reaction to a "bogged d o w n " Buddhism, the preliminaries for a potential renaissance were thus being set in motion. It was not (and still is not) an easy place to live. The k i n g does not fail to remind Atisa of this, via the messenger Nagtso, w h e n he compares the harsh conditions of his native Ngari (Mnga 'ris) to "Pretapuri City—the town of the hungry ghosts— where to raise a single yellow sheep already presents m u c h hardship." It is nomad country at high elevation; endless desertlike steppe land crossed by rivers of melting snow, where w i t h i n a twenty-four hour period one may suffer sunburn during the day and frostbite at night, and where travel, then as now, is likely to turn into an obstacle course and an endurance test very quickly. The exquisite Tsaparang frescoes that survived the Chinese Cultural Revolution—among the most sublime of all Tibetan painting—and pre-1950 photographs of the refined sculpture at the n o w ruined Tho ling (Mtho gling) monastery bear witness to the incredible cultural oases the rulers of western Tibet were able to create in these barely habitable barren wastes. In the course of a royal alms tour to collect funds for sponsoring Atisa's i n v i tation, K i n g Yeshe O was kidnapped and held for ransom by a neighboring ruler of the Qarlug Mongols. The text presents that nameless M o n g o l leader as ardently anti-Buddhist, without saying a w o r d about his religious commitment. It was not for another two and a half centuries that some of the M o n g o l clans w o u l d begin converting to Islam, away from their original shamanistic and, later, Buddhist beliefs. At the time of the events recorded in the Itinerary, the Mongols probably

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just feared having to give up their wilder ways of adventurous raiding and k i d napping; if a large-scale Buddhist conversion were to occur among the Mongols, they might have to abandon the huge sacrificial events before ancestor-hero statuary and the exuberant feasting that were their traditional ways. Of interest is the dialogue between the nephew, a rather tentative rescuer, and his imprisoned uncle. Jangchub 0 thinks he has to console the old k i n g and mentally strengthen h i m w i t h some dharma advice appropriate to the situation: "engage in some farming whereby to plant some compassion beneath your breast." Such advice is quite insulting, since K i n g Yeshe O has previously been his o w n guru, as the text does not neglect to inform us explicitly. In his rebuke, K i n g Yeshe O insists: do not bother about me; concentrate on the main issue, and settle for no one less than the best to restore Buddhism in Tibet.

Nagtso Lotsawa's Journey from Ngari (Western Tibet) to Vikramasila (Northeast India) In all of Buddhist India, Atisa undoubtedly was "the best." In the words of the abbot Ratnakara of Vikramasila's monastic university, Atisa was "the one who holds in hand the keys of all the viharas of India," meaning not only was he the ultimate authority and "the incomparable" (Skt: Atisa), but also he was thoroughly versed in each of the "eighteen philosophical schools," the views of each of w h i c h , at the corresponding colleges, he could expound as if they represented his very own. Nagtso's task, therefore, was truly a mission impossible; a little as if a professor from the little University of the A n d a m a n Islands set out to try and persuade Einstein to give up his prestigious Princeton post, after first having crossed the ocean by raft. The Itinerary allows us some glimpses of the dangers involved in a journey to India, circa 1037 C.E. Previous to Nagtso Lotsawa's departure, Jangchub 0 makes a laconic remark about most previous messengers having "perished from either the heat or poisonous snakes." Nagtso is supposed to be already familiar w i t h these forms of nuisance from an earlier study trip and residence in India—a major reason w h y the choice fell on h i m . He is less prepared for the threat of untrustworthy innkeepers and porters, all of them k n o w n as atsaras. Nagtso survives the first attempt on his l i f e — a n d , later, other dire situations— thanks to the intervention of a deus ex machina, who w i l l manifest in everchanging guises. O n l y in the last paragraph of part 1 w i l l a weaver girl enter a trance and reveal to Nagtso this figure's real identity, w h i c h does not mean the reader cannot at least half predict the outcome. W h e n the boatman w h o rows the party across the Ganges recites, by way of an answer to one of Nagtso's questions, "If the Arya, as boat and boatman, does not then, i n time of terror, [come to] escort [those in distress]," one is reminded of the famous Mahayana

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sutra passage about the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara appearing in whatever fo> rm happens to be the most efficient to inspire and guide fortunate disciples. M o r e over, the fact that the boatman obliquely refers to himself in the third persona as "the A r y a " ("Superior"; a c o m m o n honorific for a bodhisattva) is a sufficient c_lue to fill in "Avalokitesvara." As w i l l be seen below, this is only half the answer. In passing, the boatman (Arya Avalokitesvara) offers Nagtso a number of h i i n t s about the w o r k i n g of mantras in general and some direct instruction on the imam practice in particular, the famous mantra associated in Tibet with Avalokiteswara as the national protector of Tibet (see chapter 2). An interesting minor trait in the depiction—Nagtso's eyewitness account—of Vikramasila's monastic university is the mention of "the c o m m o n house of the Tibetans," showing that a l r e a d y in India (as later in Tibet) students were boarded in different houses according to their region of origin. By the eleventh century it was already an established f e a t u r e for students to study abroad at Buddhist monastic universities, ranging from T a x ila (present-day Pakistan) to far-away Wu Tai Shan in C h i n a , whereMaropa s e n t a student to study w i t h a tantric master. Atisa himself is a case in point, s i n c e at the time of Nagtso's arrival at Vikramasila he had still not returned from_ his twelve-year study trip to the G o l d Isles in southeast Asia, a place identified variously by scholars as Sumatra, southern Thailand, or Java.

Nagtso's First Meeting with Lord Atisa As luck w o u l d have it, Nagtso is being informed about Atisa's imminent r e t u r n the very next day, when he w i l l preside over a grand assembly of the sarigh_a. It is worth pausing here a moment to examine the author Dromton's lit«erary qualities. His account of Nagtso's first perception of the Master, seated high a_bove the rows of the assembled monks (Naropa among them!), is nothing less than majestic. The following scene of Nagtso's first, unexpected, face-to-face me=eting w i t h Atisa achieves a clever crescendo in the sequences, w i t h marked psych_-ological finesse. Rather than vaunt Atisa's sublime teaching skills, Dromton allo"v*^s the reader to view them in action when the Master corrects one error at a timer, and he only points out the next one w h e n the previous lesson has sunkin. A b o w e all, the unsurpassed Atisa is depicted as showing active interest in the hesitantt progress of Nagtso, a relative beginner, here engaged in Sanskrit recitation and « n e m orization of the Heart Sutra, when all the other j u n i o r panditas had w a l k e d past without paying any attention. Also intriguing is the secrecy maintained at Vikramasila about Atisa's p r e s e n c e . Nagtso's m o n k neighbor in the assembly tells h i m an outright lie, d e n y i n g the identity of Atisa ("This is V i r a Hasavajra!"), and so does a menacing beggar o^utside the vihara ("Don't you dare take our Atisa away from us!" followed by a g^auche correction of this slip of the tongue: "This is not Atisa anyway"). The e x p l a n a t i o n awaits the reader in the last chapter.

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Signs and prophecies of Atisa's impending departure for Tibet Nagtso vaguely realizes that, throughout his o w n journey to India and his subsequent encounters there, "miraculous manifestations assisted me in an uninterrupted flow, but whether they meant anything definite I d i d not k n o w . " N o t being a realized yogin, he wonders, in other words, whether it was not his imagination that had run amok; he never completely trusted these intrusions of the extraordinary. At the close of his long recollection of the antecedents to the invitation, he also inquires of Atisa himself whether these were "miraculous manifestations," and, if so, whether they contained any prophetic value w i t h regard to the possibility of Atisa's willingness to make the long journey to Tibet. The Master refrains from any direct reply and instead sends h i m off to consult a professional in the arts of divination. The diviner/weaver girl near Vikramasila scolds Nagtso for not having realized any earlier that—as we suspected, w i t h the " A r y a " reference above—Arya A v a lokitesvara has been acting as his guardian angel all along. But she precedes this explanation by another one: "it appears that all of these are Dromton's miraculous transformations," and it is to D r o m t o n that Nagtso is directed to address his prayers. It is of course bizarre, to say the least, that author D r o m t o n w o u l d thus interweave, in his account of Atisa's travels, a strong streak of what is barely distinguishable from self-apotheosis (incidentally, the strongest argument against his authorship); entirely out of tune w i t h the extreme humility, assumed at all times by Dromton in Atisa's presence, and about w h i c h all biographers are unanimous. The only possible explanation is related to the (postulated) function of the Itinerary as a corrective postscript to the sacred biography, in the sense that the mass of information therein tends to d r o w n the one feature essential for Atisa's lasting influence on the B u d d h i s m of Tibet: the diffusion of his teaching of the "stages of the path" (Jam rim) and the founding of the Kadampa sect, both of w h i c h were a direct outcome of the historic meeting between Atisa and his prophesied disciple Dromton. In "secret biography" style, author D r o m t o n , therefore, merely sets the record straight, albeit by means of a good dose of the supernatural. This chapter marks the end of the framing tale: Nagtso concludes his lengthy monologue w i t h a last plea to Atisa to take up the burden of guiding the l i v i n g beings of Tibet, the Snowy Fortress.

Nagtso's Final Interview with Abbot Ratnakara Atisa finally agrees, but in accordance w i t h the vinaya rules he needs the official Permission from abbot Ratnakara for a prolonged absence. He dispatches Nagtso ;* his official messenger. The plan is to set out on a pilgrimage "to show these etan ayusmans (a respectful term of address used by a teacher for his m o n k s

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students) the great sacred spots of India," i.e., those holy places associated with the major events in the Buddha's life and, then as now, the major target of foreign Buddhist pilgrims traveling to India. The intended subterfuge is somehow to extend that pilgrimage forever, even into Tibet. Through no specific blunder of Nagtso, Ratnakara, in an instant, sees through the game. The dialogue whereby Nagtso finds himself cornered, already fearing that all his (and Jangchub O's) long years of effort and their grand plan are about to fall apart, is again a masterly composition, a scenario worthy of stage performance. N o r is abbot Ratnakara m u c h worried about political correctness: he squarely refers to Nagtso's Tibet as "that yak enclosure of yours." Nagtso, guided by another vision (Avalokitesvara as divine horseman, a manifestation of Dromton), manages to reverse the situation overnight. This is also the moment when Ratnakara expresses the major reason for his reluctance to let Atisa depart. It is no longer that the great pandita holds the keys of India's viharas and that he is desperately needed. Instead he brings up the l u r k i n g danger of Turko-Afghan raiders w h o , each spring, penetrate deeper into India; on the return journey to their native Afghanistan, loaded w i t h plunder, they attract more volunteers to j o i n them on another expedition to the fabulously wealthy country of India the next season. Ratnakara's apparent argument is that "many dharma centers have been destroyed, many vihara complexes are becoming desolate, and many more are the Turuska armies that w i l l come." Therefore, since the teaching centers have become few and are likely to become fewer still, the leading Buddhist institutions such as Nalanda, Vikramasila, Bodhgaya, and Odantapuri have to maintain their standards at all costs—impossible in the absence of the incomparable Atisa. But one wonders whether abbot Ratnakara does not also allude to another facet of Atisa's multiple masteries. A c c o r d i n g to Taranatha, in his Transmission History of the Slayer of Death (Yamantaka), King among Tantras, the h i d d e n reason why Buddhist N o r t h India eventually collapsed and suffered destruction from the Afghan raids was the absence of realized masters in the ferocious practices of the wrathful deities, specifically the Slayer of Death (Yamantaka) and of the Lightning Terror (Vajrabhairava). That Atisa possessed expertise in Yamantaka is clear from the fact that he empowered Nagtso in the practice. In the autobiographical account of Atisa's journey to the G o l d Isles, there is explicit reference to that sort of intervention. Moreover, Atisa's younger brother Vlryacandra, w h o accompanied them to Tibet, had also specialized in the same practice. A l l of this could provide a reason for abbot Ratnakara's conviction that, to counter the Turuska attacks by miraculous intervention of the wrathful type, Atisa (and Vlryacandra) might be even more indispensable. This might account for the aura of secrecy about his person maintained by all those around h i m . Subjecting Atisa to the fate that shortly before had befallen K i n g Yeshe O in Tibet w o u l d be the dreaded ingredient that w o u l d accelerate the d o o m and "darkness all over India," so pointedly predicted by the abbot. A n d thus, in 1040, Atisa d i d set out for Tibet, w i t h Ratnakara's (albeit reluctant)

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blessings. The total destruction of Vikramasila took place almost exactly two centuries later; but by this time, thanks to the protagonists of the Itinerary, the B u d dhist transmissions had become firmly established in Tibet. The selections translated below from The Dromton Itinerary are based on the Z h o l edition, i n the Biography ojAtisa and His Disciple 'Brom ston (Bka'gdams glegs bam), ed. Lokesh Chandra, Shata Pitaka series, v o l . 311, (Delhi: International Academy of Indian Culture, 1982), 1:237-97. The first three sections of the Itinerary appear on pp. 2 3 8 - 5 3 . The last selection on Nagtso's final interview with Abbot Ratnakara is from p p . 2 5 8 - 6 1 . To assist the reader in recognizing at what point in the recollections a particular monologue or dialogue takes place, indentations differentiate one framing tale from the next.

Further Reading A translation by Hubert Decleer excerpted from Dromtdn's Itinerary of Atisa's twelve-year adventures in the G o l d Isles of Sumatra appears in Buddhism in Practice, ed. Donald S. Lopez, Jr. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995), p p . 532-40. For more o n Atisa's role i n Nepal, see Hubert Decleer, Jowo Atisa in Nepal: The Tham Bahil and Five Stupas' Foundation according to the Dromton Itinerary ( Z D M G , forthcoming 1996); on Atisa's role in Tibet, see Alaka Chattopadhyaya, Atisa in Tibet (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1967), as well as Sarat Chandra Das, Indian Pandits in the Land oj Snow (Calcutta: Firma K L M , [1893] 1965).

The Itinerary THE LAST WISH OF KING YESHE 6 [At the Vajra T h r o n e (Bodhgaya) Nagtso the Translator recalls the antecedents to the West Tibetan K i n g Yeshe O's i n v i t a t i o n of Master A t i s a . The m a i n addressee of his l o n g monologue is Atisa himself, hence the not infrequent outof-context s w i t c h i n g back from "he" and " h i m " to " y o u , L o r d (Atisa)."] In reaction to a strong influence f r o m the enemies of the Buddha's teaching, the dharma kings U n c l e and N e p h e w [ K i n g Yeshe O and his nephew successor Jangchub O ] , through some of their subjects, had come to hear about y o u r renown. J u d g i n g by this, the dharma kings U n c l e and Nephew—teacher and disciple, t o o — c o n s u l t e d an oracle as w e l l as the astrological omens about a messenger ceremoniously to invite y o u , L o r d [Atisa]. The choice fell on me. [I remember:] I was awakened from deep sleep at my residence in the G o l d e n Temple, in the l a n d of G u n g t h a n g , and conducted to the N g a r i region of the g - The great m o n k - k i n g [Jangchub O] had me seated on a throne and l n

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showed me great reverence, repeatedly calling me "learned," "accomplished," "of noble character," in terms of the utmost praise. Essentially, in his l o n g address, he had this to say: Vinayadhara [upholder of monastic discipline], my ancestors, those b o d h i sattva kings and ministers, introduced the Buddha's teaching, passed it on as a tradition, then made it spread and increase far and w i d e . Yet, at present, the Buddha's teaching is on the decline, bogged d o w n . L i v i n g beings of the d e m o n race are the ones victorious in dispute. A l l realized sages have passed away. The level of knowledge is enough to make one weep. N o w the two of us, uncle and nephew, have been asking ourselves: " W i l l this person [Atisa] be useful and up to the situation? Is he reliable? Does he have his m i n d on the Buddha's teaching?" and next we decided to go ahead w i t h it and donated the customary present to go w i t h the ceremonial invitation. It was arranged for a h u n d r e d gold ounces to be carried to India in m i n i m a l amounts, and we sent these off, each time w i t h just one p r i n c i p a l messenger a n d a couple of attendants, in order to ceremoniously invite y o u , [Atisa]. M o s t of them perished f r o m either the heat or poisonous snakes, so that none of the wealth survived, and lives were lost. As for the little wealth that eventually did reach y o u , none of these major efforts could b r i n g it about for y o u to accept our invitation. Yet w i t h o u t losing heart, this great divine being [that is, our K i n g Yeshe O] went out to the regions bordering on N e p a l in order to collect gold by means of w h i c h to ceremoniously invite the L o r d [Atisa]. N o w the [Turco-Mongol] Qarlugking came to k n o w that the Dharmaraja was collecting gold for the pandita, and he spoke: "Already before, his ancestors sponsored the diffusion of the Buddha's teaching too," and he had h i m captured, then ordered: "Once he has i n v i t e d the pandita, he is going to propagate the Buddha's teaching; therefore, caught as he is n o w , put h i m i n j a i l ! " and h e had h i m tortured. W h e n I came to hear about this, driven by the force of frustration I gathered a h u n d r e d horsemen and set out to get my uncle back. But the Q a r l u g king's clansmen outnumbered us by far, and I didn't manage to free h i m . H a d I even declared war on the Qarlug and managed to beat them, it might have p r o d u c e d the reverse effect in the end. N o t o n l y w o u l d m a n y humans and animals have perished in the process, but for ourselves as w e l l , obstacles w o u l d thereby arise, [with negative karma such] that we might never be able to invite the Great L o r d . A n d so, in agreement w i t h one strategic expert, we negotiated. The Q a r l u g k i n g replied: " W e l l , just postpone inviting the pandita and come under my d o m i n i o n . Either that or h a n d over to me the amount of gold equal to the king's weight. O n l y then w i l l we release your king." F r o m the gold thus far collected we p i c k e d one h u n d r e d ounces and brought it along; but even though we argued and tried everything, he w o u l d

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not listen. N e x t , as we carried to h i m the amount equal to the prisoner's b o d y weight and again negotiated, he insisted: "It s h o u l d be absolutely the same, the complete amount," and he w o u l d n ' t listen any further. T h e n , havi n g gone in front of the gate where my uncle stayed in p r i s o n and was h a v i n g a h a r d time, I called out to h i m : M o s t k i n d one! K a r m a f r o m previous lives has come d o w n on us like lightning. E v e n if I beat h i m badly in war and get y o u out, s t i l l , we w i l l thereby send many people to their destruction and w i l l definitely be b o u n d for an evil rebirth as a result. As for the Q a r l u g king's p r o p o s a l — " D o n ' t invite any pandita and put yourself under my d o m i n i o n ! " — r a t h e r than d r o p p i n g dharma f r o m y o u r m i n d and being h e l d i n sway b y a n evil k i n g , I imagine it is far better if y o u stick to your course as a r e l i g i o u s - m i n d e d person. He t o l d us about the alternative: he wanted the amount of g o l d equivalent to yourself. So we set out for it and just managed to f i n d the amount equal to y o u r body. But he w o u l d not hear of it; so n o w , as soon we find the m i s s i n g amount equal to y o u r head, we shall b r i n g it as the ransom. In the meantime y o u s h o u l d recollect y o u r previous k a r m a and pray to the precious three [the B u d d h a , the dharma, and the sangha]; also, engage in some farming whereby to plant some compassion beneath y o u r breast," thus I t o l d h i m . M y uncle laughed l o u d l y : Am I perhaps y o u r foster c h i l d , the dear little glutton w h o n o w needs some restraint? O n e unable to put up w i t h hardship or devoid of courage—is that what y o u think? Once I a m dead, y o u may l o o k after me as part of the traditional rites for y o u r ancestors! M a y y o u clearly understand this! As for myself, let things be the way they are! My sole concern is that if, in this Tibet of ours, the dharma tradition is not restored and I die, it w i l l all have been in vain: that's what I think. E v e n if cured f r o m my present ills, this o l d m a n that I am w i l l at the most have ten years to l i v e — if I don't die this time, that is. T h r o u g h o u t previous lives in this beginningless cyclic existence, it never happened even once that I d i e d for the dharma's sake. So if this time I do, that w i l l be fine w i t h me. Don't y o u give even a single grain of gold to that k i n g ! W h a t hardship haven't y o u gone through to find gold just for my sake? So where are y o u going to find the extra g o l d , the weight of my head? Y o u better carry a l l the g o l d to India and go to any lengths to invite a pandita! A n d this is what I have to say for that pandita to hear: "I, for y o u r sake and for the sake of the Buddha's teaching, have offered my life and b o d y to that nasty Q a r l u g k i n g . Please, I pray y o u to accept me through y o u r compassion in all future lives. Foremost in my thought is that after y o u r c o m i n g to Tibet, y o u b r i n g about the propagation of the Buddha's teaching. A n d I pray for y o u r blessings so that this single thing may get done and that, throughout y o u r

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lives after the present one, we definitely meet!" T h i s is the message of m i n e to convey to h i m . In this way, all w i l l be fine and y o u can forget about me and concentrate on the Buddha's teaching!" So y o u , Vinayadhara, make sure that L o r d Atisa gets to hear these accounts of h o w my uncle was eliminated by the k i n g of the Qarlugs. T h i s compassionate uncle of m i n e , ah, the hardships that he went t h r o u g h ! A l s o , as I resisted going away leaving my uncle b e h i n d , through a c h i n k in the door I l o o k e d inside and saw the bodies [of my uncle and his entourage] there, tied up w i t h silk. T h e i r voices had lost all luster; and all different in outward appearance f r o m what they had been before, their bodies had n o w become like bees, [emaciated and] all alike. F r o m the hole there came the s o u n d : " A n d keep this in m i n d : for the sentient beings of Tibet and for the Buddha's teachings, there is none but the L o r d [Atisa]!" N o w since already we, ignorant beings of Tibet's border countries, have that k i n d of determination, what then must the determination be l i k e of compassionate beings w h o are a source of refuge for transmigrators? T e l l h i m [Atisa] that too! Here are seven h u n d r e d ounces of g o l d . Carry these to India and offer them into the guru's o w n hands, w i t h my message: I, here in this Tibet that is like Pretapuri C i t y — t h e t o w n of the h u n g r y ghosts—where just to raise a single y e l l o w sheep already presents plenty of hardship, I hereby " a m one ahead of the g u r u " and have completely assembled all the h u m a n wealth [of the c o u n t r y ] . If this time the L o r d Protector, even in response to this gesture, does not set out for Tibet, [all we can say is:] Is that what the compassion of y o u h o l y ones is like? E v e n I manage to complete whatever task I have set my m i n d o n ! N o w y o u , Vinayadhara, tell the L o r d about all these things, give h i m a f u l l account. If as a result he still does not decide to come, it w i l l deeply damage his reputation! TRANSLATOR NAGTSO'S JOURNEY TO VIKRAMASTLA IN NORTH INDIA So we, master and attendants seven in a l l , loaded ourselves w i t h the seven h u n d r e d ounces of g o l d ; then, heading for the road to India, we set out. The princely m o n k escorted us over a l o n g distance and then spoke these verses: M o n k , y o u , about to achieve a task for my sake, for our benefit, T h i s time, whatever great difficulties come y o u r way, W i t h the greatest perseverance, be ready even to sacrifice y o u r life; A n d u p o n y o u r return, once I k n o w you've done it, I'll be forever thankful. and w i t h these words, l o o k i n g back at me, he returned. O n e more time, though, he called out: "Please proceed w h i l e offering y o u r prayer requests to L o r d M a h a k a r u n i k a [Avalokitesvara], the Great Compassionate O n e . "

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As we approached "Nepal Fortress" [present-day Nuwakot, northwest of Kathmandu], we met one solitary traveler who addressed us: "You look as if you're setting out for some country far away, for some great purpose. . . ," so he said, ". . . now, as you go there, and also, having achieved your goal, are on your way back, you should keep on reciting: To the rare and precious three, I offer salutation with full prostration. In the land of Tibet, may the true dharma, Source of all the conqueror buddhas of the three times, Soon come to be diffused. and no calamities will occur en route." I inquired: "Please, who are you?" "You'll gradually find out," he spoke, and made no further reply. Then, as we arrived in the immediate vicinity of the Nepal Valley, we rented the residence of one atsara for our lodgings; and while caravan leader and servants were sleeping in a bamboo hut, the atsara came to know about the gold in our possession. He made a plan to put fire to the bamboo hut, then kill me and get hold of the gold. As I was the head of the group, my attendants were resting quite a distance from there. I suffered from fever, and just as I was desperate to get some sleep, next to my pillow a white human figure appeared, who pushed open the entrance of the bamboo hut, telling me: Don't sleep, don't sleep, get up, quickly! Don't go off to sleep, get up right now and get going! If you sleep now, your precious life will come to an end! [And as to your earlier question, know that] I am the yi dam deity of all of Tibet! Offering a prayer to the compassionate Mahakarunika [Avalokitesvara], we fled. At daybreak we came across a Nepali prince who was on his way to V i krama[sTla]. Having made friends with him, we traveled on together. Upon our reaching the riverbank of the Ganges, the prince, being a person of importance, embarked on the ferry and went across. By that time the Sun had gone down. On our side there was no one, and the atsaras of the jungle regions [among our train] were behaving in suspicious ways. It is so that people from the Mara clans and the ttrthikas [non-Buddhists] hate the sacred dharma. As for us, with the Buddha's teaching foremost in mind, we had come here carrying a lot of gold, and now there was no place to hide it, nor anywhere to go. Totally disoriented in this unfamiliar country, we offered our prayers to Lord Avalokitesvara and hid the gold beneath the sand at one spot while we went ourselves to stay and sleep elsewhere. A white boatman appeared, rowing his boat by moving the oars. As I inquired from him: "How is it possible that you have come, [this late]?" He replied:

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I have come to welcome master and servants w i t h their entourage. At the time w h e n the snowlanders w i t h great courage have arrived, If the A r y a , as boat and boatman, Does not then, i n time of terror, escort them, H o w then w i l l these deluded beings ever reach their destination? Q u i c k l y get i n , "those seven h u n d r e d " [gold ounces] and a l l , A n d I w i l l get y o u across to [Vi]krama[sila] at a leisurely pace. After he had thus spoken we offered a prayer to the Compassionate O n e , dug up the g o l d f r o m beneath the sand, and went aboard. I myself d i d one rosary of lorn] mani padme [hum]. Said the boatman: "I recite the mani padme mantra of this Great Compassionate O n e of the L a n d of Snows at length w h e n there is plenty of time available; in brief only w h e n there is little time," and next he recited the mani padme i n a clear way, d r a w i n g out the syllables. C a t c h i n g the m e l o d i o u s s o u n d , my m i n d became happy, free f r o m all w o r r y , and the idea in me was b o r n of v i e w i n g the boatman as a father. " W h o c o u l d he be?" I wondered, and as great doubts assailed me, I asked him: "Please, w h o are you? There is just myself, this ordinary person. Please give a reply." The boatman answered: " A l l of y o u ayusmans, it has been said: Early in an acquaintance, f u l l reliance does not come about q u i c k l y . H a l f w a y acquainted, modesty and hesitancy become less. W h e n f u l l y acquainted since l o n g , it is no longer a casual friendship. The benefit in times of utter helplessness and c o m i n g to the rescue, for someone l o n g acquainted, is definite. Y o u s h o u l d k n o w that it comes by stages, [the protection one receives] . . . ," thus he spoke, and any further reply to my original question d i d not come forth. He d i d , however, add: " A t present y o u have been saved f r o m the i m m i n e n t danger by approaching me as if y o u r father. But since y o u d i d not simultaneously p r o n o u n c e a prayer, y o u w i l l not reach the guesthouse at the end of the j o u r n e y tonight. In fact, that guesthouse, there it i s , . . . " He said, ". . . N o w we w i l l get to the other side by m i d n i g h t . Do not sleep on the riverbank nor on the farther away green slopes for fear of poisonous snakes. T h i s night y o u s h o u l d stay below the portal of V i k r a m a [ s i l a ] . No robbers w i l l come there tonight." So he spoke, then went off. No sooner had we reached the portal of V i k r a m a s i l a w h e n f r o m a lookout w i n d o w in the gate tower there was the voice of G y a T s o n d r i i Senge telling us. " H e y , y o u Tibetan ayusmans, where have y o u come f r o m ? " "We're f r o m U p p e r N g a r i , " we said. He c o n t i n u e d : " F i n e , there is a boy gatekeeper to w h o m y o u may entrust all

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your luggage and valuables. As for yourselves, just make yourselves comfortable in the porters' lodge, and have some sleep. At present, the first d a w n has been sounded. The gate w i l l be opened starting f r o m the second d a w n o n w a r d . " So we entrusted the gold to that one boy present there as gatekeeper. That boy put the gold away in a niche, then said: Trust in wealth is like trust in an enemy; Trust in one's son is like trusting one's o w n heart; Someone trustworthy is the supreme c o m p a n i o n . "Thus it has been said. Y o u l o o k exhausted; better get some sleep!" Overcome by fatigue, I wondered, " W h e n s u c h things come out of the m o u t h of a small c h i l d , h o w can he be an ordinary being?" The next m o r n i n g , as soon as the gate opened, a s m a l l boy appeared, wearing the c o m m o n large n o m a d hat and double w o o l e n clothes in n o m a d style, also carrying w i t h h i m a small d r i n k i n g b o w l . H e i n q u i r e d : " A l l of y o u l o o k l i k e Tibetans; where have y o u come from? N o t h i n g frightening happened en route?" all of this clearly spoken in Tibetan n o m a d speech, so that it made me t h i n k he was b o u n d to be of pure n o m a d b i r t h . I replied, then asked i n t u r n : " W e have come f r o m U p p e r N g a r i and 'the road was smooth.' As for yourself, where are you f r o m and where are y o u headed?" " M e too, I am a Tibetan and I'm about to go to Tibet. But by our l o u d t a l k i n g here, we are being careless, and we talk too m u c h . Y o u s h o u l d k n o w that the w r o n g k i n d of talk w i l l cause mistakes. F o r an important task one s h o u l d act in secrecy. G y a T s o n Seng resides in the c o m m o n house of the Tibetans. C o m e and discuss matters w i t h h i m , " he said and suddenly went away. Since we d i d not quite believe [what he had told us about being discreet], we d i d not lose our good m o o d . After we had been going for a w h i l e through a n a r r o w i n n e r lane, we met an extremely o l d rsi w i t h l o n g , b l o n d hair, red eyes, all emaciated, and carrying a staff made of d r i f t w o o d . He spoke: "Where have y o u come from? A n d where are y o u going? A n d what have y o u come for?" " W e have come f r o m U p p e r N g a r i t o ceremoniously invite L o r d Atisa. O h , w o u l d y o u happen to k n o w where the house of G y a T s o n Seng is?" we i n q u i r e d . Supporting himself on his staff, he l o o k e d a r o u n d f r o m the corners of his eyes, then said: " W h a t the boy this m o r n i n g said is true: Tibetans, rather than just shutting u p , disregard all sense of discretion even to the first vagabond they meet in the tiniest lane. H o w can y o u possibly hope to achieve y o u r goal this way? F r o m n o w o n , the best course to take is to stick close to my advice. As the L o r d is not here right n o w , do not open y o u r m o u t h about it to anyone else. E v e n to G y a , communicate about it o n l y in whispers: that w i l l be the right thing. I w i l l show y o u the door to his place."

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I started to w a l k b e h i n d h i m , but however s l o w l y the rsi proceeded, I c o u l d not keep up w i t h his speed. I was utterly astonished and started to have some doubts, for there he was, w a i t i n g for me in the portal of the Tibetan boarding house: "If y o u want to achieve a major task, y o u have to hurry slowly. If y o u hurry, do it at a leisurely pace, relaxed. F o r a distant goal, go about it s l o w l y , stage by stage, like c l i m b i n g a m o u n t a i n . T h i s is the house, by the w a y , " so he said. I went in right away and present there was G y a Lotsawa, l o o k i n g into a number of scriptures. I offered h i m the present, in gold-embroidered c l o t h , and the Lotsawa i n q u i r e d : " F r o m what particular d i r e c t i o n have y o u arrived?" I told h i m the w h o l e story in detail, and his comment was: Y o u better act as my disciples and pretend we do not k n o w each other. At present, do not p r o n o u n c e one w o r d about having come to invite A t i s a . W h a t y o u have to tell everyone is that y o u have come for y o u r studies. The elder Ratnakara is the one w i t h the highest power here, to the point that he commands even Atisa himself. W h a t y o u have to do is listen to dharma from h i m and get h i m to develop a l i k i n g for y o u . W i t h o u t h i m being able to sense y o u r real intention, go and offer h i m n o w half an ounce of gold and i n f o r m h i m , " W e have come f r o m Tibet; not to invite a pandita, though. W h a t in y o u r presence I w o u l d like to request is for myself to be accepted by, and connected w i t h , a pandita, just like any other disciple," thus you present y o u r application. T h e n , w i t h o u t ever h u r r y i n g or expressing your intention, y o u move s l o w l y , in the role of disciples. Eventually we w i l l , in the most s k i l l f u l way, present the request at the time of the Lord's coming back here. T h u s he spoke. Just to see the Lotsawa's reaction, I i n q u i r e d : " N o w if somehow we fail to invite L o r d A t i s a , w h i c h major great pandita below h i m s h o u l d we invite instead?" On the subject, the Lotsawa had this to say: "Let no such thing come forth f r o m y o u r l i p s ! N o t just one but m a n y more, some twenty panditas have gone there [to Tibet] on i n v i t a t i o n , since last year. Haven't they all proved useless for the sentient beings of Tibet, for people w i t h a behavior and temper like ours? Except for L o r d A t i s a , there is absolutely no one to possibly tame the sentient beings of Tibet. Therefore it is Atisa in person we must try to invite, by any means. . . ." NAGTSO'S FIRST MEETING WITH LORD ATISA ". . . T o m o r r o w , at Vikramala[sila]'s park, there w i l l be a gathering of the highest, m i d d l e , and l o w , ' w i t h an attendance of some eight h u n d r e d sangha members, and y o u s h o u l d come. A m o n g them, most radiant, most outstanding, like a blaze, the sacred presence par excellence f r o m whatever point of view, one w o n d e r f u l to b e h o l d in whatever assembly r o w he may be seated, w i l l be Atisa Direct v o u r prayer wishes to h i m day and n i g h t ! "

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N e x t , b o t h G y a T s o n d r u and I arrived in the presence of the elder Ratnakara. We offered prostrations, then presented h i m w i t h half an ounce of g o l d and I made the request the way G y a had taught me. The elder spoke: "That is most excellent. A y u s m a n , the situation is like this. It is not that I vvant to keep everyone here to ourselves. Other panditas cannot tame sentient beings the way he can. W i t h o u t A t i s a here, in this India that is the source of the Buddha's teaching, all w i l l come to naught, w i t h an inevitable decrease in the general well-being of sentient beings. The one w h o holds in his hand the keys of all the viharas of India is Atisa—that is the reason. A p a r t f r o m that, I have great love and m u c h kindness for the l i v i n g beings of Tibet. M o r e in particular, I was greatly affected by the many lives lost and all the wealth spent by this dharma k i n g of Tibet. Recollect their dedication to the Buddha's teaching, apply strong perseverance and the utmost w i l l p o w e r in y o u r study, and gain vast knowledge in the Buddha's teaching. I w i l l try to assist y o u in every possible way. L i k e this, y o u Tibetans w i l l even amaze the Indian [scholars] here." This and many other pleasant things he told us. The next day at n o o n ["by the time of the heat"], at the Sangha Park, the elder g u i d e d us among the rows of sangha members assembled there for the noon meal and had us seated among the rows of students. At that time, y o u [Atisa] had gone to the G o l d Isles and other sacred places and y o u had not yet returned. I [however, unaware of this], imagined that somewhere among the rows of seated m o n k s y o u were b o u n d to be presiding over one s u c h assembly. A l s o , as I d i d not understand the language spoken by the others a r o u n d me, my doubts were not cleared away. T h e n , at one point, V i d y a k o k i l a , already very o l d , arrived among the rows. He l o o k e d radiant, was ablaze w i t h splendor, and his entree was like the appearance of the W o r l d M o u n t a i n . To everyone seated nearby I asked: " T h i s is L o r d Atisa, is it not?" "Tibetan ayusmat, what are y o u saying? This is the h o l y guru V i d y a k o k i l a , a realized sage truly learned in the w o r k s of C a n d r a k i r t i . Y o u k n o w , he is Atisa's guru." L i k e w i s e , w h e n the great majestic l o r d Naropa and others, most brilliant horn among the oceanlike assembly, stood amidst the rows, each time I pointed them out w i t h my finger and asked: "Is this L o r d Atisa?" . . . " O h , this must be L o r d A t i s a , n o ? " . . . " W h a t are y o u talking about? T h i s is the great l o r d and master N a r o p a , at Present incomparable on E a r t h ! He too is one of Atisa's gurus," was the o n l y answer that came forth. As I c o u l d not see Atisa anywhere, I started to get depressed, wondering: "But where then c o u l d this L o r d be? W h i c h one is it (among those assembled here]?" and as n o b o d y a r o u n d was able to tell me for ttre, I was close to being really discouraged. At one stage the k i n g of V i k r a masila took his seat on the throne specially prepared for h i m , but not one of te panditas great or m i n o r d i d as m u c h as rise f r o m his seat. s

tf

Right then, as all the rows of participants had j o i n e d the assembly, y o u , ^Ord, appeared, and I c o u l d not gaze at y o u enough. To Indians l o o k i n g at

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y o u , y o u l o o k e d Indian; to Nepalis and Tibetans and to the gods, as they beheld y o u , y o u l o o k e d N e p a l i and Tibetan and a god alike. Besides the great splendor of y o u r appearance, there was a smile on y o u r face: your robes were smooth, l o o k i n g as if p o l i s h e d . A great number of small keys were hanging from y o u r waist. Y o u started to w a l k w i t h o u t a haughty air; your walk was gentle, as y o u h u r r i e d in f r o m outside; and u p o n y o u r arrival, numerous ayusmans in front presented incense fragrances to y o u . The k i n g in person rose from his seat; and as he got u p , so d i d the assemblies of panditas and ordained ones. I saw h o w y o u took a place above the central r o w and thereupon I thought: "I can't see the reason w h y everyone shows h i m s u c h marks of homage and gets up for h i m , nor w h y he has the seat at the head of the row. Is he of that royal family perhaps? T h i s front r o w seat, if it doesn't belong to some amazing elder, it must be Atisa's very o w n ! " and so, again I asked: "Is this A t i s a ? " " W h a t are y o u saying? T h i s is V i r a Hasavajra. He is a wandering pandita w i t h o u t any fixed abode." " A n d what qualities is he outstanding i n ? " I further asked. " H i s excellent qualities I am unable to assess," he said, and no explanation followed. T h e n one day I was reciting the Heart Sutra at one of the gates of the m o n astery. At the point [in the sutra] where I said, "Form ha, feeling ha," other panditas d i d not say anything. But once the L o r d [Atisa] was walking by. He s m i l e d and stopped, " T h a n k y o u , ayusmat. But that is the vulgar pronunciation. Say, 'form a, feeling a . ' " I [not realizing that he was Atisa] thought, "This kind pandita seems special. He is gentle, h u m b l e , clear, and whatever he says is spoken with the w i s h to be h e l p f u l . If I cannot invite the L o r d [Atisa], I must invite him [to come to Tibet]." In the m o r n i n g , I was saying, " f o r m a, feeling a," when the Lord s m i l e d and said, "Venerable one, even that comes out sounding harsh. This is the speech of the protector A v a l o k i t a , there's n o t h i n g w r o n g with it. It is fine to say, 'no f o r m , no f e e l i n g . ' " T h u s he spoke. As a result, an even stronger faith in h i m was b o r n i n me. W h i l e I was s t i l l outside the vihara complex and had walked to the other side, there he was, g i v i n g out the torma foodstuffs and the deities'altar offerings to a great many beggars. I i n q u i r e d f r o m all the beggars there: "Is this L o r d Atisa?" and one beggar replied: " W h a t shaky talk is this? Don't y o u take Atisa to Tibet! Don't y o u ever cut off our daily meal by d e p r i v i n g us of the L o r d ! In any case, no, this is not A t i s a ! The u n i q u e and great Atisa is in a secret place!" A g a i n the next m o r n i n g , as Atisa was g i v i n g out food to the assembled beggars, one p o o r beggar boy had missed out on his share and was n o w r u n n i n g after h i m , repeating: "Atisa, bala ho, bhata ho na, bhata ho n a ! " ["Atisa, there is one c h i l d (left,

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with) no rice, no r i c e ! " ] , and as I watched the beggar boy r u n n i n g after h i m , I thought: "This seems definitely to be L o r d A t i s a ! " and I was d u m b f o u n d e d . My eyes filled w i t h tears and I too started to r u n after h i m . But next, as 1 was about to catch up w i t h [him, i.e.,] y o u at the bridge, there y o u [Atisa] stood, telling me: "E ma, ayusmat f r o m Tibet, truly, shed no tears! T o w a r d y o u r Tibetan k i n g , ministers, and subjects, I feel badly [for not having come earlier]. It so happens that, w h i l e already quite o l d , I still do have to h o l d m a n y keys. E v e n n o w y o u should not lose heart. Offer y o u r prayer requests to the precious ones." Yet as soon as he had spoken, m o v e d by b o t h great hope and utter gratitude, my eyes filled w i t h tears and I c o u l d not b r i n g out a w o r d . T h e r e u p o n the L o r d , aware of my tears, gave me a l o n g discourse, w i t h instructions about h o w to conceal the p l a n . At that m o m e n t Putawo arrived. Behaving l i k e one quite alarmed, he said [pointing at me]: " D i d he say anything bad?" and so I h i d my tears. [There is some apparent confusion here, in that (1) G y a T s o n d r i i Senge first tells Nagtso that Atisa is not yet back; (2) he then informs h i m that A t i s a w i l l be back, at the assembly; (3) Nagtso states he was s t i l l unaware of A t i s a being away; (4) but then the latter does appear, although everyone in Nagtso's reach denies it. Rather than view the above as confused narration, it seems to be written so by design, as if better to evoke Nagtso's nervousness and uncertainty; this builds to the c u l m i n a t i o n in the scene w i t h the beggar boy w h o missed out.] SIGNS AND PROPHECIES OF ATISA'S IMPENDING DEPARTURE FOR TIBET [Atisa's o w n divinations and received prophecies are amply treated in his extensive sacred biography. Here it is Nagtso the translator, still speaking in the first person, w h o requests some o m e n f r o m A t i s a . The latter sends h i m to consult a y o u n g boy, a dancing y o g i n i , two c h i l d r e n , and finally, in the passage here ( w h i c h marks the end of the Itinerary's part 1, "The Invitation"), a weaver girl.] A l s o , ever since my leaving Tibet, up to right n o w , m i r a c u l o u s manifestations assisted me in an uninterrupted flow, but whether they meant anything definite I d i d not k n o w . So each of these questions I addressed to h i m , further a d d i n g a request for soon preparing "the a r m o r " [protective amulets] for our departure. The L o r d spoke: " A t the south gate of Vikramala's royal palace there is a weaver g i r l . Go and ask her." So I went there and as I i n q u i r e d about these future events, she gave forth a short laugh, then spoke: In that Tibet of yours, isn't there one excellent lay practitioner of renown? What's his name?" "There is this one G e n y e n C h o p h e l (Dge snyen C h o s 'phel) that we have, one w h o has reached all three qualities: he is learned, experienced, and goodhearted. He is from central Tibet and resides in K h a m s . " " A n d what's his clan?" she asked. I said:

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" H e is k n o w n as D r o m t o n p a , 'the teacher f r o m D r o m . ' " " N o , it isn't ' D r o m , ' it is the upasika ' D r u m ' ('brum). T o start w i t h , he was b o r n up n o r t h , in the region of Tsa gye. Isn't he [the one to become] the heartson of Atisa? Y o u k n o w his name, clan, and native land—are y o u by any chance trying me out, m a k i n g insinuations w i t h deceitful questions? H a v i n g s h o w n [yourself] at all times, throughout the seasons, as a snake, don't y o u play i l lusory tiger [with me], as if y o u were before a b l i n d statue!" [translation tentative]. T h i s she said, and next went on in song: N o w I start to u n d e r s t a n d , . . . The solitary m a n at N e p a l Fortress, starting f r o m right then; . . . also the one w h o helped y o u out of the bamboo h u t ; . . . and the boatman, . . . the gatekeeper [boy], . . . the voice w i t h i n the gate tower [at V i k r a m a s i l a ] , . . . the Tibetan c h i l d in the m o r n i n g , . . . the rsi in the passage,. . . the beggar boy in the center of t o w n , . . . the boy carrying the crystal arrows, and yesterday's boy and g i r l , . . . it appears that all of these are D r u m t o n ' s m i r a c u l o u s transformations. To anyone w i t h a sufficiently strong faith and devotion, even w i t h o u t being endowed w i t h the miraculous power of clairaudience, it w o u l d have been obvious that it was L o r d Avalokitesvara w h o thus in each of these cases intervened—obvious indeed, unless this person, though b o r n w i t h n o r m a l faculties, had suddenly turned deaf and b l i n d . Since y o u have been in his presence [in the form of the enumerated m i r a c u l o u s transformations], offering h i m one prayer w i l l b r i n g it about that y o u won't face any great hardships. N o w that y o u are aware of this and have gained confidence, think: " A t all times, in all c i r c u m stances, please l o o k at me w i t h y o u r compassion," and this w i l l cure the restlessness of y o u r m i n d . [At the end of this l o n g account, I, Nagtso, c o n c l u d e d w i t h these words:] " L o r d A t i s a , today, through the sincere m o t i v a t i o n of our prayers to y o u , please keep us in m i n d by y o u r great love. Somehow, please arrange it so that y o u can come, we request," thus we pleaded.

NAGTSO'S FINAL INTERVIEW WITH ABBOT RATNAKARA [ F o l l o w i n g Nagtso's lengthy account of the antecedents to the invitation (part 1 of the Itinerary), Atisa accepts the i n v i t a t i o n to Tibet. A l l the luggage is secretly sent ahead to M i t r a V i h a r a , somewhere close to the Nepalese Therai. Earlier on ( i n the sacred biography), Atisa expressed his w i s h to visit the Naturally F o r m e d Caitya of Swayambhu in K a t h m a n d u Valley; he n o w sends Nagtso w i t h a formal request for abbot Ratnakara to take over his duties, during his absence.] In the m o r n i n g Nagtso approached the elder Ratnakara and conveyed the request made by the L o r d : "Great Elder, in y o u r presence I offer y o u this request [from L o r d Atisa]: T s h o u l d really show these Tibetan ayusmans around the viharas at the great sacred spots; and we w o u l d like to set out carrying

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offerings for each of these sacred places. C o u l d y o u , in the meantime, please take over my dharma duties regarding the Buddha's teaching?' " The elder replied: "Excellent idea! I too w o u l d like to see each of these viharas. So, for a couple of days I w o u l d like to f o l l o w y o u , a n d j o i n y o u r company." [Nagtso said,] " H m m , at the c o n c l u s i o n of our visit to a great m a n y of the sacred spots, were y o u , great elder, to continue w i t h us once we go beyond M i t r a V i h a r a , the l o n g road might fatigue and utterly exhaust y o u . " At these w o r d s the elder had this thought: " A h a , this time, it seems that he is going to T i b e t ! " and guessing [the real a i m of our t r i p ] , he addressed Nagtso as follows: "Tibetan ayusman! At first y o u told me y o u h a d come to me as a disciple. N o w it turns out that in reality y o u came to steal my pandita! Panditas sent out previously to that yak enclosure of yours have fared like the pandita w h o n o w on the sly wants to go to the Tibetans: evil people w i l l be spreading rumors, a n d as a result the blessings for the benefit of beings w i l l have no lasting impact. " E v e n n o w it is in my power to f o r b i d the pandita f r o m going—except that the dharma k i n g of Tibet, this genuine bodhisattva, is dear to my heart. M o r e over, a great n u m b e r of people a n d a lot of wealth f r o m Tibet have been sacrificed for this specific purpose. A n d on top of all that, y o u are my disciple, w i t h a dharma connection existing between us. So, a l l right, this time, do ceremoniously invite h i m for a three year p e r i o d , after w h i c h y o u w i l l accompany h i m back here. If y o u fail to do so, k n o w that the sacred [tantric] samaya vow between us w i l l become u n d o n e [a grave i n f r a c t i o n ] . " After he had s p o k e n these words, in Nagtso Gungthangpa's m i n d the thought occurred: " T a k i n g into account the great distance between India a n d Tibet, three years c o u n t i n g g o i n g there a n d the return j o u r n e y w i l l be pretty useless. Even if it depended solely on me to make h i m stay a/u!I three years in Tibet proper, such a length of time w o u l d barely suffice to install virtuous qualities in Tibet. If, at the c o n c l u s i o n of the three years, I w i l l have to conduct h i m back, it w i l l seem that there h a d never existed all that m u c h of a need to invite the pandita in the first place. If, on the other h a n d , I fail to accompany h i m back to India, I w i l l be breaking a sacred oath. W h i c h one is the better course to follow . . . ?" As he remained there absorbed in thought, shedding tears [enough to water] a desert, a y o u n g horseman of fair c o m p l e x i o n , carrying a crystal staff, suddenly arrived in a great h u r r y close to h i m : ' Y o u , dressed like one ordained, what has happened that y o u r m i n d is in such distress?" After Nagtso had told h i m , the b o y continued: "As the proverb goes: In the w o r l d , a teaching that benefits is rare. E v e n more rare is one w h o cares to listen to it. 1 1

1 teach y o u the thing to do, w i l l y o u do it?" Never before," Nagtso pondered, " d i d a situation arise for me to offer sal-

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utation to someone of that class [of celestial beings]. So this time, I s h o u l d definitely offer h i m homage by a f u l l prostration and then ask h i m for advice," and after he had thus b o w e d d o w n in f u l l prostration, the boy spoke: As the proverb goes, To whatever extent moral excellence deteriorates [in the w o r l d ] , It is never right to offer prostrations to the ordinary body. E v e n w i t h o u t y o u r prostration, the benefit w o u l d have been gained. L i k e wise, under the given circumstances, there w i l l not be any d o w n f a l l from y o u r samaya. If y o u apply the appropriate s k i l l f u l means, A t i s a w i l l remain in Tibet for the rest of his life. T o m o r r o w m o r n i n g , w h e n about to set out for Tibet, go greet and offer prostrations to elder Ratnakara, request h i m to accept y o u in his compassion, further request an "empowerment by his feet," and add the w i s h : " E v e n if we are not to meet again, may y o u retain an excellent health." At that time, the sthavira w i l l give y o u the f o l l o w i n g reply: " A s mentioned yesterday, accompany the pandita back here after three years. W i t h i n these three years, virtuous qualities w i l l have been established in Tibet. If no disease or anything else stands in the way of either master or disciple, then please come all the way to V i k r a m a l a yourself. Otherwise, send along y o u r disciples instead." To this y o u s h o u l d reply as follows: "I shall certainly do as the guru says. The great request, however, is threefold. T w o items therein concern requests to be agreed u p o n outside y o u r c o n t r o l . O n e concerns a request to be agreed u p o n outside my range," after w h i c h I was to recite the f o l l o w i n g : "To the L o r d Avalokitesvara and to [Atisa] the one foremost in the Buddha's teaching [I ask]: In accordance w i t h what was said by the great elder, But also in accordance w i t h Tibetan tradition, please hear this prayer of mine. W i l l I accompany A t i s a back to India Or w i l l he rather stay in Tibet?" A n d right away, father [buddha] and [bodhisattva] son [Atisa, in my vision] w i l l reply: If I tell y o u to accompany me back to India, then accompany me back to India; If I tell y o u I w i l l stay in Tibet, I w i l l just stay in Tibet. [Tell the elder:] As l o n g as there is no clear order to act otherwise, I solemnly declare I shall conduct h i m back to this very India. However, that provision [of Atisa m a k i n g up his o w n m i n d ] , y o u must allow for. Ratnakara w i l l immediately be most pleased that this w o r d [of Atisa] might overrule yours, ayusman."

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The next m o r n i n g , everything happened exactly that way. The elder further spoke: " A y u s m a n , this is fine. Y o u must indeed address y o u r prayers to b u d d h a and bodhisattva: h o w c o u l d either say anything wrong? If he says, 'Let us leave,' then leave; and if he does not tell y o u any different, then accompany h i m back here. " A y u s m a n , please understand: in the absence of A t i s a , there is going to be darkness gathering over India. If y o u ask me h o w come: m a n y dharma centers have been destroyed, many vihara complexes are b e c o m i n g desolate, and m a n y more are the T u r u s k a armies that w i l l come. K e e p i n g a l l this in m i n d I beseech you, master and entourage, a l l of y o u : in order not to b r i n g about s u c h h a r m , proceed w e l l aware of transmigrating beings [and safely b r i n g h i m back to India]." So in this way, due to these words of good l u c k , all were in h i g h spirits by the time they left.

9

The Journey to the Golden Mountain

Matthew

Kapstein

D u r i n g the eleventh century, Tibetan B u d d h i s m entered a period of rapid development and change. The collapse of the central Tibetan royal dynasty had taken place following the assassination of the anti-Buddhist monarch Langdarma (Glang dar ma), probably in 842, and the ensuing power vacuum persisted for a full four h u n d r e d years. Local lords vied for ascendancy, and religious authority was no less contested than temporal power. The uncertainries of the age encouraged Tibetan seekers and adventurers to look outside of Tiuet for authoritative sources of Buddhist teaching, w i t h the result that throughout the eleventh century we find Tibetan translators and pilgrims journeying to India and Nepal in search of gurus, scriptures, and esoteric lore. These developments were particularly p r o m inent in western Tibet, where the great translator Rinchen Zangpo (Rin chen bzang po, 958-1055) was patronized by the monarchs of the Guge k i n g d o m . There, too, the saintly Indian scholar and adept Atisa (982-1054) was invited to teach beginning in 1042 (see chapter 8). The careers of these two notable Buddhist monks mark the beginning of what Tibetan historians call the "later spread of the teaching," or the age of the "new translations." M a n y of the Tibetans w h o became inspired by the renewed contacts w i t h Indian B u d d h i s m during this time developed a special interest in the esoteric teachings of Vajrayana, the "Vajra Vehicle," so called because the primary symbol of this branch of Mahayana B u d d h i s m is the vajra, a ritual implement at once symboli z i n g the diamond-like clarity and unalterability of mind-as-emptiness and its lightening-like brilliance. (The Sanskrit term "vajra" [dorje (rdo rje) in Tibetan] literally means both " d i a m o n d " and "lightening bolt.") Vajrayana B u d d h i s m has its o w n authoritative texts, called tantras, w h i c h are primarily manuals of ritual and esoteric lore. The reason that the age of new translations came to be so called was above all owing to the newness of the tantras introduced d u r i n g this time. Though Vajrayana B u d d h i s m and the texts of many tantras had been k n o w n in Tibet from the eighth century onward, the older translations differed in many respects from these later arrivals.

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A m o n g the major topics treated i n the tantras is abhiseka (Tib.: wang [dbang]), the consecration or "empowerment" whereby a disciple is initiated into a sphere of meditation called a mandala, w h i c h is most often represented as a heavenly palace. At the center of the mandala there resides a deity who is the focal point of the initiate's meditation, and w h o is invoked by means of special formulas called mantras. The central deity may be male, female (in w h i c h case she is often referred to as a dakini, a term sometimes also used to describe w o m e n w h o are adepts of Vajrayana Buddhism), or a couple in u n i o n , and is often surrounded by a retinue of divine attendants, arranged symmetrically throughout the mandala. Some of the important tantras that became well k n o w n in Tibet during the eleventh century are those of the many-armed deities Guhyasamaja ("Gatherer of Secrets"), Cakrasamvara ("Binder of the Energy Centers"), Hevajra ("Hey! Vajra!"), Yamantaka ("Slayer of the L o r d of Death"), and Mahamaya ("Great Creative Illusion"). The systems of meditation taught in the tantras are referred to as yoga, " u n i o n , " for yoga is a discipline said to unite the adept w i t h the realization of ultimate reality. This unification of the enlightened m i n d and the absolute is sometimes symbolized by the depiction of deities as couples in sexual embrace. Besides those types of yoga concerned w i t h the visualization of the mandala and deity and the recitation of the mantra, there are also more advanced disciplines involving v i sualizations and exercises in w h i c h one's body is conceived as a network of subtle channels and energies, the skillful manipulation of w h i c h is believed to hasten the adept's progress toward enlightenment and also lead to the acquisition of uncanny, magical abilities: clairvoyance, miraculous flight, the resurrection of the dead, and so forth. Such adepts, w h o have attained the goals of the esoteric path, are called siddha, "accomplished" or "perfected," because they have attained siddhi, the mundane or supermundane powers and realizations that are especially c u l tivated on the path of the Vajrayana. Several of the Tibetan traditions of teaching and practice that specialized in the systems of yoga expounded in the tantras came to be k n o w n as Kagyu (Bka' brgyud), the "lineages of transmitted doctrine." The most famous of these is the Marpa Kagyu, named for its founder, Marpa C h o k i Lodro (Mar pa Chos k y i bio gros, 1012-1096), one of the eminent translators of the period. Marpa had traveled widely in India, where he became the disciple of the famous siddha Naropa, who taught h i m a special system of six yogas that had been formulated by his master, the siddha Tilopa (see chapter 7.) The six yogas are the Inner Heat (Tib.: tummo [gtum mo]), whereby the adept learns to master the subtle physical energies of the body; the Body of Apparition, through w h i c h the illusion-like nature of ordinary experience becomes k n o w n ; the Dream, in w h i c h one achieves the ability consciously to explore the possibilities that are revealed d u r i n g dreams; Radiant light, referring to the luminous dimension of the m i n d ; Transference (Tib.: phowa Ipho M ) , the means to cause one's consciousness to leave the body abruptly at the moment of death and to seek rebirth in a pure realm; and the Intermediate State Tib.: bardo [bar do}), w h i c h here refers primarily to the state of conscious-

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ness in the course of migration between death and rebirth. The first four enable one to attain enlightenment swiftly during this very lifetime, the last two to achieve it at death. These six yogas were transmitted by Marpa to his disciples, of whom the greatest, Milarepa, is famed as Tibet's national poet (see chapter 5, 6, and 11). It was in this age of spiritual inquiry, experimentation and quest that the figur k n o w n to Tibetan posterity as Khyungpo Neljor (Khyung po rnal 'byor), "th yogin of the Eagle clan," was b o m . Though there is considerable uncertainty abo his precise dates, the main period of his activity seems to have been the la eleventh through early twelfth centuries. Originally an adherent of the Bon reli gion, he converted to B u d d h i s m and became at first a follower of the ancie Nyingmapa school. Like many others of his generation, however, he regarded India as the source of uniquely authoritative Buddhist teachings and so left Tibet to pursue his path in the Kathmandu Valley of N e p a l , and in India proper. D u r i n g his travels in India he met many masters of the Vajrayana, some of w h o m were at that time famed throughout the Tibetan Buddhist w o r l d . His foremost teachers, however, were two remarkable w o m e n , N i g u m a and Sukhasiddhi, the first of w h o m is referred to in his biography as Naropa's "lady," a term that in this context is usually taken to mean "elder sister," though some say that N i g u m a had been Naropa's wife. F r o m N i g u m a , K h y u n g p o Neljor learned a system of six yogas that resembles the system taught by Naropa to Marpa, differing primarily in points of emphasis. The "six doctrines of N i g u m a , " as they are known, continue to be practiced by Tibetan Buddhist adepts at the present time. When Khyungpo Neljor returned to Tibet, he established a monastic center in the valley of Shang, to the west of Lhasa. For this reason, the tradition of his followers came to be k n o w n as the Shangpa Kagyu, the "doctrinal lineage of the Shang valley." The first two selections that follow are taken from Khyungpo Neljor's biography, w h i c h was compiled following his death by his four leading disciples. M u c h of it is narrated in the first person, reflecting the disciples' attempt to record their master's life as he himself had narrated it. Like other Tibetan religious biographies, Khyungpo's is called a namthar (rnam thar), a term literally meaning "liberation." As this suggests, the central theme in such works is the subject's attainment of spiritual freedom. Namthars are thus illustrative of religious practice and attainment, written usually by authors well-versed in Buddhist doctrine. The first selection provides a summary of Khyungpo's accomplishments, given in the form of a prophecy by an Indian siddha named Amogha, w h o , while on pilgrimage in Tibet, visits Khyungpo's parents shortly after their son is b o m . The five deities mentioned above are here symbolically associated w i t h particular attainments of yoga: Cakrasamvara represents the mastery of the energy center governing bodily enlightenment, located in the head; Mahamaya, that of the speech center, in the throat; Hevajra, the m i n d center, in the heart; Guhyasamaja, the center governing emanational abilities, below the navel; and Yamantaka, the source of bliss in the secret center, located in the genitals. In the second selection we have the remarkable account of Khyungpo's meeting w i t h N i g u m a . The visionary dimension of Vajrayana literature is here very much

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in evidence, and m u c h of the content has to be understood symbolically, as an account of Khyungpo's initiation into the six yogas: the warmth represented by the nvers of molten gold suggests mastery of the Inner Heat, while the teachings of Dream and of Apparition are the explicit focal concerns. The tale is constructed so as to overturn our ordinary conceptions of reality, to introduce us to the luminous and magical realm in w h i c h esoteric Buddhist experience unfolds. Following these extracts from the biography of Khyungpo Neljor is a brief summary of the actual content of Shangpa yogic practice. The text, w i t h some abridgement, is drawn from the writings of a famous nineteenth-century meditation master and author, Jamgon Kongtriil ('Jam mgon kong sprul bio gros mtha' yas, 1813-1899). This important figure was especially w e l l k n o w n for his advocacy of an eclectic approach to Tibetan B u d d h i s m k n o w n as Rime (ris med), avoiding the rigid sectarianism that had become a prominent feature of monastic institutions in Tibet. He was responsible, too, for reviving several rare traditions of meditation and yogic practice, i n c l u d i n g the Shangpa Kagyu, to whose system of teaching he was personally very m u c h devoted. The m o d e m survival of the Shangpa tradition is due entirely to his efforts and those of his leading disciples. Through the energetic teaching activity of his successor, the late K a l u Rinpoche (1905-1989), Tibetan Buddhist retreat centers where the Shangpa system of practice is emphasized have even been established in the United States, Canada, and France, fulfilling an ancient saying that this teaching w o u l d spread throughout the world.

Further Reading Portions of the following chapter have previously appeared in my article "The Illusion of Spiritual Progress," in Paths to Liberation, ed. Robert Buswell and Robert Gimello (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1992). F u l l textual citations may be found there. I wish to thank the editors and publisher for permitting their reproduction here.

The Prophecy of K h y u n g p o Neljor I was b o r n in a Tiger Year [990?] f r o m my mother's w o m b , At w h i c h time the Indian siddha A m o g h a said, "This emanation of the B u d d h a w i l l go to India, Gather the essence of realization of all panditas and siddhas, A n d cause beings to mature and be liberated; Thus, by various emanations, w i l l he train those w h o require training. He w i l l p r o c l a i m the doctrine free f r o m l i m i t s , the heart of the Mahayana,

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A n d i n the ten directions w i l l p r o c l a i m its c u l m i n a t i o n , The lion's roar of the coalescence of emptiness and bliss, the teaching of secret tantras. H i s b o d y w i l l be Cakrasamvara, H i s speech w i l l embody Mahamaya, A n d H e vajra his m i n d ; A n d w h i l e his supreme emanational center w i l l be Guhyasamaja, H i s secret center w i l l be Yamantaka, protector of bliss. As he arrays such mandalas in his body, He w i l l really reveal those deities to those requiring training. M o r e o v e r , he w i l l assume the forms of various other deities, A n d train innumerable persons difficult to train. He w i l l live for 150 years, A n d w h e n in the end he concludes his career, He w i l l display varied omens and miracles. H e w i l l then attain b u d d h a h o o d In the pure l a n d , Sukhavati [the western paradise of A m i t a b h a ] , The realm praised by all victorious buddhas; A n d there he w i l l turn the Mahayana doctrinal wheel. In the future those w h o require training, and put their faith in h i m , W i l l reach that b u d d h a r e a l m — Of this let there be no d o u b t ! " After he had spoken these words That g u r u and siddha Returned at once to India, F l y i n g l i k e a b i r d in the sky.

K h y u n g p o ' s M e e t i n g W i t h the D a k i n i N i g u m a T a k i n g w i t h me 500 ounces of gold, I wandered throughout India and asked, " W h o , among the accomplished masters, seems to have come face to face with the B u d d h a himself?" The panditas and siddhas concurred, "That w o u l d be the pandita Naropa's lady, the d a k i n i of enlightened awareness called 'Niguma. She abides in the three pure stations [i.e., the eighth through tenth bodhisattva stations (bhumi), f r o m w h i c h there is no falling back], and she has really requested instruction in the dharma f r o m Mahavajradhara himself [the primordial b u d d h a of later Vajrayana B u d d h i s m ] . " A s k i n g where she was residing just then, I was t o l d that those of pure v i s i o n might meet her anywhere, but that one of i m p u r e v i s i o n c o u l d search everywhere for her w i t h o u t success; for she dwelt u p o n the pure stations, and her embodied form had become the stun o rainbows. Nonetheless, I was told, she sometimes came to the dense grove of the So-

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sadvipa charnel g r o u n d to preside over the c o m m u n a l feasting of the dakinis. As soon as Niguma's name was first mentioned to me I began to weep: my faith was such that my hair stood on end. Therefore, then and there, I traveled to the Sosadvipa charnel g r o u n d , to the dense grove that was there, and I chanted namo buddhaya ["hail to the B u d d h a ! " ] as I went along. T h e n , in the sky, at a height equivalent to that of seven p a l m trees, there appeared a d a k i n i of dark brown c o m p l e x i o n , wearing ornaments of bone, h o l d i n g a khatvanga [a ritual lance or trident piercing a skull] and kapala [a s k u l l - c u p ] , and appearing at once in various ways, as one and at the same time as many. Seeing her dance, I thought, " T h i s must be the d a k i n i N i g u m a , " and I prostrated myself at her feet and circumambulated her many times. T h e n I begged her to confer u p o n me her genuine esoteric instructions. " H o w do y o u k n o w , " she said, "that I'm no cannabalistic w i t c h ! W h e n my circle arrives, y o u ' l l be our d i n n e r ! Y o u ' d better be m o v i n g , be q u i c k ! " But I persisted in my prostrations, c i r c u m a m b u lations, and prayers to receive her instructions concerning the secret mantras. She said, " F o r the secret mantras of the Mahayana y o u ' l l need g o l d . If you've got gold, things may w o r k out." I offered up my 500 ounces of g o l d , but she just tossed it a l l into the forest. I thought, " C o u l d she be a cannabalistic w i t c h after all? She's not greedy for g o l d . " At that instant, the d a k i n i glanced suddenly about the sky, and her circle of innumerable dakinis appeared f r o m space itself. In a moment, some of them built a mandala palace of three stories, some arrayed a mandala of colored sand, while some gathered together the provisions for the feast. T h e n , late during the night of the f u l l m o o n , she conferred u p o n me the empowerment of the Body of A p p a r i t i o n and that of the Dream. W h e n the empowerment ceremony was completed, she said, "Little m o n k f r o m Tibet, arise!" and in a moment, relying u p o n the dakinl's m i r a c u l o u s powers, we traveled three y o janas [about twenty-four miles]. There, in the sky above a m o u n t a i n of g o l d , the dakinis had assembled for the feast, dancing. F r o m the four sides of the mountain four golden rivers descended, and I had to ask, " W h e r e in India is such a m o u n t a i n as this to be f o u n d , or is this too the dakinl's magical creation?" To this she said: These varied thoughts, f u l l of passion and hate, Stirring samsara's ocean, Are insubstantial; w h e n y o u realize that A l l is a golden isle, my son. As for apparitional dharmas, L i k e apparitions contemplate them to be; Y o u ' l l become a n apparitional B u d d h a — By the power of devotion it w i l l come to be. And she added, " N o w I w i l l bless y o u . Grasp y o u r dreams!" H a v i n g grasped reams, I j o u r n e y to the l a n d of gods and demigods, where a gigantic

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demigod just swallowed me w h o l e . The d a k i n i appeared in space and said, " D o not try to wake u p , my s o n . " It was at that time that she taught me the six doctrines in their entirety.

T h e Teachings o f t h e S h a n g p a K a g y t i T r a d i t i o n : A Summary by Jamgon Kongtrul Khyungpo Neljor, a learned and accomplished master w h o was endowed w i t h the "five culminations," received f u l l y the essential w i s d o m of 150 Indian p a n ditas and siddhas a n d so came to be renowned as one u n r i v a l e d in his k n o w l edge of limitless approaches to the doctrine. In general, therefore, one cannot make a one-sided estimation of the extent of his teaching. Nevertheless, in accord with the w i d e l y r e n o w n e d traditions of the u n i q u e l y sealed lineage of his successors, there are five "golden doctrines" of the Shangpa. [ U n t i l seven generations of teachers had passed, beginning w i t h K h y u n g p o ' s "grandteacher," the b u d d h a Vajradhara, his teaching was "sealed" so that it c o u l d o n l y be transmitted in f u l l to a single chosen disciple. This "seal" was appropriately broken by the seventh successor, Sangye Tonpa (Sangs rgyas ston pa, 1 2 1 9 1290).] 1. The roots are the "six doctrines of Niguma." 2. The trunk is the "Great Seal (mahamudra)." 3. The branches are the "three means for integrating ordinary experience with the path." 4. The flowers are the red and white forms of the dakini Khecari. 5. The fruit is the realization that body and mind are deathless and without deviation.

These precepts were recorded by K h y u n g p o Neljor on the basis of the Stanzas oj Indestructible Reality revealed by the p r i m o r d i a l b u d d h a Vajradhara and by Niguma, the d a k i n i of enlightened awareness. So even the meditation topics and the prayers of s u p p l i c a t i o n were never fabricated, altered, or corrupted by the mundane thoughts of o r d i n a r y individuals and therefore are l i k e refined gold. The Six: Doctrines of Niguma

W i t h reference to the six doctrines, the Stanzas oj Indestructible Reality say: Matured by the four empowerments, endowed w i t h faith and w i t h vigor, Practicing the p r e l i m i n a r y meditations u p o n impermanence, disgust with samsara, and its hazards, Whoever strives at this supreme path

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W i l l attain b u d d h a h o o d w i t h i n six months, a year, or d u r i n g this lifetime. A c c o r d i n g l y , an i n d i v i d u a l w h o is spiritually matured by receiving the e m p o w erments of the five tantras that are taught in the Great Tantra oj the Ocean oj Jewels, or of the mandala of Sri Cakrasamvara, and w h o has received the transmitted blessing of each of the six doctrines and has practiced w e l l the c o m m o n preliminary meditations, first purifies herself or himself by the meditation called "the p u r i f y i n g enclosure of emptiness formed by the syllable a." T h e n , the six doctrines may be practiced: 1. By the practice of the path of skillful means, the warmth of well-being naturally blazes. 2. By the practice of the apparitional body, attachment and aversion naturally dissolve. 3. By the practice of the lucid dream, the subtle bewilderment that underlies all bewilderment is naturally cleansed. 4. By the practice of the radiant light, ignorance is naturally dispelled.

W h e n these four methods are established as the root of one's practice, the afflictions that arise in the bewilderment of the four mundane states of being [waking consciousness, dreamless sleep, dream, and absorption in trance] are removed. The r e m a i n i n g two doctrines, then, are (5) the transference oj consciousness, whereby b u d d h a h o o d is attained w i t h o u t h a v i n g realized it d u r i n g meditation i n this lifetime, and (6) the yoga of the intermediate state, whereby the Buddha's b o d y of perfect rapture is realized. These are practiced as appended meditational sequences for those w h o are l a c k i n g in vigor and acumen, whereupon, according to the grades of excellence, mediocrity, or inferiority, one becomes liberated in one or another of the three intermediate states [namely, the time of death itself; the p e r i o d immediately after death, w h e n one enters into trancelike o b l i v i o n ; and the p e r i o d f o l l o w i n g that, w h e n the disembodied consciousness grows active once more and is subject to intensive hallucinations as it searches for its next place of b i r t h ] . The Great Seal The learned and accomplished master K h y u n g p o N e l j o r was exceedingly p r o u d of the Stanzas oj Indestructible Reality that contain the precepts for c o n t e m plating the essential p o i n t that is b e y o n d intellectual f o r m u l a t i o n . Therefore he inserted the paper rolls on w h i c h they were w r i t t e n into a s m a l l Nepalese amulet box that he w o r e a r o u n d his neck. F o r this reason these precepts came to be k n o w n as the Amulet Box Precepts oj the Great Seal. A c c o r d i n g to them, one first cultivates tranquility and insight by means of a p r e l i m i n a r y practice in w h i c h body, speech, and m i n d come to rest according to their natural dis-

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p o s i t i o n . T h e n , in the m a i n b o d y of the practice, the c a l l i n g - d o w n of d i a m o n d l i k e pristine awareness causes one to steal a glimpse of the essential point of the teaching. At that, because the four faults then naturally dissolve, all doubts w i t h respect to the nature of m i n d itself are resolved. In the final practice one learns to sustain the three bodies that have spontaneously emerged. By relying u p o n the extraordinary means taught to derive the f u l l profit f r o m the practice and to remove obstacles, the Great Seal, w h i c h is the doctrinal heart of all sutras and tantras and the essence of all meditational precepts, becomes fully manifest as the naturally liberating realization of the four bodies of buddhahood. The Three Means for Integrating Ordinary Experience with the Path

By integrating all phenomena of appearance, s o u n d , and thought w i t h the path, and through the understanding that in actuality they are no different from the g u r u , the deity, and the apparitional nature of things, one w i l l realize supreme bliss, the u n i t y of clarity and emptiness, in a matter of m o n t h s or a year. In this way the three bodies are naturally realized. The White and Red Forms of the Dakini

By means of particularly p r o f o u n d supplications and meditational exercises you may arouse the solar-colored a n d lunar-colored forms of the V i c t o r i o u s l y Transcendent Vajra W o m a n . W h e n that occurs, the inner heat of the u n i t y of bliss and emptiness blazes u p . T h i s results f r o m the alternation of passion and its d i s s o l u t i o n in the four energy-centers of the subtle body. On the basis of that y o u may come to voyage in the space of "supreme coalescence," the d o m a i n of enlightened awareness. The Realization That Body and Mind Are Deathless and without Deviation

The b o d y is set on the path of spiritual freedom through the practice of thirl two yogic exercises by w h i c h deathlessness is achieved. Because y o u r o w n m i n d is p r i m o r d i a l l y u n b o r n it is established to be deathless and supremely liberated in and of itself. The b o d i l y mass, w h i c h is the f r u i t i o n of r i p e n i n g karma, is an assemblage of inanimate matter, d e v o i d of any basis for a determination of b i r t h or death. In fact, if y o u have confidence based on the realization that the body itself has arisen as a mere mental projection, and that the m i n d is devoid of b i r t h or death, then b o d i l y f o r m becomes fixed in the Great Seal, the boundless expanse in w h i c h there is no erring due to b e w i l d e r i n g appearances, as the embodiment of the d i v i n e . It is taught that t h r o u g h even some of these precepts the embodiment of coalescence may be attained d u r i n g this lifetime, and that by merely hearing them one may achieve b u d d h a h o o d in the conquerors' body of perfect rapture (sambhogakaya) d u r i n g the intermediate state after death, says in the Stanzas of Indestructible Reality:

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Those w h o experience this supreme path in practice, D u r i n g this lifetime or d u r i n g the intermediate state, and at no other time, N a t u r a l l y realize the three bodies in the i n d i v i s i b l e nature of emptiness and bliss, A n d so go forth to j o u r n e y in the pure space of enlightened m i n d .

10 A Qu«est for "The Path and Result"

Cyrus Stearns

A m o n g the four m a j o r - traditions of Tibetan B u d d h i s m , the Sakya (Sa skya) sect has certainly received the least attention in m o d e m studies of Tibetan religion and history. A l m o s t n c o t h i n g has been published in European languages dealing w i t h the distinctive chii.aracteristics of this tradition of Buddhist study and meditation. Furthermore, -vwith the exception of studies focusing u p o n the Mongol period of the thirteent_7h and fourteenth centuries c.E., there is very little accurate historical i n f o r m a t i o n available concerning the Sakya sect. Strictly speaking, t t n e Sakya tradition began w i t h the founding of the modest hermitage of Sakya i n ± the Tsang (Gtsang) province of southwest Tibet in 1073. The founder of S a k y s i , K o n c h o k Gyalpo ( D k o n mchog rgyal po, 1034-1102), belonged to the a n c i e n t K h o n ('Khon) family, w h i c h has continued to provide leaders for the Sakya • order up to the present day. Although KonchoVc^ Gyalpo founded the monastery of Sakya, it was his son Kunga N y i n g p o ( K u r - i dga' snying po, 1092-1158), often simply referred to as Sachen ("the great m a u s t e r of Sakya"), who sought out and mastered a vast number of exoteric and e s o t e r r i c Buddhist teachings, w h i c h he then passed on to his sons and disciples. S a c h e n was in particular a profound master of the esoteric traditions of the Buddhist t a n t r a s . A m o n g the numerous transmission lineages of tantra that he received and p r a c t i c e d , the teachings k n o w n as "The Path and Result" (lam 'bras), or more h o n o - r i f i c a l l y as "The Precious Oral Instructions" (gsung ngag rin po che), have been p a s s e d d o w n to the present day as the most sacred system for spiritual realization v w i t h i n the Sakya tradition. "The Path a n d R e s u l t " was originally revealed to the great Indian adept Virupa by the goddess N a i r s t m y a , the consort of the tantric deity Hevajra. V i r u p a summarized these t e a c h i n g s in what are k n o w n as The Adamantine Phrases (Rdo rje tshig rkang), w h i c h - w e r e transmitted orally u n t i l the time of Sachen, who first recorded them in w n - i t i n g . "The Path and Result" is thus a system of oral esoteric instruction for m e d i t x a t i o n based u p o n the Hevajra Tantra and related tantric scriptures. It was passed «down in great secrecy from a single master to a single disciple

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for five generations in India, before being brought to Tibet in the eleventh century . E . by the Indian master Gayadhara, who taught it to the Tibetan teacher k n o w n as D r o k m i the Translator ('Brog mi lo tsa ba, 993-1077?). D r o k m i was also extremely careful in teaching the tantras, and he gave the full instructions of the path and result to only three of his disciples. The most important of these was Se Khar C h u n g w a (Se M k h a r chung ba, 1025?—1122?), w h o likewise gave the teachings to only a few select disciples. It was Se Khar Chungwa's disciple Zhangdon Chobar (Zhang ston Chos 'bar, 1053?-1135?), also k n o w n as L o r d Gonbawa (Rje Dgon pa ba), from w h o m Sachen Kunga Nyingpo finally received the complete teachings of the path and result. Up through the time of Sachen, the masters of "The Path and Result" were lay tantric practitioners, w h o mostly devoted themselves to meditation in isolated hermitages. C

As a young boy Sachen Kunga Nyingpo received many teachings and initiations from his father, the first throne-holder of Sakya, who passed away when Sachen was ten years o l d . Soon thereafter the master Bari the Translator (Ba ri lo tsa ba, 1040-1 111?) was invited to occupy the teaching-throne of Sakya during Sachen's minority, and to serve as his tutor. W h e n he was eleven years o l d , Sachen, under the direction of Bari the Translator, began a lengthy retreat for meditation u p o n Manjusri, the divine personification of pristine awareness. Six months into the retreat Sachen was blessed w i t h a vision of Manjusri, w h o spoke to h i m these four lines: If you are attached to this life you are not a religious person. If you are attached to the cycle of existence you do not have renunciation. If you are attached to your own goals you do not have the enlightened motivation. If grasping occurs you do not have the view.

From that time on Sachen understood all the Buddhist teachings without any difficulty. This instruction is k n o w n as "the parting from the four attachments" (zhen pa bzhi bral), around w h i c h considerable exegetical material has developed in the Sakya tradition. It is regarded as a synopsis of all the teachings of the Mahayana and is frequently taught and studied in the Sakya tradition up to the present day. In the years following his Manjusri retreat, Sachen traveled extensively, studying with many different teachers and mastering an incredible number of exoteric and esoteric teachings of the Mahayana and Vajrayana. The events recorded in the excerpts from the biography of Sachen translated below begin at the end of this period of intense study, when he was in his twenties. Sachen's father had studied the Hevajra Tantra under D r o k m i the Translator, jmd so it was felt that Sachen should also seek out the transmission lineage that had come d o w n through D r o k m i . Sachen's relative Dralha Bar (Dgra lha 'bar), usually k n o w n as G y i c h u w a (Sgyi chu ba), had been a disciple of Sal way N y i n g p o sal ba'i snying po), one of D r o k m i the Translator's other main disciples in the study of the Hevajra Tantra. In addition to the Hevajra Tantra, Sachen also received from master G y i c h u w a a variety of tantric teachings, some of w h i c h were

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passed d o w n through Drokmi's rival, Go the Translator ('Gos lo tsa ba), and through M a i the Translator (Mai lo tsa ba), who was heir to the t e a c h i n g s of the great Naropa's disciple, the Nepalese master k n o w n as Pamtingpa (Ph_ am thing pa). It was while still studying with Gyichuwa that Sachen went to meet I o r d Khar C h u n g w a , who was D r o k m i the Translator's successor as the lineage Tiolder of "The Path and Result," and first heard of these teachings. Khar C h u n g w a had also studied the Hevajra Tantra w i t h K o n c h o k Gyalpo, Sachen's father, w h o m he thus referred to as his master. L o r d Khar C h u n g w a d i d not initially accept S a c h e n as K o n c h o k Gyalpo's son because Sachen had been b o m not to K o n c h o l d Gyalpo's first wife, who was barren, but to his second wife M a c h i k Z h a n g m o (Ma gcig zhang mo). This happened some years after Khar Chungwa's stay at Sakya to study w i t h K o n c h o k Gyalpo. F o l l o w i n g the last wishes of master G y i c h u w a , Sachen took r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for the monastery at G y i c h u and prepared to take the vows of celibacy as at. Buddhist m o n k . However, one of Sachen's other masters, k n o w n as N a m Khau.~pa (Gnam kha'u pa), heard the news and forbid h i m to take the vows. The S a k y a tradition is forever grateful to master N a m Khaupa, as he was instrumental in arranging the circumstances that actually led to Sachen's birth, as well as later p r e v e n t i n g h i m from becoming a m o n k . As a result Sachen's four sons were later b o m , two of w h o m , Sonam Tsemo (Bsod nams rtse m o , 1142-1182) and D r a k p a Gyaltsen (Grags pa rgyal mtshan, 1147-1216), w o u l d succeed their father as leaders of the Sakya tradition. A third son, Palchen O p o (Dpal che 'od po, 1L 50-1204), w o u l d become the father of Sakya Pandita, Kunga Gyaltsen (Sa skya P a n d i t a K u n dga' rgyal mtshan, 1182-1251), one of the most renowned teachers in Tibetan history. W h e n Sachen first met L o r d Zhang Gonbawa, the master t u r n e d h i m away, saying that Sachen seemed to be a follower of the N e w Translations (g-Sar ma pa). The master himself said that he only taught some minor traditions o f the Great Perfection (rdzogs chen), w h i c h were based u p o n scriptures translated i n the early period of B u d d h i s m in Tibet. This was a reference to the fact that m a r r y Buddhist scriptures, such as the Hevajra Tantra and the Kdlacakra Tantra, w e r e not translated into Tibetan u n t i l the eleventh century C . E . Followers of t h e s e teachings became k n o w n as followers of the N e w Translations, whereas those w t i o practiced and studied the scriptures translated in the earlier period became k n o w n as the Ancient Ones (rnying ma pa). There was m u c h competition and disagreement between these two groups. Ironically, of course, L o r d Zhang G o n b a w a himself was actually the main lineage holder of "The Path and Result," a m o n g other teachings, w h i c h entered Tibet during the period of the N e w T r a n s l a t i o n s . W h e n L o r d Zhang learned that Sachen was the son of K o n c h o k Gyalpo, vs/ho was the master of his o w n master L o r d Khar C h u n g w a , he was aghast at h a v i n g rejected h i m , because of the i m p l i e d disrespect to one of his spiritual forefathers. After some discussion, he then agreed to give Sachen the teachings of t t i e path and result, as well as a group of eight other instructions k n o w n as the L a t e r Cycles of

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the Path (lam phyi ma brgyad). These are profound tantric instructions that have been passed d o w n from such great Indian masters as D o m b h i Heruka, Indrabhuti, and Padmavajra. At the end of the teachings of "The Path and Result" it is customary for the master to give the disciples a prophecy of their future attainment. At this point Lord Zhang stated that Sachen w o u l d realize the Great Seal (mahamudra) in this life if he applied himself to serious meditation. The term Great Seal is used in the tantric traditions of the N e w Translation period to indicate realization of the ultimate nature of reality. On this occasion L o r d Zhang also revealed the significance of a prophetic dream that Sachen had had earlier during his studies w i t h Master G y i c h u w a . Not long thereafter Sachen went into an eighteen-year retreat to meditate u p o n "The Path and Result." D u r i n g this period V i r u p a is said to have actually come to visit h i m for one month. V i r u p a was flanked by his disciple Kahna (Nag po pa), for whose benefit he had composed The Adamantine Phrases, and Gayadhara, the last Indian master of "The Path and Result," w h o brought the teachings to Tibet. Behind V i r u p a was Kotalipa, the author of one of the Later Cycles of the Path, and in front was another great adept named Vinasa. V i r u p a bestowed u p o n Sachen the entire teachings of "The Path and Result," as well as a number of other special instructions that are s t i l l taught as part of "The Path and Result" today. Sachen thus received the teachings of the direct transmission (nye brgyud) from Virupa himself, as well as the sequential transmission (ring brgyud) he had previously received from L o r d Z h a n g Gonbawa. At the end of his retreat Sachen taught "The Path and Result" for the first time. At this time he also placed Virupa's treatise, The Adamantine Phrases, in writing for the first time and wrote the first commentary on it, a brief verse summary entitled The Abbreviated Explication of the Scripture (Gzhung bshad don bsdus ma). During his lifetime ten large commentaries were recorded to preserve Sachen's explanations of The Adamantine Phrases.

The following excerpts of the biography of Sachen Kunga Nyingpo are a translation of pp. 113.1-116.1 and 118.1-126.2 of The Expansion of the Great Secret Doctrine (Gsang chen bstan pa rgyas byed), written i n the middle of the sixteenth century c.E. by the Sakya master Jamyang Khyentse W a n g c h u k ('Jam dbyangs mkhyen brtse dbang phyug, 1524-1568). This historical survey of the lives of the early masters of "The Path and Result" is one of the latest of the genre w i t h i n this tradition. It is, however, considered the most reliable of all, being based u p o n a number of earlier compositions, as w e l l as forming a record of the oral explanations of Tsarchen Losel Gyantso (Tshar chen Bio gsal rgya mtsho, 1502-1567), the main teacher of Jamyang Khyentse W a n g c h u k , and one of the greatest masters the path and result. The text translated is J a m dbyangs m k h y e n brtse dbang Phyug, Gsung ngag rin po che lam 'bras bu dang bcas pa'i khog phub kyi mam bshad / gdams ngag byung tshul gyi zin bris gsang chen bstan pa rgyas byed ces bya ba 01

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kha'u brag rdzong pa'i bzhad pa ma nor h>a ban rgan mkhyabrtse'i nyams len, in L a m 'bras slob bshad (Dehra D u n : S a k y s a Centre, 1983), 1-2-155.

Further Reading Chogay Trichen Rinpoche, The History of the Sakya TraditiaA Feast for the Minds of the Fortunate, trans, from Tibetan i n t o F r e n c h by Phende Knpoche and Jamyang Khandrao, and from French into E n g l i s h by Jennifer Siott (Bristol: Ganesha, 1983); Ronald Davidson, "The N o r pa Tradition," in Wind Horse 1 (Berkeley: Asian Humanities Press, 1981), p p . 7 9 — 9 7 ; Davidson, "Preliminary Studies on Hevajra's Abhisamaya and the Lam-'bras Tshogs-bshad," in Tktan Buddhism: Reason and Revelation, ed. Steven D. G o o d m a n and Ronald M. Ditidson (Albany: State University of N e w York Press, 1992), pp 107-32; DezhungRinpoche, The Three Levels of Spiritual Perception, trans. J a r e d Rhoton (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1995); Ngorchen K o n c h o g L h u n d r u b , The Beautiful OrnarrM of the Three Visions: An Exposition of the Preliminary Practices of the Path Which Extensively Explains the Instructions of the "Path Including Its Result" in Accordance with the Root Treatise of the Vajra Verses of Virupa, trans. L o b s a n g Dagpa, Ngawan>Samten C h o p h e l (Jay Goldberg), and Jared Rhoton ( S i n g a p o r e : Golden Vase, 1987; reprint, Ithaca: Snow L i o n , 1991); Sakya T r i z i n , H i s TrToliness, and Ngawang Samten C h o p h e l Qay Goldberg), trans. A Collection of Instructions on Partiwjrom the Four Attachments: The Basic Mind Training Teaching of the Sakya Tradition (Singapore: Singapore Buddha Sasana Society, 1982); M . Tachikawa, "TheTantric Doctrine o f the Sa skya pa according to the Sel g y i me Ion," in Acta AMca 29 (Tokyo: Toho Gakkai, 1975), pp. 95-106.

Sachen's Quest for "The Path and Result" T h e elders of Sakya said, " N o w , s i n c e o u r ancestral teachings are the scriptures a n d oral instructions transmitted t h r o u g h L o r d Drokmi the Translator, y o u must be able to receive them in c o m p l e t e depth." Sachen investigated where he c o u l d receive them and, u p o n learning that D r a l h a Bar of the K h o n f a m i l y w a s b o t h a paternal relative and an expert in the scriptures, he went to h i m at G y i c h u in Jang (Byang). Sachen h a d a dream w h e n receiving the p r e l i m i n a r y s e c t i o n of the Hevajra initiation. He dreamed that over a great red m u r k y b o d y of w a t e r said to be thsea of existence there were three connected bridges w i t h b r i d g e supports made of kneaded d o u g h . There were many people saying, " P l e a s e take me across to the other shore. Please take me." He took three people across a l l t h r e e bridges. He took seven people across

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two of the bridges. He took m a n y people across one of the bridges. T h e n he rested in the s u n on the slope of a m o u n t a i n called M a l a y a . The next m o r n i n g he t o l d the master, w h o teased h i m by saying, " W i t h y o u r strength h o w c o u l d y o u take across more than three people?" but placed extremely great importance in it, and also fully bestowed the teachings. Sachen received and mastered s u c h teachings as the cycle of Hevajra transmitted from L o r d D r o k m i the Translator to Salway N y i n g p o of N g a r i , Hevajra in the tradition of the great adept K a h n a as transmitted f r o m L o r d Go the Translator, and Cakrasamvara as transmitted f r o m [the Nepalese master] f r o m P a m t i n g , w h i c h G y i c h u w a had received f r o m M a i the Translator. On one occasion d u r i n g that time he heard talk that L o r d K h a r C h u n g w a was c o m i n g to preside over a teaching c o u n c i l at D o k Uk ( M d o g dbugs). M a n y of Gyichuwa's y o u n g m o n k s prepared to go to the show. In general the great master Sachen d i d not enjoy s u c h shows, but because of the great reputation of L o r d Khar C h u n g w a , he wanted to meet h i m in person and traveled together w i t h them. L o r d Khar C h u n g w a was seated at the head of the assembly telling a lot of animated stories. He questioned each of G y i c h u w a ' s y o u n g m o n k s , and w h e n he arrived in front of the great master Sachen he said, " W h o are y o u , noble son?" "I am from over at D r o m P u k ( G r o m p h u g ) , " he replied. " O n e of my masters l i v e d there," L o r d K h a r C h u n g w a remarked, "but n o w he has already passed away. I wanted to visit h i m but there was no chance. It is said that one called Bari the Translator is there, but I don't have even the slightest w i s h to go. W h a t is it like there n o w ? " He replied, "I am the son and heir of y o u r master." "Don't tell lies, noble son. My master had no s o n . " The great master was unable to say anything. W h e n the y o u n g m o n k s told the story, L o r d K h a r C h u n g w a sat for a m o m e n t w i t h his eyes squeezed shut, and then said, "If I l o o k at my virtuous deeds [i.e., stock of merit] and the indications in my v i t a l airs, I am about w o r n out. The saying that the l i v i n g and the dead don't meet isn't true. The time for meeting has come." He took the great master onto his lap, h e l d h i m to his heart and face, and tears filled his eyes. They stayed w i t h their cushions t o u c h i n g together for three days. L o r d Khar C h u n g w a gave Sachen a clear explanation of the internal structure and outline of "The Precious O r a l Instructions." T h e n he said, " T h i s decrepit o l d man has the teachings, so come q u i c k . If y o u t h i n k T can take my time,' I w i l l die." They returned to G y i c h u and the great master p l a n n e d to go to K h a r C h u n g immediately. W h e n he had finished gathering his things into a b u n d l e , a m o n k acquaintance called D o n p a Dorje O (Ston pa r d o rje 'od) said, "In general, whatever activities a tantric practitioner does are done after asking the master. In particular, f r o m a m o n g this m a n y of us m o n k s there is no one he values more than you. It is not right to go w i t h o u t asking the master for p e r m i s s i o n . "

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He replied, "I have no suitable gift, so I can't even ask." Dorje 0 gave h i m a f u l l piece of silk. Sachen realized that what he had said was true and asked Master G y i c h u w a , w h o said, " W h y are y o u going?" " T o request T h e Precious O r a l Instructions,' " he replied. Master G y i c h u w a said, " H e is called Se K h a r C h u n g w a the Smooth-Talker. He teaches by gathering up piecemeal the teachings of my master Salway N y i n g p o of N g a r i ( M n g a 'ris). He has no oral instructions at a l l . Don't go." He didn't give permission. Sachen thought, "In gratitude for the c o m p l e t i o n of the scriptures in the presence of G y i c h u w a , I w i l l invite h i m to Sakya, h o l d a great teaching council, and f u l f i l l his wishes. T h e n I must go to K h a r C h u n g . " Just w h e n he had finished getting the material goods ready, m a i n l y about three h u n d r e d loads of barley, G y i c h u w a fell i l l and a person arrived to summ o n Sachen. W h e n he went there, G y i c h u w a had already passed away, leaving a last testament that said, " Y o u must take o r d i n a t i o n and m a i n t a i n this establishment of the K h o n f a m i l y . " He completed s u c h things as the funeral services. W h e n he had returned to Sakya and prepared the things for o r d i n a t i o n , master N a m K h a u p a heard about i t and s u m m o n e d h i m . " W h a t is the meaning of preparing the saffron robes?" he asked. W h e n Sachen told h i m the story he replied, "Masters are equal, but instead of the dead face of the dead master y o u must l o o k at the live face of the living master—me. Don't take o r d i n a t i o n ! " Sachen d i d as he was t o l d , and his sons the h o l y brothers (Trakpa Gyaltsen and Sonam Tsemo) and the others appeared. So this master N a m Khaupa is said to have been very k i n d to the Sakyapa. A l t h o u g h he didn't take ordination, he d i d occupy the monastic seat of G y i c h u w a . T h i s great master had intended to go immediately into the presence of Se Khar C h u n g w a at the c o m p l e t i o n of G y i c h u w a ' s teaching c o u n c i l , but Se Khar C h u n g w a also passed away at about the same time as G y i c h u w a and Sachen was not able to receive "The Path and Result" f r o m h i m . N o w he examined w h o was the best f r o m w h o m to receive "The Precious O r a l Instructions." It was said that the two Z h a n g d o n brothers were the best of Se K h a r Chungwa's disciples. Between them, the younger brother Z i j i Barwa ( G z i b r j i d 'bar ba) was an expert, but he had passed away. N o w the elder brother called Chobar was living. Sachen decided to go to h i m and spoke to master N a m K h a u p a , w h o said, " W h a t w i l l y o u do?" "I w i l l request T h e Precious O r a l Instructions,' " he replied. N a m K h a u p a said, "The so-called great meditator is a great liar. He doesn t have any oral instructions at a l l . If y o u want b u d d h a h o o d I w i l l teach you a m e t h o d for realization and y o u can meditate." Sachen insisted, "I am certain myself," and was released.

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He gave a coat of m a i l to a m a n called A p o G y a l p o (A po rgyal p o ) , and both master and servant set off. At an archery field in D i n g ( D i n g ) , L o r d Z h a n g Gonbawa was sitting w i t h disheveled hair, a bare chest, and wearing a goat s k i n on top of his lower robe. He was p e r f o r m i n g yoga and m a k i n g a lot of haphazard talk. The great master stopped beside a g u l l y and asked a g i r l , " W h e r e does the one called Z h a n g G o n b a w a C h o b a r l i v e ? " She replied, "I don't k n o w Z h a n g G o n b a w a . If y o u need U n c l e Chobar, he's over there," and s h o w e d h i m . He said to her, " A s k h i m to please come here." W h e n he came Sachen spread out a white robe he had and said, "Please sit here," but he didn't w i s h to sit. Sachen offered prostrations and Z h a n g d o n said, "Aren't y o u mistaken? Y o u seem like a religious m a n f r o m far away. M o r e o v e r , y o u seem to be a follower of the N e w Translations." "There is no mistake," he replied and offered the coat of m a i l as a gift. Z h a n g d o n exclaimed, " A h ! N o w what mistake have y o u made? I have n o t h i n g but the food and d r i n k I search for m o r n i n g and night, so what c o u l d I have to loan that y o u w o u l d leave a coat of m a i l as collateral?" and became alarmed. "It is not a request for a loan. I am requesting 'The Precious O r a l Instructions,' " he replied. " W h a t are y o u t a l k i n g about?" he asked, " N o t to m e n t i o n k n o w i n g 'The Precious O r a l Instructions,' I've never even heard of them u n t i l n o w . I give explanations of m i n o r teachings, e x p l a i n i n g some of the Great Perfection of T s a m u n t i and of the B r a h m i n C y c l e (rzdogs chen tsa munti dang bram ze'i skor). Y o u so-called followers of the N e w Translations have great suspicions about those. Aren't y o u suspicious? Y o u s h o u l d go." T h i n k i n g that if he s t i l l insisted it might possibly be given, Sachen said, "It is late for that this evening. 1 w o u l d n ' t arrive anywhere. I request a place to stay." Z h a n g d o n replied, "I have no house or such fit for a guest. N o r is there any place to stay. Y o u can go or stay. Do what y o u l i k e ! " Sachen left, not w i s h i n g to give a reply. " A n d take the coat of m a i l , " Z h a n g d o n said. "I don't want to take n o w what I have already offered," he replied. Sachen d i d not take it, and Z h a n g d i d not take it either, so the coat of m a i l was left l y i n g in that dry gully. The great master thought, " W i t h the present behavior it c o u l d be true he doesn't have 'The Precious O r a l Instructions.' Since the one called N a k r o n g the Translator (Nag r o n g lo tsa ba) is n o w in Jaktang (Lcags thang), I w i l l go there and make close i n q u i r y . " He set off to Jaktang and had gotten as far as the point where the road branched w h e n D o n p a Dorje 0, later also k n o w n as Z h a n g Gyabpa (Zhang Skyabs pa), w h o was the father of the one called Chosay O c h o k (Jo sras 'od

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mchog), said to Lord Zhang Gonbawa, "Now what? What was the purpose of that one who asked to meet you?" "He said he needed T h e Precious Oral Instructions,' " he replied. "And what did you tell him?" he asked. "I said I didn't know them," Zhangdon said. Then Dorje 0 said, "When we were staying in Kharchung some of Gyichuwa's young monks came. To one among them Lord Khar Chungwa said, "You are my master's son," took him upon his lap, and his eyes filled with tears. That was probably him. If it was, wouldn't there be damage to your sacred commitments?" " O h no!" exclaimed Zhangdon, "There would be. I didn't know. Now you run and see if it's him or not. If it isn't, let him go. If it is, bring him back." He ran off and caught up to Sachen at the point where the road branched. He told the story and since it was him, invited him back. Zhangdon said, "I don't want people to be aware of our conversation. We meet in private." He led him to a nearby ravine in Ding and then said, "Who told you I ha 'The Precious Oral Instructions'?" Sachen replied, "I heard it from Lord Khar Chungwa." "Well then, why didn't you request it from Lord Khar Chungwa himself? he asked. "Without Lord Gyichuwa's permission I couldn't receive it," he replied. Zhangdon said, "It is like the saying [in the Discourse on the Perfection Wisdom], 'some demons appear as abbots and masters.' " "It wasn't that," Sachen said, "Since Lord Khar Chungwa also passed away at the same time as Master Gyichuwa, if I had gone at that time the teachings of Gyichuwa would have been left incomplete, and I would also not have received the oral instructions of Lord Khar Chungwa. Gyichuwa knew that." He replied, "I was joking. How could he have been mistaken?" In brief, it is taught that Lord Gyichuwa knew that it was right for this great master Sachen to be trained by Zhang Gonbawa. Then master Zhangdon said, "I completely received the oral instructions, but there is no text, and I have never explained them to anyone, so I must also think about them some. And it is not proper to explain them as soon as they are requested. The request must be made at least three times." He replied, "I requested yesterday and now, so that is two. If I make it three by requesting tomorrow as I leave, would that suffice?" Perhaps master Zhangdon felt it was necessary to be cautious because Sachen had merely received the internal structure of "The Precious Oral Instructions from Lord Khar Chungwa. In any case, he replied, "Many great scholars and lesser scholars have now been invited here for a teaching council because of the passing away of the one called Se Don Dorchung (Se ston Rdor 'byung). » wouldn't be attractive for an old practitioner also to explain the teachings at this place where they are explaining the teachings. This fall I must also collect

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some gifts for explaining the teachings to some housewives. Come in the spring next year." Sachen did as he was told. He came bringing an offering of about thirteen ounces of gold for Zhangdon, and a heavy robe for O c h o k ' s father in return for his kindness. But the father had already passed away, so he gave it to Ochok himself. In brief, this great master fully received "The Precious Oral Instructions" when he was twenty-seven years old. "The Precious Oral Instructions" took four years and the [eight] Later Cycles of the Path took four years, so they were completed in eight years. Furthermore, this Lord Gonbawa mostly maintained a deliberate behavior of secrecy and didn't even act like he meditated, let alone taught the teachings, except for a few teaching sessions for some housewives. He gave the appearance of passing his time in ordinary activities, such as helping with the work of the local people and collecting all human and dog wastes on the pathways between their places, and heaping it on his own field. In the springtime, when manure was spread, he would accept the request of every villager who said "Uncle Chobar, come spread our manure," no matter how many there were. His wife argued with him, "Are you going to do them all at once, or are you trying to start a fight?" It is taught that the master satisfied them by manifesting a physical presence at each of their places. In a similar fashion, he would manifest physical presences at the same time during the digging of sod, the harvesting of crops, and so on, but other than everyone just assuming it was him, it appears that no one knew that he was manifesting physical presences. From among [these kinds of events], when the oral instructions were completely finished he led Lord Sachen to the roof on the occasion of bestowing the prophecy of attainment. He said, "In this Vajrayana the most essential thing is just to meditate. We were two brothers, and my younger brother made great efforts to study the explication of [Virupa's] treatise, while I meditated. From among the two of us I had the greater understanding of the treatise. I didn't even meditate that much, but to enhance your confidence I will show you a spectacle." He put on the goatskin cloak and went outside where there was a large dilapidated basket. He went under it and put the goatskin cloak on top of the basket. After a while many mountain creatures created from different jewels, with various shapes, fur, and colors never seen before emerged from under the asket and covered the entire region of Ding. Again they dissolved one into the other and went under the basket. Then again countless birds created from various jewels, with different colors j shapes, emerged from under the basket and filled all the area of Ding. They dissolved like before. Then he manifested in front of the basket, in the center of rainbows and

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light in m i d a i r , the forms of [Avalokitesvara, M a n j u s r i , a n d V a e j r a p a n i , ] the lords of the three spiritual races, h a v i n g the nature of light. T h a t ~ too dissolved l i k e before. T h e n h e manifested f i g u r e s o f L o r d G o n b a w a himself, i n d i v i s i i b l e f o r m and emptiness, w h i c h filled a l l the valley of D i n g . T h e n L o r d G o n b a w a himself went and sat o n top o f each b a s k e t . Infinite lights of various colors radiated f r o m the bodies, t r a n s f o r m i n g a l l the valley i n t o the nature of light. F i n a l l y , they a l l dissolved one i n t o the o t r t h e r and went underneath that basket. He shook out the goatskin cloak, p u t it o n , and came inside. He made a prophecy to Sachen: "If y o u make practice the e s s e n t i a l thing, y o u w i l l realize the Great Seal (mahamudra) w i t h o u t d i s c a r d i n g the body. If y o u m a i n l y teach, there w i l l appear three disciples w h o a t t a i n - the supreme enlightenment, seven w h o attain [the spiritual level of] p a t i e n » c e , and about eighty w h o become endowed w i t h realization. D o not write t h e s * « oral instructions i n w o r d s for eighteen years. Don't even m e n t i o n the n a m ^ i n conversat i o n . T h e n whatever y o u do, whether e x p l a i n them o r w r i t e t b o e m i n words, y o u w i l l be the owner of the doctrine." In general, w h i l e this L o r d Sachen heard fragments of the precious oral instructions f r o m G y u r a Agyab ( K y u ra a skyabs), Z h a m a K o n c t n o k (Zhwa ma D k o n m c h o g ) , and D r a n g y u l O l k a (Sbrang y u l 'ol k a ba), they v w e r e not complete. It is taught that the first two later became disciples of L o m d Sachen. Sachen then reviewed The Adamantine Phrases (Rdo rje tshigg rkang) every [day six or seven times], and the extensive path once every n a n o n t h without break. Previously a m o n k he stayed w i t h in G u n g t a n g ( G u n g t h a n g .) had resented h i m and given h i m p o i s o n . W h i l e he had been cured w h e n a r c ^ e d i c i n e called Z o m o Tsitsi (bzo mo tsitsi) was offered to h i m , again w h e n he was staying at D r o n g c h u n g ( G r o n g chung) monastery in Y e r u (G.yas ru) the residue of that p o i s o n arose, and he fell unconscious for about twenty days. A l t h o u g h the basis of the illness was later cured, he h a d f o r g o t t e n l l the teachings as a result. He thought, " F o r the other instructions I can rely upon my companions, books, and so forth, but in regard to 'The P r e c i o u s O r a l Instructions,' the master is not alive, and there are no b o o k s an d companions. E v e n though I went to India, it w o u l d be difficult to find a n y o » w h o knows these instructions." a

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He went into retreat in the M a n j u s r i Cave of the East M a r ^ s i o n , w h i c h is k n o w n a s the O l d Residence. W h e n h e made prayers, Z h a n ^ G o n b a w a appeared in a dream and spoke the oral instructions. T h e n \\& made intense prayers, and L o r d G o n b a w a actually came and completely s p c ^ k e the oral i n structions. He also then recalled those that he had forgotten. A g a i n he made strong prayers and beheld the face of [ V i r u p ^ J the reveren l o r d of yoga, whose b o d y was dark red in color w i t h the r a d i a n c^e of ten m i l l i ° suns. H i s two hands made the ritual gesture of p r o c l a i m i n g the t e a c h i n g s (dharn

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tnacakra mudra), and w i t h his legs f u l l y crossed, he covered the area of Sakya from Baldrok ('Bal grog) to M o n d r o k ( M o n grog), w i t h the patch of white earth on the mountainside serving as a backdrop. To the right was the great adept K a h n a , w i t h his left h a n d resting in his lap and b l o w i n g a h o r n trumpet h e l d in his right. To the left was Gayadhara, wrapped in the white robes of an [Indian] scholar, seated w i t h his legs crossed and h o l d i n g a vajra and bell crossed at his heart. To the rear K o t a l i p a h e l d a parasol, and in front Vinasa was h o l d i n g a s k u l l - c u p w i t h both hands and offering nectar. These three adepts were each dark blue in color, w i t h hair plaited in a topknot, and wearing a l o i n c l o t h of white cotton. Sachen beheld the faces of these five, the central figure and his entourage. [Virupa] then appeared for a period of one m o n t h , sometimes w i t h entourage and sometimes alone. Sachen received the p r o f o u n d path for spiritual u n i o n with the master, the c o m m o n and u n c o m m o n protection of V i r u p a , V i d v a m sana according to the tradition of V i r u p a , and seventy-two sets of tantra. In this way, w i t h the direct transmission he actually heard f r o m the l o r d of yoga, both transmissions were c o m b i n e d in Sachen. W h e n eighteen years had passed, the bodhisattva Aseng (A seng), w h o was the son of [Sachen's teacher] G y u r a A k y a b , supplicated h i m by saying, " Y o u have 'The Precious O r a l Instructions' but y o u have never even mentioned it to us. Y o u s h o u l d teach it n o w . " Since the expiration of the number of years in Zhangdon's c o m m a n d and Aseng's supplication occurred at the same time, Sachen believed that master Zhangdon had arranged the auspicious pattern of events and taught ["The Path and Result"] once to A s e n g alone. At his s u p p l i c a t i o n Sachen also composed The Abbreviated Explication oj the Scripture (Gzhung bshad don bsdus ma). It is taught that this was the first of all the explications of the scripture in the tradition of this lineage.

11 The Yogin Lorepa's Retreat at Lake Namtso

Nalandd Translation Committee

The story that follows narrates events from the life of Lorepa (Lo ras pa), a thirteenth-century Tibetan tantric master of the Kagyii lineage. This episode from his life is presented in The Rain oj Wisdom, a collection of devotional songs and religious poetry by Kagyii gurus. The stories about Lorepa's life are meant to be both inspiring and entertaining. M u c h of the narrative is quite serious in tone, telling of Lorepa's fierce efforts to meditate and practice diligently while living in the most austere conditions in isolated retreat; but aside from this inspirational theme, there are amusing anecdotes of the disciples and various helpers, who attempt to emulate Lorepa's lofty detachment and serene confidence without m u c h initial success. Lorepa belongs to the D r u k p a ('brug pa), subsect of the Kagyu lineage and in the first song that he sings, he invokes the protection of the Kagyii gurus. A l l of the Kagyu lineages trace their origins in Tibet back to the lay practitioner, Marpa the translator, but in his song Lorepa also includes the Indian gurus and the buddhas w h o are considered the source of the Kagyii tradition. For the modem devotee of the Kagyu tradition, this list of enlightened teachers w o u l d include more than forty-five gurus, and Lorepa's abbreviated version shows that we are still at an early stage in the lineage's development. First he invokes the primordial buddhas Samantabhadra and Vajradhara, the mystical sources of the tantras, and symbols for absolute awakened m i n d in itselfThen we have in succession the Bengali mahasiddha Tilopa (see chapter 7), his Indian disciple Naropa (see chapter 9), w h o in turn taught the first Tibetan, Marpa the translator. Next in the lineage is Marpa's disciple Milarepa, the famous bard and w i l d yogin ascetic, who mastered the tantric meditation practice of generating inner heat (gtum mo) and wore only thin cotton robes (ras pa) while dwelling in the mountain caves of Tibet and Nepal. Next in the lineage mentioned by Lorepa is Milarepa's disciple, the doctor Gampopa (Sgam po pa), followed by the two founders of the D r u k p a Kagyu sublineage: Lingchen Repa ( G l i n g chen ras pa) and his student Tsangpa Gyare (Gtsang pa rgya ras), who was Lorepa's teacher. The

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other Kagyii lineage chants, w h i c h occur in chapter 27, are written by another subsect, the Karma Kagyii. They are exactly like this list of gurus except that they branch after Gampopa to form a different series of teachers and disciples, apart from the line begun by Tsangpa Gyare. Lorepa continued the practices of his teachers, and his life-style as a wandering yogin and a religious poet reminds one especially of Milarepa. Lorepa first met his guru Tsangpa Gyare w h e n he was sixteen years o l d , and two years later he abandoned his family and all w o r l d l y activities to devote himself exclusively to his teacher. He studied intensively w i t h the aging Tsangpa Gyare until he died, when Lorepa was twenty-six. F o l l o w i n g the death of his beloved teacher, Lorepa practiced for numerous years under extremely harsh conditions, dealing constantly w i t h overwhelming physical and psychological obstacles, but ultimately gaining great realization. The biographies of Lorepa emphasize several points in his life story: his generosity in providing material and spiritual support for other practitioners, the abundant ritual offerings he w o u l d regularly make, even to the point of personal impoverishment, and the important monasteries he founded in the later part of his life. The story of Lorepa's retreat translated here takes place at Lake Namtso (Gnam mtsho), one of the three famous sites associated w i t h Lorepa's life as a yogin. It is one of the largest bodies of water in Tibet, a sort of inland sea, w i t h rocky hermitages situated on its banks and on its islands, w h i c h provide an ideal setting for a yogin's solitary retreat. The opening scene describing Lorepa's passage across the lake contains several interesting points. We see a medieval description of a Tibetan coracle boat, fashioned from leather pontoons by the fisherman w h o promises to help Lorepa. Such vessels are still used today in Tibet as ferries, often manufactured on the spot for the purpose of single crossings of rivers and lakes. Their voyage across the lake on this flimsy raft is a perilous journey, for despite their precaution of setting out on an auspicious day, they encounter rough, stormy weather, enormous waves, and monstrous frogs, all of w h i c h terrify the poor fisherman. The fisherman begs Lorepa to protect them from these perils by calling upon the divine assistance of the gods or of his gurus, and Lorepa responds w i t h his invocation to the Kagyii lineage. After his prayer, Lorepa's teacher Tsangpa Gyare himself appears in the sky, demonstrating the principle of the universality of the guru, the tantric precept that the spiritual teacher is the source of all protection and the truly effective refuge in the w o r l d . This visionary appearance is meant to illustrate the proper attitude of a disciple toward his guru for those who practice tantra. That is, the guru is taken to be the all-powerful spokesperson of the phenomenal w o r l d : ever present, ever active, the true cause of everything that happens to the disciple on his or her path. In the song Lorepa sings to the vision of his guru, he uses the crossing of the stormy lake as a metaphor for navigating the ocean of samsara, and in evocative poetic imagery he lists six other similes for the unsatisfactoriness of cyclic existence. Samsara is like a flaming fire, into w h i c h sentient beings are attracted like naive moths; samsara is like a deep, dark abyss, a pitfall for b l i n d

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and lost beings; it is like a futile mirage seen in a desert by hot and thirsty beings; and so on. Lorepa's supplication to Tsangpa Gyare as a guide who will protect and deliver them to safety on the "other shore" is heard, resulting in the immediate pacification of the storm; when they reach dry land the fisherman realizes that he was in the presence of a master all along, and he prostrates to Lorepa and asks for his blessing. Upon arriving at the island in Lake Namtso, Lorepa finds a place that is perfectly conducive to meditation practice. It is unpopulated, except for the presence of the native deities. In the Tibetan worldview these gods and demons are the true proprietors of the land. Specifically this is the palace or earthly headquarters, if you will, of Dorje Kuntragma (Lady Vajra All-Renowned, Rdo rje kun grags ma), the goddess of Lake Namtso. She is one of the twelve Tenma (bstan ma), native deities who are guardians of Tibet. Originally the Tenma opposed the importation of Buddhism, but through the wrathful magical power of the tantric master Padmasambhava and of the yogin Milarepa, they have been tamed and made protectors of the dharma. So we see Dorje Kuntragma peacefully attending Lorepa's lectures, along with the important mountain god Nyenchen Thanglha (see chapter 24) and a host of local deities. This scene evokes the romance of being a solitary yogin. The practitioner on retreat may suffer intense loneliness, but he or she is never altogether alone, for there is a compensatory relationship that develops with the deities of land and water. These subtle being; become the yogin's true society. In addition to teaching the local deities about the dharma, Lorepa also makes ritual cake or torma offerings to them religiously, even though his meager provisions require that they be much smaller than usual. The size of the torma offering cakes Lorepa makes is supposed to be quite cute and humorous, the size of a small rodent's ear and pellets. Lorepa was famous for taking vows to make particularly elaborate ceremonial offerings to the deities of the mandala and for the benefit of beings. The twenty-fifth day is the time when a religious feast in honor of the tantric deities must be performed. Usually this involves consecrating a full meal and eatmg it with meditative enjoyment. But so poor and ascetic is Lorepa that his main feast offering, usually a foot-high cake, is merely a bowl of sugar water. Yet it is clear that both he and the deities were very satisfied by the offerings, and it is no wonder that he has befriended so many. When he decides to leave Semo Island for another island, he encounters an angry scorpion deity who blocks his way with her stingers. In the full version of this story, the argument with the scorpion deity must have been a longer exchange, including an enlightening song. Here, after singing his song about overcoming the obstacles of conceptual mind, Lorepa naturally tames the impulsiveness of the local goddess, who promises to serve him at his new island retreat. This incident reenacts a familiar motif in Tibetan literature, in which the local spirits and earth guardians are tamed, civilized, and converted into protectors of the dharma. We see that Lorepa deserves indeed the honorific title given to Buddhist preachers: "a teacher of gods and men."

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The narrative shifts abruptly then to the story of Lorepa's parents going on their pilgrimage to find their son, bringing Gendiindar (Dge ' d u n dar) w i t h them as their guide. W h e n parents and son are joyfully reunited, Lorepa teaches them some dharma, performs some songs and a few miracles, and then sends them off; but he keeps Gendiindar, who becomes his faithful servant d u r i n g his retreat. For this solitary retreat Lorepa moves into a cave, whose entrance is sealed by G e n diindar, and he remains there meditating for years on end. Ordinarily Lorepa and Gendiindar w o u l d be able to reprovision themselves each year by w a l k i n g across the ice of the lake. But this is not to be. Quite mysteriously, the lake refuses to freeze over, winter after winter. Trapped on the island, w i t h an ever-decreasing supply of food, Gendiindar grows increasingly concerned that they w i l l starve to death. Lorepa seems w i l l i n g to sacrifice anything to continue his ascetic retreat, and they are reduced to boiling their o w n shoes for sustenance. In the end it is the universality of the guru in the form of a vision of Tsangpa Gyare that saves them both. The five w i s d o m dakinls w h o assist Lorepa at this point are female principles of enlightenment who b r i n g messages and secret teachings to great yogins. Here the local deities serve the dharma and are ready to help Lorepa at the command of his all-powerful guru. They lay d o w n a scarf, w h i c h appears as a path of frozen ice across the lake. Gendiindar, accidentally beholding them, is harmed. It is not unusual for the sight of these goddesses to be dangerous. M a n y local deities were originally demons or gods of particular diseases. Some k i l l by being seen, some through their noxious breath, some through their penetrating gaze. Others, particularly the dakinls, messengers of tantric secrets, and the uninitiated may not see them. W h e n Lorepa and Gendiindar reach the shores of Lake Namtso, they are met by three nomad herdboys. It is interesting that when these three boys see Lorepa, each sees h i m in a different way. This is because the true image of the realized guru is beyond conception, and each disciple sees h i m according to his propensities and abilities. Amazed at their apparent ability to walk on water, the boys prostrate and request Lorepa to teach them some dharma. The "Song of Five Buddha Fields" sung at this point sounds as if it w o u l d be quite interesting, but it has been deleted from this abbreviated account. In fact, throughout this version of Lorepa's retreat we can see places in the text where the tales have been abbreviated or songs have been left out for the Rain oj Wisdom edition. We do, however, enjoy one last doha or tantric song of experience by Lorepa, the lovely "Song of the Six Encouragements." These songs urge people to practice religion diligently, since everything (one's m i n d , body, property, wealth, relatives, and children) is impermanent, and only the dharma w i l l bring ultimate satisfaction. a r e

The disciples Lorepa gains on the shore of Lake Namtso follow h i m north to U r i , where he remains for six years and develops a sizable monastic community. The last paragraph actually is very specific about what k i n d of practices they are given. They become accomplished i n the formless meditation k n o w n as mahatnudra, or the "great s y m b o l " or "great seal." This is a meditation practice in w h i c h

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one looks at one's m i n d directly, without supports or complicated techniques. The outcome of it is that one sees the entire w o r l d as being of the nature of m i n d itself. At that point, things that once seemed solid appear so no longer, but rather seem to carry their o w n symbolic message. A n d since the entire w o r l d is seen as m i n d , it is as if the "seal of m i n d " has been stamped on all of reality. This practice is based on penetrating d o w n to the subconscious m i n d , the "basis" (Skt.: alaya). It is by observing the basis of m i n d , its o w n subconscious, that one can see the phenomenal w o r l d being projected by m i n d . A n d so the text concludes that his disciples "became realized, establishing confidence in the w i s d o m of the basis." The translation below (with some corrections here) appears in The Rain oj Wisdom, trans. Nalanda Translation Committee under the direction of Chogyam Trungpa (Boulder: Shambhala, 1980), pp. 246-55. It is based u p o n a text compiled by M i k y o Dorje i n 1542, the abbreviated title of w h i c h is Bka' brgyud mgur mtsho (The Ocean oj the Songs oj the Kagyus).

Further Reading The Rain oj Wisdom, translated by the Nalanr i Translation Committee (Boulder: Shambhala, 1980). 1

Jetsun Lorepa's Retreat at Lake Namtso C a r r y i n g a pair of shoulder bags f u l l of roasted barley flour, Jetsun Lorepa journeyed to the great lake of N a m t s o in the n o r t h , w h i c h surrounds the island of Semo. The ice on the lake had melted, and so he had to stay on the shore where many fishermen were l i v i n g nearby. A l t h o u g h he had made a strong resolution to practice on the island, since the ice had melted, there was no way to get to the island. So he supplicated the g u m and wept. O n e of the fisherboys said, " Y o u n g m o n k , w h y are y o u weeping?" Lorepa replied, "I made a v o w to meditate on that island, but since the ice has melted, my practice is hindered; therefore, I am sad." The fisherboy exclaimed, " H o w w o n d e r f u l that y o u have s u c h faith! I w i l l ferry y o u to the i s l a n d . " But the boy's father said, " T h i s lake is brackish. There is no water to sustain y o u d u r i n g y o u r ascetic practices, and if the lake does not freeze, y o u r two years of provisions w i l l not be enough. There is no history of anyone l i v i n g there except glorious G a l o and the Master Padmakara. T h i s boy is my o n l y son and I dare not send h i m . I k n o w this lake better and I am stronger than my son. Since y o u have such great faith, I w i l l take y o u n o w , but we b o t h might

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die. E v e n so, I have c o m m i t t e d evil by k i l l i n g m a n y fish, a n d y o u might liberate me" They tied three pieces of w o o d together as a base, a n d underneath they attached three inflated leather bags. On top of that, they made a latticework of rope and sticks. T h e n they put the two f u l l bags of roasted barley flour on the raft. The fisherman sat on one side, and the l o r d of dharma [Lorepa] sat on the other. On the eleventh day, as the stars came out, they launched their raft. At m i d n i g h t the lake roared and crashed about, m a k i n g a great tumult. The waves of the lake rose to the height of a m a n . L i g h t n i n g flashed in the sky, a n d a great hailstorm came d o w n . Frogs as b i g as goat-kids leapt onto the raft. The boatman became extremely frightened and said, "It is unfortunate that you want to meditate on the island; both of us are going to die. Don't y o u have someone like the K a g y i i gurus to supplicate? Can't y o u give a c o m m a n d to the local deities?" W i t h intense yearning a n d l o n g i n g , Lorepa made a s u p p l i c a t i o n to the K a g y i i gurus, asking for help. He sang this secret song: D h a r m a body Samantabhadra and consort, inseparable f r o m g u r u Vajradhara, Y o u r emanation, g u r u T i l o , protector of beings, G u r u N a r o p a , free of faults and perfected in virtue, F r o m the dharma realm of great bliss, please protect sentient beings. Teacher M a r p a D h a r m a Intellect ( C h o s k y i bio gros), k i n d g u r u , Great l o r d of yogins, g u r u M i l a r e p a , G u r u P h y s i c i a n [Gampopa], w h o realized compassion-emptiness, F r o m the realm of u n c o n d i t i o n e d luminosity-emptiness, please protect sentient beings. O m n i s c i e n t protector of beings, g u r u vajra-king, Supreme heruka, glorious g u r u L i n g c h e n Repa, L o r d of the four bodies of the b u d d h a , l o r d of dharma, protector of beings, honorable D r u k p a , Please protect sentient beings w i t h y o u r compassion free of concepts. A u t h e n t i c l o r d of dharma w h o accomplishes benefit for himself a n d others, K i n d precious one w h o m e r c i f u l l y accomplishes benefit for beings, M e r c i f u l g u r u , wise in the ways of kindness, Please protect sentient beings of this dark age. Thus, Lorepa supplicated. F r o m the direction of Semo Island they saw a mass of r a i n b o w light shaped like a p i t c h e d tent. In the m i d d l e of this, they saw a v i s i o n of Tsangpa Gyare i n enjoyment body aspect (sambhogakaya) h o l d i n g a vase of eternal life i n his hand. A g a i n Lorepa supplicated:

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O gurus, victorious ones of the three times and your clflescendents, Please hear the lamentations f r o m my heart. G u r u s a n d hosts of vajra brothers a n d sisters, Learned and d i s c i p l i n e d meditators w h o have attained 1 unsurpassable enlightenment, Decent dharma practitioners w h o have entered thegattte of the teachings, Please j o i n y o u r m i n d s together and protect sentient h n e i n g s . In this terrifying fire pit of samsara, Please protect sentient beings w h o are as naive asmo«ths. In this fathomless a n d boundless ocean of samsara. Please protect sentient beings w h o are fragile as a tof>oweb. In this pitch-black abyss of samsara, Please protect sentient beings w h o are b l i n d and hives lost their way. In this great p r i s o n of samsara w i t h o u t escape, Please protect sentient beings w h o are defenseless tarqptives. In this poisonous pit of great suffering, samsara, Please protect sentient beings w h o are b l i n d and marJtl In this futile mirage of great suffering, samsara, Please protect sentient beings w h o are hot and thirstyy w i l d animals. In this deceptive dream a n d i l l u s i o n of samsara, Please protect sentient beings, l o n g tormented througgh lack of realization. O protector, l o r d of dharma, be a refuge for a l l , both_n h i g h a n d l o w . Please protect sentient beings w i t h y o u r great kindneess a n d supreme consideration. G u r u s , victorious ones a n d y o u r descendents, peacefiful and w r a t h f u l deities throughout the universe, O a t h - b o u n d protectors w h o delight in the side ofth«ie w h i t e , Q u e l l obstacles and the hosts of demons a n d estallissh sentient beings i n happiness. Y o u gurus w h o d o not discriminate Between sentient beings and buddhas, Please protect sentient beings w h o suffer! Pacify obstacles and perfect virtues! Cause the teachings to f l o u r i s h and p u r i f y the realnxns! T h r o u g h the blessings of this s u p p l i c a t i o n , the chaos vaeas pacified instantly, and they easily arrived at dry l a n d . The fisherman saw ittajat the l o r d of dharma

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a s the B u d d h a in person and he prostrated, c i r c u m a m b u l a t e d , a n d requested his blessings. Before the fisherman returned, the l o r d of dharma said, "Surrender y o u r m i n d , heart, a n d chest to the three jewels, a n d they w i l l certainly not deceive y o u . Y o u w i l l meet y o u r s o n easily w i t h o u t obstacles." The fisherman then easily returned to the other shore. The l o r d of dharma inspected the qualities of that place. He saw that the lake was naturally clear a n d the color of vaidurya gems. As the S u n rose and set, it seemed to rise a n d set f r o m the depths of the lake. It was the palace of Dorje K u n t r a g m a (Rdo rje k u n grags ma). In the m i d d l e of the island there was a field that was not very large, but flat like the p a l m of a h a n d . In the middle of this field, r o c k formations were p i l e d up l i k e jewels. To the right and left of the field there were h i l l s that l o o k e d l i k e the outstretched w i n g s of a vulture. At the south end of the field there was a naga cave a n d a mandala cave, clean a n d clear, naturally pleasant, a n d g i v i n g rise to meditative concentration (samadhi). He saw that this was a place for practice, free f r o m bustle and distraction, where experience and realization w o u l d increase like the w a x ing m o o n . He was very pleased. Lorepa set aside one-half of a f u l l bag of roasted barley flour for the next year a n d the other half of the first year's provisions. He made the deity offerings and sacrificial cakes (gtor ma) regularly. He made the deity offerings the size of a small rodent's ear, the m i d d l e sacrificial cakes the size of sheep pellets, and the one h u n d r e d cakes the size of s m a l l rodents' pellets. He made the stock of his gruel f r o m the cake water of these. He said that he h a d never experienced more j o y than in that year. F o r the offering of the twenty-fifth day [of the lunar calendar] the l o r d of dharma w o u l d dissolve a piece of rock-crystal sugar in a small offering b o w l and then p e r f o r m the l o n g Cakrasamvara sadhana. He said it was very satisfying. At that time, b o t h the great N y e n c h e n Thanglha, in the garb of a y o u n g sorceror, a n d Dorje K u n t r a g m a , in the garb of a nobleman's daughter, surr o u n d e d by a great assembly of lake goddesses a n d l o c a l deities, came f r o m time to time to listen to the l o r d of dharma's teachings a n d songs. Because all the gods a n d demons enjoyed his songs, they assembled in turns a n d said, " Y o g i n , please either s i n g or e x p o u n d the d h a r m a . " So Lorepa e x p o u n d e d the dharma a n d sang m a n y songs. w

O n e day he went to v i e w the scenery. He saw that on the far shore the fishermen h a d placed some fish in heaps a n d h a d spread out others. He sang the song of seven compassions. In the f o l l o w i n g year, the D r i t a k nomads w h o l i v e d on the shore said, "Last year a y o u n g D r u k p a m o n k went to Semo Island w i t h o u t m a n y provisions. We s h o u l d see if he is still alive." T w o of them went to see. T h e y heard the voice of the l o r d of dharma m a k i n g supplications in his practice cave, a n d they said, " H e has gone m a d ! " But as they approached, they saw that, although the l o r d of dharma h a d not

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used more than half of that full bag of roasted barley flour, he looked extremely healthy and his practice was prospering. They were amazed and their faith was aroused. They requested him to leave the island at that time, but he said, "I still have half a bag of barley flour and I will stay here." Lorepa stayed for a whole year. Then he thought that in the winter, when the ice had formed on the lake, he would go to Shamo Island. However, the local deity manifested as a scorpion. At the entrance to the cave she placed one stinger on the floor and one stinger on the roof and blocked his way. So he sang the song of nine resolutions, ways of transcending conceptual mind. The local deity then transformed herself into a twenty-year-old maiden, prostrated, and said, "I was not really trying to harm you, but I do not like your leaving! Now that I see that you are not to be diverted, I will serve you during your stay at Shamo Island." Then she vanished, and the lord of dharma went to Shamo Island and stayed there. Then Lorepa's father and mother went to the refuge of beings, Tsangpa Gyare, who gave them his own attendant, Gendundar, as a guide. Joining together, they all traveled to the north. As there was ice on the lake, they were able to meet with the lord of dharma on Shamo Island. Both mother and father embraced the lord of dharma and cried. As it is said, "Where there is great joy, there are many tears." For several days, he made his parents content by teaching the dharma, singing songs, and performing miracles. He then sent them back to Central Tibet. Lorepa told Gendundar [to prepare for a solitary retreat, saying], "Live in the eastern rock cave, cook the food, and practice. Now wall up the entrance to my rock cave." The lord of dharma stayed sealed up inside. Each time Gendundar would offer him food, he would eat just a portion of it and leave the rest to dry. After seven years passed, Gendundar said to the lord of dharma, "The barley flour is completely consumed and ice has not formed on the lake." The lord of dharma gave him the dry food and said, "Make this into a soup; bring it here to me and drink some yourself." He saved the dregs of the soup and left them to dry. Again Gendundar said, "The dry food is consumed." The lord of dharma said, "Cook this." He gave him the soup dregs and said, "Make this into soup; bring it to me and drink some yourself." Later on, Gendundar said, "Again the food is consumed and ice has not formed." The lord of dharma said, "Shake out the bags and roll it into dough." When it was rolled, there was only as much as the size of a thumb. The lord of dharma performed a feast offering (ganacakra) and a visualization. He then realized that a local deity had brought the corpse of a deer to the beach, and he told Gendundar that there was something wonderous on the beach. Gendundar went to the beach and cut up the corpse that he found there. He offered some

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to the l o r d of dharma and ate a little himself. In this way, they were able to pass the eighth year. Later o n , G e n d i i n d a r said, "The meat is n o w c o n s u m e d . " The l o r d of dharma said, " B o i l my shoes and meditation belt, y o u r shoes and meditation belt, and the flour bags!" and he threw his shoes and meditation belt out to his attendant. Immeasurable suffering arose in G e n d i i n d a r . He boiled them w e l l and offered them to the l o r d of dharma. Later o n , G e n d i i n d a r thought, "These too are finished. If I were to die, that w o u l d be sustenance for the g u r u . " He said, " G u r u sir, there is a h u m a n corpse d o w n on the beach. Is it a l l right to eat it or not?" The l o r d of dharma said, "It is all right." T h e n the attendant tied one end of his sash to a b u s h and the other end around his neck. However, the l o r d of dharma k n e w that G e n d i i n d a r was preparing to d r o w n himself, and he q u i c k l y went out to h i m . The l o r d of dharma took h i m by the hand and brought h i m back u p , saying, "Son, it is not necessary to make such a mistake! A l t h o u g h I may die, I have no regrets. F o r the sake of the dharma, I have practiced asceticism." He then sang the song of the four nonregrets. That night the l o r d of dharma dreamt that the refuge of beings, Tsangpa Gyare, was on the beach in a white pitched tent, s u r r o u n d e d by a retinue of many local deities. At d a w n the s o u n d of a ritual h a n d d r u m (damaru) was heard in the sky. The l o r d of dharma thought, " W h a t is that?" He l o o k e d and he had a v i s i o n of the five w i s d o m dakinls. The dakinls said, "Brother, y o u have been overburdened for a l o n g time. N o w y o u may go to Central Tibet. We request that y o u w a l k on the surface of the ice." T h e n they vanished l i k e a rainbow. The l o r d of dharma said, " G e n d i i n d a r , get up and see if it is possible that ice has formed on the lake in accordance w i t h the o m e n in my dream." G e n d i i n d a r thought, " A r e we going to Central Tibet? It has been nine years since the lake has frozen. Since ice has not formed in the winter months, it is impossible for it to f o r m d u r i n g the s u m m e r ! " Nevertheless, since it was the c o m m a n d of his g u r u , he went and l o o k e d . On the lake there was ice, an arrow's flight in w i d t h and a cubit in depth. On its surface there was a moderate snowfall, in w h i c h lay the footprints of a fox. Intense j o y and immeasurable faith and devotion for the l o r d of dharma arose in h i m and he said, "Since the ice has formed, please let us be off." The l o r d of dharma said, " G o and put the books and personal belongings in the bag and b r i n g them along." T h e y then departed. The l o r d of dharma said, " G e n d u n d a r , y o u go first." Just as he reached the shore, G e n d u n d a r w o n d e r e d if the l o r d of dharma was c o m i n g b e h i n d h i m , and he turned a r o u n d to l o o k . The dakinls q u i c k l y gathered up the silk scarf on w h i c h they b o t h w a l k e d , but since the l o r d of dharma had not reached the shore, the lower part of his body was immersed in the water.

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The l o r d of dharma said, "If y o u had not l o o k e d back, it w o u l d have been better. The sight of the local deities is poisonous; therefore, y o u r life w i l l be short. If I bless y o u , y o u w i l l have a l o n g life, but y o u w i l l not meet w i t h me in the next life. Son, w o u l d y o u like a l o n g life, or w o u l d y o u l i k e to be w i t h me in the next life?" G e n d u n d a r said, " W h a t j o y is there in this life? I w o u l d prefer the j o y of being w i t h the g u r u in the next life." Therefore, his life was short, but in his next life, he was b o r n as the son of a potter and met w i t h his g u r u . The l o r d of dharma and his disciple were seen c o m i n g f r o m the m i d d l e of the lake by three herdboys. E a c h one saw them in a different f o r m , and the herdboys were amazed. W h e n the l o r d and his disciple arrived on the shore, the herdboys prostrated, offered them their barley flour and leeks, and said, " B o t h of y o u , master and disciple, must be accomplished ones (siddhas)! W h a t a great wonder that y o u have n o w come across the water in this season! We request y o u to teach the d h a r m a . " The l o r d of dharma then sang a song called "The Five B u d d h a F i e l d s " for the boys. The boys said, "If y o u cross this h i l l , y o u w i l l find our camp. Please go there! We w i l l r o u n d up our sheep and cattle earlier than usual and come there." So the master and disciple went toward the large encampment called K y a n g p a , but they stayed in a field at a distance f r o m the tents. The attendant asked if he c o u l d go into the encampment. The l o r d of dharma said, "If y o u are h u n g r y , eat the flour and leeks. Practice!" G e n d u n d a r replied, " L o r d of dharma, even if y o u w i l l not go, I must go." "If y o u must go, do not say that we came f r o m Shamo Island." W h e n the attendant arrived at the encampment, he f o u n d m a n y dogs. There was also a group of y o u n g toughs w h o demanded, "Where do y o u come from?" N e r v o u s l y , G e n d u n d a r blurted out that he was f r o m Shamo Island. They said, "The lake has not frozen for many years. Y o u must be a bandit chief!" and they beat h i m . W h e n G e n d u n d a r returned, the l o r d of dharma asked h i m if he had gotten any alms. He said, "I d i d not get any a l m s — I got a beating!" The l o r d of dharma said, "I t o l d y o u before to stay and practice. N o w practice!" The three boys arrived at the camp at sunset and told their parents about the l o r d of dharma, and the parents went over and invited them both back to their camp. " C o m e to our camp, and we w i l l serve y o u , " they said. "Earlier on, we d i d not realize that y o u were the attendant of the l o r d of dharma—please forgive u s ! " The l o r d of dharma and his attendant stayed there about seven or eight days. T h e n , their patrons again requested the dharma, saying, " F o r the past few days, y o u have constantly and naturally taught the dharma to us. But since we are highlanders, we have not understood very m u c h . Therefore, please put the h o l y dharma into a melodious song."

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Then, the l o r d of dharma s a n g this song of the six encouragements to practice, w h i c h b r i n g i m p e r m a n e n c e to m i n d : This workable m i n d Is like mist on white gLacier mountains. One never k n o w s w h e n the mist w i l l disappear, so resort to practice! It is certain that it w i l l disappear, so resort to the h o l y dharma! This illusory b o d y c o m p o s e d of the four elements Is like a tree root r o t t i n g . One never k n o w s w h e n the tree w i l l fall, so resort to practice! It is certain that it w i l l fall, so resort to the h o l y d h a r m a ! This property b u i l t up "by competitive ancestors Is like the i l l u s i o n of a magician. O n e never k n o w s w h e n the i l l u s i o n w i l l be destroyed, so resort to practice! It is certain that it w i l l be destroyed, so resort to the h o l y dharma! These objects of wealthi collected t h r o u g h avarice A r e like honey c o l l e c t e d by bees. One never k n o w s w h o w i l l enjoy the honey, so resort to practice! It is certain that others w i l l enjoy it, so resort to the h o l y d h a r m a ! Agreeable and l o v i n g relatives Are like travelers gathered in a marketplace. One never k n o w s w h e n the travelers w i l l disperse, so resort to practice! It is certain that they w i l l disperse, so resort to the h o l y d h a r m a ! These sons of y o u r o w n flesh A r e like h u n d r e d - y e a r - o l d dotards. One never k n o w s if t h e y w i l l help y o u , so resort to practice! It is certain they w i l l n o t help y o u , so resort to the h o l y d h a r m a ! Thus, the l o r d of dharma s a n g . Great faith arose in their patrons. They said, "Let us find out where the p r e c i o u s l o r d of dharma lives, so that we m a y practice the d h a r m a . " Later, w h e n the l o r d of d h a r m a was l i v i n g at U r i in the n o r t h , the patroness known as Karlek, the three h e r d b o y s , and a few others came there, cut their hair, changed their names, a n d became m o n k s and n u n s . T h e y requested teaching and received t r a n s m i s s i o n . In particular, they were given the v i e w of the holy dharma of m a h a m u d r a , and the meditation of emptiness and stainless luminosity. T h u s , the play of unobstructed experience arose in them. By d o i n g just this practice, some of t h e m , b o t h male and female, wandered carefree f r o m retreat to retreat and became realized, establishing confidence in the w i s d o m of the basis (alaya).

- 1 2 Memories of a Past Life

David

Templeman

Tibetan lamas are believed to be reincarnations of former great teachers. In the case of particularly famous and influential lamas, that line of incarnation is often traced far back into the past, from Tibet back to India, often ending (and hence beginning) w i t h a disciple of the Buddha himself. The accounts of those past lives are an important genre of Tibetan literature. What follows is a brief biography of the immediately preceding rebirth of the great scholar Taranatha (1575-1634), a biography composed by Taranatha himself, ostensibly from his memories of own past life. A m o n g the many fascinating elements of the biography is that the previous incarnation is an Indian prince rather than a Tibetan, despite the fact that one of Taranatha's previous incarnations had been identified as a Tibetan. That is, the line of Taranatha's incarnations begins long ago in India, moves to Tibet, and then moves back to India for one lifetime only, then back to Tibet in the form of Taranatha himself. This brief Indian interlude is recorded below, in Taranatha's biography of an Indian prince w h o lived only to be eight years of age. In this way, a brief gap in the lineage line is accounted for, and the lineage is revitalized by a return to India, w h i c h Taranatha, like other Tibetan Buddhists, regarded as the source of the unadulterated and authentic dharma. Taranatha's work about his o w n immediately preceding incarnation as the young Indian Prince Ramagopala is touching for the poignancy of the boy's brief but beautiful life. The w o r k represents the nostalgia Taranatha felt for India as a sacred land, but the aesthetic form of the boy's short life also exemplifies Taranatha's conviction that B u d d h i s m transcends the limits of age, locale, family background, and sectarian affiliation. For Taranatha, India was and remained a land of marvelous miracles and wondrous events, a place where the very traditions he loved so dearly were still alive and flourishing. Even as a youth, Taranatha had several visions of some i m p ' tance that connected h i m to India. W h i l e he was extremely i l l sometime befo his second birthday, five Indian acaryas appeared before h i m in a vision an blessed h i m , bringing about a swift recovery. After recovering from this illness he o r

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discovered that he had some difficulty recalling his previous incarnations. His parents, fearing that the illness had resulted in a state of semi-brain damage, took him to a prominent Tibetan lama, who diagnosed this memory lapse as a harbinger of his future attainment of the clear-light state. Later in his childhood, Taranatha saw some Indian acaryas begging, and he fantasized that he might be in Bodhgaya or some such place in India, a country that surprisingly enough he never visited. Moreover, Taranatha's o w n Autobiography mentions that he not only had many dreams about meeting Indian yogins, but that he actually met Indian siddhas and panditas fairly frequently in his earlier life, i n c l u d i n g his o w n guru Buddhaguptanatha. H o w might we approach interpreting Taranatha's biography of the Indian prince? A reasonable starting point w o u l d be to view it mainly as a work concerned w i t h lineage, that ennobling pursuit for absolute authenticity in the received teachings. More specifically, it is a w o r k that examines the semi-lacuna in this long and illustrious chain of rebirths; it is concerned w i t h evincing Taranatha's own spiritual pedigree, the unbroken lineage of pure and unadulterated teachings reaching back in time to the Buddha himself, or at the very least to one of his close disciples. In Taranatha's case his lineage starts w i t h the shadowy and mystical figure of Jvalapati (= Jvalanatha), after w h o m Taranatha was named. The focus in Ramagopala's biography seems to be as m u c h on the siddha Jvalanatha, also referred to as Meghanatha, as on the prince himself, and the reader might question whether the w o r k is indeed a biography of a lineage predecessor or simply another of those works that Taranatha loved so m u c h , the accounts of the siddha lineages. F r o m this primogenitor sprang a line of realized practitioners that extended from India into Tibet and thereafter into Mongolia, reaching its finale in 1924 in the person of the eighth Jebtsundamba K h u t u k h t u of Urga. Despite a ban effected on any further reincarnations of the lineage, there is still said to be a Taranatha lineage extant among the Tibetan refugee community in India to this day as well as one in Mongolia. As we might expect, Taranatha had an extremely high regard for his o w n lineage, and he wrote extensively on several of its major figures and streams of teaching. In his Autobiography he reinforces his o w n place in that lineage when he mentions that several times during his c h i l d h o o d he repeatedly exclaimed, "I am Lama Kunga D r o l c h o k , " apparently without ever having heard the name before. Here he was referring to Kunga Drolchok ( K u n dga' grol mchog, 1507-1566), the great scholar from Mustang who was the immediate predecessor of the young Prince of Tripura, subject of the present w o r k . The Autobiography also records that some time after his eighth year, Taranatha admitted that he was "the master of laziness and indolence," in contrast to his previous life as Kunga Drolchok, when he saw himself as quite energetic. It may strike one as strange here that Taranatha d i d not mention his immediate prebirth as Ramagopala, referring i n stead to his penultimate predecessor, Kunga Drolchok. It may be surmised that since the y o u n g prince only lived to be eight years o l d , Taranatha w o u l d have had few memories to recall. In any case, he certainly had enough information to

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write the present work. H o w m u c h Taranatha recalled from memory and how m u c h of his previous life he was told by his Indian teacher Buddhaguptanatha w h o m he met eight years before writing the present work—remains a question As w i t h almost all hagiographical works, the implicit purpose is to link the subject clearly and irrefutably w i t h a great and glorious teacher, one who lived in a time w h e n the purity of the teachings was unquestioned, in an almost mythic perfect time. For Taranatha, obsessed w i t h India even before his meeting with Buddhaguptanatha, this period became increasingly the glorious age of India particularly up to the eleventh century. In his case the great and glorious teacher was the mahasiddha Krsnacarya from w h o m his o w n line flowed. Krsnacarya was an eleventh-century yogin from Orissa, the location itself giving us another interesting l i n k in the chain b i n d i n g Taranatha to Prince Ramagopala, as we shall note below. Krsnacarya was one of the early systematizers of the texts and mandates of Cakrasamvara and was one of the composers of some of the most beautiful spiritual verses in the Indian vernacular, the so-called carya songs. Krsnacarya opened up many areas of India to Buddhism, combatting the inimical local forces both demonic and religious, and ended his life struggling against a malicious witch in just such a venture. As Taranatha inherited a great deal of information on the halcyon days of the siddhas of India from his guru Buddhaguptanatha, he was able to find considerable interest not only in the events that surrounded his longdistant predecessor but also in his o w n personal teacher Buddhaguptanatha, who himself was linked to several great Indian Buddhist yogins. In many of his works Taranatha has given us some of the most interesting data on late siddhahood in India extant in either Tibetan or Indian literature; we have inherited these short epithetical accounts of late siddhas as a result of his felicitous meeting w i t h his teacher. Thus Taranatha's lineal links w i t h the glorious and great Buddhist land of India are quite palpable both in his inheritance of the continuum of rebirths from Krsnacarya and equally remarkably in those that were much closer to his o w n time. A l t h o u g h he was not a unique figure in this relatively late period of spiritual inheritance from India, he is certainly one whose teachers are among the most thoroughly documented. A l l of this wealth of detail on the lives of the great yogins of India suggests that the biography of Ramagopala fits into an overall plan of Taranatha that was primarily focused on the forms of Indian Buddhism that survived well into his o w n times as exemplified in the lives of both the earlier and later siddhas. The. w o r k translated below may be of considerable importance to historians of B u d d h i s m because it contains a great deal of information on the presence of late siddhahood in India in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The existence of Buddhist practitioners in such a relatively late period of Indian history is a fact often acknowledged by Tibetan historians, who frequently record the activities o Indian Buddhist yogins in their o w n works, but it is one seldom referred to by other scholars. These wandering yogins appear to have been prevalent in certain areas of India, carrying their direct, practical experience of the dharma, especially in its later forms, into far-flung reaches of Asia.

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Besides the spiritual activities of the later siddhas, we also gain important i n sights into the customs of the era from the detailed information provided in this small w o r k . Taranatha had gained an encyclopedic knowledge of things Indian apparently without being able to consult Indian texts at first hand. F r o m the very first section of this text we can see that he was familiar (most probably through the oral transmission of his Indian teachers) w i t h some fairly esoteric aspects of Indian history. He knew the early stories of the Rajmdld, the record of the dynastic rulers of the tiny state of Tripura right from its origins as a series of incarnations of the M o o n itself. It seems, however, that many of the details in the life of Taranatha's predecessor must remain tantalizingly obscure. Nevertheless, this tiny biography has more than history and the preoccupation with lineage as its main interest. It is not wise to dwell too m u c h on what may or may not have been the historical events of the small w o r k — s u c h a pursuit tends to reduce the contents of the biography simply to a search for historical evidence, apparently not Taranatha's main aim in the work at all. Rather, we should look instead at the Life itself and find out what might have been intended for the Buddhist reader in the Tibet of the times. Certainly once the purely historical data and the more contentious aspects (including the antagonism between the proponents of B u d d h i s m and Hinduism) are put behind us, then what we are left w i t h is a gemlike piece of instruction perhaps aimed at the master of G u r m o Palace, Khyenyang ( M k h y e n yangs) himself, at whose behest the account was written. Taranatha's injunctions in the tiny biography concern the fundamentals of statecraft, especially the benefit of keeping firmly to the teachings despite other pressing requirements of governance, the value of performing pilgrimage, and the primacy of maintaining childlike purity in one's intention and actions. Such advice may seem simple, but for a person controlling both land and vassals it might have been rather more difficult to implement. That Taranatha wrote such simple and charming pieces of advice is apparent from his doha songs i n his Collected Works, i n w h i c h he addresses one i n particular to Lady N a m k h a Gyelmo (Nam m k h a ' rgyal mo). In it he briefly outlines some rules for proper maintenance of the state, but several of his points are good rules for living, too. For example, he advises the lady to avoid the throng, to eschew arrogance, to cease clinging to things too dearly, to avoid pride and jealousy, and finally to be generous in her largesse to the poor. Interspersed among these timeless pieces of good counsel are the usual Buddhist homilies about the exceptional fortune of attaining a precious h u m a n rebirth, the benefits for her in the confession of sins, the dangers of grasping, and the w i s d o m of abiding by the injunctions of her chosen teacher. What we cannot fail to see in the biography is the spirit of the young prince as it shines through these few pages. The reader is surely to be touched by the vision of the young lad playing w i t h his games but in reality making offerings to the Buddha, or of h i m perhaps hand in hand w i t h his father, visiting the holy places of Buddhism. Brevity has its o w n sense of poignancy, none more so perhaps

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than in this brief Indian life, a tiny g e m c a e u g h t between those of two great Tibetan masters. The present text was taken from T a r a n a t l h a ' s Collected Works, v o l . 12, folios 68596. It is based on the Rtcmg brtan Phun tsshog gling edition, printed i n Leh Ladakh in the Smanrtsis Shesrig D p e m z o d s e r i e s , 1982, ed. C. Namgyal and Tsewang Tarn.

Further

Reading

On the life and works of Taranatha, see Jonang Taranatha, The Origin oj the Tara Tantra, trans. David Templeman ( D h a r a imsala: Library of Tibetan W o r k s and Archives, 1981); Jonang Taranatha, The S~ieven Instruction Lineages, trans. D. Templeman (Dharamsala: Library of T i b e t a M n W o r k s and Archives, 1983); and Taranatha's Life oj Krsnacarya I Kanha, t r a n s . D . Templeman (Dharmasala: Library of Tibetan W o r k s and Archives, 1989). O r x t Taranatha's lineage in Mongolia, see C. R. Bawden, Thejebtsundamba Khutukhtu-s ojUrga (Weisbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, Asiatische Forschungen, Band 9, 1 9 6 1 ) ». For a general study of Indian Buddhist saints and siddhas, see Reginald Ray, Bnucidhist Saints in India: A Study oj Buddhist Values and Orientations (New Y o r k : O ^ x f o r d University Press, 1994); and J. B. Robinson, Buddha's Lions: The Lives oj tMhe Eighty-Four Siddhas (Berkeley: Dharma Publishing, 1979). A previous v e r s i o n o o f the translation appeared in Tibet Journal 17A (1992):36-45.

The Account of Prince R a m a g o p a l ia Benediction! L i k e an auspicious s p r i n g t i m e f V e s t i v a l , arisen as if by magic, W h a t is contained herein w i l l b «e completely victorious over a m i n d 1 of aggression or m a u d l i n t h o w u g h t s . . .. The wafting odors of great swee^etness Create a w o n d r o u s picture e v e r ~ y w h e r e , So that even the most v i o l e n t - r u a t u r e d person w i l l laugh in j o y A n d w i l l smile like the v e r y s u m itself. The w o n d r o u s tales, j o i n e d t o g .ether as they are, Have been fashioned as if by a " heavenly maiden. As for those w h o f o l l o w these r a n a n y lineages, These stories w i l l become a v e r r i t a b l e nectar for their ears. . . .

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N o w , it has been said that At a certain time in days of yore, There arose by means of a life-bestowing nectar, a d i v i n e boy To w h o m I offer every sort of religious sacrifice. . . . In the lineage of the eastern l a n d of T r i p u r a a y o u t h of the w a r r i o r caste m e d itated on the deity of compassion, A r y a Avalokitesvara, for a period of six months. As a result of this, Lokesvara appeared . . . in a dream before h i m and asked, " W h a t is it y o u desire?" The lad begged h i m , saying, " O , N o b l e O n e , both the members of my L u n a r caste and myself . . . w i s h to grasp the reins of temporal p o w e r . " The N o b l e O n e replied, "In the w o r l d there are few enough people w i t h real merit. Y o u may become a lineage holder for a period of fifteen generations," and having said that he became invisible. In the m o r n i n g , in order to pay his homage to the N o b l e O n e , the y o u t h made preparations to go to visit the deity Khasarpana, and w h i l e there he made his offerings. N o w at that particular time in the southeastern part of India the priestly caste of Orissa were saying, " W e were truly happy d u r i n g the reign of the previous k i n g , but n o w because of various dissensions we have become most unhappy, and we are searching w i d e l y for a new k i n g . " T h e y went off into many places l o o k i n g for just s u c h a person, and finally they abducted that y o u t h of the warrior caste w h o had come there to pay his homage to Khasarpana. The Orissan people installed h i m on the lion-throne and d u l y invested h i m . He became k n o w n as Agamaraja. W h e n his lineage had reached the eighth generation, K i n g M u k u n d a Deva started to exert his considerable power over the lands of Orissa, Gauda, southern Bengal, P u r l , parts of Bihar, and the l a n d of K a l i i i g a . H i s control lasted for a l o n g time, a n d w i t h his p o w e r f u l armed forces he brought under his sway the w h o l e k i n g d o m k n o w n as Trilifiga. M o s t of the p o p u l a t i o n of northern India became his subjects, and he became k n o w n as K i n g Hastinanatha. The king's second son, named Ramabartari, was master of the areas of M a gadha, M a t h u r a , and Prayag. He had as one of his sons a transformational f o r m of the great y o g i n K a n h a , w h o had promised that by the fearlessness of t r u t h he w o u l d receive the rebirth of the h o l y lama K u n g a D r o l c h o k ( K u n dga' grol mchog). . .. On the day that the prince was b o r n in the city of Gaya, a naked, ash-smeared yogin came to the top floor of the palace. E v e n though he was quite alone he took up the f u l l breadth of the corridor, and he started to perform his o w n offering ceremony. The king's household priests felt that the y o g i n was quite impure, and they said to each other, " A s for yogins, in the twelvefold classification of beings, b o t h they and their actions are said to be quite abnormal. F o r such a person to take delight in our performance, w h i c h is k a r m i c a l l y pure, such as this one is d o i n g is really quite improper. T h i s y o g i n s h o u l d not even be permitted here at a l l . " U p o n saying those w o r d s , all the priests' o w n sacri-

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ficial items became invisible, and the pHriests began to ask themselves whether in fact the y o g i n was a h u m a n being or indeed a n o n h u m a n spirit. W h i l e they were d o i n g this, yet another y o g i n a p p e e a r e d before them, and the priests supplicated h i m w i t h the words, "O h o l y teacher, greetings to y o u ! We pay our homages to y o u ! " and u p o n hearing t h n o s e words the y o g i n became invisible yet again. At a later time w h e n his father wasiS p e r f o r m i n g the vast and liberal birth ceremonies attendant u p o n the p r i n c e , Tthe K i n g M u k u n d a Deva, w h o had been an exclusive devotee of certain n o n - B u u d d h i s t practices in the past, erected a s u r r o u n d i n g w a l l for eight leagues a r o u u n d the sacred site, motivated as he was by the power of faith. Both inside a n d a o u t s i d e the walls guardians of the sacred precinct were ordained, and each day h n o r s e m e n and camel troops were also to be f o u n d there on guard. On the m o r n i n g of the tenth day, t t h e k i n g himself was seated before the shrine intended for the offerings. W h i M e the priests were about to make their offerings and had prepared by m a k i n g gifts to the H i n d u god Narayana, there suddenly appeared a y o g i n h o l d i n g a : s k u l l - c u p , w h o started to wash himself in the vessel intended for the priest's ' r i t u a l water oblations. The priests took h o l d of b i r c h switches, and just as t h e ^ y were about to give h i m a thrashing he uttered the w o r d s "phata y e ! " As t h o s e s sounds resounded, the entire offertory shrine was smashed to pieces and the b r a h m i n priests were reduced to a state of sheer terror. The y o g i n then a n n o u x n c e d to the k i n g , "In another birth your son was of a Buddhist family, and f o r y o u to be p e r f o r m i n g a b i r t h ceremony s u c h as this is entirely i m p r o p e r . In t r i n t h , y o u must n o w make liberal offerings before a gathering of yogins i n s t e a d ! " . At that the k i n g demanded, "Just who is this person?" and the y o g i n r e p l i e d , "I am M e g h a n a t h a ! " and he dissolved into the very earth—so it is said. The k i n g then d i d precisely what the yogin had c o m m a n d e d , and the c h i l d , the p r i n c e s , was given the name Ramagopala. Later o n , w h e n the boy attained an age w r n e r e he c o u l d understand the story told above, he came to praise the B u d d h a and the y o g i n Goraksa continually and exclusively. N o w the royal mother, a w o m a n oFT the w a r r i o r caste named L a k s m i n i , who had gained faith in the B u d d h a r i g h » t f r o m the outset, s u m m o n e d a learned scholar f r o m the western region of S»aurastra. He possessed the three higher trainings and was a veritable m e n d i c a m t embodiment of perfected buddhahood. As any teacher w o u l d have, he e n c o L » r a g e d the prince w i t h h y m n s he sang in praise of the B u d d h a , and he b e s t o w e ^ d on h i m the empowerments of many of the very highest deities, as w e l l as t e l f l i n g h i m their secret spells. He also made the y o u n g prince recall his m a n y p r e s v i o u s incarnations, especially his earlier rebirth as the h o l y lama K u n g a D r o l c t n o k in Tibet, where his meaningful words and discourses had caused the l a m p of the teachings to blaze. He came to have total recall of them all as even m o r e s things were t o l d to h i m , and even the priests and the H i n d u s themselves g r « e w astounded. F r o m the mendicant Guptamitra the prince received the i n s t r u c t i o n s on attaining the attitude of enlight-

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ened practice, [the bodhicittotpada vow,] as w e l l as the m a n y meaning-levels of those p r o f o u n d teachings. W i t h all these as w e l l as the requisite recitation of words of power and yoga practice, he s o o n was able to a c c o m p l i s h whatever he desired. Because he was a prince, he was able to use considerable amounts of money to buy various things for his amusement, and w h e n he played the games that he had bought, it appeared to others as if he were m a k i n g offerings before actual B u d d h a images and shrines. Once w h i l e the prince was wandering w i t h a few attendants in various groves near Rajagrha, he saw a y o g i n directly in front of a certain tree w i t h three monkeys and a bear, his o n l y assistants in creating spiritual nourishment. At yet another time, w h i l e seated in meditation, the prince saw that there was an impediment to the free and unrestricted movement of his psychic w i n d s , and w i t h an excess of faith the prince prostrated himself before the above-mentioned y o g i n . F o r as l o n g as it took for the y o u n g prince to p e r f o r m the yogic practices he w o u l d not reenter his o w n city. As for that y o g i n , he was the true student of the great siddha Omkaranatha and was k n o w n as Meghanatha, otherwise k n o w n as Jvalanatha. If at this point I were to recount a little of the story of those gurus I w o u l d say: In Madhyadesa, there was a certain boy of the w a r r i o r caste w h o had been without a father since he was quite small and thus was raised in the family of his uncle. N o w there was a y o g i n of a certain lineage w h o drew near and gave the lad a certain yoginl's creative visualization exercise. Eighteen years passed w i t h o u t the boy uttering even a single intelligible comment. T h e i r m i n d s depressed, the uncle and his wife said to the boy, " Y o u are n o t h i n g but a f o o l ! C a n the way y o u are acting be in any way proper?" W h e n they finished telling h i m off in this way, they exiled h i m from the land. Feeling deeply despondent, the y o u t h went to live in various places, begging alms and p e r f o r m i n g the creative v i s u a l i z a t i o n of the goddess Vajrayoginl. After sixteen more years had passed and he was able to produce firm m e d itational states w i t h i n himself, he packed up and went far westward to H i n gulaja, near the borders of Baluchistan, the abode of the goddess U m a d e v i , the wife of Siva. He slept for six months there on top of a stone image of the goddess, w h i l e he himself was engaged in a single session of clear light m e d i tation. The goddess U m a became terrified and cried out, " Y o g i n , rid dhi de hi ki ni dhi de!" To this the y o g i n replied, " W h a t w o u l d a y o g i n do w i t h the powers he was granted? If y o u were to offer me the teaching of the most perfected realization (jnanasiddhi), I w o u l d most certainly accept i t ! " At this, the goddess replied, "I myself have been granted absolutely no powers like that at a l l ! Y o u w i l l have to go and request them f r o m Goraksa himself." After she had said this he went off in search of Goraksa. In the western l a n d of S i n d h , at the end of a r o w of countless yogins, he espied one whose face was particularly ugly, and f r o m whose limbs oozed pus and b l o o d . K n o w i n g that this was Goraksa, the y o g i n

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prostrated before h i m and begged h i m for the teachings. The y o g i n drank a b o w l of vegetable stew that had been previously blessed by the master, and he f o u n d that he gained complete mastery over all spheres of w i s d o m . He become a great yogin-master in his o w n right, one w i t h experience of things as they really are, in all their directness. He also gained a huge following of students, w h o attached themselves to the doctrines he expounded. N o w , it happened that some of his ideas d i d indeed become m i x e d up with the fundamental tenets of the H i n d u s , and many w h o came after h i m and w h o were called by his name, O m k a r a the scholar, were indeed practicing heretical [i.e., H i n d u ] yogins. At a later time, while causing rain to fall at an unseasonal time, he also manifested simultaneously a magical v i s i o n of his body blazing with flames. T h u s he became k n o w n as Meghanatha [ " C l o u d Lord"] and also Jvalanatha ["Blazing Lord"]. W h i l e the young prince Ramagopala was repeatedly paying his respects to the yogin-saint, the latter bestowed u p o n h i m the blessings of the very highest deities, as w e l l as the related instructions and the accompanying tantric vows. The teacher said to the l a d , "Boy, y o u must not go home! A b i d e instead in a state of suchness, the state of things as they are." The young prince d i d as he had been t o l d and his father, K i n g Ramabartari, said to the teacher, "Restore my c h i l d to me right here and n o w ! " To this the acarya replied, " A s for the lad he is my c h i l d of religion, and as s u c h he is under my control." W h e n he had said this K i n g Ramabartari grew enraged and sent someone to relieve the yogin of his stipend and all other means of l i v e l i h o o d . However, those sent to remove them f r o m h i m were unable to do so. A thousand cavalry were sent w i t h the same royal order to "Subdue the evil y o g i n ! " but when they drew near h i m , he merely uttered a few magic spells and all the horsemen were frozen into r i g i d ity, unable to move even the slightest bit. T h e y were all amazed at this and said, "£ ma, N o w we have faith in this m i g h t y y o g i n ! " W h e n their faith developed, they eventually were released f r o m their thralldom. They were summ o n e d before the k i n g and he too was amazed at what had happened; goin before the yogin, he prostrated himself, pressed many coins u p o n h i m , and begged for his pardon. M u c h later on, the emperor, namely, K i n g M u k u n d a Deva, and the M u g h a m i l i t a r y commander of D e l h i were i n v o l v e d in a power stmggle. M u k u n d a had come a fortnight's m a r c h west of Magadha, to the land of M a t h u r a near D e l h i . K i n g Ramabartari was staying thereabouts w i t h his army of three hundred thousand m e n , and the great yogin-teacher Meghanatha was also there, moving back and forth between the positions of b o t h army commanders, begging them for alms. Through the power of his truthful words, the dispute died d o w n of its o w n accord. N o w at the battle site near D e l h i there were about six thousand heroic war elephants, w i t h three a m o n g them considered to be the m a i n ones. The chief of these royal war elephants was k n o w n as Gopalahasti, w h o was thirty cubi" in height and renowned for being able to outperform two h u n d r e d ordinary

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war elephants. The y o g i n performed the miracle of pressing d o w n w i t h his hands on these three most excellent elephants, and he crushed them. W h e n the h o l y being Meghanatha had calmed them d o w n again w i t h his magic spells, it was discovered that the cavalry forces of b o t h kings were quite unable to proceed against each other, even though c o m m a n d e d to do so. E a c h of the armies was h e l d in thrall, and everyone there realized that they were totally incapable of any sort of action. A l l those w h o witnessed it were completely amazed at what they had seen. At yet another time, whenever K i n g Ramabartari made his m i d n i g h t offerings to Kubera the god of wealth and to Siva, he w o u l d meet Meghanatha, w h o w o u l d magically appear before h i m . The y o g i n w o u l d a d m o n i s h h i m , saying, "If your family makes its offerings exclusively to the B u d d h a [as they d o ] , then all these other things that y o u yourself are d o i n g here [at this shrine] are really quite i m p r o p e r ! " Sometime after those encounters, d u r i n g a time of peace and tranquility, the lower foundations of a certain road in the k i n g d o m gave way and were h u r l e d a r o u n d as if they were merely handfuls of seed. W h e n M e g h a natha and his students [ i n c l u d i n g the prince] arrived as if by magic, everything was once again restored. Thereafter the k i n g , the father of the prince, made his principle offerings to the Buddhists w h o had demonstrated themselves so mighty in their magic. A c c o r d i n g l y , the h o l y one, the prince, went before three different teachers at various times, but at all other times he remained in his palace. In c o m p a n y w i t h his father, he went via various countries to visit eastern and southern Bengal, Orissa, the Jagannatha shrine at P u r l , n o r t h e r n India, and the n o r t h eastern H i m a l a y a n areas. W h i l e there he also met Anandaprajnaroti, the master of the great yogin-saint Anandabhadra. The prince pondered deeply on the instructions he had received on the correct recitation of the magically potent spells of the noble goddess Tara, and he became one in w h o m the later and higher signs of realization were to arise [almost] immediately. This highest of beings went on pilgrimage to the B u d d h i s t h o l y places of Rajagrha, K u k k u t p a d a , G r d h r a k u t a , and all the others. Indeed, he visited a l l the great pilgrimage places of the Victorious O n e , the B u d d h a , as w e l l as a l l the groves and cities associated w i t h the Blessed One's life, as if he were on an amazing, fantastic pleasure trip. He is r e n o w n e d for being able to a c c o m p l i s h a h u n d r e d years w o r t h of fully perfected deeds in just eight short years of his life. As for his transmigration f r o m that particular b i r t h , he is right here n o w , in the form of this very person [Taranatha]! As for those w h o have preceded me, they have filled me quite spontaneously w i t h whatever virtues I have. T h u s 1 praise the knowledge of their virtue and Pray that I may ever cleave to it. In order to be one w h o follows those noble °nes, those teachers w h o so correctly demonstrate the way, I pray that I w i l l always keep close to their knowledge and always sing its praises. T h r o u g h my Prayers, may those fully perfected beings continue toward the state of the per-

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fectly good, and by the strength of my prayers, may I always stay close to them. . . . Just as spray arises f r o m the h i d d e n watery recesses of the ocean, so too does whatsoever merit arise that may accrue f r o m these h o l y biographies spoken of here. M a y that merit be dedicated, unchanged, for the welfare of all sentient beings! T h u s , I, Taranatha, at the age of twenty-three years, wrote these words at G u r m o Palace, in the Tsang district of Tibet, after the verbal entreaties of K h y e n y a n g , the l o r d of m e n there. Blessings on all sentient creatures!

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A Rite of Empowerment

Richard J.

Kohn

The ultimate goal of B u d d h i s m is buddhahood. In the 2,500 years since the Buddha's o w n enlightenment, countless methods have been elaborated to attain this goal. In the tantric view, one of the quickest ways to achieve enlightenment is to visualize that y o u have already achieved it. Recent experiments outside the sphere of religion confirm the special power of goal-oriented visualization. A t h letes have s h o w n that visualizing victory can be as effective as physical training; cancer patients routinely use visualization to increase their odds of survival. In the tantric meditation k n o w n as deity yoga, practitioners focus on their inner potential for enlightenment and visualize themselves as enlightened beings. Such meditation is not a haphazard affair. A specific enlightened being, called a yi dam in Tibetan, should be chosen in consultation w i t h the practitioner's spiritual master, or lama. The lama and the yi dam are so fundamental to tantric meditation that, along w i t h the feminine celestial spirits k n o w n as dakini, they are said to constitute the "three roots" of tantric practice. Before students can begin a course of meditation on a yi dam, they must u n dergo a ceremonial initiation or empowerment. The yi dam invoked in the ceremony that follows bears the lengthy name U n i o n of the Blissful, L o r d of the Dance, Great Compassion (Bde gshegs kun 'dus gar dbang thugs rje chen po): L o r d of the Dance, for short. L o r d of the Dance is a form of the popular Tibetan deity A v a lokitesvara, who embodies the compassion of all buddhas. The rituals of L o r d of the Dance are part of the secret teachings of M i n d r o l i n g (Smin grol gling) m o n astery, w h i c h , before it was looted and vandalized by the Chinese in the 1960s, was the largest and most influential N y i n g m a monastery in central Tibet. Empowerment is the sine qua n o n of the tantric experience. Originally it was a private affair: a master w o u l d gather a few disciples in an isolated place and initiate them in his favored forms of meditation. In Tibet, private empowerments are still prevalent. However, they have been supplemented by a uniquely Tibetan celebration: the mass empowerment. The largest empowerments—His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Kalacakra initiations—attract hundreds of thousands of people.

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The empowerment text below is used in the M a n i R i m d u festival performed at monasteries in the Everest region of Nepal. A l t h o u g h popular, M a n i R i m d u (ma ni ril sgrub) is a more modest affair than the Kalacakra: from three hundred to one thousand people attend. W i t h o u t formal initiation, a student is not allowed to practice deity yoga. H o w ever, not everyone w h o attends a large-scale public empowerment intends practicing; many come purely for the blessing that the ceremony confers. For those w h o do intend to practice, there is even some question whether the M a n i R i m d u initiation is sufficient. In the words of the text, only "those fortunate ones who apply their extraordinarily sharp powers to the profound meaning w i t h the best of attention" receive "the blessing w h i c h empowers them to practice." Normally, those who wish to meditate on L o r d of the Dance are sent to the lama for a full, formal initiation. O n l y a lama can perform the empowerment either as a selfcontained ceremony or as part of a more lengthy ritual performance. Like many Tibetan rituals, the empowerment refers the practitioner to other ritual texts. One passage tersely instructs the officiant to "expel demons; and meditate on the protective circle, distribute and gather up flowers, and clarify the creation of the aspiration"—and each of these is a ritual in its o w n right. Unfortunately, there is no space here to follow up all these references, as enticing and mysterious as they may be. Additionally, Tibetan texts often use oblique allusions to guarantee secrecy: without complete familiarity w i t h the tradition and the guidance of a qualified master, it is impossible actually to perform the ritual. The translation below respects the tradition's reticence. In cases where the missing material contains no secrets to conceal, but basic Buddhist concepts that are taken for granted, I have supplied them in brackets. The empowerment affirms its place in the greater Buddhist tradition at the outset. Near the beginning, the officiating lama—the text calls h i m the "diamond master"—takes time to "give an appropriate religious discourse as an introduct i o n . " This brief general lecture starts w i t h concepts c o m m o n to all schools of B u d d h i s m , such as impermanence and death, and leads up to the reasons a disciple should seek empowerment. But an empowerment is, above all, a guided mystical experience. N o t h i n g could make this clearer than the moment when the lama instructs his disciples to visualize that "the gods of the mandala . . . project from their hearts countless forms—bodies, syllables, and symbols w h i c h blaze in a mass of beams of light, w h i c h come helter-skelter, like rain and snow, like a blizzard. They enter through [your] pores and fill [your] body to the brim. Bliss blazes unbearably." This vision disarranges the order of the universe as we have come to k n o w it in our day-to-day lives. The ritual mirrors this in a visceral w a y — by using the sense of smell. Instead of normal, sweet-smelling incense, the participant is told to b u r n , among other things, cat droppings and soiled clothes. This practice, although on the surface bizarre, has a profound philosophical subtext. If, in emptiness, the realm of absolute truth, all opposites are reconciled, then h o w can we distinguish the sweet-smelling from the foul? Obviously, different individuals w i l l be able to realize the ecstatic scenario to

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different degrees. The text advises the disciple to look for "a sign that [the deities] have come." Such signs, called pebtak (phebs rtags) i n Tibetan, may be internal or external. One lama that I interviewed divided internal pebtak into three categories: signs of the body, such as shivering; signs of speech, such as spontaneously singing; and mental signs, such as suddenly becoming very happy. In searching for an example of an external sign, he referred to a meteorological event that occurred during the Kalacakra initiation that the current Dalai Lama performed in W i s consin. W h e n the ceremony reached the descent of the w i s d o m beings, the w i n d kicked u p , the sky grew black, and, although no rain fell, a rainbow appeared. The text lists some of the signs of a successful empowerment: The first sign of grace By virtue of such an empowerment Is that, unasked for, aspiration and respect are b o r n in one's stream of consciousness. The second sign of grace Is that whatever y o u t u r n y o u r imagination to is firm and clear. The t h i r d sign of grace Is that understanding of self-emergent w i s d o m rises.

The empowerment is also said to confer concrete benefits such as long life and health. These benefits come to all who attend, whether or not they receive the full impact of the ceremony. The empowerment incorporates philosophical insights as well as mystic experiences. At one point, the lama tells his disciples that "the c o n t i n u u m of ideas that hold things as twofold is broken." One lama explained this gnomic passage in this way: "The Buddha has no thought of me and them. Regarding things as self and other, mine and theirs, is a k i n d of egoism (bdag 'dzin). It is this that is broken." Despite its startling visionary experiences, the M a n i R i m d u empowerment text does not veer off into complete fantasy. It views ritual as a process of energizing the w i l l to bring out one's o w n highest potential. A runner may, in her mind's eye, see her chest straining to the finish line long before her feet reach it. Imagining that you have already accomplished your goal is a means to achieving it, not a substitute for achieving it. The text recognizes this distinction between perception, imagination, and w i l l . At one point, disciples are enjoined to " w i l l " the deities that they have visualized "to be there as if they were really perceived." There are many different kinds of empowerment ceremonies. The M a n i R i m d u empowerment uses a distinctively Tibetan object called a torma igtor ma)—a ritual cake sculpted of barley-flour and decorated w i t h colored butter. A l t h o u g h their origins are unclear, some feel that tormas began as a nonviolent Buddhist alternative to animal sacrifices (see chapter 15). Over the centuries, tormas have become more and more elaborate. Some reach an astounding three stories in height and depict the lives of the saints in high relief of sculpted butter. In the N y i n g m a system, the elaboration is more a matter of metaphysics than engineering. At first,

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the torma is considered to be a simple offering; then, it becomes the body of the god. Near the end of a ritual, the lamas explain, the gods melt into the torma as light and it becomes the very substance of spiritual achievement, w h i c h the participants, in theory at least, must take into themselves by eating. However, in large public festival like M a n i R i m d u , eating the torma is symbolic rather than real. W i t h a thousand people in attendance, the ritual object w o u l d be demolished before the ceremony was over. a

The empowerment ritual is a participatory drama and takes the form of call and response. The lama prompts the initiates at each turn, asking questions or requesting them to repeat passages after h i m . "Imagine something like this," he instructs them, "this very place on earth, purified, becomes the great mandala of omnipresent w i s d o m . " "Repeat after me," he commands, " 'O diamond master, pray consider m e ! ' " At the end of the text there is a charming disclaimer typical of Nyingma literature. In the colophon, the author Oddiyana modestly claims that his sublime orchestration of visionary experiences and philosophical precepts was scrawled "by the paw of the thick-headed O d d i y a n a . " The translation below is from Oddiyana, Thugs rje chen po bde gshegs kun 'dus hyi gtor dbang gi mtshams spyor ngag 'don bdud rtsi'i nying khu zhes bya ba bzhungs so (The Utterance that Is the Essence oj Ambrosia: The Annotated Torma Empowerment oj Great Compassion Union oj the Blissjul). The ritual instructions are rendered in a smaller typeface.

Further Reading Stephan Beyer, The Cult oj Tara Magic and Ritual in Tibet (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973); Daniel Cozort, Highest Yoga Tantra: An Introduction to the Esoteric Buddhism oj Tibet (Ithaca: Snow L i o n , 1986); Rolf Alfred Stein, Tibetan Civilization (London: Faber and Faber, 1972).

The Utterance that is the Essence of Ambrosia: The Annotated Torma Empowerment oj Great Compassion Union oj the Blissjul N a m o Padmalokesvaraya! First b o w i n g w i t h respect to the god of the mandala, L o r d of the Dance, treasure of compassion, I w i l l set out the essence of ambrosia: the practice Of the blessing torma empowerment. The torma empowerment system is the essential meaning of profound path great corn passion, Union of the Blissful. It has three parts: the Introduction, the Actual Practice, and the Conclusion.

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Introduction T h e o r d i n a r y e m p o w e r m e n t [depends on] a w a k e n i n g the d o r m a n t seeds of the k a r m a of p r e v i o u s t r a i n i n g [in m e d i t a t i o n on L o r d of the D a n c e Great C o m p a s s i o n ] . F o r the p r o f o u n d i n s t r u c t i o n s to be entrusted to y o u , y o u m u s t be m a t u r e d by this essential e m p o w e r m e n t . It e m p o w e r s y o u to p u t the p r o f o u n d advice i n t o practice for y o u r o w n benefit. W h e n p e r f o r m i n g it, w h e t h e r y o u are u s i n g the extensive m a i n m a n d a l a [e.g., a sand mandala] or d o i n g it w i t h o u t one, arrange a b o u q u e t of red flowers on a covered shelf a cubit square. In the m i d d l e , in a s k u l l or precious vessel atop a t r i p o d , place a decorated red g l o r i o u s t o r m a , m o i s t e n e d w i t h a m b r o s i a m e d i c i n e a n d incense. It s h o u l d be [in the shape of] four-leveled M o u n t M e r u . A t o p it, in the four intermediate directions, there s h o u l d be buttons (mtheb kyu) w i t h balls, each o f t h e m s u r r o u n d i n g the m a i n torma. Place a m i n i a t u r e portrait a n d a r e d s i l k canopy on top of it. Set out an extensive circle of offerings a n d feasts as w e l l . If it is p e r f o r m e d in c o n n e c t i o n w i t h the basic e m p o w e r m e n t [ w h i c h is a part of the o r d i n a r y r i t u a l practice of L o r d of the D a n c e ] , h o w e v e r large or s m a l l the basis of m e d i t a t i o n , there is no difference in the m e a n i n g of the m e d i t a t i o n . A separate "achievement w o r s h i p " is unnecessary. O n the other h a n d , w h e n g r a n t i n g j u s t the t o r m a e m p o w e r m e n t separately, p e r f o r m the [Union of the Blissful] Manual straight t h r o u g h a n d create (i.e., i m a g i n e ) the t o r m a as the g o d . F i n i s h the w o r s h i p , praise, recitation, a n d so f o r t h a n d offer the feast w o r ship. T h e n , w a s h the disciples w i t h " H o w e v e r b o r n . . . " etc.; e x p e l d e m o n s ; a n d meditate on the protective circle, distribute a n d gather up flowers, a n d clarify the creation of the aspiration. A f t e r that, give an appropriate religious discourse as an i n t r o d u c t i o n . T h e n , do the m a i n e m p o w e r m e n t r i t u a l . [The M a s t e r says—] O teach the e m p o w e r m e n t of the b l e s s i n g torma T h e essence of the heart of the q u i c k p a t h w h i c h matures the fortunate! As was said, h a v i n g h a d the p r o f o u n d i n s t r u c t i o n in [the two stages of tantric meditation] creation a n d f u l f i l l m e n t entrusted to t h e m , those fortunate ones w h o a p p l y their e x t r a o r d i n a r i l y sharp powers to the p r o f o u n d m e a n i n g w i t h the best of attention are granted this very t o r m a e m p o w e r m e n t of the essential m e a n i n g , the blessing that empowers t h e m to practice. T h e Master finishes the things that were to be done a n d the disciples offer a m a n d a l a [a r i t u a l that s y m b o l i c a l l y offers the universe to the B u d d h a , his teaching, a n d the s p i r i t u a l assembly that practices i t ] . H a v i n g inserted this e x p l a n a t i o n , offer the m a n d a l a . T h e n , for the purpose of the prayer, imagine s o m e t h i n g l i k e this: T h i s very place on E a r t h , p u r i f i e d , becomes the great m a n d a l a of o m n i p r e s e n t w i s d o m . In it, the d i a m o n d master h i m s e l f sits in the f o r m of U n i o n of the B l i s s f u l ,

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L o r d of the Dance, Great C o m p a s s i o n . Pray to h i m w i t h the p o w e r f u l l o n g i n g of u n c h a n g i n g faith. Repeat after m e — 0 d i a m o n d master, pray consider me! Pray mature the stream of my consciousness In the U n i o n of the Blissful mandala, The secret path of every B u d d h a ! —pray, saying this three times. T h e n , in the sky in front [of y o u ] , there is the lama and noble Great C o m passion i n d i v i s i b l e , s u r r o u n d e d by the oceanlike host of conquerors of the three roots [the lama, the yi dam, and the d a k i n i ] . W i l l them to be there as if they were really perceived, and t h i n k "I go to them for refuge u n t i l all sentient beings, myself and others, are in the heart of enlightenment." Repeat after m e — N a m o ! U n t i l all beings, i n c l u d i n g myself are enlightened [I go for refuge to the dakinls, The lama, B u d d h a , h o l y dharma, The best of congregations and the god of the m a n d a l a — U n i o n of the Blissful]. —go for refuge by saying this three times. N e x t t h i n k , " K e e p i n g to this path, out of compassion, I w i l l liberate all sentient beings [whose numbers are] vast as the sky. T h e i r behavior continually causes n o n v i r t u o u s acts and gains this effect: the sufferings of the six different k i n d s of life. I w i l l place them in constant bliss." Repeat after m e — The ocean of existence is hard to cross, [ A n d beings, as vast as the sky. So that I may ferry them across, 1 give b i r t h to the sacred resolve To reach unsurpassable, perfect enlightenment]. —generate the aspiration by saying it three times. N e x t , the descent of the w i s d o m [beings] is the achievement that is the basis of blessings. Therefore, disciples s h o u l d observe the physical essential—sitting straight and erect, the vocal essential—controlling the breath at the m o u t h , and the mental essential—that the d i a m o n d master's heart radiates beams of light that strike the disciple and p u r i f y h i m into emptiness, out of w h i c h , like a fish j u m p i n g out of water, U n i o n of the Blissful, L o r d of the Dance, Great C o m p a s s i o n is b o r n as befits a peaceful/wrathful one. The red letter hrih in his heart burns and i l l u m i n e s like a butter lamp. Its light incites the gods of the mandala to project f r o m their hearts countless forms—bodies, syllables, and symbols w h i c h blaze in a mass of beams of light, w h i c h come helter-skelter,

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like r a i n and s n o w , like a b l i z z a r d . They enter through [your] pores and fill [your] b o d y to the b r i m . Bliss blazes unbearably. Think this and recite the root mantra, adding jnana abesaya a ah to it. Let varied music sound. Bring down blessings by burning the five ambrosias, cat droppings, women's skirts, and gugul [incense]. After you get a sign that they have come, will that "the wisdom beings who shower blessings have become firmly of one taste with the disciple's stream of consciousness," make a cross with the vajra, and make it strong by saying tisthavajra. If this [ritual] is being done in connection with a main empowerment, then the above need not be done separately [as it would be redundant]. The Actual Practice W i t h u n e n d i n g p o w e r f u l l o n g i n g , take flowers i n both hands, j o i n y o u r palms and pray. Repeat after m e — U n i o n of the Blissful, Avalokitesvara, Treasure of compassion, consider me! Bestow the blessing of the b o d y u p o n my b o d y — Pray excite appearance/emptiness bliss! Bestow the blessing of speech u p o n my s p e e c h — Pray give b i r t h to the ability to k n o w that s o u n d is empty! Bestow the blessing o f m i n d u p o n m y m i n d — Pray give b i r t h to nonideational w i s d o m ! —pray, saying this three times. Next, the A c t u a l E m p o w e r m e n t . The torma vessel becomes a great self-emergent spontaneously b u i l t paradise. The torma substances sit in it in the f o r m of the gods of the circle of U n i o n of the Blissful, L o r d of the Dance, Great Compassion's mandala. O u t of [the head, throat, and heart:] the three places on the chief and each of his entourage, come the blessings of the body, speech, and m i n d diamonds, and every true achievement, [and] b o d y gestures, speech syllables, [and] mental symbols—countless forms that emerge radiating like beams of light whose nature is ambrosia. They dissolve into the disciple's three places [i.e., his head, throat, and heart] and cleanse his body, speech, and m i n d of every obscuration or propensity to one. The w h o l e inside of the b o d y fills w i t h white, red, and azure ambrosia. The b o d y w h i c h appears to be material, is purified and becomes an i m m o r t a l body of brightness. Speech spontaneously becomes the melodious s o u n d of the indomitable d i a m o n d . The c o n t i n u u m of ideas that h o l d things as twofold is broken, and the special w i s d o m of the u n i o n of bliss and emptiness is b o r n in the string [of thought]. — w i l l this.

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Hum! The torma vessel is the self-emergent palace. The torma is the Blissful Compassion God. A shower of blessings and true achievement Rains from the mandala of body, speech, and mind. In your unflagging compassion consider [us] with love, And bestow blessings and great true achievement Upon the body, speech, and mind of [us] fortunate ones! Liberate [our] bodies into appearance/emptiness bodies of light! Make our speech disappear into indomitable sound itself! Liberate our minds in the dharmakaya's bliss! O divine host of Blissful Compassion, Establish [our] bodies, speech, and minds as [your] body, speech, an mind! A d d balimta kaya vaka citta abhisinca hum to the root mantra, and saying it, place torma on the three places [head, throat, and heart] on the disciple's body. Think tha

"Finally, all the gods of the torma dissolve inseparably into the disciple." The torma substance, into which the gods, as light, have melted, is given as true achiev ment. The disciple enjoys it [i.e., eats it] and says,

sarvasiddhibalimta

abhisinca

hum.

Conclusion There are three measurements of the heat of grace that arises in connectL with an empowerment such as this— The first sign of grace By virtue of such an empowerment Is that, unasked for, aspiration and respect are b o m in one's stream of consciousness. The second sign of grace Is that whatever you turn your imagination to is firm and clear. The third sign of grace Is that understanding of self-emergent wisdom rises. As it says, the actual signs of grace or something similar to them will be bom in one's stream of consciousness. With these [words], the torma empowerment of the essential meaning com to an end. With a fierce desire to protect and be bound by the vows an disciplines obtained on this occasion, repeat after m e — O chief, whatever you bid, A l l that will I do. —accept this by saying it three times.

Offer a mandala in order to give thanks. Then, think "if I offer everything-

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my body, enjoyments a n d c o l l e c t i o n of v i r t u e , emanated l i k e the w e a l t h of a universal emperor's empire, pray give me a part of it to enjoy!" Repeat after m e — If f r o m n o w on I offer myself To y o u as a slave . .. —three times. The roots of virtue are dedicated to unsurpassed enlightenment. Then, adorn the end [of the ceremony] with the "Thanksgiving Worship and Praise," the "Plea for Patience," "Remaining Firm," "Gathering In," the "Dedication," and the "Auspicious Omens." If this is done in connection with the main empowerment, [the section above] from "Proclaiming and Adhering to the Vow" [i.e., O chief, whatever you bid . . .] on need not be done separately. May the method of empowerment written herein, Which brings signs from the points of view Of attitude, aggregates, and realms, which vanquishes desire and ideation, A n d which also establishes the three diamonds, mature the fortunate one's stream [of consciousness]. So saying, this Essence of Ambrosia: The Practice that Clarifies the Torma Empowerment of the Inner Meaning of Profound Path Great Compassion, Union of the Blissful, was requested by the supreme incarnation of Dokam Shechen (Mdo khams zhe chen) M o n astery, Pema Sangngak Tenzin Chogyal (Padma gsang sngags bstan 'dzin chos rgyal). In accordance with which, this complete edition of the liturgy was written by the paw of the thick-headed Oddiyana.

1

4

The Horseback C o n s e c r a t i o n Ritual

Yael Bento T

Tibetans perform consecration rituals for i m a g e s , scroll paintings (thangga), re iquaries (stupas), books, and other sacred obj -ects. It is by means of a consecration ritual that an image or a stupa is t r a n s m u t e d from a mundane object into the nature of a buddha. As the regent of the f i f t h Dalai Lama, Desi Sangye Gyatso (Sde srid sangs rgyas rgya mtsho), e x p l a i n e d , the enlightened being pervades everything, down to each of the countless paxrticles that make up the phenomenal w o r l d . One simile commonly used for i l l u s t Tating this omnipresence of the enlightened being is the sesame seed and its c o i l . A l t h o u g h the hard sesame seed may not seem to contain any f l u i d , after c r u s h t i n g the sesame seeds one may obtain plenty of oil. Another popular simile used to describe the pervasive presence of the enlightened bag is space, w h i c h a b i d e s everywhere; like space, the enlightened being is said to be naturally e s t a b l i s l n e d everywhere. However, ordinary people whose minds have not been s u f f i c i e n t l y developed are unable to see or comprehend this. Therefore, the Buddhist r_xadition prescribes the consecratio of images, stupas,thangkas, books, and oth»_er objects. These holy objects se™ to localize the sacred presence of the e n l i g t n t e n e d being, m a k i n g it available f interaction with human beings, w h o w o r s h i p s it, receive religious inspiration fro it, and accumulate merit f r o m these a c t i v i t i e s . A consecrated image or stupa is also r e g a r d e d as a form of emanation body the Buddha, that form of the Buddha that is visible to ordinary beings. There are three types of emanation bodies: (1) " s u p r e m e emanation bodies," such as the historical buddha Sakyamuni, w h o a p p e a r e d on Earth to show the way to enlightenment and to teach the dharma; (2) " h o m emanation bodies," such as reincarnated lamas,like the Dalai Lama; a n d ( 3 ) "made emanation bodies," namely, the images, stupas, bridges, and other o b j e c t s ritually created and empowerei that concern us here. M u c h like the other ty^pes of emanation bodies, images an stupas are believed to carry out the e n l i g t i t e n e d activity of the buddhas. Tl objects to be consecrated are also c o n s i d e r e d to be bases or receptacles of tl buddhas' body, speech, and m i n d . Images and thangkas are regarded as rece

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tacles of the body; books, dharanls, and mantras are receptacles of the speech; while sttipas and tsha tshas (small clay tablets, i n this case i n the shape of stupas) are the receptacles of the buddhas' m i n d . Buddhist temples and shrines usually contain all three types of receptacles. Here the w o r d "receptacle" w i l l be used as a general term for all objects to be consecrated. The consecration ritual is almost invariably performed soon after the creation of a sacred receptacle. If the receptacle is a major statue, a stupa, or a temple, the people or patrons who financed the construction of the religious object may invite a high lama to perform the consecration ritual. If the receptacle is smaller, such as a figurine or a thangka owned by i n d i v i d u a l householders or monastics, then they may be brought to a monastery for consecration by its abbot, or by an incarnate lama. Larger monasteries usually perform an elaborate consecration rite once a year in order to renew the consecration of the temples and their sacred objects. On such occasions, nearby householders and monastics w i l l often b r i n g their receptacles for consecration or reconsecration. W h i l e the proper performance of the ritual procedures is believed to play a significant role in determining the results of the consecration, the religious realization and experience of the lama who performs it are also deemed crucial for the efficacy of the rite. Given two identical-looking receptacles, one consecrated by a m o n k of no more than local renown and the other by a lama w h o is widely esteemed, the latter receptacle w i l l be considered superior in power. The manual translated below contains one of the most popular consecration rituals of the Gelukpa sect, w h i c h may be performed for a single receptacle or for a large collection of stupas, images, thangkas, books, and other objects. Performed either by a ritual master alone or accompanied by an assembly of monks, the ritual may last anywhere from fifteen minutes to a few hours. Since it is suitable for brief consecration practices, this ritual has earned the title "Horseback C o n secration," a name that advertises that one can easily perform it while riding past a receptacle without even dismounting one's horse, a feature that may well appeal to the Tibetan nomad. In the vast majority of consecrations, though, this does not occur. To clarify the manual translated below, it is important first to identify its key ritual actions and their significance, and thus avoid the bewildering effect of the ritual's seemingly endless details. What complicates making any simple summary or interpretation of the ritual is that all manuals in current use draw on a variety of works based on different points of view. Hence manuals, such as the one presented below, present a large variety of concerns. Yet it is possible to identify the basic purpose of the ritual: the transformation of the receptacle into a chosen buddha (yi darn). This process relies on the fundamental tantric practice (sadhana) in w h i c h one first imaginatively transforms oneself into a yi dam. The sadhana practice begins w i t h one dissolving one's ordinary appearance into emptiness. Then, emerging out of emptiness, one visualizes oneself as the chosen b u d d h a , a process called the "self-generation," that is, recreating oneself in the form of a buddha. Subsequently, as that b u d d h a , the practitioner dissolves once again into

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emptiness. Finally, one arises back in the w o r l d as an emanation of the buddha in order to help other beings attain enlightenment (see chapter 16). In the p h i l . osophical terms of Buddhist soteriology and the bodhisattva path, the dissolution into emptiness consists of w i s d o m that penetrates emptiness, while the arising back into the w o r l d involves the use of skillful means (updya), especially compassion. The practice of dissolution into emptiness ultimately leads to one's own enlightenment, while the return to the mundane w o r l d is meant to help others Expressed in terms of the doctrine of the Buddha's bodies, the dissolution into emptiness ultimately results in achieving the dharma body (dharmakdya); yet while in the dharma body one cannot benefit others (who, for the most part, are unable to perceive this body), so one compassionately "returns" to the world as an emanation body. Similar principles are found in the structure of the consecration ritual, whi is, in fact, an application of the sadhana process. The consecration ritual serves as an excellent example of h o w basic sadhana transformational techniques may be applied to other objects than oneself. To rehearse this fourfold process with reference to receptacles: initially the material receptacle is dissolved into emptiness; subsequently it is generated as one's chosen yi dam; following this, the yi dam is dissolved once again; and finally it is transformed back into its ordinary appearance as a receptacle, such as a stupa or image. This appearance seems to be no different from the original one, yet its true nature is regarded as that of the enlightened being. In other words, the material receptacle is initially transformed into the nature of the actual, ever pervasive, nondual enlightened being. Since only a very few advanced practitioners can perceive the enlightened being in such a manner, the process is concluded w i t h a transformation of that nondual enlightened being back into the original appearance of the receptacle. In terms of 1 bodies of the enlightened being, w i t h this last phase the dharma body "emerge in the w o r l d as an emanation body. According to the Tibetan tradition, ordinary people whose minds are less developed cannot discern any change in the receptacle. But those endowed w i t h yogic perception are capable of seeing consecrated receptacles as if they were the yi dams themselves. Even though the processes described above form the structural skeleton of the consecration, they do not appear in succession during the ritual but are dispersed throughout. It w o u l d be useful, therefore, to identify the four basic ritual actions analogous to the sadhana's structure, as they appear in the translation below. 1. (Step 9 below) Visualizing the receptacle away in conjunction with its dissolution into emptiness. This is followed by the generation of the yi dam in the space previously occupied by the receptacle. The yi dam in this case (as in most other Geluk consecrations) is Dorje Jikje (Rdo rje 'jigs byed, Skt. Vajrabhairava), the wrath form of the bodhisattva of wisdom, Manjusri. While pronouncing outloud the i scription of Dorje Jikje as given in the manual, the performers visualize him in th minds. 2. (Step 12) Blessing the sense-fields. The head, throat, and heart of the visualized Do

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Jikje, w h i c h represent his body, speech and m i n d , are m a r k e d w i t h the three fundamental seed syllables, om ah hum, respectively. T h r o u g h this process the visualized form of Dorje Jikje becomes a suitable vessel for the actual Dorje Jikje and the other deities, called " w i s d o m beings," w h i c h w i l l fuse w i t h their visualized forms (called the "pledge beings") in the f o l l o w i n g ritual action. The transformation of a practitioner or a receptacle into a yi dam is seen also as a transformation of their ordinary b o d y , speech, and m i n d into the exalted f o r m of an enlightened being's body, speech, and m i n d . 3. (Steps 13, 15, 16) This process consists of three ritual actions: (a) the invitation of the w i s d o m beings; (b) their fusion into the visualized y i dams so that the two become indistinguishable, n o n d u a l , or, as the text says, "one taste" (ro grig); (c) sealing of this fusion by means of initiation. This completes the transformation of the receptacle into the nature of an enlightened being. 4. (Step 21) The n o n d u a l b u d d h a whose nature is bliss and emptiness is transformed into the appearance of the original receptacle. T h u s the receptacle turns into an emanation b o d y of the enlightened beings as we saw above.

These basic activities of the consecration are accompanied by various additional ritual actions. The consecration begins w i t h preparatory rituals. First (step 1) all the ritual implements and substances are arrayed on a special altar. This is followed by a process of exaltation, w h i c h transforms both performers and their implements into the special status necessary for effecting the ritual purpose. In their ordinary w o r l d l y form, no person, implement, or substance can take part or be used effectively in a ritual performance. First (step 2), the performers must generate themselves as a yi dam (Dorje Jikje in this case), for only in this state can they transform a receptacle into a yi dam. No details are given in the consecration manual below because any practitioner w o u l d be familiar w i t h this requirement. This process, however, is very similar to the transformation of the receptacle into Dorje Jikje, as discussed above. Next (steps 3-4), all the offerings that w i l l be given to the yi dam art also transformed into exalted substances endowed w i t h the three following qualities: (1) their true nature is bliss and emptiness, yet (2) they appear as ordinary offerings and (3) function as objects of enjoyment in a variety of "flavors" for the six senses. One w i l l immediately notice the similarity in structure to the transformation of both the receptacle and the performers. In all these cases the result is an entity whose real essence is nonduality, emptiness, "one taste"; yet at the same time it appears and functions in the w o r l d for the sake of others—such an entity is in fact the Mahayana ideal. The following group of ritual actions (steps 5-8) consists of another transformation: empowering the ritual substances so they may effect their purposes. First (step 5), the ritual vase and the water that w i l l be used to bathe the receptacle are generated as an ideal vase, containing water capable of purifying outer and inner impurities. W h a t then follows is the production of a form of "flower power," w h i c h w i l l be used in a very interesting subsidiary act of consecration (step 6). In one of the climactic points of this ritual, flowers are scattered on the receptacle.

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These flowers are empowered by the potent verse of interdependent originatio (Ye dharma . . .): "The Tathagata has proclaimed the causes of those phenome that arise from causes, and he also has proclaimed their cessation. So has spok~ the great renunciate." This verse, w h i c h is thought to contain the essence of th Buddha's teachings, has become a powerful mantra, similar in potency to th Heart Sutra (see chapter 33). The verse of interdependent origination is inscribed on a brass mirror, on whic' is placed a small vajra w i t h a five-colored thread w o u n d around it. W h i l e holdin the end of the thread next to his or her heart, the ritual master recites the vef of interdependent origination one hundred times. The spoken words of the v e r are conceived of as traveling through the thread (much like electricity through wire), charging the words written on the mirror w i t h the activated powers of th verse, as well as w i t h the powers of the ritual master and the buddhas. Afte removing the thread, bathing water is poured on the mirror, washing the writte~ letters onto the flowers and permeating them w i t h the powers of the verse. Whe these flowers are scattered on the receptacle at the conclusion of the consecration the powers imbued in the verse of interdependent origination w i l l be transmitte to that receptacle as well. This is a consecratory method of great importance tha occurs as a supplementary practice for the basic tantric process discussed above This type of consecration, w h i c h seems to have originated outside the tantric ritua and is sometimes called sutra-style consecration, has been adapted and embedde w i t h i n the complex process of the consecration. Finally, to complete the prepar atory phase of the ritual, the substances that w i l l be used in the purification o the receptacle are also empowered, again by means of the five-colored threa (steps 7-8). The mantras uttered here, however, are clearly different, consistin mainly of Dorje Jikje's mantras for ritual cleansing and purification. O n l y n o w do we reach the first step in the basic fourfold structure of th consecration, the imaginative dissolution of the receptacle into emptiness and i generation as the yi dam (step 9, described above). This first step is separate from the following one by a long series of purifications and bathings meant t turn the visualized form (the pledge being) into a suitable vessel for the actua w i s d o m beings. The purifications (step 10) are performed in the presence of the wrathful ones. These are not inferior deities, but emanations from emptiness wh use their skillful means to expel any obstructions for the sake of sentient beings thus reenacting the dual roles of the Buddha's supreme w i s d o m and compassion. The obstructions they expel vary from harmful spirits to mental impediments, a of w h i c h might hinder the consecration. In addition to torma offerings, wrathfu mantras, and purification substances, the "act of truth" is uttered for the expulsio of these obstructions. What guarantees the potent efficacy of this utterance is th truth of the lamas, the buddhas, bodhisattvas, protectors, and especially the trut of the main yi dam of the consecration, Dorje Jikje. Buddhists have long acknowl edged the power inherent in uttering true statements to produce miraculous re suits. The bathing of the receptacle (in step 11) functions simultaneously as acts o

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purification, offering, and consecration. Only rarely do Tibetan rituals involve a reenactment of a myth. This bathing does, however, reenact the early myth of the bath given to the newly born Buddha by the gods Indra and Brahma. In this context the act of bathing serves to purify and consecrate the "newly born" receptacle. Furthermore, the bathing involves a ritualization of the six perfections of the Mahayana bodhisattva (generosity, morality, patience, diligence, concentration, and wisdom). The water used for the bath is to be regarded as embodying each of the six perfections successively, so that one is ritually engaged in their practice while bathing the image, an excellent example of how Mahayana ideals are ritualized and rendered into actual substances in this tantric practice. Finally, since this ritual bathing is modeled on Indian standards of luxurious bathing offered in hospitality for a guest, it is likewise concluded with drying and offering perfumes, garments, and ornaments to the "guest," the yi dam embodied in the receptacle. Now we resume with further ritual actions belonging to the basic structure of the consecration summarized above. These include the blessing of the sense-fields (step 12) and the invitation of the wisdom beings, along with an assembly of buddhas, bodhisattvas, dharma protectors, and so forth (step 13). The invitation again reiterates the bodhisattva ideal by recalling the great compassion of the buddhas after their enlightenment. They are requested to emerge from the realm of dharma (dharmadhatu) by means of emanated bodies for the sake of liberating sentient beings, just as they had resolved to do throughout their bodhisattva career. Upon their arrival, the invited ones are requested to grant their consent for the consecration (step 14). Once granted, the actual wisdom beings are absorbed into the visualized ones (the pledge beings) and the initiation occurs (steps 15-16). These actions complete the transformation of the receptacle into ayi dam. The initiation of the yi dam (step 16) may seem out of place here, but it is part and parcel of the sadhana process, which was embedded within the consecration. During the sadhana the excess initiation water on the practitioner's head is conceived as being transformed into a small figure of the buddha Aksobhya, which seals the initiation within the body. Here a similar process serves to seal the enlightened beings within the visualized ones. The opening of the eyes (step 17) has been an independent consecration in its own right, known since the beginning of the first millennium in India. Rather than being eliminated, this ritual has been accorded a secondary position in the overall structure of the present-day tantric ritual and assigned a new meaning. In its original form, the Buddhist eye-opening rite seems to have been the method for animating an image and endowing it with an eye of enlightened wisdom. Here the ritual is given a new twist in meaning with the patrons, performers, and sentient beings all aspiring to attain the eye of enlightened wisdom as well. An important new objective complements the main purpose of the consecration, which is to establish enlightened beings in the receptacle; by means of the ritual of eye-opening they are induced to look at the patron and other sentient beings with enlightened wisdom. Hence, the opening of their eyes serves to enhance

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their enlightened activities, thereby increasing the potency of the tantric consecration. As gratitude for their consent to abide in the receptacle, offerings are made and praise given to the y i dams and buddhas (step 18 and 19). The guardians, who are already committed to serving the Buddhist religion, are bound by oath to protect the consecrated receptacle as well (step 20). In the last step of the basic fourfold structure of the sadhana, the enlightened beings dwelling within the receptacle are transformed into the ordinary appearance of the original receptacle, being symbolically transformed into a visible emanation body of the buddhas. The final ritual action (step 22) is considered to be the climax of the consecration. A l l the yi dams, buddhas, bodhisattvas, and so o n who were invited to embody the receptacle are requested to remain available there. The idea of the buddhas and bodhisattvas dwelling perpetually in the samsaric w o r l d as long as all sentient beings have not achieved enlightenment is one of the basic tenets of Mahayana Buddhism. This ritual provides the buddhas, bodhisattvas, a n d y i dams w i t h specific dwelling places in the samsaric w o r l d , m a k i n g them accessible for h u m a n interaction, inspiration, worship, blessings, and protection. By means of the consecration this rather abstract Mahayanist ideal becomes more tangible. The request to the buddhas to remain in the samsaric w o r l d also corresponds to the appearance of the Buddha in a w o r l d l y "receptacle," namely, during the entry into the w o m b of his mother Mayadevi, at the onset of their emanation in the w o r l d . Here the parallel between the yi dam emanating into a stupa or images and the Buddha's emanation into his physical body (nirmanakaya) is evident. The manual translated below may be found in the collected rituals of the Upper Tantric College (Rgyud stod, v o l . 1, p p . 373-83) or in the collected rituals of Stag brag Bsam gtan gling (vol. 3, pp. 454-68). In both cases no author is mentioned. It should be emphasized that the ritual manual is written for an audience of performers versed in the ritual tradition of their school. These performers, who have seen the ritual performed since their c h i l d h o o d , also k n o w by heart a great number of recitations and mantras. Therefore, very often only the first words of each recitation or mantra are provided in our text. One may note also that the instructions to the performers are very laconic. In the translation below, all the recitations and mantras have been completed by consulting other consecration manuals. The parts not found in our text are inserted w i t h i n brackets. Words and phrases in parentheses have been added by the translator for ease in understanding. The headings and the numbering of the sections were also introduced by the translator. As in the Tibetan text, all the pronouncements made during the pe formance are given in larger type, while the instructions for the ritual are in smaller type. The translation of the description of Dorje Jikje and the praises made h i m are based, in part, on Sharpa T u l k u and Michael Perrot, A Manual of Ri Fire Offerings (Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan W o r k s and Archives, 1987), asw as on Sharpa T u l k u w i t h Richard Guard, Meditation on Vajrabhairava (DharamsalaLibrary of Tibetan W o r k s and Archives, 1990).

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Further Reading On images and stupas, see Loden Sherap Dagyab, Tibetan Religious Art (Wiesbaden: O. Harrassowitz, 1977), 2 vols; on consecration, see Yael Bentor, "Literature on Consecration (Rab gnas)" Tibetan Literature: Studies in Genre, ed. Roger Jackson and Jose I. Cabezon (Ithaca: Snow L i o n Press, 1996), pp. 2 9 0 - 3 1 1 . For more on the opening of the eye, see Richard F. G o m b r i c h , "The Consecration of a Buddhist Image," The Journal oj Asian Studies 26 (1966): 2 3 - 3 6 . A detailed discussion of tantric initiation can be found in the Fourteenth Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso's The Kalachakra Tantra: Rite oj Initiation, trans, and ed. Jeffrey H o p k i n s (London: W i s dom Publications, 1985).

The Horseback Consecration Ritual The recitation m a n u a l for the " H o r s e b a c k C o n s e c r a t i o n " arranged as it s h o u l d be performed:

1. PREPARATIONS One w h o w i s h e s to p e r f o r m the consecration r i t u a l entitled "horseback" (should) first prepare (the f o l l o w i n g r i t u a l i m p l e m e n t s ) : b a t h i n g i m p l e m e n t s , a m i r r o r o n w h i c h the verse of interdependent o r i g i n a t i o n has been w r i t t e n , g r a i n for scattering, incense, (white) m u s t a r d , a vajra ( w r a p p e d in) a dharani (thread), a b r u s h o f durva grass, a vase of a c t i o n in w h i c h the s u p r e m e vase substances a n d scented water have been m i x e d , a d r y i n g c l o t h , a m i r r o r , a b a t h i n g b a s i n , the three (postbathing requisites): perfume, garments, a n d ornaments, (also) eye m e d i c i n e , eye s p o o n , etc., offerings a n d tormas for the self-generation, extensive o r brief a c c o r d i n g to the occasion, as w e l l as tormas for the obstructions.

2. GENERATION OF ONESELF AS DORJE JIKJE P e r f o r m an extensive self-generation or a brief instantaneous generation.

3. BLESSING THE MAIN OFFERINGS As for blessing the offerings, [1] cleanse w i t h water f r o m the vase of a c t i o n , a n d cleanse w i t h (the a c t i o n mantra of Dorje J i k j e ) :

O m h r f h strih [vikrtanana hum phat] [2] P u r i f y by r e c i t i n g :

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[Pure] by nature [are all dharmas; pure by nature am I]. [3]

F r o m the c o n t i n u u m of emptiness ah (appears); f r o m it arise [very vast a n d w i d e s k u l l s inside of w h i c h are hums. F r o m (their) m e l t i n g arise water for refreshing the feet, water for refreshing the m o u t h , water for w e l c o m i n g , flowers, incense, light, fragrance, food, and m u s i c . A p p e a r i n g as offering substances, their nature is bliss a n d emptiness. As objects of enjoyment for the six senses, they f u n c t i o n to generate special uncontaminated bliss].

[4] The blessing: Om padyam ah hum Om ancamanam ah hum Om argham ah hum Om puspe ah hum Om dhupe ah hum Om aloke ah hum Om gandhe ah hum Om naividya ah hum Om sabda ah hum. 4. BLESSING THE OTHER OFFERING SUBSTANCES As for the blessing of the other offering substances, [ 1 ] cleanse with O m hrfh strih [vikrtanana hum phat] [2] Purify by reciting: [Pure] by nature [are all dharmas; pure by nature am I]. [3]

F r o m the c o n t i n u u m of emptiness the offering substances (appear) each ornamented w i t h the quintessence of the first letter of its name. F r o m their complete transformation (appear) inconceivable special offerings, h o l y substances e n d o w e d w i t h the five qualities of sense gratification. T h e y completely fill the w h o l e extent of the E a r t h a n d space.

Recite the mantra of the sky treasury three times (while making its) mudra: Om sarvavid pura pura ]sura sura avartaya avartaha hoh] Bless with the six mantras and the six mudras, recite the power of truth. 5. EMPOWERING THE RITUAL VASES [1], [2] Cleanse and purify the vase. [3]

F r o m the c o n t i n u u m of emptiness patn (appears). F r o m it (emerges) a

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w h i t e precious vase completely endowed w i t h all the essential characteristics (of a vase) such as a large belly, l o n g neck a n d a d o w n w a r d - p o i n t e d beak, filled w i t h essences a n d water able to p u r i f y all the i m p u r i t i e s of the inner receptacle. 6. EMPOWERING THE FLOWERS Recite (the verse of interdependent o r i g i n a t i o n ) :

Ye dharma [hetuprabhava hetum tesam tathagato hy avadat tesam ca yo nirodha evam vadi mahasramanah] and (the a c t i o n mantra of Dorje J i k j e ) :

[Om] hrfh strih [vikrtanana hum phat] Place the vajra ( w r a p p e d i n ) the dharani (thread) on the flowers.

The letters (of the verse of interdependent origination) rise u p ; a radiant b l a z i n g ray of light invites all the qualities of existence a n d peace and all the blessings of the V i c t o r i o u s Ones a n d their sons. T h e y dissolve in the string of mantras a n d flowers. T h e r i t u a l helper offers the dharani thread (to the r i t u a l master). T h e r i t u a l master recites about one h u n d r e d times:

Ye dharma [hetuprabhava hetum tesam tathagato hy avadat tesam ca yo nirodha evam vadi mahasramanah]. T h e n (the r i t u a l helper) collects the dharani thread a n d p o u r s b a t h i n g water on the m i r r o r . (The r i t u a l master) rubs (the letters w r i t t e n on the m i r r o r ) w i t h the b r u s h of durva grass a n d they permeate the flowers.

7. EMPOWERING THE INCENSE Place the vajra ( w r a p p e d in the) dharani (thread) on top of the incense. T h e r i t u a l master (recites) one h u n d r e d times:

[Om] hrfh strih [vikrtanana hum phat] 8. EMPOWERING THE WHITE MUSTARD Place the vajra ( w r a p p e d in the) dharani (thread) on top of the w h i t e m u s t a r d . Recite one h u n d r e d times:

Sumbha ni[sumbha hum grhna grhna hum grhnapaya grhnapaya hum anaya ho bhagavan vidya-raja hum phat] Recite three times the h u n d r e d - s y l l a b l e mantra (of Dorje J i k j e ) :

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[samayam anupalaya yamantaka tvenopatistha dridho me bhava

suposyo me bhava sutosyo me bhava anurakto me bhava sarvasiddhim me prayaccha sarvakarma suca me cittam irlyam kuru hum ha ha ha ha hoh bhagavan yamantaka

ma

me munca yamantaka

bhava

mahasamayasattva

ah hum phat]

9. GENERATION OF THE RECEPTACLE AS DORJE JIKJE [1] Cleanse the receptacles with: [Om] hrlh strih [vikrtanana hum phat]

[2] Purify with: [Pure] by nature [are a l l dharmas; pure by nature am I]. [3]

F r o m the c o n t i n u u m of emptiness hum (appears). F r o m it (appears) a vajra m a r k e d w i t h a hum. F r o m its complete transformation (appears) glorious great Dorje Jikje, [his b o d y dark blue in color w i t h nine faces, thirty-four arms, and sixteen legs, standing in a posture in w h i c h his right legs are bent and left extended; capable of devouring the three realms, calling out " H a H a " w i t h his tongue coiled, fangs bared, h a v i n g w r a t h f u l scowls, next to w h i c h , his eyebrows and eyes blaze l i k e (the fire) at the time of destruction (of the w o r l d ) , the y e l l o w tips of his hair bristling u p w a r d . He makes the threatening seal at the m u n d a n e and s u p r a m u n dane deities, frightening the terrifiers. In a l o u d cry he roars l i k e thunder "phaim kara." He devours h u m a n b l o o d , grease, m a r r o w , and fat, c r o w n e d w i t h five dry skulls meant to frighten, adorned w i t h garland of skulls (made of) fifty fresh heads, decorated w i t h bone ornaments, such as a sacred thread of black serpent, a w h e e l of h u m a n bones, (bone) earring, etc. He has a b u l g i n g belly, his b o d y naked, his eyebrows, eyelashes, beard, and b o d i l y hair blaze l i k e the fire at the end of time. H i s m a i n face is that of a buffalo, black, very w r a t h f u l , and endowed w i t h sharp horns. On top of it, in between the two horns there is a red face, very frightening, its m o u t h d r i p p i n g b l o o d . A b o v e that is a y e l l o w face of M a n j u s r i , slightly w r a t h f u l , adorned w i t h ornaments of y o u t h . At the c r o w n of his head five hair locks are tied. The first face at the base of the right h o r n is blue, to its right a red face and to its left a y e l l o w face. The first face at the base of the left h o r n is white, w h i l e to its right a grey face and to its left a black face. A l l the faces are very w r a t h f u l , and all nine faces have three eyes each. B o t h right and left first hands h o l d a fresh elephant hide w i t h its head to the right, its hair facing outward, stretched by its left front and back legs. In the first among the r e m a i n i n g right (hands) he holds a curved knife, in the second a j a v e l i n , in the t h i r d a pestle, in the fourth a knife, in the fifth a lance, in the s i x t h an axe, in the seventh a spear, in the eighth

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an arrow, in the n i n t h an i r o n h o o k , in the tenth a c l u b , in the eleventh a khatvanga, in the twelfth a wheel, in the thirteenth a five-pronged vajra, in the fourteenth a vajra hammer, in the fifteenth a s w o r d , a n d in the sixteenth a small d r u m . In the r e m a i n i n g left (hands) he holds a s k u l l filled w i t h b l o o d , in the second the head of Brahma, in the t h i r d a s h i e l d , in the fourth a leg, in the fifth a lasso, in the s i x t h a b o w , in the seventh intestines, in the eighth a b e l l , in the n i n t h a h a n d , in the tenth a s h r o u d , in the eleventh a person i m p a l e d on a pointed stake, in the twelfth a furnace, in the thirteenth a scalp, in the fourteenth (he makes) the threatening seal, in the fifteenth a flag w i t h three protrusions, a n d in the sixteenth a fan. W i t h the first of his right legs he tramples a m a n , w i t h the second a buffalo, the t h i r d a b u l l , the fourth a donkey, the fifth a camel, the s i x t h a dog, the seventh a sheep, the eighth a fox, a n d w i t h the first of the left (legs) a vulture, the second an o w l , the t h i r d a raven, the f o u r t h a parrot, the fifth a h a w k , the s i x t h a large b i r d , the seventh a cock, the eighth a swan. He tramples under his feet Brahma, Indra, V i s n u , R u d r a , six-faced K u m a r a , V i n a y a k a , C a n d r a , and Surya, all facing down.] He stands amidst a b l a z i n g mass of fire. At the heart of the (visualized) pledge being [on a lunar throne appears the (actual) w i s d o m being as (ever) y o u n g M a n j u s r i slightly w r a t h f u l , his b o d y y e l l o w colored. H i s right h a n d brandishes a s w o r d , his left holds a book at his heart. He sits crossed legged in the vajra p o s i t i o n , adorned w i t h the thirty-two major a n d eighty m i n o r marks (of a b u d d h a ) . H i s l o n g hair tied in five knots (on top of his head), a n d he is adorned w i t h all the ornaments. At his heart, f r o m ah arises a solar mandala. At its center, the samadhisattva], a dark blue syllable hum emanates five rays of light. 10. THE PURIFICATIONS Bless the offerings to the wrathful ones. Invitation of the Wrathful Ones

F r o m the hum on one's heart a ray of light emanates. It invites to the space in front (of the performers) the entire assemblage of the w r a t h f u l ones. Ring the bell. While making the mudra of dril stabs (recite): H u m . [You are] enlightened w i s d o m , [a light b l a z i n g like the fire (at the end) of the] aeon, [consuming a l l the dark realms of ignorance and desire; y o u have overcome all hatred and fears of the L o r d of Death. Great H e r o , w e a r i n g a tiger s k i n , a m a r k of a hero, subduer of the enemy, oppressor of the raksasas w h o lead astray, the k i n g of knowledge, the w r a t h f u l one, may (you) r e m a i n here. Y o u are i n v i t e d for the sake of s u b d u i n g those

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w h o lead astray. M a y y o u come for the sake of sentient beings and (partake of) these offerings.] Om vajra-mahd-krodha-raja-saparivdra-ehyehi. W h i l e m a k i n g the mudras recite:

Om vajra-maha4hrodha-rajd-]saparivdrapravara-sadkaramarghampraticcha hum svahd kamalayestvam (and so forth). W i t h the appropriate mantras (replacing the name of each offering successively), offer the two waters a n d the m a i n offerings. P l a y the cymbals in slang sil. W h i l e attaching the three seed (syllables om ah hum to the m a n t r a om vajra-maha-krodha-raja-saparivara), m a k e the i n n e r offerings.

Hum. Prostrations [to the assemblage of b l a z i n g great w r a t h f u l ones w h o , not abandoning the w o r l d l y way of action, appear] f r o m the c o n t i n u u m , the empty n o n d u a l essence of dharmas [as the b o d y of the frightening one by s k i l l f u l means. Prostrations to y o u w h o , w i t h o u t wavering f r o m the peaceful c o n t i n u u m of knowledge, possessing voracious fearsome outlook and costumes, a roaring voice that resounds as a thousand thunders, bring under control everything w i t h o u t remainder. Prostrations to y o u w h o demonstrate the drama of the supreme knowledge, w h o carry various threatening weapons in y o u r hand(s), adorned w i t h poisonous snakes, totally overcome the great poisonous afflictions. Prostrations to y o u w h o reside amidst a fire like the conflagration (at the end) of an aeon, in the hero posture w i t h one leg stretched and the other d r a w n back, staring w i t h w i d e open eyes blazing like the S u n and the M o o n , b u r n i n g a host of obstructions. Prostrations to y o u whose great ferocity blazes as brightly as the fire at the end of times, whose scowls of wrathfulness seem to emit a thousand lightnings, whose fangs are bare, whose furious voice roars as the s o u n d of thousand thunders, the k i n g of the w r a t h f u l ones w h o subdue a host of obstructions. H u m . Prostrations and praise to y o u w h o call out the frightening s o u n d of hum, w h o overcome all obstructions without remainder, the god w h o bestow a l l accomplishments,] the enemy of the obstructions. Blessing the Tormas for the Obstructors By a t t a c h i n g the three seed syllables a n d svahd to akaro, bless the tormas for the obstructors. Summoning the Obstructors

F r o m hum on one's heart a ray of light emanates. It s u m m o n s the assemblage of obstructors w h i c h h i n d e r the consecration. (Offer the tormas to the obstructors w h i l e reciting) three times:

Om sarva-vighnan [namah sarva-tathdgatebhyo visva-mukhebhyah sarvatadkham udgate spharana imam gagana-kham ghrhana] balim taye svahd

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(Recite) three times:

Om sumbha ni[sumbha hum grhna grhna hum grhnapaya grhnapaya hum anaya ho bhagavan] vidya-raja hum phat T h e n w h i l e m a k i n g the 'byung po 'ur 'ded mudra (recite):

The entire assemblage of obstructors consisting of gods a n d so forth w h o stay on the grounds of the great mandala listen! In this place I am perf o r m i n g a consecration r i t u a l ; [may y o u depart f r o m here to another (place). If y o u transgress my w o r d , w i t h a b l a z i n g vajra e n d o w e d w i t h knowledge (your) head w i l l be shattered into a h u n d r e d pieces;] certainly [the obstructions w i l l be smashed]! W h i l e m a k i n g the hum mdzad mudra (recite):

Namo\ By the truth of the glorious h o l y lamas, together w i t h the venerable masters of root a n d lineage, the truth of the yi dam, the assemblage of deities of the mandala a n d [the truth] of buddhas a n d bodhisattvas, [the truth] of sravakas, pratyekabuddhas, dharma protectors, guardians, especially in reliance on the power of truth of the assemblage of deities of the glorious great Dorje Jikje together w i t h his retinue, m a y the entire assembly of obstructors, whoever w o u l d h i n d e r the consecration, be c o n tent w i t h these tormas a n d go each to y o u r o w n place. If y o u do not depart, w i t h the vajra of the knowledge of the w r a t h f u l ones, b l a z i n g as fire (your) heads w i l l be shattered into a h u n d r e d pieces, no doubt about it! (Recite):

Om sumbha ni[sumbha hum grhna grhna hum grhnapaya grhnapaya hum anaya ho bhagavan vidya-raja hum phat] Play w r a t h f u l m u s i c .

11. OFFERING BATH T h e n assemble the b a t h i n g i m p l e m e n t s a n d so f o r t h .

As (the B u d d h a ) , w h o as s o o n as he was b o r n was bathed by all the deities, likewise, w i t h pure divine water I shall offer a bath. Om sarva-tathagata-[abhisekata-samaya-sriye ah hum]. T h i s is water whose nature is generosity; it purifies the stains of m i s e r l i ness. W i t h this water w e l l suffused w i t h the perfume of abandoning w h i c h bathes w e l l , I offer a bath. Om sarva-[tathagata-kaya-visodhane svahd] T h i s is [water whose nature is] morality; [it purifies] the stains of i m morality. [ W i t h this water w e l l suffused] w i t h the perfume of morality w h i c h bathes w e l l , [I offer a bath.

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Om sarva-tathagata-kaya-visodhane svaha] T h i s is [water whose nature is] patience; [it purifies] the stains of anger. [ W i t h this water w e l l suffused] w i t h the perfume of patience w h i c h bathes w e l l , [I offer a bath. Om sarva-tathagata-kaya-visodhane svaha] This is [water whose nature is] diligence; [it purifies] the stains of laziness. [ W i t h this water w e l l suffused] w i t h the perfume of diligence w h i c h bathes w e l l , [I offer a bath. Om sarva-tathagata-kaya-visodhane svaha] T h i s is [water whose nature is] concentration; [it purifies the stains of] distraction. [ W i t h this water w e l l suffused] w i t h the perfume of concentration w h i c h bathes w e l l , [I offer a bath. Om sarva-tathagata-kaya-visodhane svaha] T h i s is [water whose nature is] w i s d o m ; [it purifies the stains of] misapprehension. [ W i t h this water w e l l suffused] w i t h the perfume of w i s d o m w h i c h bathes w e l l , [I offer a bath. Om sarva-tathagata-kaya-visodhane svaha] [(I) offer a bath] w i t h the six rivers, endowed w i t h six exalted qualities, w h i c h through bathing p u r i f y the six k i n d s of i m p u r i t i e s , may they bathe well. F a i t h f u l l y , I offer a bath to the one w h o is faultless, w h o is endowed w i t h all the qualities, for the sake of deliverance into that b u d d h a ( h o o d ) . Om sarva-tathagata-[abhisekata-samaya-sriye ah hum]. Drying

[I shall dry] their bodies [with unequaled c l o t h , clean and w e l l anointed w i t h scent]. Om hum tram hrih [ah]. Offering Scent

[ W i t h the best scent whose fragrance permeates] the entire three-thousand-great-thousand-world, [as p o l i s h i n g pure refined g o l d , I shall anoint the b l a z i n g and radiant body of the great sages]. Offering Garments

[For the sake of p u r i f y i n g (my) m i n d , I offer this precious fine garment varicolored as a] variegated [rainbow, t o u c h i n g it is a cause of bliss, may I be adorned w i t h the best garment of patience]. Offering Ornaments

[Even though the V i c t o r i o u s O n e , being naturally endowed w i t h the ornaments] of the major and m i n o r marks of a b u d d h a , [does not seek to be adorned w i t h any other ornaments, by offering this supreme ornament of precious substances may a l l beings obtain a b o d y decorated w i t h the major and m i n o r marks of a b u d d h a ] .

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It is not necessary to use mantras in the (last) three offerings.

12. BLESSING THE SENSE-FIELDS The deities become m a r k e d w i t h white om on the head, red ah on the throat, and blue hum on the heart.

13. INVITATION OF THE ACTUAL ENLIGHTENED BEINGS F r o m hum on one's heart a ray of light emanates; it invites the w i s d o m beings who are similar to the visualized ones together w i t h an assembly of buddhas, bodhisattvas, sravakas, pratyekabuddhas, dharma protectors, and guardians to the space in front (of oneself). Hold incense stick together with the bell. [May the protector of each and] every sentient being, [the deity w h o subdued the frightful M a r a w i t h his host, the Blessed O n e w h o k n o w s a l l things as they are, come to this place together w i t h his retinue]. O Blessed O n e , [having practiced compassion in n u m e r o u s countless] aeons, [out of affection for sentient beings, (now that your) intention, (your) great aspiration, is completely f u l f i l l e d , it is time to act for the sake of beings as y o u have maintained]. Therefore, [for the sake of liberating infinite multitudes of sentient beings, displaying various h o l y miraculous creations, may y o u come f r o m the spontaneously arising palace of the] dharma realm [accompanied by y o u r completely immaculate retinue]. F a i t h f u l l y (I) invite [the chief l o r d of all dharmas, similar in color to refined g o l d , more intensely bright than the s u n , peaceful and very c o m passionate, a b i d i n g in a state of concentration and c o n t r o l , endowed w i t h knowledge of the dharmas, free f r o m desire, endowed w i t h a completely inexhaustible capacity. C o m e hither, come hither, the deity w h o is the embodiment of peace, w h o had the supreme b i r t h of a sage S a k y a m u n i , the omniscient. W i t h offerings I request y o u to come to this w e l l made reflected image. H a v i n g remained here u n i t e d w i t h the image for the sake of sentient beings,] generously bestow (on us) the best [health, longevity, prosperity, and excellence]. Jah hum bam hoh mahakarunika-atmaka-ehyehi. Welcoming

It is good that the Blessed O n e has k i n d l y come. We are so meritorious and fortunate. H a v i n g accepted my water for w e l c o m i n g , may y o u c o n sider me and grant my (request). W e l c o m e , Blessed O n e , may y o u come here and be seated. H a v i n g accepted my water for w e l c o m i n g , m a y y o u abide here indeed.

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[As (the B u d d h a , who)] as soon as he [was b o r n , was bathed by all the deities, likewise, I shall offer a bath w i t h pure divine water]. T h u s recite this (last) verse alone. It is n o t necessary to recite the mantra (that usually follows it).

[Out of compassion] for me a n d sentient beings, [through y o u r powers of miraculous creation, as l o n g as I make offerings], may the Blessed One remain (here). Kamalayestvam. W e l c o m e , Blessed O n e , may y o u come here a n d be seated. H a v i n g accepted my water for w e l c o m i n g m a y y o u consider me too. E x p e l l i n g the Obstructions Who F o l l o w the Deities Then

Om hrih strih vikrtanana hum phat T h u s , h a v i n g cleansed w i t h water f r o m the (action) vase, e x p e l the obstructors w h o f o l l o w (the i n v i t e d ones). Ojfjferings M a k e offerings w i t h

Om sarva-tathagata-argham- [puja-megha-samudra-spharana-samaya ah hum]

srlye

up until

[Om sarva-tathagata-] ah hum]

sabda-lpuja-megha-samudra-spharana-samaya

sriye

14. REQUESTING THE CONSECRATION H o l d i n g incense w i t h the b e l l (recite):

O u t of compassion for us and out of compassion for the disciples and also for the sake of offerings to y o u , w i t h respect I ask to perform the consecration n o w , O Blessed O n e , therefore I am w o r t h y of y o u r kindness. O Vajradhara, n o w I shall perfectly perform a consecration of a receptacle of body, speech, a n d m i n d of A k s o b h y a w i t h requisites as m u c h as the patron can afford. Therefore, having h e l d me a n d my disciples close w i t h compassion, may y o u together w i t h all the attendants bless the consecration. T h u s recite three times. T h e n collect the incense sticks. T h e deities b e s t o w as they please.

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Om caksu caksu samanta-caksu visodhani svaha.

Even though (you) are omniscient, endowed with an eye of enlightened wisdom, free of faults, by reverently opening the exalted eye, may sentient beings, up until the limit of the sky, obtain the eye of enlightened wisdom of the Buddha. For the sake of achieving actions beginning with pacifying, may (you) look intently on the patron and others with enlightened wisdom. 18. OFFERINGS [Having accepted this supreme water for welcoming] pure, stainless and pleasing, [ (blessed by) mantra which I faithfully offer, may you bestow grace on me]. Om

sarva-tathagata argham pratlcchaye svaha

likewise [Having accepted this supreme water for refreshing the feet, pure, stainless, and pleasing, (blessed by) mantra which I faithfully offer, may you bestow grace on me. Om

sarva-tathagata]padyam[praticchaye

svaha

I seek to offer this] best divine flower [to the mandala, consider me compassionately, 0 protector, accept this offering. Om sarva-tathagata puspe praticcha hum svaha

1 seek to offer this best divine incense to the mandala, consider me compassionately, 0 protector, accept this offering. Om sarva-tathagata dhupe praticcha hum svaha

1 seek to offer this best divine light to the mandala, consider me compassionately, 0 protector, accept this offering. Om sarva-tathagata dloke praticcha hum svaha

1 seek to offer this best divine fragrance to the mandala, consider me compassionately, 0 protector, accept this offering. Om

sarva-tathagata gandhe praticcha hum

svaha

1 seek to offer this best divine food to the mandala, consider me compassionately, 0 protector, accept this offering. Om sarva-tathagata naividya praticcha hum svahd

1 seek to offer this best divine music to the mandala, consider me compassionately, O protector, accept this offering. Om sarva-tathagata sabda praticcha hum svdhd]

Thus make offerings together with the mantras as before, up until "music."

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Inner Offerings M a k e the i n n e r offerings w i t h

[Om] hrfh strih [vikrtanana hum phat om ah hum] 19. PRAISES [You are] n o n d u a l , extraordinary, [pervasive body. W i t h equanimity to all y o u are the father of all the victorious ones. Being the realm of dharma y o u are the mother of all the victorious ones. Being the w i s d o m being, y o u are the son of all the victorious ones. Prostrations to y o u , glorious M a f i j u s r i , the perfected one. E v e n though the dharmakaya has neither love n o r hate, for the sake of taming the poisonous ones of the three w o r l d s w i t h o u t remainder, t h r o u g h compassionate s k i l l f u l means y o u manifest as the b o d y of the k i n g of the w r a t h f u l ones]. Prostrations to the F r i g h t f u l O n e the destroyer of the L o r d of Death. 20. BINDING THE GUARDIANS TO AN OATH Om hum tram hrfh ah 21. TRANSFORMATION OF THE RECEPTACLE Om yamantaka hum phat G l o r i o u s Dorje Jikje dissolves into light. H i s complete transformation turns into the appearance of each receptacle and its inhabitants. 22. REQUESTING THE DEITIES TO REMAIN FIRMLY IN THE RECEPTACLE (Recite) three times:

Ye dharma [hetuprabhava hetum tesam tathagato hy avadat tesam ca yo nirodha evam vadi mahasramanah] Recite the three verses of auspiciousness:

[Like a golden m o u n t a i n endowed with] perfections, [is the protector of the three w o r l d s ; the B u d d h a w h o has abandoned the three defilements, endowed w i t h eyes w i d e as petals of lotus. This is the first virtuous auspiciousness of the w o r l d . Supreme and immutable, taught by h i m r e n o w n in the three w o r l d s , w o r s h i p p e d by gods and humans, the h o l y dharma brings peace to all sentient beings. T h i s is the second virtuous auspiciousness of the w o r l d . The sarigha r i c h in the auspiciousness of hearing the dharma, object of w o r s h i p for h u m a n , gods and asuras, the supreme assembly, the basis of w o n d r o u s knowledge and glory. T h i s is the t h i r d virtuous auspiciousness of the w o r l d ] .

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Then

As all the buddhas f r o m their abodes in Tusita heaven entered the w o m b of Q u e e n M a y a , so may the protector always reside together w i t h the image. F o r the sake of developing the m i n d of enlightenment a n d for the sake of the patron, m a y y o u accept these offerings a n d flowers, etc., my o w n resources as m u c h as I can afford; may y o u consider me a n d my disciples compassionately; may y o u bless a l l these; may y o u agree to abide in this very one. M a y a l l the buddhas and bodhisattvas w h o reside in the ten directions consider me. As l o n g as the realms of sentient beings vast as the s k y are not placed at the level of being in unestablished nirvana, may y o u firmly r e m a i n w i t h o u t passing into nirvana; a n d particularly, as l o n g as these receptacles of body, speech, a n d m i n d are not destroyed by the h a r m of deeds, earth, water, fire, and w i n d , [acting immeasurably] for the sake of sentient beings, [may y o u f i r m l y r e m a i n ] . Om supratistha-vajraye svaha T h u s (recite) three times.

As by seeing the totally good Sugata, there is auspiciousness, by the presence of the V i c t o r i o u s O n e and his sons here today, m a y there be h a p p i ness a n d goodness. (You) have subdued the assembly of bad, w i c k e d , and w r o n g ones, (you) have increased the assembly of the victorious ones and their sons, the knowledge holders. By merely seeing (your) face, w a r m as the S u n , l u m i n o u s as the M o o n , one obtains supreme bliss. H a v i n g generously granted me a n d sentient beings w i t h (your) w a r m face, may (you) r e m a i n u n t i l the end of the aeon. As l o n g as the aeon is not destroyed by fire, water, a n d w i n d , for the sake of all sentient beings m a y y o u the Blessed O n e remain. Recite the h u n d r e d - s y l l a b l e mantra (of Dorje Jikje) three times:

[Yamantaka samayam anupalaya yamantaka tvenopatistha dridho me bhava suposyo me bhava sutosyo me bhava anurakto me bhava sarvasiddhim me prayaccha sarvakarma suca me cittam sriyam kuru hum ha ha ha ha hoh bhagavan yamantaka ma me munca yamantaka bhava mahasamayasattva ah hum phat. ] O protector, having assumed various forms in accordance w i t h the circumstances, may y o u act for the sake of a l l the aims of sentient beings in the w o r l d l y realms of the ten directions. Recite seven times:

Ye dharma

[hetuprabhava hetum tesam tathagato hy avadat tesam ca yo

nirodha evam vadi mahasramanah]. Recite verses of auspiciousness of Dorje Jikje.

1

5

An Offering of Torma

Richard J.

Kohn

Buddhists have always made offerings to the three jewels: the Buddha, his teaching, and the spiritual community. Mahayana B u d d h i s m added vast numbers of bodhisattvas, heros of enlightenment, both h u m a n and superhuman, to this list. Offerings, however, were a feature of both Indian and Tibetan religion long before the birth of the Buddha. Tibetans still make offerings to many of the gods of preBuddhist Tibet as w e l l as to a host of lowlier spirits. Deities converted by saints of ages past are worshipped as protectors of B u d d h i s m . M a n y spirits are counted among the "hungry ghosts." M o u r n f u l beings, the hungry ghosts wander the world tortured by hunger and thirst, and they are legitimate objects of compassion and charity. The "Three-Part T o r m a Process" uses an offering called a torma (gtor ma), a ritual cake found in a wide variety of Tibetan ceremonies, to feed and appease these ghosts and spirits. The Three-Part Torma is often performed as part of longer, complex rituals. The text was composed by the great seventeenth-century lama Terdak Lingpa Gyurme Dorje (Gter bdag gling pa 'gyur med rdo rje, 1646-1714). It is included in the "Religious Practice" anthology published at his monastery, M i n d r o l i n g — the leading monastery in central Tibet of the N y i n g m a or O l d Translation School. Gyurme Dorje based his work on material found only in the tantras of the O l d School. However, in an early burst of ecumenical spirit—a trend that was not to catch on in Tibet for another century—he arranged his text so that it w o u l d "agree, rather than be at odds w i t h , the N e w Translation School," w h i c h is to say the practices of the remaining three sects of B u d d h i s m in Tibet. Although written in Tibet, the Three-Part Torma is addressed to beings derived from ancient Indian mythology: the directional guardians (Tib., phyogs skyong, Skt., lokapala), ghosts or elementals (Tib., 'byungpo, Skt., bhuta), and obstructors (Tib., bgegs, Skt., vighna). The first two groups are supernatural beings, but the third occupies a unique position. Just as certain single-celled organisms are claimed by both botanists and zoologists, the obstructors straddle the border between the supernatural and the psychological. The beings summoned in the

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Three-Part Torma are forces to be reckoned w i t h . They are, however, lower in the supernatural order than some of the deities evoked in Tibetan ritual. W h e n major deities are summoned, they must be returned to the transcendental realm by an elaborate, formal process. For the beings of the Three-Part Torma, who inhabit our w o r l d l y plane, a quick "begone!"—gaccha in Sanskrit—and a small offering cake are a sufficient farewell. Offerings of food are a staple of religious practice. Buddhist theorists, however, say that there is an even greater gift: religious instruction. In the Three-Part Torma ritual, meditators "Make the gift of dharma" in the standard way. First, they recite the ye dharma, a w e l l - k n o w n Sanskrit formula that encapsulates the fundamentals of Buddhist philosophy (see chapter 14): Whatever events arise f r o m a cause the Tathagata has told the cause thereof; a n d the great ascetic also has taught their cessation as w e l l .

They then add in T i b e t a n — This is the Buddha's teaching: Do no evil! Perform a wealth of virtues! Tame y o u r o w n m i n d completely!

The obstructors are given some particularly thoughtful advice: Everyone fears for his o w n life! T a k i n g your o w n b o d y as a m o d e l , Do no h a r m to others!

The Three-Part Torma is brief and the offering cake small, but the ritual evokes an astonishing number of supernatural entities. Although the text reels them off quickly and casually, we w i l l take a bit of time to introduce them. The first, the directional guardians, include the major deities of ancient Indian religion. Many of these deities are so o l d that they were worshipped before IndoEuropean people migrated eastward and westward to form the basis of Indian and European civilization. Considering that these gods were at one time the b u l wark of religious faith from Greece to India, it is almost poignant to see them l u m p e d together w i t h ghosts and a host of miscellaneous obstructive forces— albeit, the text tells us, as their rulers. Unfortunately, we do not have the space to discuss the entire cast of characters. Even books dedicated to the subject of Indian mythology do not explain many of them in detail. A few, however, demand a closer look, some for their importance, some for their obscurity, and some for the unique perspective that our text has on them. Indra was k i n g of the gods in ancient India. Like Zeus or Jupiter, he "wields a thunderbolt." The Three-Part Torma text identifies h i m as ruler of the malignant ones, or d o n (gdon), a class of evil spirits that cause disease. A g n i , the ancient

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Indian god of fire, is called " k i n g of the rsi." This is appropriate enough, since the rsi (pronounced "rishi") are the sages expert in performing the ancient Vedic fire sacrifice of the H i n d u tradition. "Big H a n d , W h o Grasps the Earth" (Sa ' d z i n lag pa chen po), also k n o w n as " H a n d , " is one of the few indigenous Tibetan deities evoked in the Three-Part Torma. A c c o r d i n g to m y t h , H a n d is the l o r d of the mu (dmu), an important class of ancient Tibetan deities. It was H a n d who impregnated the Red-Faced Earth-Goddess and gave birth to the seven blazing brothers from a blazing egg—the stern serpent spirits w h o guard the Buddha's word. The ghosts, or elemental spirits, include members of several other groups: gods, the serpent spirits Tibetans call Iu, earth spirits, scent-eaters, demigods, mythological eagles, "rotten-bodied ones," and the serpent spirits Tibetans call docheh. Buddhist cosmology describes the gods of ancient India (Skt., deva) as living in a series of heavens arrayed above M e r u , the mountain in the center of the world. The indigenous spirits that Tibetans knew as lha generally inhabited the tops of mountains as w e l l . Tibetans often name their mountains after the gods that live on them. T w o famous examples are Chomolangma, the goddess of the mountain we call Everest, and Nyenchen Thangla, the god who gives his name to the Nyenchen Thangla range of northern Tibet (see chapter 24). W h e n the Tibetans heard about devas from Indian teachers, they quite naturally grouped them w i t h the benign lha that they had worshipped for centuries. The serpent spirits (klu, naga) live i n streams, i n underground springs, at the roots of trees, and at the bottom of lakes and oceans. If treated w i t h respect they can be beneficial; if slighted they may cause leprosy and other diseases (see chapter 1). The Tibetans worshipped klu (pronounced lu) l o n g before they heard of the similar spirits the Indians call naga. Over the centuries, however, the myths have coalesced. The yaksa are an ancient Indian earth spirit associated w i t h trees and the foundations of buildings. The Tibetans explain that they are very fickle. Sometimes they harm y o u ; sometimes they bestow riches on y o u . Hence their name in T i betan: "malefactor/benefactor" (gnod hyin). The scent-eaters (Skt., gandharva) originated in India. Celestial spirits so refined that they need no solid food—they live off the scent of offerings. The contentious demigods (Skt., asura) also came from India. They live at the foot of the wish-granting tree that only blossoms—and grants w i s h e s — i n the realm of the gods above their heads and out of their grasp. Maddened by envy, they wage constant and futile war against the gods. The Tibetans worshipped the khyung, mythological eagles, before they heard of the Indian garuda. As w i t h the serpent gods, the myths have merged in historical Tibet (see chapter 25). The "rotten b o d i e d " (lus sru! po, Skt., kata-putana) are a class of demons whose putrid smell is said to be an affront to the senses of the gods. They are related to a demoness of H i n d u myth who attempted to k i l l Krsna by suckling h i m w i t h poisoned milk. The docheh (ho 'phye, Skt., mahoraga) are a class of huge subterranean serpents w h o lie on their sides and rotate in the earth. Lamas explain that

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their unusual name comes from having a stomach (Ito) but being "cut o f f Cphye) at the legs. They are classed among the owners of the soil (sa bdag), the supernatural landlords who are the original inhabitants of a place and from w h o m we borrow the land that we use. It is important to take the docheh into consideration before erecting a b u i l d i n g — t h e i r shifting can shake the foundations of anything built over them. Like the better-known lu, the docheh are snakes from the waist d o w n . Drulbum (grul bum, Skt., kumbhanda) are a class of cemetery-dwelling vampire ghouls. The name kumbhanda derives from an anatomical peculiarity: their testicles are said to be shaped like pitchers (kumbha). If facing this army of supernatural terrors sounds like a daunting task, it is! Tibetans, in fact, believe that it is a job for no ordinary mortal. Before facing the obstructors, for example, the participants are instructed to visualize themselves as the fierce manifestation of enlightenment, the D i a m o n d W r a t h f u l One, the b l o o d - d r i n k i n g great glorious Heruka. As in many religions, the power of the w o r d — o f truth itself—is considered to be a potent weapon. Thus, the participants invoke the obstructors "by the power of the true w o r d of the glorious holy lamas." Sometimes, however, gifts and moral suasion are just not enough. The text reminds the participants to "expel any and all [particularly] vicious and coarsetempered" ghosts "by mustering your diamond wrath and uttering the four-hum mantra and by fierce sounding music." Buddhist practice, the lamas say, fulfills both one's o w n aims and the aims of others. The awesome responsibility of the supernatural struggle is not taken for personal benefit alone, but for the general welfare. Thus, the meditators request the ghosts both to "cure every illness of every sentient being here" and to "cast out all illness" in general. As its name suggests, the centerpiece of the "Three-Part Torma Process" is offering tormas to the supernatural beings the ritual evokes. The tormas are made of parched-barley flour and decorated w i t h colored butter. Those offered to peaceful deities have sweet-tasting ingredients. Those offered to fiercer beings, the text specifies, are "made of polluted substances like meat and beer." The text employs a number of technical terms peculiar to torma construction. Tebkyu (theb skyu) are various small pieces of dough affixed to certain tormas. Here, the term refers to a small cup or ledge in front of each torma. Ting lo are lamps made of dough. A "handprint" (chang bu) is piece of dough squeezed in the first bearing its imprint. A "feast" (tshogs) is a pear-shaped torma made of tasty ingredients, such as rice or barley flour, and offered along w i t h other food and drink d u r i n g a special ritual also called a "feast." A l t h o u g h often performed in a perfunctory way—the text is c o m m o n l y read at breakneck speed in the midst of a larger series of rituals—the "Three-Part Torma Process" has moments of genuine poetry. This passage that invokes the ghosts begins this w a y — You ghosts who live atop Mount Meru, And in the happy forests and the abodes of the gods, A n d the mountains east and west, and the homes of the Sun and Moon,

AN

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TORMA

A n d w h o live o n all the mountains, W h o live in the Precious Continent and fill it to overflowing, A n d in all the rivers and river valleys, A n d in the oceans and ponds, and in the rivulets, A n d y o u w h o live i n the cool m o u n t a i n springs A n d in the cities empty of markets and cattle and gods . . .

Most important of all, the "Three-Part Torma" constantly reminds us that, as it is for many traditional peoples, for Tibetans, nature is not a blank canvas or an empty vessel that we may do with as we please. It is a place vibrant with life, both seen and unseen, that we must approach with respect and with a sense of wonder. The translation is from Smin gling lo chen Dharmasri (1654-1717), Chos spyod kyi rim pa thar lam rab gsal zhes bya ba bzhugs so (The Sequence of Religious Practices Called "The Elucidation of the Path to Freedom"). Short title: [Smin gling] chos spyod. ([Mindroling] Religious Practice). Xylograph from Rong phu blocks stored at Thub brten chos gling. Ritual instructions are rendered here in a smaller typeface.

Further Reading Rene de Nebesky-Wojkowitz, Oracles and Demons oj Tibet: The Cult and Iconography oj the Tibetan Protective Deities ('s-Gravenhage: Mouton and Co., 1956); Wendy Doniger OTlaherty, The Origins oj Evil in Hindu Mythology (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976); Gail Hinich Sutherland, The Disguises oj the Demon: The Development oj the Yaksa in Hinduism and Buddhism (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1991).

The Three-Part T o r m a Process I b o w to the L a m a a n d to Vajrasattva! On the occasion of a large m a n d a l a r i t u a l of the D i a m o n d V e h i c l e , m a n y styles of three-part tormas are s p o k e n o f — e x t e n s i v e , m i d d l i n g , or c o n d e n s e d . T h e y s h o u l d be u n d e r s t o o d as f o l l o w s . [Place] three [tormas] in a p r e c i o u s vessel or other type. T h e first t w o [tormas] are the general tormas for the guardians of the directions a n d the ghosts. T h e y are r o u n d a n d have " b u t t o n s . " T h e y are w h i t e , made of p a r b o i l e d rice chaff or the l i k e , a n d are a u g m e n t e d w i t h a feast of p u r e f o o d a n d d r i n k . T h e t h i r d , the obstructors' t o r m a , has l a m p s made f r o m d o u g h (ting lo) a n d h a n d p r i n t s (chang bu). It is made of p o l l u t e d substances l i k e meat a n d beer.

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They are set in a row. Sprinkle them with pure water. Cleanse them with the diamond malefactor/benefactor gesture and by [the mantra] Om vajrayaksa hum

Purify them with the diamond fire gesture and by saying Om vajra jvalayanala hana daha paca mathabhanjarana hum phat

and Svabhava . ..

Think that F r o m the empty realm comes [the syllable] bhrum. F r o m that, a precious vessel, deep and w i d e . In it, a torma, w o n d e r f u l in color, odor, taste, and effectiveness, becomes a great ocean of ambrosia. Bless it on the ordinary level by saying three times, Om ah hum hoh

Then, offer the first torma to the ten guardians of the directions. Think that— The radiance of the [syllable] hum [that I visualize] in my heart invites the guardians of the directions and their entourage. A n d grasping the vajra and bell, invite them thus, O guardians of the directions, p o w e r f u l guardians of the w o r l d , W i s e in the ways of compassion, understanding tutelaries, G o d s and rsis, k i n g s w h o rule the knowledge bearers, The races of h u n g r y ghosts, ghouls, and serpents! Masters of the malefactor/benefactors! Y o u display bodies w i t h each of their powers! O guardians of the w o r l d in the ten directions, if we beg y o u to stay, If, w o r s h i p p i n g [you] for [all] beings' sake, We invite y o u in order to spread the teaching, we pray y o u come! Om dasadiklokapala saparivariye hye hi

Offer them a seat with, Padmakamalaya

stam

Make offerings to them w i t h — Om indaya agnayeyamaya nairidya varunaya vayave kuberaya isnaya urdha brahmaya

surya

grihaya

adhipataye

candra

naksatra

adhipataye

adho-

prithivibhyah asurebhyah nagebhyah saparivara argham . . . a n d so o n .

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After [placing] your diamond palms face upward, at the end of the previous mantra [recite]—

lndra . . . etc. Offer the torma by adding three recitations of: Namah sarvatathagate bhyo visva[mukhebhyah sarvathdkham utgatesparana imam gaganakham svaha]. Praise them thus, Powerful one, god who wields a thunderbolt, King of gods, master of malignant ones, I worship, praise, and also salute you, Eastern quarter, with [your] host of malignant ones! Fire god who eats what is burned, King of rsi, demon of the gathered clan of malignant ones, I worship [praise and also salute you,] Southeastern quarter . . . Lord of Death, god who wields a club, King of the grandmother spirits . .. I worship . . . Southern quarter . . . Virtuous god, far from truth, King of ghouls . . . I worship . . . Southwestern quarter . . . Water god, who wields a lasso, King of the guardians of the word . . . I worship . . . Western quarter . . . God who holds the winds and also life, King who holds all races in his grasp, I worship . . . Northwestern quarter . . . Malefactor/benefactor who bears a club in his hand, King who protects wealth . . . 1 worship . . . Northern quarter . . . Powerful one, guiding god, King of ghosts . . .

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I worship . . . Northeastern quarter . . . I w o r s h i p those a b o v e — Great Brahma and the great planets, the Sun and M o o n , A n d the planets and constellations. I w o r s h i p those b e l o w — The serpent spirits and gods of the E a r t h , B i g H a n d , w h o grasps the E a r t h , A n d the hosts w h o k n o w the vows. Beg them to act, thus— Y o u of the eastern quarter, host of gods w i t h vajras and y o u r entourage, Please eat these tormas we offer! Fire, L o r d of Death, Master of G h o u l s — f a r f r o m truth, Master of Water, Master of W i n d , Master of W e a l t h , P o w e r f u l G o d — M a s t e r of Ghosts, A n d great Sun, M o o n , and Brahma a b o v e — A l l gods and whoever is above the E a r t h ; serpent spirits, M o u n t a i n gods and hosts of the p u r e — We offer tormas to each of y o u in y o u r o w n i n d i v i d u a l place! Eat them w i t h great enjoyment, and then Rest easy in y o u r i n d i v i d u a l homes! If we offer praise and tormas, lamps and respect, A l o n g w i t h flowers, scents, unguents, and incense to y o u A n d y o u r c h i l d r e n , loved ones, friends and courtiers, H o u s e h o l d , soldiers, and battalions, D r i n k them and take them w e l l ! B r i n g our acts to f r u i t i o n ! Appending Om dasadik[lokapala gaccha], ask them to go. OFFERING THE SECOND TORMA TO THE GHOSTS IN GENERAL Invite them— To y o u , families of gods, titans A n d malefactor/benefactors, docheh serpents, drulbum vampires, Sky-soarers and finely feathered garuda, rotten-bodied ones, Scent-eaters, ghouls and malignant ones, To whatever m i r a c u l o u s beings live on Earth,

J .

KOHN

AN

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TORMA

To your children and servants and entourage— I kneel to the ground And pray to you with folded palms. Therefore listen and come for benefit. Om sarva lokapala ehyahi Offer t h e m a s e a t — Padmakamalaya

stam

W o r s h i p them, Om

deva

naga yaksa

gandharva

asura garuda

kinara

mahoraga

manusya

amanusya saparivara argham . . . , etc. O p e n y o u r d i a m o n d p a l m s a n d , at the e n d of the above m a n t r a " O m

deva . .

." offer the

t o r m a by a d d i n g three recitations of: Namah imam

sarva[tathagate gaganakham

bhyo

visvamukhebhyah

sarvathakham

utgatesparana

svaha].

C o m m i t them to act—

You ghosts who live atop Mount Meru, And in the happy forests and the abodes of the gods, And the mountains east and west, and the homes of the Sun and Moon, And who live on all the mountains, Who live in the precious continent and fill it to overflowing, And in all the rivers and river valleys, A n d in the oceans and ponds, and in the rivulets, A n d you who live in the cool mountain springs A n d in the cities empty of markets and cattle and gods, A n d in the empty houses and chapels A n d who live in cathedrals and in stupas, And in the hermit's abode and in the bull's manger, And who live in the palaces of kings, And where lanes meet and in the cross-roads, And who are beside the highway and the solitary tree, And in the great cemeteries and great forests, And the homes of lions, bears, and beasts of prey, A n d who live in the vast wildernesses where it is right to be afraid, A n d you who live in the best of countries, A n d you who live in the crowded cemeteries, Who live there in joy and contentment— If [we] offer you praise and tormas, butter lamps, and respect, A n d garlands, scent, unguents, and flowers,

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Receive them, take them well, And bring our acts to fruition! Make the Gift of Dharma— Om ye dharma hetu prabhava hetuntesana tathagato hya vadata tesanca yo nirodha evam vadi mahasramanaye svdha

This is the Buddha's teaching: Do no evil! Perform a wealth of virtues! Tame your own mind completely! Request to go Om sarva lokapala gaccha

DEDICATING THE THIRD [TORMA] TO THE OBSTRUCTORS With the ego of the Diamond Wrathful One, bind them with the hum-maker gesture— Vajra

mahdsriherukonaham

Invite them— Namoh! By the power of the true word of the glorious holy lamas—the reverend fundamental [lama] and his lineage, and by the truth of the secret mantras, knowledge mantras, spell mantras, essences (snyingpo), gestures, and the contemplative equipoise (ting nge 'dzin) of the Buddha, dharma, and the spiritual community, and by the blessing of the great truth—all classes of obstructors that there may be—come here this instant! Om takki hum jab

Make Offerings to them Om gumkari gumkari svdha om pici pici svdha om gum gum svdha sarva bigham grihnedam argham . . . , etc.

At the end of the mantra above, "Om gumkari . . . " give the torma by saying: Sarva bighannah . . . , etc.

—three times. With diamond palms and snapping your fingers— Whoever moves by night— Ghosts and carnivores A n d ghouls who eat raw meat, And various species of sentient beings Who live in the thick-trunked trees and elsewhere, And you and you, we offer you this torma—

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F o o d w i t h meat, beer, radish, parboiled rice, and many fruits! Be satisfied w i t h this offering A n d pacify y o u r h a r m f u l thoughts! A n d f r o m n o w o n , cultivate Thoughts of h e l p i n g us! O r n a m e n t religion and practice it! Pacify and p u r i f y the true v o w ! A l l ghosts—give u p punishment! Y o u are m o n k s and lay-brethren or brahmins. There is no one w h o is not afraid of weapons! Everyone fears for his o w n life! T a k i n g y o u r o w n body as an example, Do no h a r m to others! Om! W h o e v e r y o u are, be y o u great or s m a l l , Cast out all illnesses That cause actual h a r m to the body, A n d then go home, malignant ones! Since we have thus given As m u c h w o r s h i p and respectful service as we were able, R e m a i n i n y o u r vows and, F u l f i l l o u r wishes! Always remain in your vows A n d cure every illness Of every sentient being here! M a l i g n a n t ones, go h o m e ! Say this and make the gift of dharma as before, and [make them] depart by—

Om sarvabigham gaccha Expel any and all [particularly] vicious and coarse-tempered ones by mustering your diamond wrath and uttering the four-hum mantra, and by fierce-sounding music. Cleanse the tormas and throw them out one by one. Furthermore, make this prayer—

A n y ghosts w h o have gathered here Or live on E a r t h or else in the sky, wherever y o u are, A l w a y s love the multitudes of beings, A n d day and night, practice o n l y r e l i g i o n ! This three-part torma ritual was excerpted from many textbooks on the [transmitted] word of the early translations, and from The Torma Ritual Belonging to the Great Ceremony ofNyangter Kagye, the Blissful Gathering (sGrub chen [nyang gter bka' brgyad] bde gshegs 'dus pa'i gtor chog), etc. It has been done to agree, rather than be at odds with, the New Translation school. It was composed by the Buddhist lay-brother, the knowledge holder Gyurme Dorje (Sakya upasaka rig pa 'dzin pa 'Gyur med rdo rje).

1

6

An Avalokitesvara Sadhana

Janet Gyatso

For All Beings Throughout Space is an example of a tantric sadhana, or "means for accomplishing," as the term is translated in Tibetan (sgrub thabs). A sadhana is a meditative visualization technique by w h i c h a Buddhist attempts to "accomplish" identification w i t h the Buddha Sakyamuni, or any of the other buddhas, bodhisattvas, or enlightened deities in the tantric Buddhist pantheon. For All Beings Throughout Space describes a visualization of Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion, depicted here in his four-armed guise. Avalokitesvara is well known in Mahayana sutras and tantras as well as in local traditions throughout Asia and appears in a variety of forms in addition to the one described here. The theory of sadhana meditation is discussed in a number of Sanskrit an Tibetan works. In brief, practitioners imagine themselves as having become a particular buddha figure. This visualized identity is effected in three dimensions of personhood: bodily form, verbal expression, and mental state. It is believed that by visualizing themselves as having the prescribed features of the buddha figure in these three dimensions—as looking like the buddha figure, as chanting its mantra, and as assuming its mental state—the meditator w i l l eventually become that buddha in reality. The assumption is that a person's identity, expenence, and existence are self-created, and therefore can be manipulated at will, given the appropriate training and (a universally stipulated prerequisite) a pnor receipt of the sadhana technique in a transmission ritual given by a qualified teacher. Another assumption underlying sadhana practice is that the manifest features of the buddha figure so depicted in the text—that is, its iconography, m mantras, and the descriptions of its state of mind—precisely reflect that figures enlightenment state as such, and thus are efficacious tools to effect the desire transformation from imagined identity to reality. Such a transformation in the practitioner is said to be possible in a single lifetime, a claim that is often i about the efficacy of tantric practice in order to contrast it favorably with th more gradually obtained results of sutra-based practice, said to require man lifetimes.

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A l t h o u g h the theory of sachana p r a c t i c e w o u l d seem to i m p l y that the manifest features of a buddha figureare s t r i c t l y determined, in fact the many sadhanas extant in Sanskrit and Tibetn for a g i v en buddha or deity figure vary considerably, both in the descriptioi of the d e i t y and its mantra and in the visualization technique prescribed. This s due to t h e nature of the source of the sadhanas, w h i c h in many cases is chaacterizeol as a vision experienced by the sadhana's author. Since the deity seen i a v i s i o n c a n differ from its normative iconography, so too the sadhana based onthat v i s i o n can be innovative as well. Such variation is sanctioned by standard Mhayana t h e o r y , w h i c h posits that buddhas and bodhisattvas change appearanc at w i l l im o r d e r to accord w i t h the varying needs of sentient beings. This theory :lso m a d e possible the incorporation of local Tibetan deities into Buddhist canons The For All Beings Througout Space s-adhana is said to be based u p o n a vision of the bodhisattva Avalokitevara (a " 268

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i n g practitioners to insert verses of their choice. The sadhana proper commences when the practitioner imagines h i m or herself to be seated in meditation and surrounded by all beings in the universe. That the ensuing images are seen as occurring simultaneously in the experience of all these beings, rather than being limited to the practitioner, is another distinctive feature of this sadhana. A lotus flower sprouts out of the practitioner's (and all beings') fontanelle at the top of the skull. Poised above the tips of the flower's petals is a moon-shaped cushion u p o n w h i c h the visualized bodhisattva w i l l sit. Reflecting tantric theories of embryology, the appearance of the bodhisattva is preceded by a mantric "seed syllable," w h i c h is thought to encode the enlightenment of the figure that it symbolizes and to be capable of generating the figure itself, just as the seed of parents gives rise to a child. The syllable here is hrih, w h i c h is often associated w i t h Avalokitesvara. A s the commentaries o n the For All Beings Throughout Space sadhana explain, the practitioner imagines the hrih to be formed of brilliant white light rays that become so intense that they spontaneously reformulate into the f u l l - b l o w n figure of the bodhisattva. The practitioner then focuses on imagining the bodhisattva on his or her head as described in the sadhana. The description is close to the four-armed Avalokitesvara's traditional iconography. Each element is significant: the white color of his body signifies cool compassion; the lotus held in his hand symbolizes the bodhisattva, whose beauty grows right in the " m u d " of samsara; the antelope hide signifies the bodhisattva's compassion for all sentient beings; and so forth. The two "upper" hands here are in the homage gesture; other four-armed Avalokitesvaras h o l d a wish-fulfilling gem in those hands. The buddha Amitabha sits on his c r o w n because Avalokitesvara belongs to the "family" headed by that buddha. The prayer of praise that the practitioner, along w i t h all sentient beings, sings to the bodhisattva functions as an invocation. The bodhisattva, moved by the sincerity w i t h w h i c h the praise is uttered, emits l i q u i d light rays that enter the top of the head of the practitioner and all sentient beings, filling their bodies, dispelling all confusion and bad karma, and transforming the practitioner into Avalokitesvara. Simultaneously, the light rays spread over the entire universe and turn the environment ("the outer container") into the pure land of Avalokitesvara, and all beings (the "inner contents") into Avalokitesvara. W h i l e visualizing this sequence, the practitioner repeats the most famous of the Avalokitesvara mantras, om mani padme hum (see chapter 2). A l l the while, the practitioner remains focused u p o n the empty nature of the mantra's sounds, and of the images being visualized, w h i c h are maintained in m i n d during the mantra recitation period. At the end of the mantra repetition, the practitioner enters into meditative absorption, endeavoring to set aside all conceptions, i n c l u d i n g those prescribed by the sadhana itself. Such a contemplative phase is often included in sadhanas, and its description is close to that of other sorts of Buddhist practices, such as insight meditation or C h a n sitting, w i t h the exception that it is framed, and evoked, by visualizations preceding and succeeding it. The final portion of the For All Beings Throughout Space sadhana corresponds

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to what is termed "carryover practices" in certain tantric traditions. Emerging from the meditative absorption and returning to daily life, the practitioner endeavors to continue to see all perceptions of body, speech, and mind as those of the enlightened bodhisattva. All sentient beings, including the self, are to be seen as the bodhisattva; all sounds are understood to be his mantra; all mental phenomena are seen as his mind. The sadhana concludes with the conventional "sharing of merit" that has been gained by performing the practice, here phrased as an aspiration to win enlightenment as Avalokitesvara in order to help the rest of the world achieve liberation as well. The translation below is of the 'Gro don mkha' khyab ma, single-page block print, widely available. The text is published in several collections, including 'Jam dbyangs mkhyen brtse'i dbang po and 'Jam dbyangs bio gter dbang po, eds., Sgrub thabs kun btus (Dehra Dun: G. T. K. Lodoy, N. Gyaltsen, and N. Lungtok, 1970), vol. Ga.

Further Reading For more on the life and accomplishments of Tangtong Gyelpo, see Janet Gyatso, "Genre, Authorship, and Transmission in Visionary Buddhism: The Literary Traditions of Thang-stong rGyal-po," in Tibetan Buddhism: Reason and Revelation,

ed. Steven Goodman and Ronald Davidson (Albany, N.Y.: SUNY Press, 1992), pp. 95-106. For a detailed study of Tibetan tantric liturgy and sadhana, see Stephan Beyer, The Cult oj Tara: Magic and Ritual in Tibet (Berkeley: University of

California Press, 1978).

The Direct Transmission of the Great Adept Tangtong Gyelpo, "King of the Empty Plain," Entitled For All Beings Throughout Space [First] take refuge

On the crown of my head And that of all sentient beings throughout space Is a white lotus and a moon [-shaped seat]. On top of that is [the syllable] hrih From which [appears] The precious, noble Avalokitesvara. He is white and luminous And he radiates light rays of five colors. He is beautiful and smiling And he sees with compassionate eyes.

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Of his four hands, The palms of the upper two are held together. In the lower two He holds a crystal rosary and a white lotus. Silks and precious ornaments adorn him. He wears the hide of an antelope across his chest, And a crown ornamented by Amitabha. Seated with his two legs in the crossed thunderbolt position, He leans his back against a pure moon. He is, by nature, the epitome of all refuges. T h i n k that I a n d a l l sentient beings are p r a y i n g to h i m , in one voice:

Lord, You are unmarred by fault, A n d white in body hue. The perfect buddha ornaments your crown, A n d you see beings with compassionate eyes. I bow to you, Avalokitesvara. Recite that three, seven, or as m a n y times as possible.

As a result of this one-pointed prayer, Light beams radiate out From the body of the noble one, A n d purify defiled karmic appearances and confusion. The outer container becomes the Land of Bliss. The inner contents—the body, speech, and mind of beings— Become the perfected form, teachings, and heart-mind of Avalokitesvara. Appearance and sound turn into indivisible awareness-emptiness. W h i l e m e d i t a t i n g o n that, recite the s i x syllables [the m a n t r a om mam padme hum]. A t the e n d , r e m a i n absorbed in the own-state of n o - c o n c e p t i o n about the three circles [doer, done-to, or deed].

My and others' bodies are the perfected form of the noble one. Voices and sounds are the rhythm of the six syllables. Memories and thoughts are the expanse of great primal consciousness. Through the merit resulting [from performing this visualization] May I quickly come to achieve [identification with] Avalokitesvara, And then may I establish every single being without exception in that state.

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A Fasting Ritual

Roger

Jackson

Fasting rituals have been an important element of religious life in Tibetan culture areas for centuries. The collected writings of many of Tibet's greatest lamas include the texts of fasting rituals, and, in more recent times, anthropologists have explored the social and performative dimensions of the rite. In most places, the fasting ritual or nyungne (smyung gnas) is held annually and draws members of the laity to the local monastery or temple for three days of prayer, prostration, and ascetic practices focused on the great compassionate bodhisattva, Avalokitesvara or Chenrezi (Spyan ras gzigs). Though there is no solid historical evidence that the type of fasting ritual practiced in Tibetan culture areas originated in India, Tibetans writers do trace the lineage of its practice back to India, and the Tibetan rite clearly combines in it a number of elements that are crucial to Buddhism in India, and elsewhere in Asia. Socially, the fasting ritual is an instance of a common Buddhist phenomenon: occasions on which laypeople are permitted for a time to participate in the life of their society's most valued religious institution, the monastery or temple. The hallmark of such occasions, whatever their locale or duration, is the assumption by laypeople of some of the vows incumbent upon monastics. In lands throughout Buddhist Asia, laypeople will gather on new- and/or full-moon days (in Tibetan areas, more often the lunar tenth or twenty-fifth days) at their local monastery or temple, observe eight vows (against killing, stealing, lying, sexual activity, using intoxicants, eating after noon, entertainment and ornamentation, and taking an exalted seat), and spend the day praying, making offerings, and listening to religious discourses. The eight vows also may be taken for life by men or women who wish to renounce the world outside the monastic context, or women who wish to live a monastic life but are barred from doing so by the loss of the lineage of ordination. Women also may take for life the same ten vows as a novice monk (the eight listed, with the seventh divided into two and the promise not to handle money added as the tenth). The Tibetan fasting ritual is most closely modeled on the traditions involving lay attendance at monasteries and temples on lunar cycle

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days; however, it is scheduled less frequently, lasts longer, and is more demanding. The fasting ritual is also an instance of a phenomenon that is not only Buddhist, but universal: asceticism. Such practices as fasting, silence, and celibacy have found a place in most of the world's religious traditions. Like all ascetic practices, they are aimed at reducing the individual's concern with outer, physical matters and increasing their concern with the inner and spiritual dimension of life. Most traditions believe that by undergoing the hardships involved in ascetic practices, individuals are "purified" and thereby made more capable of the sort of transformation that is held out as the ideal of human life—whether it is described as salvation, nirvana, or living as God or the ancestors may prescribe. Buddhism often has been seen as a tradition that eschews asceticism. The Buddha, after all, tried and rejected the life of extreme austerity, and prescribed for his followers a "middle way" between asceticism and hedonism. It must be remembered, however, that the life of a Buddhist monk or nun was, by the standards of lay life in any culture or era, an austere one: celibacy was required, and while neither fasting nor silence was considered essential to spiritual progress, such practices often were adopted by the great meditators and adepts who have been the tradition's most charismatic and influential figures. Cultically, the fasting ritual is an instance of the worship of Avalokitesvara, the compassionate "Down-Looking Lord" who is perhaps the most popular deity of Mahayana Buddhism. Avalokitesvara first assumes textual prominence in the Pure Land sutras, where he is an attendant of the savior-buddha Amitabha ("Infinite Light"). In the Lotus Sutra, he is described as a great being who hears the appeals of all those in distress and comes to their aid. In a sutra devoted entirely to him, the Karandavyuha, he possesses his own pure land, on Mount Potala, to which he will bring all those who pray to him or recite his six-syllable mantra, om mani padme hum. In the tantric tradition, he takes on a variety of forms (often numbered at 108), any one of which a practitioner may ritually serve and contemplatively identify with. Wherever Mahayana spread in Asia, Avalokitesvara followed: he was worshipped in Southeast Asia as Lokanatha, the "Lord of the World," in China, in a feminine guise, as the graceful savioress, Kuan Yin (Guanyin), and in Japan as the multifaceted, powerful Kannon. So important was he in Tibet that he came to be considered the father and protector of the nation, incarnate in the great early kings who promoted Buddhism and in the Dalai Lamas (see chapter 2). Avalokitesvara also protects individual devotees from rebirth into the various realms of cyclic existence: the six-syllable mantra is often on the lips of the faithful, especially elderly laypeople. The particular form of Avalokitesvara to which the fasting ritual is devoted is his most elaborate, that with eleven heads and a thousand arms. According to tradition, frustrated by the seeming infinity of beings to save, Avalokitesvara felt his body and head split apart; his guiding buddha, Amitabha, restored him, giving him a thousand arms and eleven heads, Amitabha's own being topmost. The eleven heads express all moods and see in all directions; each of the thousand hands has in its palm an eye of wisdom, symbolic of Ava-

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lokitesvara's perfect fusion of compassion, discernment, and skill in assisting suffering beings. The actual historical origins of the fasting ritual itself are obscure. The most common legend of its foundation traces it back to India and tells of a poor, detested Indian woman afflicted with leprosy, who in desperation worshipped Avalokitesvara in something like a prototype of the fasting ritual. He cured her, and out of gratitude, she took full ordination as a Buddhist nun. It is in remembrance of her that participants in the fasting ritual imagine that the Long Request Prayer at the heart of the rite (section III.E.l) actually is recited by this nun, Laksmi. A second legend, related among the Sherpas of Nepal, tells of a group of seven demons who enjoyed feasting daily on humans. One female demon, Adakpalum, had five hundred children, and each of them captured and ate a human being each day. A great lama, Dzichen Rinpoche, managed to capture one of Adakpalum's sons and returned him to her only on the condition that she and her brood desist from cannibalism. They did so, and Adakpalum, having experienced the temporary loss of her son, came to understand how the families of her victims must feel. She repented and convinced her fellow demons to do likewise. Dzichen Rinpoche then prescribed for all of them as a penance three years of continuous practice of the fasting ritual. As a result of observing it purely, the former demons were reborn in Amitabha's paradise, Sukhavati, and because the fasting ritual proved so efficacious, it was institutionalized and prescribed for ordinary laypeople who wished to purify negative karma and accumulate merit. As noted above, the fasting ritual is practiced throughout the Inner Asian area influenced by Tibetan forms of Buddhism, including Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, Ladakh, Mongolia, Tibet itself, and, since 1959, in the Tibetan diaspora. The ritual is most often undertaken on an annual basis, in the period preceding the celebration of Wesak, the anniversary of the Buddha's birth, enlightenment, and final nirvana (May-June). Though the rite occasionally was performed by monks in the great Tibetan monasteries, it really is a layperson's practice and so has most often been practiced in smaller monasteries or temples that play a central role in the life of a lay community. Usually, the ritual will be conducted by the local lama or lamas, who often are monks but also (as in the Nyingma tradition) may be laymen; the vast majority of participants are laypeople, and the majority of those middle-aged or older. The ritual itself formally takes two and a half days, though a day of preparations and a celebratory conclusion may draw the process out for four full days. On the day of preparation, the presiding lama or lamas generally will conduct a ceremony of propitiation to the earth-deities, who are urged to purify the place where the fasting ritual will occur. The lamas also will prepare the ritual altar, replete with water bowls, various offering substances (including specially molded dough offerings called torma), and images of the ritual's presiding deity, Avalokitesvara. If necessary, the lamas may conduct a permission ceremony or empowerment, which will permit those participating in the ritual to visualize themselves as Avalokitesvara—a quintessential^ tantric procedure that requires formal initiation.

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The actual fasting ritual begins the next day at dawn with the taking of eight vows. On this day, just one meal (almost always vegetarian) is taken, at noon. Most of the day is spent in three separate performances of the actual fasting ritual (section III), from going for refuge right through to the final dedication of merit. The centerpiece of each ritual session is the chanting of a long "vow prayer" directed to Avalokitesvara (section III.E.l). As the practitioners recite it (seeing themselves as Avalokitesvara), they prostrate their bodies fully toward the image of Avalokitesvara on the altar, as well as toward a visualized Avalokitesvara they picture constantly before them. The chanting of this prayer while one simultaneously prostrates and visualizes is believed to be especially efficacious in purifying negative imprints and generating merit. On the second day of the actual ritual, precepts again are taken at dawn, but the strictures on participants on this day will be far more severe: no food at all is to be ingested, and not a drop of liquid is to be drunk—not even, it is said, one's own saliva! Also, apart from the chanting that is done during the three ritual sessions, silence is strictly observed: there is to be no conversation whatsoever. This second day of the ritual is the most grueling, for to chant and perform hundreds of prostrations on an empty stomach is no easy task; also, the elimination of speaking as an outlet adds psychological pressure to the physical duress. It is not unusual for participants to feel weak and highly emotional during the second day. Yet the hardship they are enduring is believed to serve as a powerful purifier, and it is borne stoically, if not always enthusiastically. Silence and the fast are maintained until the morning of the third day. No precepts are taken, and after a final session of the ritual (in which the obligatory chants and prostrations are lessened), the participants are given a great meal to mark the formal conclusion of the retreat. The celebration often will continue through the day, culminating in an evening offering ceremony accompanied by a ritual feast, at the conclusion of which volunteers and donors will come forward to begin planning for the next year's fasting ritual. It might be noted that although the schedule just described is most typical, on occasion the ritual may cover the entire two weeks prior to Wesak, with pairs of one-meal and fast days following one another again and again. This makes for a retreat whose intensity and difficulty is comparable to that of the austere retreats in Zen monasteries (rohatsu sesshin).

In the context of the normative spiritual vision of the Tibetan Buddhist world, the major purposes of the fasting ritual are those already suggested: the purification of negative karma and the accumulation of merit. Given Buddhist assumptions about the infinity of previous rebirths we all have had and the deluded way in which we have conducted ourselves through most of those rebirths, it is axiomatic that we all bear with us in our mindstreams the seeds sown by countless actions motivated by greed, anger, and ignorance. According to karmic theory, each of these seeds must bear fruit and will do so when the appropriate conditions arise. In most Buddhist traditions, however, this rather gloomy prospect is mitigated by the assurance that—short of attaining a full enlightenment that will

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destroy all previous negative karma—one may delay such fruition through cultivating positive actions and reduce or even eliminate some negative results through sincere repentance and purification. Generally, it is assumed that the more zealous the pursuit of purification, the greater the number of negative seeds that will be destroyed or damaged. Thus, an ascetic discipline like that imposed in the fasting ritual, in which repentance is expressed and penance performed in the presence of a loving and potent deity, is held to be especially efficacious. At the same time, the generation, during the ritual, of positive states of mind (devotion, compassion, some insight into the nature of reality) sows positive seeds in the mindstream, which will bear fruit in this and future lives, delaying the fruition of unpurified negativity, and increasing one's potential to attain the ultimate positive condition, enlightenment itself. Typically, the normative view of the benefits of the fasting ritual is expressed in terms of its effects on the individual. Clearly, however, there is also a social dimension to the practice, unstated but highly important. On the broadest level, as a collective experience, the fasting ritual provides for the participants a natural sense of community, which ideally will extend beyond the ritual period and find expression in people's ordinary lives. The greater the proportion of a community that participates in the fasting ritual, the greater the ritual's effect on social cohesion will be. The fact that the ritual centers on the worship of the great merciful bodhisattva, Avalokitesvara, and that one attempts both to receive and to identify with his boundless compassion, only reinforces the potential for its effecting social cohesion: compassion and forgiveness are, obviously, of considerable social value, whatever their "karmic" effects on the individual. A further social function of the fasting ritual is to bring the lay and monastic communities together. Laypeople are permitted for a time to share in something resembling a monastic life-style, and thereby to gain access to the sort of religious power usually reserved for the clergy. Still, the ritual is overseen by lamas, and the attitude laypeople are likely to develop from the experience is perhaps less often one of spiritual self-sufficiency than of gratitude to and a renewed sense of dependence upon the clergy. A further social function that may be performed by the fasting ritual is that of easing the transition to a less active life for that considerable proportion of the participants who are older people. In Buddhist cultures, one form of "retirement"—especially for widows and widowers—is to join a monastery, and the fasting ritual clearly paves the way for this. Both Tibetans themselves and Western scholars have tended to view Tibetan Buddhism as a "complete" Buddhism, one that weaves together into a single tradition virtually every strand of thought and practice that developed in the Indian Buddhism from which the Tibetans drew their inspiration. Such a characterization may be a bit simplistic, but there is an element of truth to it. From the eighth to the fourteenth century, Tibetans self-consciously appropriated as much of North Indian Buddhism as they could, and they attempted to organize a vast body of material into a coherent, integrated system. The fasting ritual exemplifies this, and we can see in it a subtle integration of the three major "vehicles"

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of Indian Buddhism: Hlnayana, Mahayana, and the tantric tradition, the Mantrayana or Vajrayana, which is itself a subset of Mahayana. Also, the ritual reflects a remarkable combination of three approaches to religiousness identified in India, and often seen as equally valuable but incompatible: ritual, knowledge, and devotion. From the Tibetan perspective, the most important feature of Hlnayana Buddhism is its promulgation of standards of morality. In particular, the Hlnayana tradition has contributed to Buddhism as a whole the basic sets of vows to be observed by laypeople and monastics. Lay practitioners generally will observe a set of five vows, against killing, stealing, lying, sexual misconduct, and taking intoxicants; fully ordained monks will observe well over two hundred vows, and fully ordained nuns (who are rare outside China nowadays) will observe well over three hundred. The set of eight vows, which are taken by participants on the two full days of the fasting ritual, clearly fall somewhere in between lay and full monastic vows: they extend lay vows by forbidding all sexual activity rather than just sexual misconduct, as well as by severely restricting usual modes of eating and entertainment; at the same time, they fall well short of full monasticism by their failure to regulate behavior in anywhere near the detail that full vows do (see chapter 20). Though the eight vows taken by fasting ritual participants are regarded as "Mahayana" precepts, and the prayer that precedes them (section II) does employ distinctively Mahayana terminology, the vows themselves are identical to those taken by "Hinayanists"; there is nothing specifically Mahayanist about them, and they remain the most clearly Hlnayana aspect of the rite. Tibetan Buddhists are self-consciously Mahayanist, so it is not surprising that the fasting ritual contains many elements typical of the Great Vehicle. We already have noted that one way of locating the rite in the history of Buddhism is by considering it as a manifestation of the cult of Avalokitesvara. As noted above, only in Mahayana texts and cultures is Avalokitesvara so important a deity, and only there does compassion receive so central an emphasis in religious rhetoric. Similarly, while the purification of negative karma and accumulation of merit that are immediate goals of the fasting ritual are common to Hlnayana and Mahayana practices, the achievement of complete buddhahood that is the ultimate purpose of the fasting ritual is a uniquely Mahayanist ideal: in the prayer preceding the taking of precepts (section II), one expresses the hope of achieving "the stage of fully completed buddhahood," and at the conclusion of each ritual session (section III.M), one prays that one may oneself someday "become a greatly compassionate one," equal in knowledge, compassion, and power to the Buddha himself. This sort of aspiration is encountered only infrequently outside the Mahayana. Also, the ritual is framed in a distinctly Mahayana way. Though it begins like almost any Buddhist practice with an invocation of the three jewels of refuge, the Buddha, dharma, and sarigha, the text immediately adds a uniquely Mahayana touch by insisting that the practitioner generate the thought of enlightenment, bodhicitta, the aspiration to attain the full enlightenment of buddhahood so that one may assist all sentient beings in their temporal and spiritual undertakings

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(section II). This spirit is supposed to inform every action that one performs, within the ritual or outside it. As the ritual in general and (though it is not stated) each session begins with a distinctly Mahayanist aspiration, so it concludes with one: the wish that any merit one may have accrued not be selfishly hoarded but, rather, be "dedicated" to the enlightenment of others (sections III.I, III.M, IV). In between the initial aspiration and final dedication, there is much else that is typically Mahayana: reference to the nature of the reality as emptiness (sunyata); active visualization of the deity one worships, Avalokitesvara; praise of him in the most elaborate terms; and the performance for him of the seven-branch liturgy and various ablutions—all elements of proper ritual (pujd) that Mahayanists freely adapted from Hindu models. The tantric tradition of Mahayana—known as the Mantrayana or Vajrayana— was the dominant style of Buddhism during the period when Tibetans absorbed the religion from India, and the fasting ritual, like virtually any Tibetan practicetradition, is deeply influenced by tantric conceptions. Perhaps the most crucial of these is the idea that the practitioner must identify with the deity to whom the ritual is directed, in this case by visualizing himself or herself as possessing the body, speech, and mind of Avalokitesvara. This "preenactment" of the wisdom, form, and functions one will attain at the time of enlightenment is known as "taking the goal as path" and is unique to tantric traditions of meditation. It cannot be practiced without a formal initiation from a lama, whether the initiation be a full empowerment imposing long-term vows and responsibilities upon the disciple or a permission ceremony of more limited scope. The fasting ritual is not only a rite of worship, purification, and merit-making, but a tantric sadhana, or meditative scenario, which involves first reducing oneself and one's environment to a natural state of emptiness; then from that state of emptiness generating the deity both in front of and as oneself; next drawing into the visualized deity, or "pledge being," the actual deity, or "wisdom being," and receiving blessings in the form of light from the actual deity; reciting various mantras of the deity's and performing various ritual movements, including prostrations and hand-gestures (mudra); making offerings of dough-cakes, tormas, to transmundane and worldly divinities; and, finally, dismissing/dissolving the visualized deity—though afterward, one is to resume not one's ordinary form, but a simplified version of Avalokitesvara, with whom one continues to identify (see chapters 13, 14, and 16). As the fasting ritual reflects an integration of the three vehicles of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, so, too, does it integrate in a remarkable fashion the three "yogas," or approaches to the divine that have been singled out—and often considered quite separately—in Indian traditions: devotion, knowledge, and ritual. That devotion is central to the ritual is fairly obvious: verse after verse refers to the salvific, purifying powers of Avalokitesvara, whose intervention is requested repeatedly in the most heartfelt manner. The verses of praise and request, in particular (sections III.E-F), stand as beautiful examples of what might be called Buddhist devotionalism (bhakti). Knowledge, on the other hand, is not so obviously a part of the text—certainly, there is little in it that is overtly philosophical. However, the

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tantric element of the ritual is predicated on the practitioners' ability to reduce themselves to emptiness, then to visualize themselves as Avalokitesvara while simultaneously being aware of the visualization's empty nature. Also, by seeing themselves as Avalokitesvara, practitioners imitate his omniscient mind, which has direct knowledge of all conventional and ultimate truths. All this, in turn, requires that one have at least an "imaginative" understanding of the nature of reality, which requires at least a general philosophical appreciation for ultimate truth—hence a certain type of knowledge. Indeed, it is important to remember that normative Buddhism in Tibet is essentially a gnostic enterprise, and that the most passionate devotee or obsessive ritualist must have knowledge of the true nature of things in order to attain the prescribed goal of full buddhahood. The fasting ritual is, of course, above all a ritual—it is identified by the Tibetan word for rite or ritual, cho ga. What does this mean, though? In the most general sense, religious ritual involves the repeated performance of certain prescribed actions, which are believed to narrow the gulf between the human and the divine. In the fasting ritual, the divine that one hopes to effectuate is Avalokitesvara, and the actions one performs are hallowed by tradition and intensified by repetition. What is more, tantric ritual is repeated, prescribed action that is deliberately integrative of the whole human person. Here, the practitioner's body (through prostration and hand-gestures), speech (through mantra and prayer), and mind (through visualization and contemplation) are all involved in the ritual process. The fasting ritual, like so many Tibetan ritual practices, is like a fabric in which many diverse strands have been woven together: Hlnayana discipline, Mahayana worship and aspiration, and tantric meditative procedures; passionate devotion, detached understanding of reality, and detailed ritual performance; and, finally, activity by all elements of the participant's person: body, speech, and mind. Tibetan Buddhism may or may not really be "complete" Buddhism, but the fasting ritual provides compelling evidence that, at the very least, it is a complex and many-layered tradition. The fasting ritual text translated below is entitled the "Nectar-Drop: The Extremely Condensed Fasting Ritual of Eleven-Headed Avalokitesvara." It was composed by Tuken Chokyi Nyima (Thu'u bkwan chos kyi nyi ma, 1737-1802), a great scholiast of the Gelukpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. As with many ritual texts, Tuken's involves more than appears on paper. It is, after all, meant to be performed, and while in Tibetan traditions ritual performance is usually keyed to texts, it is by no means enslaved to them. Thus, depending on the circumstances of a ritual performance (the nature and capacity of the participants, the inclinations of the presiding lama), sections may be added or subtracted from the text, without the performance thereby ceasing to be "of that text. Performances of Tuken's text often will involve changes of ordering (for example, the abbreviated sevenfold liturgy sometimes is recited much later) or the addition of other prayers and practices, most notably: refuge and thought of enlightenment prayers, which will be recited at the outset of every ritual session, prior to consecrating the offerings; the mandala offering of Mount Meru, the continents and various pre-

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cious substances, which may be added after the seven-branch liturgy; and a fourline version of the vow prayer, which may be recited in lieu of the long one as one prostrates. In addition, Tuken occasionally gives instructions in so sketchy a manner that interpolation is required to follow them; for instance, he specifies toward the beginning of the ritual session that one should "take refuge, generate the thought of enlightenment, and contemplate the four immeasurables." Each of these entails a specific prayer that must be recited, usually three times. Similarly, when Tuken incorporates into his text much material that he has drawn from earlier texts, he will give only the first line; the rest is to be supplied by the practitioner, who is presumed to know it. In the translation below, prayers given by Tuken in abbreviated form have been spelled out fully; the only other addition made to the printed text is to supply section titles, so that the text's structure may be clearer. Sections that communicate instructions are set apart here in smaller type. Sections that are metrical in the original are broken into poetic lines here, though no attempt has been made to duplicate the original meter. Finally, mantras have been translated to the degree that their syllables have a discernible meaning; untranslatable syllables, such as om, hum, and phat, have been left as they are. The mantras have been translated simply so the reader may get a sense of the mixture of semantic and lexical items of which they are composed; it must be recalled, however, that the power of a mantra resides not in its semantic sense but in the sounds themselves, each of which, and in various combinations, has particular divine associations. That is why Tibetans invariably write and recite mantras in the original Sanskrit, and in most cases have no idea what a mantra's "translation" (or, on occasion, original pronunciation) may be. The translation is from Spyan ras gzigs zhal bcu gcig pa'i smyung gnas kyi cho ga shin tu bsdus pa bdud rtsi thigs pa zhes bya ba, from The Collected Works (gsung

'bum) oj Thu'u bkvan Chos kyi nyi ma (New Delhi: Ngawang Gelek Demo, 1969), vol. 5, folios 233-46.

Further Reading An earlier translation appears in Eleven-Headed Avalokitesvara's Fasting Ritual Con-

densed into a Nectar Drop, trans. Roger Jackson, with additional trans, by John Makransky (Oregon, WI: Deer Park Books, 1989). See also the Seventh Dalai Lama, Nyung Na: The Means of Achievement oj the Eleven-Faced Great Compassionate

One, Avalakiteshvara, trans. Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche and George Churinoff (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1995). For anthropological studies of this ritual in the Nepali context, see Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, The Sherpas oj Nepal: Buddhist Highlanders (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1964), pp. 180-85; and Sherry B. Ortner, Sherpas through Their Rituals (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978), pp. 33-60.

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Nectar-Drop: The Extremely Condensed Fasting Ritual of ElevenHeaded Avalokitesvara I. AUTHORS PREFACE H a v i n g prostrated w i t h my body, speech, and m i n d to the lotus feet of the k i n d l y g u r u , W h o is the compassion of all the conquerers gathered into one, The one w i t h a white lotus w h o performs as a saffron-clad m o n k , I w i l l set d o w n the practice of this fasting ritual.

II. ONE-DAY MAHAYANA PRECEPTS [DAYS 1 AND 2, AT DAWN] W i s h i n g to p e r f o r m the fasting r i t u a l of the eleven-faced noble A v a l o k i t e s v a r a , you s h o u l d arrange a d r a w i n g or actual statue of the b o d y , etc., of the G r e a t l y Compassionate O n e . O r , if they are unavailable, y o u s h o u l d p u t w h i t e p o i n t s in the center of a mirror, a n d in front of that p u t a vase t w o - t h i r d s f i l l e d w i t h pure water. T h e n , p u t into the vase the v a r i o u s A c t i o n T a n t r a substances. In front [of the vase] place three r o u n d e d tormas a n d arrange whatever offering is to be received. T h e n , at daybreak, w h e n the lines of the h a n d c a n j u s t be seen, after y o u have w a s h e d w e l l , y o u s h o u l d take the one-day M a h a y a n a precepts. Y o u s h o u l d prostrate to the altar, c o n c e i v i n g it as the actual Greatly C o m p a s s i o n a t e O n e . F i r s t , take refuge [in the B u d d h a , d h a r m a , a n d sangha], generate the e n l i g h t e n e d t h o u g h t , a n d contemplate the f o u r immeasurables [love, compassion, joy, and equanimity].

A l l buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions, w i t h y o u r divine wisdom please pay attention to me. As the previous tathagatas, the arhats, the fully enlightened buddhas l i k e a divine s k i l l f u l wise horse, a great elephant, d i d what had to be done, accomplished all tasks, overcame all the burdens of the five aggregates controlled by d e l u s i o n and k a r m a , fulfilled all their aspirations by r e l i n q u i s h i n g their attachments, by speaking immaculately divine words and liberating the m i n d s of all f r o m the bondage of subtle delusions' impression, and w h o possess great liberated transcendental w i s d o m , for the sake of all that lives, in order to benefit a l l , in order to prevent famine, in order to prevent mental and physical sicknesses, in order for l i v i n g beings to complete a buddha's thirty-seven realizations, and to receive the stage of f u l l y completed budd h a h o o d , I, w h o am named , f r o m n o w u n t i l sunrise t o m o r r o w shall take the eight Mahayana precepts just as y o u have done. Three times.

F r o m n o w on I shall not k i l l , n o r steal others' possessions, nor engage in sexual conduct, n o r lie. I shall a v o i d intoxicants f r o m w h i c h m a n y mistakes arise. 1 shall not sit on large, h i g h , expensive beds. I shall not eat food at the wrong time. I shall avoid singing, dancing, and p l a y i n g music, and I shall not wear

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perfumes, rosaries or ornaments. As arhats have avoided w r o n g actions such as taking the lives of others, I shall also avoid actions s u c h as taking the lives of others. M a y I q u i c k l y receive enlightenment and may the l i v i n g beings w h o are experiencing various sufferings be released f r o m the ocean of cyclic existence. To keep morality purely, say twenty-one times: Om maintain effective morality, maintain, maintain. Being of great purity, l o tus-bearing, h o l d , h o l d w i t h y o u r hand. L o o k d o w n c o n t i n u o u s l y hum phat svaha. HI. THE RITUAL SESSION [3 TIMES ON DAYS 1 AND 2, 1 TIME ON DAY 3] A. Consecrating the Offerings

Instantly I assume the f o r m of the Greatly Compassionate O n e . Om padmanta krta hum phat Om naturally pure are a l l dharmas, naturally pure am I. I become emptiness. F r o m the state of emptiness comes the syllable bhrum. F r o m bhrum comes a vast and delicate precious vessel. In it is an om. The om melts into light. F r o m the light arises drinking water, foot-washing water, flowers, incense, lamps, perfume, food, and music. They are inherently empty. In appearance, they are themselves, but their function is to confer extraordinary undefiled bliss. Om Om Om Om Om Om Om Om

mouth-water ah hum. foot-water ah hum. flowers ah hum. incense ah hum. light ah hum. perfume ah hum. cakes ah hum. s o u n d ah hum.

B. Visualisation Om naturally pure are all dharmas, naturally pure am I. I am in the state of natural emptiness that is the inseparability of the dharma-sphere and knowledge. In my place and in the space in front of me is a lotus. On it is a m o o n seat. On the m o o n is a white hrih. From it comes Avalokitesvara. H i s central face is white, the right is green, the left is red. Above those, the central face is green, the right is red, the left is white.

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A b o v e those, the central face is r e d , t h e right is white, the left is green A b o v e those is a dark blue w r a t h f u l face. A b o v e that Is the beautiful face of A m i t a b h a . T h e two m a i n hands A r e pressed together at the heart. T h e upper right holds a crystal rosary, The upper left a lotus. The l o w e r r i g h t is in the gesture of supreme g i v i n g , the l o w e r left holds a nectar-vase. T h e m i d d l e right h o l d s a w h e e l , the m i d d l e left a b o w and arrow. T h e other nine h u n d r e d a n d n i n e t y - t w o hands A r e in the gesture of supreme g i v i n g . In the p a l m of each Is a m i g h t y eye that gazes on s e n t i e n t beings. Avalokitesvara i s beautifully a d o r n e d w i t h jewels, A n d i s clothed i n f l o w i n g s i l k . H i s b o d y is a perfect enjoyment b o d y , gloriously b l a z i n g w i t h all major a n d m i n o r marks. H i s two feet are placed together. T h e m a i n gurus of the lineage A n d a vast assembly of peaceful a n d w r a t h f u l deities s u r r o u n d h i m . T h e y are m a r k e d at their f o r e h e a d , throat, and heart By [om, ah, a n d hum]. F r o m the hrih [at my heart and that of the front v i s u a l i z a t i o n ] , light rays Invite G u r u Avalokitesvara a n d h i s r e t i n u e f r o m their true abode, A n d they melt into n o n d u a l i t y w i t h m e and the front visualization. W e are empowered [by initiatory g o d d e s s e s ] , then adorned by Amitabha. C. The Se\en-branch Liturgy 1. PROSTRATION

I prostrate to the gurus, W h o are the s u m of all the b u d d h a s ' bodies, W h o s e essence is Vajradhara, W h o are the root of the three j e w e l s . I prostrate to Avalokitesvara, W h o s e white f o r m i s clothed w i t h n o fault, W h o s e head is adorned by a p e r f e c t b u d d h a , W h o l o o k s d o w n o n beings w i t h compassionate eyes. I prostrate w i t h supreme faith, W i t h as m a n y bodies As the n u m b e r of atoms, To all those w o r t h y of p r o s t r a t i o n . W h e r e v e r in the w o r l d ' s ten d i r e c t i o n s Reside all those l i o n s a m o n g h u m a n s w h o come in the three times, To them a l l , none excepted, I prostrate w i t h m y body, speech, a n d m i n d . W i t h all the conquerors d i r e c t l y b e f o r e m y m i n d ,

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By the force of my prayer to practice the good, I prostrate to all those conquerors By b o w i n g as m a n y bodies as there are atoms in the w o r l d . Seated on each atom are buddhas numerous as the atoms, E a c h encircled by bodhisattvas; T h u s I visualize each and every dharma-realm filled up w i t h conquerors. W i t h oceans of u n e n d i n g praises of them, W i t h every s o u n d in an ocean of songs, I recite the virtues of all the conquerors A n d utter the praises of every tathagata. 2. O F F E R I N G

F r o m the hrih at m y heart come offering goddesses w i t h offerings for me and the front visualization. a. Short Offering Mantra

Om noble svdhd. Om noble Om noble Om noble Om noble Om noble Om noble Om noble

l o r d of the w o r l d and y o u r retinue: accept mouth-water lord lord lord lord lord lord lord

of the of the of the of the of the of the of the

world world world world world world world

and y o u r retinue: and y o u r retinue: and y o u r retinue: and y o u r retinue: and your retinue: and y o u r retinue: and y o u r retinue:

accept foot-water svdhd. accept flowers svaha. accept incense svahd. accept light svahd. accept perfume svdhd. accept cakes svdhd. accept s o u n d svdhd.

To those conquerors I make offerings Of h o l y flowers and garlands, C y m b a l s , balms, and superior umbrellas, Superior lamps and h o l y incense. To those conquerors I make offerings Of h o l y garments and superior perfumes, Incense and powders equal to M o u n t M e r u , A l l superior things specially arrayed. I visualize for all the conquerors Whatever offerings are excellent and vast. By the strength of my faith in practicing the good, I prostrate and make offerings to a l l the conquerors. 3. C O N F E S S I O N

Whatever sins I have c o m m i t t e d W i t h body, speech, and m i n d , By force of attachment, anger, and d e l u s i o n ,

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A l l those I confess. If you have time, recite the general confession [to the 35 Buddhas]. 4. REJOICING

Whatever merit all the conquerors In the ten directions, the bodhisattvas, solitary buddhas And those training and beyond training may have, In all that I rejoice. 5. R E Q U E S T I N G

Those who are the lamps of the world of ten directions, Who have awakened to the stage of enlightenment a n d attained nonattachment, I ask all those, my protectors, To turn the unexcelled wheel of dharma. 6. E N T R E A T I N G

To those who wish to show nirvana, I make this entreaty with folded palms: For the benefit and happiness of all beings, Remain for as many aeons as there are atoms in a f i e l d . 7. D E D I C A T I O N

Whatever little merit I may have accrued By prostration, offerings, confession, Rejoicing, requesting, and entreating, I dedicate for the sake of the enlightenment of all. 8. A B B R E V I A T E D S E V E N - B R A N C H L I T U R G Y

I prostrate respectfully with my body, speech, and m i n d to the lotus feet Of Guru Avalokitesvara and his retinue. I present all real and imagined offerings. I confess all sins accumulated from beginningless time. I rejoice at the virtues of ordinary and holy beings. [I entreat you to] remain until cyclic existence is emptied. I request you to turn every dharma-wheel for the sake of beings. I dedicate all my and others' virtues to the great enlightenment. D. Recitation

On a moon-seat at my heart and the heart of the front visualization, There is a hrih. There is a mantra rosary spinning around the hrih. From the rosary emanate divine bodies and infinite light rays,

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W h i c h p u r i f y the sins, obscurations, and sufferings of the six classes of beings, W h o attain the rank of noble. The conquerors Are delighted by a c l o u d of vast offerings. A l l their blessings and attainments are gathered into the f o r m Of light rays and melt into me. F r o m the fingers of the two visualized deities, myself and that before me, A stream of nectar falls, filling the vase [visualized earlier]. 1. L O N G M A N T R A

Homage to the three jewels. Homage to the h o l y gnosis-ocean, to royally arrayed Vairocana, to the Tathagata. Homage to a l l the tathagatas, the arhats, the perfect buddhas. Homage to noble Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva, the great being, the greatly compassionate one. It is thus: Om h o l d , h o l d , be f i r m , be firm, support, support, make haste, f i n d me, proceed, proceed, go forward, go forward, O blossom, O precious blossom, come, j o i n , remove my mental obstructions svaha. Twenty-one times or more. 2. SHORT M A N T R A

Om jewel-lotus hum. As many times as possible. 3. H U N D R E D - S Y L L A B L E M A N T R A

Om lotus being, guard my vows; lotus being, let them be firm. Be steadfast for me, be satisfied, be n o u r i s h e d ; be favorable for me. Grant me a l l a c c o m p l i s h ments. Indicator of all k a r m a , make glorious my m i n d hum. Ha ha ha ha hoh. Blessed one, lotus of all the tathagatas, do not forsake me, lotus being, great vow being ah hum phat. Three times E. Praises The w i s d o m - b e i n g of my self-visualization melts into the front visualization. On top of my head appears the n u n LaksmI, dressed as a renunciate. W i t h her •wo hands pressed together at her heart, she asks for intercession. 1-

L O N G V o w PRAYER

Om I prostrate to the protector of the w o r l d . The one praised by the supramundane w o r l d . The one praised by the chief gods, M a r a and Brahma.

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The one w h o is accomplished by the praises of the supreme r o y a l master. I prostrate to the supreme protector of the three w o r l d s . The one w i t h the form of infinite tathagatas, w i t h a v i r t u o u s f o r m . The one w i t h the crest-ornament of the infinite brilliance of the tathagatas. The one w h o clears up the ghosts' hunger and thirst by the supremely generous gesture of his right h a n d . The one adorned by a golden lotus in his left h a n d . The one s h i n i n g w i t h a red-yellow garland in his fragrant l o c k s . The one whose face is beautiful like the b r i l l i a n t m o o n . The one whose lotus-eyes are extremely noble and bright. The one whose scent is perfect, like that of a snow-white shell. The one m a r k e d by pearls of stainless light. The one adorned w i t h the beautiful rays of reddish d a w n . The one whose hands are l i k e an ocean of sweetened lotuses. The one w i t h a y o u t h f u l face the color of an a u t u m n c l o u d . The one whose shoulders are adorned by m a n y jewels. The one whose palms are y o u n g and s m o o t h like the highest leaves. The one whose left breast is covered w i t h an antelope hide. The one w h o is gracefully adorned w i t h earrings and anklets. The one whose abode is a supreme stainless lotus. The one whose abdomen is s m o o t h as a lotus petal. The one bedecked w i t h jewels in a magnificent belt of g o l d . The one w i t h a fine cotton garment a r o u n d his hips. The one w h o has crossed the great ocean of the master's supreme knowledge. The one w h o has accumulated many w o n d e r f u l merits. The one w h o is the source of all happiness, w h o clears up aging and disease. The one w h o has put the three realms b e h i n d h i m and shows the practice [for attaining the pure land] of Vajrayogini. The one w h o is the supreme l i v i n g being, w h o conquers the trembling host of demons. The one w i t h lovely feet adorned by golden rings. The one w h o liberates beings by practicing [love, compassion, j o y and equanimity]. The one w h o strides like a p r o u d elephant m o v i n g a m o n g geese. The one w h o has completed the accumulations [of merit] and obtained the teaching. The one w h o rescues beings from oceans of m i l k and water. Those w h o habitually rise at d a w n s h o u l d respectfully Think of the power of Avalokitesvara.

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If one celebrates h i m w i t h these supreme epithets, T h e n whether one must be b o r n a m a n or a w o m a n , in that and all future births One w i l l a c c o m p l i s h what is necessary for transcending the w o r l d . This is to be recited twenty-one times, while prostrating. F. Requests

O noble Avalokitesvara, treasury of compassion, Y o u and y o u r retinue please heed me. Please q u i c k l y free me and mother and father Sentient beings of the six realms f r o m cyclic existence. M a y I q u i c k l y arouse in my mindstream The deep and vast supreme enlightened thought. W i t h your power, please q u i c k l y p u r i f y M y karma and defilements, accumulated f r o m beginningless time, A n d w i t h y o u r compassionate hands Lead me and all beings into the pure l a n d of Sukhavati. O A m i t a b h a and Avalokitesvara, Please be my s p i r i t u a l friends in a l l my lives, Teach me w e l l the precious good path, A n d place me q u i c k l y on the level of a b u d d h a . This should be requested with intense longing. G. Torma Offering

Om padmanta krta hum phat Om naturally pure are all dharmas, naturally pure am I. The tormas become empty. F r o m the state of emptiness comes a bhrum. F r o m the bhrum comes a wide and delicate precious vessel. Inside of it is an om. The om melts into light. F r o m the light arise tormas. They t u r n into a great ocean of undefiled wisdom-nectar. Om ah hum Three times L

FIRST T O R M A

Offer the torma to the chief deity—the Greatly Compassionate One—and his retinue, °y saying three times: Om noble Avalokitesvara and y o u r retinue, please take this torma; take it and eat it, eat it. Then offer:

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Om noble l o r d of the w o r l d and y o u r retinue, please accept mouthwater svahd. Om noble l o r d of the w o r l d and y o u r retinue, please accept foot-water svahd. Om noble l o r d of the w o r l d and y o u r retinue, please accept flowers svdhd. Om noble l o r d of the w o r l d and y o u r retinue, please accept incense svdhd. Om noble l o r d of the w o r l d and y o u r retinue, please accept light svdhd Om noble l o r d of the w o r l d a n d y o u r retinue, please accept perfume svdhd. Om noble l o r d of the w o r l d a n d y o u r retinue, please accept cakes svd Om noble l o r d of the w o r l d a n d y o u r retinue, please accept sound svdhd. I offer this torma of a nectar-ocean To noble Avalokitesvara. Accept it and grant me and all other beings Superior and ordinary attainments. 2. S E C O N D T O R M A

Om the syllable a is first because of the p r i m o r d i a l nonarising of all dharmas om ah hum phat svdha. Three times. Then: Om d a k i n i s and dharma-protectors a n d y o u r retinue please accept mouth-water svdhd. Om d a k i n i s and dharma-protectors a n d y o u r retinue please accept foot water svdhd. Om dakinis a n d dharma-protectors flowers svdha. Om dakinis a n d dharma-protectors incense svdhd. Om dakinis a n d dharma-protectors svdhd. Om d a k i n i s and dharma-protectors perfume svdhd. Om d a k i n i s and dharma-protectors cakes svdhd. Om d a k i n i s and dharma-protectors s o u n d svdhd.

and y o u r retinue please accept a n d y o u r retinue please accept a n d y o u r retinue please accept lig and y o u r retinue please accept and y o u r retinue please accept and y o u r retinue please accept

I offer this torma of a nectar-ocean To the assembly of dharma-protectors and dakinis. Please accept it and help me a c c o m p l i s h enlightened deeds,

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Those that pacify, increase, empower, and compel. 3. THIRD T O R M A

Say three times either "Om the syllable a . . ." or: Homage! Seen by all the tathagatas. Om maintenance, maintenance hum. I I I I

prostrate prostrate prostrate prostrate

to to to to

the the the the

tathagata Many-Jewels. tathagata Holy Beauty. tathagata Soft-and-Peaceful-Body. tathagata Free-from-all-Fear.

I offer this torma of a nectar-ocean To the lords of place and soil. Please accept it, and without malice Be my good and steadfast friends. H. Ablution Next, pour the water from the physical vase onto the divine image appearing in the mirror: With a stream of saffron-water nectar I bathe The lamp of beings, the protector Avalokitesvara. May all the stains of beings' two obscurations be cleansed, And may they have the fortune to obtain the three stainless bodies. Om the glorious vows from empowerment by all the tathagatas and the noble lord of the world and his retinue hum. I dry all those bodies by applying A matehless cloth, clean and fragrant. Om hum tram hrih ah purified body svdha.

For the sake of training my mind, I offer jeweled clothes Exquisite as a rainbow And the cause of joy to anyone who touches them. By this may I and others be adorned by the clothing of holy patience. Because the conquerors are naturally adorned with the major and minor marks, There is no need to adorn them with further ornaments. By my offering superior jewel-ornaments, May I and all beings attain the body adorned with the major and minor marks. I Dedication Through these virtuous actions of mine, May a buddha quickly arise in this world.

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M a y this b u d d h a show dharmas for the sake of beings A n d q u i c k l y liberate sentient beings f r o m their m a n i f o l d sufferings an torments. In this and all my lives, M a y I attain a g o o d [rebirth] realm, a clear m i n d , and h u m i l i t y . Respecting great compassion and my g u r u , M a y I remain steadfast in Avalokitesvara's v o w . O Avalokitesvara, whatever your form is like, Whatever y o u r retinue, longevity and world-sphere, Whatever y o u r superior g o o d signs are l i k e , M a y I and all others be o n l y like that. By the power of offering and praying to y o u , Please pacify sickness and poverty In the w o r l d where I and others abide, A n d increase dharma and good fortune. M a y the supreme enlightened thought That has not arisen arise; M a y that w h i c h has arisen not decline, But o n l y increase more and more. J. Hundred-Syllable Mantra

Om lotus being, guard my vows; lotus being, let them be f i r m . Be steadfast for me, be satisfied, be n o u r i s h e d ; be favorable for me. Grant me all accomplishments. Indicator of all k a r m a , make glorious my m i n d hum. Ha ha ha ha hoh. Blessed one, lotus of a l l the tathagatas, do not forsake me, lotus being, grea' v o w being ah hum phat. Three times K. Entreating Forbearance

O blessed one, greatly compassionate, pay heed to me. W h e n we are beginners, our concentration is d i m m e d By the forces of s i n k i n g and scattering; O u r recitations are i m p u r e and our rituals either excessive Or deficient. Please, O noble, greatly compassionate one, accept patiently our l i m i t e d p u r i t y ; M a y we not encounter obstacles. Om jewel-lotus hum. Several times. L. Final Purification

The noble, the Greatly Compassionate O n e , is a little closer in the space before me, at the head of his retinue. A stream of nectar falls f r o m his body parts.

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bathes the outside, i n s i d e , a n d m i d d l e of my b o d y a n d purifies w i t h o u t exception all the illnesses, d e m o n s , sins, a n d obscurations of my three d o o r s , together w i t h the propensities thereto. T h e n p o u r a n d d r i n k a little of the water used for w a s h i n g a n d b a t h i n g . M. Final Dedication T h r o u g h this v i r t u e m a y I q u i c k l y become A greatly compassionate one A n d lead each a n d every being, N o n e excepted, to his pure l a n d . N. General Instructions There are three sessions on b o t h the preparatory a n d the actual day. T a k e the one-day Mahayana precepts each day at d a w n . T h e rest of the r i t u a l is the same in a l l sessions. On the preparatory day, m a k e a g o l d throne that supports the three w h i t e substances (curds, m i l k , butter). Do not eat f r o m b r o n z e vessels, leaves, or the p a l m of y o u r h a n d . In the afternoon, take tea w i t h o u t sugar or h o n e y . A p a r t f r o m that, do not eat suitable (foods for the m o r n i n g , s u c h as) c u r d s , m i l k , or f r u i t . At d a w n on the day of the actual fast, y o u b e g i n to observe silence. Do not eat even a single g r a i n of barley or d r i n k a single d r o p of water. E x c e p t for the precepts, (the ritual) on the t h i r d day is as on the day before, b u t the r e q u i r e d recitations are fewer: it is suitable to say the praises merely five or seven times. O. Special Offering Prayer On the t h i r d day, after a b l u t i o n , say: Om vajra muh. The w i s d o m - b e i n g of the front v i s u a l i z a t i o n returns to his natural abode. T h e pledge b e i n g melts i n t o me. I become the one-faced, t w o - a r m e d greatly c o m passionate one. A t o p my head is a w h i t e om. At my throat is a red ah. At my heart is a blue hiim. I am m a r k e d by these. By saying this a u s p i c i o u s prayer, I am a d o r n e d .

IV. EPILOGUE I have arranged this r i t u a l w i t h the i n t e n t i o n of benefiting some h o u s e h o l d e r s a n d others of feeble intellect a n d energy. It is very i m p o r t a n t for those of forceful intellect, w i t h o u t helieving these few w o r d s to be the essence, to practice the extensive rituals w r i t t e n by the earlier a n d later c o n q u e r o r s ( D a l a i Lamas) a n d b y P a n c h e n C h o k y i G y e l p o . E v e n this abridged r i t u a l s h o u l d be k n o w n in detail f r o m the great texts. T h e sadhana of the noble, supreme lotus-bearer, The treasury o f c o m p a s s i o n w h o l o o k s d o w n

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Perpetually w i t h a thousand compassionate eyes On the countless tormented and protectorless beings: R i g h t l y explained by my h o l y predecessors, it was a beautiful Jeweled garland, a b r i l l i a n t blessing, a mass of blazing light

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Set in array. W h y , then s h o u l d one s u c h as I A d d to the rosary his half-baked foolishness? Nevertheless, in this case, w i t h a respectful heart, I have composed this brief collection of w o r d s

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F o r the benefit of some present-day people W h o are trapped b y l o w intelligence and wavering m i n d .

Karmic Propensities

T h r o u g h this virtue, m a y I and all other beings Be h e l d at all times by Avalokitesvara. M a y he q u i c k l y save us f r o m the w o r l d l y ocean agitated by waves of

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A n d place us in a the bliss of a liberated state. V. COLOPHON T h i s is the extremely condensed fasting ritual, called "Nectar D r o p . " Here in lower A m d o , the rituals f o u n d in the collected w o r k s of the great panditas are quite widespread. S t i l l , some people of l o w intelligence need their mouths to be f i l l e d , so—entreated again and again by m a n y great and ordinary monks and laymen, I have sent forth as a stream of water this r i t u a l to be read by the ignorant.

One of the most vibrant and controversial traditions of Tibetan B u d d h i s m is an ancient interlinked set of movements k n o w n as the Great Perfection (rdzogs chen). Centered in the N y i n g m a sect and the nominally non-Buddhist B o n lineages, over the centuries, it has to some degree served as a locus for ecumenical dialogue in Tibet. Its inception was in the eighth century under largely u n k n o w n c i r c u m stances, though its subsequent development was clearly a Tibetan phenomenon drawing on diverse strands from such sources as Chinese C h a n , Indian Buddhism, Daoism, tantric Saivism, and indigenous religions. Its controversial nature largely stemmed from its questionable claims of being largely Indie in origin, its strikingly antinomian language, and its creative innovativeness in the context of South Asian Buddhism. W h i l e historically there have been many variants of the Great Perfection in the Nyingma tradition, the most interesting is arguably the Seminal Heart (snying thig) movement, w h i c h began in the eleventh century and was systematized in the fourteenth century by Longchenpa (Klong chen pa, 1308-1363). The tradition holds itself to be a revelation of hidden lineages brought to Tibet in the eighth century by the great Indian saints Vimalamitra and Padmasambhava, but most evidence points to it instead being a Tibetan reformulation of the Great Perfection from the eleventh century onward. Nyingmas began to incorporate a wide variety °f meditative systems (often transforming them in the process) w i t h i n the Great Perfection under the influence of new Tibetan Buddhist tantric traditions, even while preserving its rhetoric emphasizing the nonnecessity of formal meditative Practice in light of all beings' primordial buddha-nature. One of the clearest summaries of the Seminal Heart is Longchenpa's The Treasury of Words and Meanings (Tshig don mdzod), w h i c h , along w i t h its companion o r k The Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle (Theg mchog mdzod), comprises a veritable encyclopedia of Seminal Heart thought and practice. The former's eleven

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highly structured chapters concern the following topics: (1) cosmogonic background detailing the primordial nonmanifest ground of existence, the initial manifestation of actual worlds, and the liberation of the primordial buddha Kuntu Zangpo (Kun tu bzang po; Samantabhadra; "the All Good One"); (2) the origins and processes of ordinary, distorted cyclic existence (samsara) against that backdrop; (3) the way in which primordially pure buddha-nature as the ground continues to characterize all life within samsara; (4) the difference between buddhas and sentient beings, especially in terms of how they know the world; (5) the nature of the subtle body as the locus of this entire cosmic drama within and as each living being; (6) the theoretical background of the Seminal Heart's transformation of visionary tantric praxis; (7) the relationship between the ground's vast expanse (dbyings) and its resonating intelligence (rig pa); (8) how one contemplatively attunes oneself to these processes operative in the background of being; (9) the various psychophysical indicators that mark progress in contemplation; (10) the intermediate states (bar do) of dying, death, postdeath, and rebirth wherein liberation hangs in the balance; and (11) the nature of the fruit of buddhahood in terms of its styles of presence and modes of knowing. The eighth topic is thus devoted to contemplation (nyams su len pa), a term literally meaning "to take into your own experience," that is, means for bringing one's indwelling primordial buddha-nature into the light of self-awareness. A variety of techniques are grouped under this rubric, ranging from simple directed reveries to complex meditations involving one's body, speech, and mind in intense dramas; they also run the spectrum from highly structured prescriptive techniques to more free-flowing stimulation of normally unconscious and highly individual processes. Longchenpa classifies them under two overarching rubrics: practices "for those with psyches wrapped up in objective reference points," and practices "for those to whose psyches awareness is self-presencing." The nature of this distinction is that the former practices are more structure-oriented in their utilization of codified sequences of acts, concentration exercises, and artificial "reference points" such as alchemical pills, visualized external or internal images, and special viewpoints; the latter practices are more process-oriented in their general emphasis on cultivating spontaneous experiences that reflect what one's own awareness throws up, or "self-presences." Great Perfection contemplation in the strictest sense is divided into two complementary styles known as the "breakthrough" Qihregs chod) and "direct transcendence" (thod rgal). The former represents a cultivation of one's own naked self-awareness as directed by intensely poetic guided reveries; the latter consists of contemplating a spontaneous flow of light imagery gradually unfolding into visions of vast mandalas of buddhas. Prior to discussing these, Longchenpa presents at length an anthology of the "reference point" practices classified into different groups. Since direct transcendence has its own separate preliminary practices (see chapter 19), and these practices immediately precede the section on breakthrough contemplation, clearly they are intended as being particularly useful for leading one into breakthrough contemplation. In other words, the content-

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plative states induced through these techniques are both deconstructed and deepened in the guided poetic reveries constituting the breakthrough instructions. Thus they provide a practitioner with the necessary experiential background that renders these poetic precepts more than mere vague evocations of purity, intensity, and spaciousness. In the present context, we will focus on one such group of practices, namely, the "meditative states of the bodhisattva." This represents a blending of such diverse practices as alchemy, breath yoga, dietary changes, fire yoga (gtum mo; canddli), a wide variety of dream yogas, meditations on radiant light, and poetically thematized contemplation on self-awareness, the nature of experience, and external appearances. These are classified suggestively into four types of meditative states corresponding to our attachment to food, clothes, dreams, and karmic propensities, respectively. This quartet relates to how these preliminary contemplative techniques are focused on energy fixations in ordinary existence in order to undo the resulting blockages. They thus utilize the liberated energy for spiritual concerns: sex (sex yoga), food (involving alchemical practices utilizing herbs, and so on, as well as visualization-energized breathing), clothes (meditations centered around the well-known technique of "mystic fire," whereby internally generated warmth alleviates the need for clothes), dreams (a simple series of instructions enabling one to bring sleep into the contemplative path), and the network of karmic propensities permeating the unconscious (a more general series of exhortations to enter into a state of naked awareness undercutting these propensities' self-sustaining vicious cycle of neurotic conditioning). Longchenpa begins with a general discussion of the essence of meditation as a simple sitting practice with three key elements: a formal posture and meditative session, unfocused eyes and mind, and releasing breath out into space. The lack of focus indicates that experience should involve a release of focal vision rather than a gaze of mastery or zeroing in, letting go of themes or objects that are typically put in the foreground. This gaze is mirrored by the breath, which instead of being internally penned up is released through yogic "vase" breathing into the far distant spaces that ordinarily constitute the forgotten background of our lives. Even in this simple practice, we can see how the emphasis on posture, gaze, and breath indicates a body-based knowing, that is, that the ways of knowing advocated in these texts must of their very nature involve bodily activities and processes. The practice overall foreshadows breakthrough contemplation, as well as functioning to deconstruct the ensuing emphasis on concentration and techniques.

The Meditative Session Eliminating Attachment to Food The yogas of food and clothes present techniques for contemplatively generating constant dietary nourishment and warmth without relying on ordinary sources. In addition to the obvious benefits such techniques have in the difficult material

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conditions of isolated retreat sites in the glacial wildernesses of Tibet, they also represent powerful attempts to come to terms w i t h physical embodiment and the need both to draw energy from a nourishing exteriority (food) and to maintain protective barriers from a disruptive exteriority (clothes). The three principal yogas of food embrace alchemical practices, w h i c h in T i betan are termed the "extraction of essences" (bcud len). A l l three share the basic paradigm of transforming substances in a ritual and contemplative context into nutritious energy capable of sustaining our biological being. The first set of practices concerns ingesting various juices, meats, stones, herbs, and precious substances (mercury, gold, etc.); the second involves "eating" one's o w n energized breath; and the third represents a variation on the classic tantric transgressive practice of consuming one's o w n excrement. It is the second practice that I would like to detail as the "eating w i n d s " yoga. The Treasury oj the Supreme Vehicle ( T C D 2 164.4-5) specifies that w i t h inhalation one visualizes ingesting the quintessential energies of external appearances via one's nostrils into the flavor channel (the main channel on the right side of the subtle body). This energy overflows the throat wheel of channels, thus revitalizing and sustaining the body. The specific significance of the flavor channel and throat wheel is pointed out in the fifth chapter of The Treasury oj Words and Meanings, where both are specifically l i n k e d to the digestion of food and distrib u t i o n of the vibrant energy extracted from food throughout the body and mind to replenish one's energy. Thus "eating" winds refers to consuming external energy via visualization-energized breathing: You join the upper and lower winds [of the body], pull them into the flavor channel (with inhalation via the nostrils), and imagine the throat wheel is thus filled with the flavor of ambrosia. By means of concealing the earth and water winds [i.e., yellow and blue in color], all appearances become food for you and dissolve within the throat and flavor channel. Through meditating on them as pervaded by the bliss of meditative states, you accomplish the yoga of food. The constant theme in all these variations of "concealing" winds, or "joining upper and lower winds, refers to the important yogic technique of "vase breathi n g . " In this practice, the meditator presses d o w n the body's upper currents of energy and pulls up its lower ones, thereby penning them up in a spot around the navel in a "vase." Thus, rather than the winds functioning in diverse ways throughout the body, their energy is restrained and concentrated in a single spot, such that they become "nonmanifest" or concealed. In his explication of food yoga in The Seminal Quintessence oj the Master (V 431.2-6), Longchenpa describes two alternative techniques for overcoming food so as to sustain oneself instead on the food of contemplation. In the first, one imagines a blue sky as the nature of all appearances; by inhaling its blueness, one ingests the vibrant quintessence of the space energy at the heart of all appearances. This fills up the body to the point of overflow. One thus directly takes high intensity energy from the element of space, and through this energy revitalizing

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and replenishing one's own internal physical elements, one no longer needs to rely on the ingestion and digestion of coarse food to maintain one's life force. Also by concentrating the internal winds w i t h i n , one conserves and intensifies this energy rather than continually dissipating it: In the training on the meditative session cutting attachment to food, for "the extraction of essences," "eating the winds and mind as food," and so forth, one should look at their respective written explanations, while here I will just briefly teach the pith of "eating the winds and mind as food." In the morning you expel the winds' residue three times and then imagine all appearances as the sky. Next as you inhale the wind inwards, you visualize the body's entire interior as being filled to the brim with its blueness. Joining the upper and lower winds, you hold them. Thus your physical and psychic elements are lucent, and you no longer require food. The second technique involves a visualized yoginl slicing open the upper tip of the meditator's heart, which then fills up w i t h the flow of white and red "enlightening m i n d s " (bodhicuta, i.e., seminal nuclei) from her vagina. In this way, the meditator is to consider that his entire body is filled w i t h bliss; again the key point is holding the winds together. Thus again by the power of concentration one derives energy directly from the elements' essences and bypasses the ordinary coarse method of extracting energy from the external elements (ingestion and digestion); the meditator then concentrates these energized winds to prevent the energy's dissipation. In this way one literally lives off meditation and becomes divorced from the various obsessive images ordinarily invested in food: Alternatively, at the tip of the heart's upward-facing mouth is a white yoginl of awareness holding a ritual sickle, with which she slices open the heart's tip, such that it becomes filled by the flow of white and red enlightening minds from her vagina. Imagining tfaat the entire body's interior is filled with bliss, the holding of the winds in union is the crucial point. Thus all attachment to food becomes naturally eliminated, and you sustain yourself day and night with the food of meditative states. In his The Seminal Quintessence of the Profound ( Z M Y T 1 333.3), Longchenpa offers yet another version of this practice. This again involves inhaling the core energy of external matter and life forms in the aspect of white and red quintessences and thus directly extracting energy to sustain life from the external w o r l d via visualization-energized breathing. In this way one "eats the w i n d s , " extracting 'nutrition" (quintessential energy) from one's breathing rather than from ordinary food substances: Cutting off the flow of the winds' elemental energies is as follows: the meditator crouches down, expels the winds' residue externally, and focuses on visualizing gnostic winds filling the stomach in waves of white and red ambrosial vibrant quintessences. Joining the upper and lower winds, you hold them in. You then slowly exhale externally, and when inhaling internally, all of the environment and its life forms [animate and inanimate] come into the nostrils in the form of white and red quin-

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tessences; y o u thus concentrate on their filling the b o d y u p . A blissful, clear and nonconceptual state of contemplation spontaneously arises, and the meditator becomes divested of attachment to food and clothes.

The Meditative Session Eliminating Attachment to Clothes This yoga is a variant of the classic "fierce w o m a n " (gtum mo; candali) fire yoga practices, w h i c h are famous in the West for its classic exam procedure in which an initiate is expected to utilize contemplatively generated heat to dry wet clothes in the middle of the night while sitting naked on a glacier. Heat's significance here thus ranges from physical warmth to the heat of gnosis b u r n i n g through all emotionally distorted illusion. W h i l e in the present context the practice is supplemented by alchemical ingestion of various substances and visualization of i n ternal colored shapes corresponding to the four elemental energies, the core of the practice is relatively simple. Inside the meditator's body, a triangle of fire at the navel represents solar energy while a white ham syllable at the crown incarnates lunar energy. Breathing fans the former's passionate blazing upward in hot flames, thereby causing the latter to melt and begin to drip d o w n w a r d in a cooling flow. These drops gradually pervade the body w i t h their orgiastic bliss until the entire body is energized. Clearly this stock sequence of contemplative events is modeled on sexual experience, and in fact it also forms the core of sexual yogic practices. Just as the solar digestive powers are contemplatively distributed throughout the body, the lunar seminal energies are reinvested in the entire body rather than concentrated in the genitals and then lost through ejaculation. In both cases normally autonomic physiological processes are thus contemplatively accessed and fundamentally transformed so as to develop self-sustaining loops of energy flow in the body.

The Meditative Session Eliminating Attachment to Dreams H a v i n g dealt w i t h daytime needs, Longchenpa turns to yogas coping with the darker landscapes that constitute nighttime: sleep, dreams, and their rhythms of consciousness' projection and dissipation closely paralleling the processes of life and death. In that sleep is a parallel process to dying involving the dissolution of self-awareness into a deep state of absorption, one may wonder w h y and how we dream; in fact this mirrors the wider question of w h y we think, and the even deeper cosmogonic question of w h y there is anything rather than nothing. The conventional response is that dreaming, the reconstitution of a dream body withi a dreamed landscape, is driven by karmic propensities b o u n d up w i t h the pri cipal five emotional distortions: ignorance, hatred, attachment, jealousy, an pride. D u r i n g endless lifetimes in samsara, traces of our o w n actions have acc mulated w i t h i n the base of being (the so-called universal ground), such that

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the collapses of dying and sleeping, this web of karmic traces impels the m i n d to relink with the inner winds and thus reconstitute a provisional body w i t h i n the intermediate states of postdeath and dreams. In these psychic bodies, everything accumulated w i t h i n this deep strata comes into play, and thus dreams are a reflection of our karmic latencies. In fact, the texts' description seem to indicate that the ultimate aim of these practices is to reach a moment w h e n the dreams fade away into a c o n t i n u u m of radiant light, a structureless nirvana where all personalized images dissipate into a continual flow. Yet if we were to thus conclude that dreaming is an inherently distorted process that must be eradicated, we would be left bewildered as to w h y Tibetans put such great stock in the content of dreams—biographers often convert dreamed encounters w i t h deities or teachers into autonomous, free-standing visions. A constant theme r u n n i n g throughout all these practices is the epistemological value of dreams and illusions. In other words, the ways of k n o w i n g and nature of appearances in dreams—their fluidity, the b l u r r i n g of boundaries, the at times shocking transformations, the confusion between self and other identities—have critical implications for ordinary daytime experience. Precisely the space we generally associate w i t h the loss of reality-awareness, deception, and confusion is, in a troubling reversal, n o w identified as the only site where we are open enough to have a glimpse of reality itself (in deep sleep) as well as the true nature both of the truth status of appearances and of the relations of external appearances to our own interiority. If the truth is truly out there, then the landscape of a dream is the only one w i t h the revelatory capacity for it to come to light in our experience. Thus rather than illuminate the space of dreams w i t h daylight's solar clarity, these yogas reverse the eliding of boundaries to allow the illusory and intermixing quality of dream experience to filter back into daytime experience. The goal in dreaming is thus the same as in life: to be aware and then to w o r k , or play, w i t h i n that self-awa/eness. To become aware in a dream is l u c i d dreaming, the awareness that we are dreaming even as we dream; in the light of this self-awareness, the movement of dreams no longer has a malevolent edge to it. In line w i t h the traditional tantric notion that the five root emotional distortions stand revealed as none other than the five primordial gnoses, and the Great Perfection's motif that the play of illusion can be both impure and pure, the very activity of dreaming can be seen also to have a pure energy when we look to its deeper nature. Dream yoga thus could be said, in a sense, to be the overcoming of karmic dreams to open the vast new vistas of the dreaming of a b u d d h a , a gnostic dreaming that takes place w i t h i n "the vast sky of originally pure emptiness." Thus the most fundamental principle of these practices is l u c i d dreaming, which is termed "recognizing" or "identifying" one's dreams as dreams even while dreaming them. Obviously most of these practices assume a basic capacity in lucid dreaming, without w h i c h there c o u l d not even be any question of pursuing any practice after falling asleep. Yet beyond this basic function, l u c i d dreaming also incarnates the key principle of self-recognition (rang ngo shes), w h i c h constitutes the threshold between samsara and nirvana, between the path of an or-

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dinary being and the path of a buddha. In the dream landscape the manifest truth of this imperative for self-recognition is crystalline in its clarity: the entire dream w o r l d w i t h its landscapes and others is a self-referential self-projection, despite w h i c h we react w i t h emotions of terror, lust, and confusion as if these projections were autonomous forces. Thus the recognition or recalling of these projections in a moment of l u c i d dreaming can have a tremendous liberating impact as we suddenly realize our implicit role. Longchenpa presents two distinct contemplative systems for becoming situated in the night: an eight-phase practice for w o r k i n g directly w i t h dreams, and a fourpart meditation on the radiant light that manifests in deep sleep (drawn from The Direct Consequence oj Sound Tantra and The Six Spaces lanira, respectively). In the former, the first three phases incarnate the essential principles, while the remainder are supplementary and enhancing techniques: recognizing dreams while dreaming (lucid dreaming), learning to w o r k w i t h the consequence process-fluidity of appearances, and abandoning attachment to the truth status of any particular structure so as to let dream self-awareness permeate the daytime as well (the third is itself an effect or qualifier of the first two). In the first phase, recognizing dreams allows one to eliminate attachment to the dream-appearances, since one is aware of them as dreams, just as one has no attachment to the reflections in a mirror; it also enables one to pursue religious practices while dreaming. D u r i n g the day, initially the meditator focuses on particular appearances as being dreamlike, while eventually he or she extends that recognition to all emotions and situations such that they are all seen to lack any concreteness or ability to harm. In The Seminal Quintessence oj the Projound ( Z M Y T 1 336.3-337.1), Longchenpa explains that in cultivating this dream-awareness during the day one is to chant repeatedly "they are dreams, they are magical illusions." He also specifies two ways of taking h o l d of dreams: the "smooth" way involves recognizing dreams without depending on any particular conditions, while the "rough" way is thinking "they are dreams" under the conditions of the terror experienced in being confronted by an abyss, dog, enemy, or violent water. In The Seminal Quintessence oj the Master (LYT1 433.1-5) he suggests at night laying d o w n on the right side and focusing on the aspiration "Tonight I w i l l recognize my dreams, and thus train!" He also specifies lying d o w n w i t h the mind focused on a sphere of light at the heart; if that fails to produce l u c i d dreaming, one should intensely supplicate one's master and generate devotion and pure vision. W i t h this capacity for continued self-awareness in place, in the second phase one proceeds to w o r k w i t h transforming the particular dream appearances. To maintain a sense of the dreamlike character of all phenomena during the waking day and consider all phenomena as the primordially pure mandala of buddhas involves an extraordinarily difficult "transformation" of ordinary dense phenomena into their pure fluid counterparts. To cultivate this ability, one begins by utilizing mirrors and imagination in a waking state and then proceeds to apply this capacity to the m u c h more v i v i d and comprehensive transformations possible

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in a self-aware dreaming state. The daytime practice consists of watching the shifting reflections in a mirror's surface as one places it in front of different objects, which opens one up to a sense of the fluidity and insubstantiality of appearances and induces a feeling of the dreamlike nature of all phenomena. W i t h that basis, one extends it into an imaginative transformation of daytime appearances, more like a waking daydream or reverie rather than a carefully constructed visualization in the generation of a deity in tantric practices. Sustained practice during the day will naturally lead to these transformations occurring during dream-time, where the actual transformation is accomplished m u c h more readily than during daytime vision, given the fluid and unstable nature of dream appearances. W h i l e lucidly dreaming, the meditator begins w i t h m i n o r mundane transformations such as horses and elephants (classical examples of what a conjurer conjures up) and gradually moves on to transforming the entire dream w o r l d into a pure realm such that all appearances are the deities' bodies. Thus beginning w i t h simple transformations, gradually one gains the capacity to transform the entire dream world into the pure land of buddhas and rainbow-colored visions, a capacity that eventually filters d o w n into ordinary waking perception. Initially during the day, however, it is quite improbable that one can transform or reveal all appearances into divine mandalas, and thus the technique of mirror and imaginative transformation is a powerful means to introduce the fluid and pure nature of appearances. Through training on these transformations, a sense of the primordial purity of all internal and external phenomena is induced, and the meditator overcomes attachment and conditioning by them, seeing that they are no more substantial or solid than reflections in a mirror; during dreams at night it is certain one w i l l reside in pure lands and receive new teachings on the Buddhist doctrines and practices. Radiant light signifies the luminous emptiness forming the background openness to being that usually recedes in the face of the activity it makes possible. As one becomes increasingly intimate w i t h the dreaming activity, one becomes correspondingly freer from the compulsive marginalization of this background radiance to the m i n d and appearances, such that radiant light comes to the fore. Thus the dream yoga is complemented w i t h a succinct meditation on radiant light, w h i c h The Seminal Quintessence of the Dakinl ( K G Y T 3 81.5-92.5) presents as threefold: taking h o l d of radiant light externally during the day (i.e., direct transcendence practice), concealing radiant light w i t h i n the sheath during the night (a variant of dream/sleep yoga), and all phenomena remaining w i t h i n sameness in between (a less technique-oriented account of h o w the practice deepens as daytime and nighttime experiences are integrated). The Treasury of Words and Meanings, however, focuses on a four-part meditation that stretches across the entire day and night: at twilight the meditator withdraws his or her sensory faculties, at midnight inserts cognitive objects into the vase, at dawn illuminates gnosis, and during the day seals appearances. A c c o r d i n g to Khanpo J i k p h u n ('Jigs med p h u n tshogs), this meditation is done every day for the rest of one's life, in conjunction w i t h the practice of direct transcendence and

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breakthrough. The twilight "withdrawal of faculties" indicates that the meditator is to gather the senses w i t h i n as psychic energy is concentrated on interior visualizations of energy flows rather than the normal daytime dispersion of the psyche wrapped up in exterior objects. Then at midnight the meditator focuses energy solely on the luminosity w i t h i n the heart, w i t h the image of a butter lamp within a vase glowing subtly without emerging externally (just as the heart is the home of awareness's essence where its luminosity is largely latent). Thus at this point all psychic energy is withdrawn from exteriority and brought w i t h i n into the vase of the heart, where it is inserted and hence no longer shines out externally, like the contraction of consciousness that marks the onset of sleep. At dawn the meditator then allows gnosis to shine back into the exterior field of perception, so that during the day he or she can seal all experiences and appearances with its radiance as well as an awareness of their dreamlike status. Longchenpa explains the rationale of each phase as follows ( T C D 2 327.6-7): "By contracting the sensory faculties into their abodes at dawn, you block the gateway of psychic activity; by inserting the cognitive objects into the vase at midnight, cognition shines directly w i t h i n yourself; by primordial gnosis being clearly displayed at dawn, sensations are purified right where they stand; and by sealing appearances during the day, enframing characterizations are subdued." W i t h i n that basic framework, the details of the first two phases in particular vary quite a bit. The Seminal Quintessence oj the Projound ( Z M Y T 1 343.3-344.1) gives the most simple version: 1. The w i t h d r a w a l of the sensory faculties into their abodes at twilight: from a sphere of light in the heart, (light) emanates u p w a r d and strikes the empty seminal nucleus lamp in the conch-shell house (skull). Y o u thus one pointedly train on this light going u p w a r d and d o w n w a r d . 2. The insertion of objects of cognition into the vase at m i d n i g h t : y o u focus solely on the light w i t h i n the heart. 3. The i l l u m i n a t i o n of p r i m o r d i a l gnosis at d a w n : sitting in the i m p o s i n g posture of the l i o n , y o u focus the m i n d on a white a h o v e r i n g in the space an arrow's length f r o m the spot between y o u r eyebrows, whereby a sensation of empty radiance manifests. 4. The sealing of appearances d u r i n g the day: y o u cultivate the resolution that everything is a magical i l l u s i o n or dream.

The syllable a (at times given as ah or ah) figures prominently in these practices as a symbol due to its distinctive nature as the unarticulated sound forming the matrix for all other articulated sounds that form h u m a n languages.

The Meditative Session Eliminating Attachment to Karmic Propensities This is a technique-free meditation leading directly into breakthrough content plation: it is a poetic inquiry that shapes the empty spaces increasingly inhabitin

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the foreground of one's experience following the dream yogas. Karmic propensities are closely b o u n d up w i t h dreaming, since they constitute the latent patterns that ordinarily regenerate and reorganize a distinctive life out of the chaos of intermediate states, a process mirrored in the manifestation of dream selves out of sleep's chaotic dispersal of consciousness. Thus the sequence of four yogas begins w i t h the more biological issues of food and clothes, proceeds to epistemological and ontological stances toward self-identity and external appearances in dreaming, and then proceeds to deal w i t h the underlying propensities that continue to generate those stances through endless cycles of collapse and reorganization. Yet this ordering of the karmic propensities is of a particular type: given over to rigid routinization, founded u p o n a strict separation of interiority and exteriority, maintained by consequent distorting emotional reactions, and bound up w i t h the past, present, and future. Thus time itself is implicated in the rhythms of attachment, aversion, and ignorance. The poetic evocation, however, points to an alternative to this karmic temporal organization in the gnosis of a buddha, suggesting that rigid order is a false response to the chaos of life. Instead, a more complex, flexible patterning is hinted at in a b u d d h a , w h o inhabits the sameness of the three times, a dynamic regime of intertwining flows devoid of karmic linear delineation of subjects and objects diametrically opposed to each other, forever sealed off into themselves.

The text of the Tshig don mdzod is translated from the edition of K l o n g chen rab byams pa's Mdzod bdun, published by Sherab Gyaltsen and Khyentse Labrang in six volumes (Gangtok, S i k k i m , 1983).

Further Reading For a traditional presentation of these dream yoga practices, see N a m k h a i N o r b u , Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light, ed. Michael Katz (Ithaca: Snow L i o n Publications, 1992). For further details on the fire yoga practice, see Geshe K e l sang Gyatso, Clear Light of Bliss (London: W i s d o m Publications, 1982). The preceding discussion was principally based on the following Tibetan sources: Theg mchog mdzod ( T C D ) , Bi ma snying thig ( V N T ) , Bla mayang tig (LYT), Mkha' 'gro snying thig ( K G N T ) , Mkha 'gro yang tig ( K G Y T ) , and lab mo yang tig (ZMYT). The first w o r k is also published as part of the Mdzod bdun (see above), while the other five works constitute the massive Snying thig ya bzhi, published in an eleven-volume edition by T r u l k u Tsewang, Jamyang and L. Tashi in N e w Delhi (1971). For more precise references, please refer to my u p c o m i n g translation of The Treasury of Precious Words and Meanings as w e l l as my associated monographs tentatively entitled Mysticism and Rhetoric in the Great Perfection and The Architecture of Absence and Embodied Visions.

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The Meditative States of the Bodhisattvas My discussion of the bodhisattvas' meditative states is in two parts: a briel discussion of their essence and an expansive explanation of their f u l l extent A BRIEF DISCUSSION OF THE ESSENCE OF THE BODHISATTVAS' MEDITATIVE STATES The Conch Shell Letters describes them thus: The meditative states of the bodhisattvas A r e the cessation of mental craving. The key points of the body: y o u sit in the lotus posture A n d straighten up the back; Y o u set y o u r hands in the gesture of contemplative equanimity, Bend the neck forward slightly, A n d b r i n g the eyes d o w n to the tip of y o u r nose. The key points of awareness are that w h i l e y o u r eyes [gaze] A n arrow's length away w i t h o u t l o o k i n g a t anything i n particular, Y o u p u l l the breath i n w a r d and then exhale it extremely far away; Y o u r m i n d thus settles into contemplative equanimity. The Tantra of Self-Arisen Awareness says: The meditative states of the bodhisattvas Don't involve concentrating y o u r m i n d , Since they come about naturally or automatically. W i t h experiential familiarization, y o u get at the depths of realization A n d divest yourself of any thoughts about food; Enjoyed by those abiding on the spiritual levels, N e u r o t i c discursiveness is naturally absent. AN EXPANSIVE EXPLANATION OF THE BODHISATTVAS' MEDITATIVE STATES IN THEIR FULL EXTENT T h i s involves three sections: (1) the naturally o c c u r r i n g meditative states exist w h e n one's cognitive energy is totally absorbed or distracted into o b l i v i o n , such as h o w it is completely caught up and thus self-absorbed in the eyes of an arrow straightener, the eyes of a hare, or a h a w k sleeping in its nest; (2) the meditative states of abiding on the spiritual levels are the i n d i v i d u a l contemplations corresponding to the ten spiritual levels; and (3) the meditative states w i t h a c o n t i n u a l objective reference as support are contrived meditative states, s u c h as the training stage of the four sessions of meditation [described immediately b e l o w ] . The Tantra of the Sun and Moon's Intimate Union explains these further:

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The meditative states of the Mahayana are as follows: The naturally o c c u r r i n g meditative states Settle y o u r b o d y and speech into a pristine state w i t h o u t contrivance. The meditative states adhering c o n t i n u o u s l y to an objective reference Suppress p r o v i s i o n a l manifestations of emotional distortions; A n d the meditative states of a b i d i n g on the spiritual levels Spiritually foster y o u r o w n mental stream. In the present context I w o u l d like to elaborate u p o n the meditative states that adhere continuously to objective references. There are two h a r m f u l influences for practitioners: y o u accumulate the k a r m a of r e v o l v i n g in samsara's three realms provisionally through the h a r m f u l influences of food and clothes, w h i l e ultimately it is through the h a r m f u l influences of dreams and latent k a r m i c propensities. T h u s y o u must train on the four sessions or phases of meditative states as antidotes to these h a r m f u l influences: the meditative session e l i m i nating attachment to food, the meditative session e l i m i n a t i n g attachment to clothes, the meditative session e l i m i n a t i n g attachments to dreams, and the meditative session e l i m i n a t i n g attachment of latent k a r m i c propensities. The Meditative Session Eliminating Attachment to Food As described by The Direct Consequence of Sound Tantra, this i n v o l v e s (1) the

various alchemical extractions of essences, (2) eating the w i n d s as food, and (3) preparations of ambrosial excrement: 1 w i l l explain the great amazing w o n d e r Of such alchemical extraction of essences N o t taught in any other tantras— Listen up bodhisattvas, masters of the gods! (1) V i a reliance u p o n precious materials, Y o u r life span w i l l be equal to the S u n and M o o n ; T h r o u g h a preparation of various stones, Y o u r body w i l l be impervious to weapons; T h r o u g h herbally based preparations, Y o u w i l l be w i t h o u t white hair or w r i n k l e s ; T h r o u g h extracting the essences of "juice" preparations, Y o u become d a z z l i n g l y radiant and y o u t h f u l ; T h r o u g h flesh-based preparations, Y o u r b o d y becomes energetic and increases in strength. (2) Furthermore, I w i l l explain the amazing Extraction of essences based on w i n d s K n o w n as " c u t t i n g off the elemental energies' f l o w . "

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T h i s practice is understood by w o r k i n g w i t h the upper a n d lower winds— T h r o u g h thus s k i l l f u l l y concealing the w i n d s , O r , alternatively, c o u n t i n g the passage of breaths, T h e yoga of food comes to pass. Such is the alchemical extraction of essences Based u p o n the elemental energies. The tantra continues: (3) I w i l l explain the amazing extraction of essences W h i c h cuts off the flow of the body's elemental energies. By reverse c y c l i n g the flow of excrement Y o u w i l l exhaust y o u r ordinary p h y s i c a l contaminants; F u r t h e r m o r e , t h r o u g h eating its extracted quintessence After being b o i l e d w i t h i n l i q u i d butter In reliance u p o n the proper procedures, The flow of elemental energies w i l l be cut off. By thus cutting off the flow of the body's elemental energies Parasites w i l l not r e m a i n in the body, A n d in the consequent absence of u r i n e , feces, a n d so forth Y o u r external a n d internal w i n d s w i l l also become nonexistent. The Meditative Session Eliminating Attachment to Clothes

T h i s session involves practices u t i l i z i n g the w i n d s a n d p r o f o u n d supporting factors, respectively. T h e s u p p o r t i n g factors are preparations of such things as flesh, herbs, a n d juices. In terms of the w i n d s , y o u c r o u c h d o w n and let the w i n d s trickle d o w n w i t h i n as y o u inhale, s u c h that the stomach is filled up [as y o u do vase-breathing]. Y o u then exhale s l o w l y a n d do so in accordance with a meditative visualization of fire. In this way w a r m t h arises externally in the b o d y so that y o u no longer need clothes; w a r m t h arises internally in the mind so that neurotic conceptuality gradually dies d o w n a n d y o u remain in a nonconceptual state. The Direct Consequence oj Sound Tantra describes these practices thus: T h e yoga of clothes is l i k e this: Y o u settle in it t h r o u g h the w i n d s and p r o f o u n d s u p p o r t i n g factors. (1) W i t h exhalation and i n h a l a t i o n of the w i n d s , A n d via the key p o i n t of p e n n i n g up their movements at y o u r navel, Y o u visualize fire in a manner that accords w i t h The particular balance of elements in y o u r body. (2) W i t h preparations of s u p p o r t i n g factors, Y o u properly prepare a p i l l or powder

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F r o m two, six, seven, or three [substances], Swallow the p i l l , and subsequently r u b it on y o u r stomach. At the time of d o i n g these yogas, the alchemical extraction of the four elements' ssences is synthesized into a single practice. T h i s is done through relying on prorations of the precious substance mercury and such, the w i n d s of the four lements, and visualizations. Y o u are thus able to actualize the enlightened ualities stemming f r o m food, clothes, and so forth. The Direct Consequence of Sound Tantra describes the practice thus: A practitioner a i m i n g to equalize The four elemental energies s h o u l d do as follows: In accordance w i t h the key points of earth, water, fire, and w i n d , M i x them into y o u r b o d y and ignite them w i t h the w i n d s ; Your o w n body is transformed By the i n d i v i d u a l elements, and in cultivating that Y o u s h o u l d meditate on the mandala that subsumes the key points. By becoming o p t i m a l l y familialized w i t h those experiences The potency of all four elements arrives at e q u i l i b r i u m , A n d thus y o u experience bliss and are divested of fear. Having thus also accomplished the psychic attainments of b o t h food and clothes, Your life and riches w i l l be completely perfect. The mandala that subsumes the key points requires explanation. First off at dawn you eat one pea-sized p i l l prepared f r o m these four substances: orchids as the extraction of earth energy's essence, mercury as water energy, asparagus as fire energy, and eaglewood as w i n d energy. H a v i n g done this and taken hold of your internal w i n d s [i.e., vase breathing], y o u visualize a triangular mandala of fire at the navel, a circular mandala of water at the heart, a square mandala of earth at the throat, and a b o w l i k e mandala of w i n d at the c r o w n . From a d o w n w a r d facing ham based in the latter's h o l l o w , interior drops of enlightened m i n d s " [i.e., seminal nuclei] descend, thus pervading the triad of your throat, heart, and navel. In this way heat is stirred up [from the navel] and pleasure descends [from the c r o w n ] . T h r o u g h fixing y o u r m i n d on the ^ and w a r m t h o c c u r r i n g in this process of the fire's b l a z i n g and the nuclei's tpping, y o u w i l l actualize the supreme of psychic attainments for b o t h clothes ^ food. As taught by the master Srisimha, y o u w i l l a c c o m p l i s h this through p l y felt experience. l s s

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C a r r y i n g the key points of dreams onto the path Involves p r e l i m i n a r y activities and getting d o w n to the key points. As preliminaries, y o u must refine body, speech, and m i n d U n t i l y o u have attained the requisite signs of mastery; Based u p o n that, y o u then do examination, supression, A n d the identification of your triune k a r m i c propensities [corresponding to past, present, and future]. Getting d o w n to the key points Means i m p l e m e n t i n g these practices' m a i n p o i n t s — T r a i n i n g , transformation, cutting off, interchanging, C o n t r o l l i n g , thrusting to the key points, p e n n i n g u p , and r e v e r s i n g — Such that k a r m i c dreams become utterly exhausted A n d distorting k a r m i c propensities uprooted. Y o u w i l l achieve the f o l l o w i n g results in dependence O n y o u r relative diligence d u r i n g practices: It is certain that the superior w i l l eliminate dreams altogether, The average w i l l recognize them as being dreams [i.e., l u c i d dreams], A n d the inferior w i l l b r i n g about change in their content. F o r these practitioners dreams i n i t i a l l y become more prevalent: The superior ones forget their dreams s u c h that they ultimately cease; F o r average practitioners dreams become exceedingly l u c i d , A n d then ultimately are recognized as being dreams in the very act of dreaming; A n d for inferior practitioners dreams are unclear, and then change [toward a greater c l a r i t y ] — T h u s all three types arrive in their o w n way at the practices' optimization. In ascertaining the key points of contemplatively taking these dimensions into y o u r o w n experience, I w i l l discuss the p r e l i m i n a r y activities and then the main practices. Preliminary Practices

The p r e l i m i n a r y activity of "examination" involves the key points of examination, supression, and identifying your k a r m i c propensities. E x a m i n a t i o n as the first phase entails relaxing quietly in a s u n n y spot and massaging yourself w i t h an ointment; at night y o u then lie d o w n on y o u r right side and examine y o u r dreams. Furthermore, if y o u can't identify y o u r dreams other than briefly, there is the technique of "supression": it is easy to identify them clearly by first focusing the m i n d on a red ah at y o u r throat and then l y i n g d o w n without b e c o m i n g distracted. I w i l l n o w outline the practice of identifying y o u r karmic propensities. If y o u dream predominantly of such things as objects y o u were previously attached to, the series of k a r m i c propensities of those previous attachments w i l l be stronger, and thus the relative difficulty of their transfor-

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mation is intermediate. If you dream predominantly of current relationships and situations, this is extremely easy to deal with—with three or four days of meditation you can gain experiential mastery. If you dream pell-mell of all three temporal dimensions [past, present, and future]—meeting in places you haven't gone with people you have never met before, and so forth—this is called "the conjunction of the three types of karmic propensities" and is extremely difficult to eradicate. The Main Practices

The meditation of the main practice involves eight phases: training on dreams, transforming, cutting off, interchanging, controlling, thrusting to the key points, penning up, and reversing. "Training on dreams" means you develop a single-minded aspiration to experience phenomena as dreamlike and then without distraction train on whatever appears during the daytime as essentially being dreams. Having thereby come to recognize dreams as dreams in the nighttime as well, you must exercise yourself in training on everything as a dream. "Transformation" involves observing the different reflections in a mirror, transforming one after another during the daytime, and then transforming all appearances into a deity's body and so forth. You must then also perform such transformations as horses into elephants with your various dream-appearances, finally transforming them into buddha fields and deities' bodies. "Cutting o f f entails cutting off your attachment to things' veracity. As during the day you experience them as mere dream-visions, normal appearances are no longer held to be veridical. Having recognized dreams as dreams [i.e., lucid dreaming at night], without exulting even in your capacity to transform and train on dreams, you should think "everything is without truth and impossible to pinpoint." Thus you will cut off the immediate flow of all cravings toward any appearances whatsoever. "Interchanging" will refine your skill. In successive instants you transform manifest appearances into vanished appearances, and vanished appearances into manifest ones; you also do such things as interchange pleasure with displeasure, nonthought with thought, or thought with nonthought. "Control" functions to stabilize. Having looked to your experiences at that time, you identify them internally without slipping out of that state, and thus meditate. "Thrusting to the key points" integrates you with the dimension of realization. Staying sensitive to how they are free in their very manifestation and free flowing without segmentation, you train undistractedly on all the nightime dream appearances and daytime appearances. "Penning up" continues meditation within that state. Having penned up the mind one pointedly for a lengthy time in this state of training on dreams as being without truth and free in their very manifestation, you meditate. "Reversal" is their resolution within reality. Letting be all your daily appearances, dreams, views, and meditation without fixing the mind on anything at all, you activate their subsiding within naturally cleansed reality, the vast sky of originally pure emptiness.

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By practicing thus, at first the most diligent w i l l forget their dreams, the average w i l l have l u c i d dreams, and the inferior w i l l delight in and be i n c l i n e d toward their dreams; ultimately the flow of dreams w i l l be cut off for all three. U p o n freeing dreams w i t h i n radiant light, the contemplation of reality w i l l b l e n d day and night together. At that time, y o u r b o d y w i l l become divested of any shadow, and y o u w i l l see for yourself its m i n u t e atomic particles. T h u s it manifests d e v o i d of truth l i k e the appearance of a shadow, and after death the intermediate existence [leading to rebirth] becomes naturally cut off. The Direct Consequence of Sound Tantra describes it thus: The i l l u s o r y b o d y is refined in dreams, W h i l e the physical body of one w e l l versed in it C o m e s to resemble a shadow. T h e n after death they are able to apprehend as themselves The i l l u s o r y b o d y of the intermediate state. The Direct Consequence of Sound Tantra explicates training on radiant light in reliance u p o n sleep in this context: W h e n y o u train in the meditative state of sleep, W i t h experiential mastery, external appearances become radiant B e y o n d any d i s t i n c t i o n between day and night, A n d through this the great radiant light is present. T h i s involves two styles of meditation; the first is a general meditation u p o n radiant light. Y o u meditate d u r i n g the day by expanding awareness's v i v i d clarity as y o u zero in on cognition's transparent brightness in accordance w i t h the key points of the b o d y and w i n d s . W h i l e l a y i n g in the manner of a l i o n d u r i n g the night, y o u rest w i t h i n the state of i d e n t i f y i n g the radiant light of the nonconceptual cognition that occurs on the verge of falling asleep. Thus y o u r e m a i n in that very state utterly d e v o i d of dreams and even continue to see nearby appearances, yet remain totally w i t h o u t any selective and discursive thought processes. If y o u consider this state to be sleep, this is contradicted by y o u r clearly ascertaining i n d i v i d u a l appearances [visual, auditory, and so on], w h i l e if y o u consider it not to be a state of sleep, this is contradicted by the fact that there is " a w a k e n i n g " f r o m this state. D u r i n g this time five-hued appearances as w e l l as n u c l e i , rays, and butter l a m p - l i k e appearances are seen clearly, w h i c h is termed "the manifest radiant l i g h t . " Z e r o i n g in on cognition's transparent brightness is "the empty radiant l i g h t , " as y o u remain w i t h i n the triad of bliss, clarity, and nonconceptuality. The second style is a detailed four-part meditation u t i l i z i n g the key points of radiant light: w i t h d r a w i n g the sensory faculties into their abodes at twilight, inserting objects of cognition into the vase at m i d n i g h t , i l l u m i n a t i n g p r i m o r d i a l gnosis at d a w n , and sealing appearances d u r i n g the daytime. First, y o u meditate w h i l e focused on the l a m p of the empty n u c l e i in the c o n c h shell house [i.e.,

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the skull]. Second, you concentrate one pointedly on a white ah in your heart. Third, with the lion gaze you impell the a within the heart into the sky a bow's length away from your crown and focus on it floating there. Finally, [during the day] you meditate by zeroing in on cognition's transparent brightness in accordance with the key points of the body as well as the mind (just as described previously); in postcontemplative awareness you understand appearances as magical illusions and dreams ["sealing"]. The Six Spaces Tantra explains these thus: During the day you seal appearances; During the night in your own resting place, In order to optimally take hold of the four times' sameness, The practitioner withdraws the faculties' gateways into themselves And brings the mind to bear On the lamp of the empty nucleus. When the nucleus itself increases, Focus on it as also reflecting your cognition's increase; Likewise, when the nucleus becomes minute, The nucleus's increasing minuteness Should be felt as the increasing minuteness of cognition. Through these key points of sleep and dreams You can uproot your karmic propensities stemming from previous attachments. The Meditative

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Eliminating Attachment of Latent Karmic Propensities

Not rejecting on account of what you possess nor actualizing on account of what you lack, not attached to what you possess nor worried about what you lack, not following in the tracks of the past nor laying in wait for the future, and without dressing up present cognitive activity with clothing antidotes, you identify a naked alertness free right where it stands. Appearances are free in and of their very appearance, like a small bird carried away by a hawk; your mind's movements are free in and of their very movement, like the vanishing of a breeze in space; and appearances and cognition are freed into nonduality, like salt dissolving into water. The Six Spaces Tantra describes it thus: For the individual who does not grasp after the past, does not project forward the future, and lets current cognitive activity be in its own place, all cognition blends into one without temporal divisions. This is termed "the single essence subsuming all into one," while the practitioner is called "the visionary who is aware of the three times' sameness." Through the method of memory's self-exhaustion, samsara and transcendence are nondually integrated: "the visionary aware of the three times' sameness" terminates memories of the past, supresses memories of the future, and releases memories of the present to vanish of their own accord.

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Also, "the visionary realizing the three times' sameness" does not obsessively continue to focus on experiences of the past, does not projectively focus on experiences of the future, and does not intellectually focus on experiences of the present. "The visionary realizing the three times' sameness" does not proliferate past dimmed awareness, does not encourage future dimmed awareness, and does not intimately embrace present dimmed awareness. "The visionary realizing the three times' sameness" does not cling to past hatred, does not hook in future hatred, and does not temper present hatred. "The visionary realizing the three times' sameness" does not amass clouds of past ignorance, does not pave the way for future ignorance, and does not bring down a torrent of present ignorance. "The visionary of the three times' sameness" does not respond to the buddhas of the past, does not noisily announce the buddhas of the future, and does not focus directly on the buddhas of the present. "The visionary of the three times' sameness" extirpates past desire, resolves firmly against future desire, and banishes present desires. "The visionary realizing the three times' sameness" does not hold tightly to past jealousies, does not mentally contract into future jealousies, and does not get involved in present jealousies. S/he is referred to as "the great visionary who realizes the nonduality of samsara and transcendence." The "buddha" mentioned in this passage refers to the presencing of deeply felt contemplation in terms of unusual enlightened qualities.

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Tibetan Buddhist meditative systems are in general characterized by a consistent threefold classification scheme based on the triune nature of every activity: a beginning, a middle, and an end. The technical language used to express this in contemplative systems is the preliminaries, main practices, and concluding practices. This triad can be used to characterize the three phases of a single contemplative procedure, to integrate three intertwined, sequentially dependent contemplative techniques, or to serve as loosely connected rubrics integrating a wide variety of meditative systems. The classic paradigm is the "three excellences," which should be applied in all contemplation: one begins a meditation with the recitation of a refuge prayer and a prayer for arousing an enlightened motivation (bodhicitta) as preliminaries; intermediately one implements the main practice without getting trapped in conceptualization or reification; and finally one concludes by dedicating the merit of contemplation to the enlightenment of all living beings. A more tantric reflection of this triad is the initial evocation of emptiness, the intermediate manifestation of envisioned divine images out of that emptiness, and the concluding dissolution of those images back into emptiness. In Nyingma tantric traditions in general, the classic use of these rubrics to integrate different contemplative procedures from the three vehicles of Indian Buddhism into a six-month-long retreat program can be found in Patrul Rinpo=

che's nineteenth-century The Words of My Perfect Teacher (Kun bzang bla ma'i zhal

lung). The preliminaries are classified into exoteric outer practices corresponding to the Hmayana and esoteric inner practices corresponding to the Mahayana and Vajrayana. The former inculcate basic Buddhist values through guided meditations on six topics: the difficulty of finding an optimal human life, the impermanence of life, the sufferings of cyclic existence, the pervasive karmic law of cause and effect, the benefits of liberation, and the value of a spiritual teacher. Following these meditations are what is commonly known as the "five hundred

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thousand" preliminaries, named after the standard practice of doing each one hundred thousand times over the course of four to six months: the recitation of a refuge prayer while visualizing a vast assembly of spiritual figures, the recitation of a bodhicitta prayer with the same visualized backdrop, the recitation of the hundred-syllable mantra of the purificatory buddha known as Vajrasattva, the ritualized offering of visualized and material mandalas, and the practice of guru yoga. Having completed these preliminary practices, the practitioner is allowed to continue on to the "main practices," which are themselves threefold in nature: the generation phase, perfection phase, and Great Perfection. Indo-Tibetan Buddhist tantra itself has had many phases and competing movements, but in later periods it became increasingly standard to summarize contemplative techniques into the two overarching rubrics of generation and perfection phases; the addition of a third element in terms of the Great Perfection is unique to the Nyingma tantric lineages, though parallel developments such as Mahamudra can be found elsewhere. The generation phase boils down in essence to deity yoga, the imaginative appropriation of a new subjectivity, self-identity, and body-image as a male or female buddha. This is done particularly through vivid visualizations of the body's exterior in the form of a buddha, though emotional and cognitive identification is also essential; special hand gestures (mudra) and ritualized chants (mantras) are used to support this identification. The perfection phase techniques then come to terms with the body's own reality, in terms of both its interior (symbolic) and its mute space devoid of images (nonsymbolic). Symbolic techniques are subtle body meditations, which use visualization, breathing, and chanting to sense and manipulate the internal flow of energies in the body. The key technique is perhaps the "fierce woman" (gtum mo) fire practice, a variant of sexual yogic practices: the crux is the flow of ambrosial seminal nuclei through the four wheels or energy nexuses ('khor lo) at the subtle body's center, the concomitant experiences of four degrees of intensifying bliss and the consequent concentration of winds or currents of energy (Hung) within the subtle body's central channels. The types of experiences deriving from these processes are summarized as threefold: bliss, clarity, and nonconceptuality. Nonsymbolic perfection phase contemplation, however, involves divestiture of iconic content and other contrivances as one simply rests in the space of the images' dissolution. As such, it can come at the conclusion of the visualizations' dissolution in either generation phase or symbolic perfection phase techniques, or it can be pursued as a freestanding contemplation (in the latter sense, it is often understood as outside of the generation/perfection phase structure—see "breakthrough" below). This thus reflects a continuance of earlier calming techniques and meditation on emptiness, though transformed by its practical and rhetorical context. The main practices of the Great Perfection itself are twofold: breakthrough (khregs chod) and direct transcendence (thod rgal). Breakthrough reflects a further development of nonsymbolic perfection phase contemplation as a free-standing contemplation stressing natural vision and breathing in a psychic landscape

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shaped by stunning poetic rhetoric. Often referred to as meditating on "the nature of the mind" or the "vastness of the sky," the emphasis is on the absence of fixed contemplative techniques as one tunes into a fluid unobstructed embodied awareness. Direct transcendence, however, is an unusual variant on generation and symbolic perfection phase techniques, though the emphasis is on exterior vision in the surrounding space rather than interiorized subtle body meditations. The unusual character of this practice lies in its emphasis on cultivating spontaneous image flow of unpredetermined nature through initial reliance on external light sources. It is explicitly contrasted to the painstakingly contrived visualization of buddhas or mandalas of buddhas in the standard generation and perfection phase techniques. This practice integrates breakthrough contemplation as the necessary state of awareness within which these visionary contemplations must unfold. The main practice begins with an introduction (ngo 'phrod) to the direct perception or immediacy (mngon sum) of reality, which then forms the heart of contemplation: in direct transcendence one literally sees buddhahood directly with one's own eyes, while in breakthrough contemplation one becomes immersed directly within pristine awareness. The Seminal Heart tradition of the Great Perfection, however, also has its own internal divisions of preliminary and main practices. Varying classificatory schemes are utilized, but the most common considers the breakthrough and direct transcendence contemplations to be the twofold main practice, while all other contemplative techniques are considered preliminaries. While these preliminaries include the standard range of meditations on impermanence, compassion, the purificatory Vajrasattva, and so on, they also generally embrace two integrated sets of practices that are unique to the tradition (at least in these particular forms). In The Seminal Quintessence oj the DakM (KGYT1 289.2ff.), Longchenpa terminologically differentiates the latter from the former by contrasting them as "extraordinary" preliminaries to the "ordinary" sevenfold preliminaries. The ordinary practices are: a visualization practice aimed at seeing all appearances as the guru; the purification practice of mandala offerings; meditating on the impermanence of life; contemplating the karmic law of cause and effect; cultivating the four immeasurable emotions of impartiality, love, compassion, and sympathetic joy; arousing an enlightened motivation; and the purificatory practice of the Vajrasattva's hundred-syllable mantra. The two sets of unique Great Perfection preliminaries are presented in different ways, but the most standard presentation is that of the four yogas of food, clothes, dream, and karma (see chapter 18) along with a triune set of practices I have summarized as the elements, craziness, and subjectivity as letters. The former tend to be associated with leading the disciple into breakthrough contemplation, while the latter are generally positioned as preliminaries to direct transcendence. The technical terms for the latter three sets of practices are the yoga of the four elements' sounds (though often presented as involving all five elements), the conduct of differentiating between the domains of samsara and nirvana, and the preliminaries of body, speech, and mind. Before

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turning to Longchenpa's o w n exposition of this triune practice, I w i l l briefly sum marize them and discuss the precise way in w h i c h they serve as preliminaries leading one into the flow of direct transcendence contemplation.

The Yoga of the Five Elements: Dynamic Vision and the Intertwining of Intersubjectivity The elements yoga involves a type of calming technique utilizing the natural sounds of the Buddhist fivefold classification of material elements into water earth, fire, w i n d , and space, as the object of concentration. As preliminaries to the practice, the practitioner goes to a secluded spot where he or she can remain in solitude without distraction, relax body, speech, and m i n d , make a fire, present a ritual feast offering and sacrificial cakes (gtor ma) to the dakinis, and then examine the fire's shapes and colors for omens. The actual practice is then done in any posture that maintains the upper torso's straightness, since it is essential that there is no distortion in its subtle channels and the psychophysical energy flowing through them. Thus, the classical lotus posture is particularly useful, though other postures are equally effective in this case. The sounds of water, fire, and w i n d are simply their naturally occurring forms: a waterfall or turbulent stream, a campfire or fireplace, and a w i n d y spot such as a mountain top. The sound of earth is created artificially by a variety of techniques, such as striking w o o d repeatedly and focusing on the resulting sound (one can create the same sound or various sounds, as one finds effective for concentration). The Illuminating Lamp ( V N T 2 57.4) advocates m a k i n g egg-sized balls of colored clay and slapping them back and forth between the hands. In either case, the resulting sound is "cool and heavy"; in contrast to the unstable, constantly shifting sounds of water, fire, and w i n d , this sound is deep, resonant, steady, and relatively distant or nondynamic. In terms of the space or sky yoga, one lies supine on one's back w i t h limbs stretched out flat. W h i l e slowly exhaling, one thrusts one's awareness far away into space's empty expanse. D o i n g this again and again, the practitioner becomes immersed in the experience of the sky's nature, though other than the gentle sound of exhalation there is no coarsely distinct sound of space. This type of sky yoga is also used as an enhancing practice for breakthrough meditation by virtue of its inducing a sense of emptiness, while the posture itself is an auxiliary posture, in direct transcendence practice termed "the posture of sameness primordial gnosis." Whichever element is being practiced, the practitioner is to become totally absorbed in its sounds u n t i l he or she seems literally to dissolve w i t h i n them. Given the way these pervasive sounds tend to fill up the body and m i n d the moment one turns one's attention to them, this practice yields powerful effects unusually quickly. In this process the mind's grasping and internal chattering gradually subsides, until only a natural flow of experience remains: empty, radiant, and nonconceptual. That experience should be identin

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the true nature of the m i n d and is considered an intuition of the inner pure buddha-nature that characterizes all l i v i n g beings. These simple practices l i n k up to direct transcendence contemplation, and the complex system of thought it embodies, in a number of interesting ways. To begin ^ t h unlike more static calming contemplations that cultivate concentration via focus on a still statue, a slightly flickering candle flame (the space an arm's span in front of the meditator), or the relatively placid movement of the breath in and out, the object of focus here is intrinsically dynamic and changing. The quest to find a still place right in the midst of all this dynamic movement perfectly mirrors the nature of direct transcendence contemplation, where the key is to experience a bewildering flow of spontaneous imagery and yet avoid indulging in the investiture of emotional energy into the exterior or exteriorized images. Thus one must balance between remaining in a perfectly still and unfissured circulation of internal energies (the breakthrough) and yet simultaneously and perpetually move beyond it (direct transcendence) to the manifestation of images envisioning one's own being; this sense of balance is first cultivated in the uncanny experiences of stillness found w i t h i n the turmoil of a roaring waterfall or crackling fire. Another danger of calming techniques is overly rigid control as one becomes fixated on concentrating ordinarily dispersed psychic energies in a mastered and mastering gaze. W h e n the object of that gaze is a passive, perfectly still item such as a statue or even a predetermined visualization scheme, there is an inherent tendency for the gaze's potential aggressive and controlling aspects to be encouraged by the compliancy and inertness of its object. But in these practices we instead find a dynamic, inherently motile object that refuses to be controlled in its constantly changing visual and aural designs, movements that are allowed to take their o w n course. In these ways, it accords w i t h the Great Perfection's rhetoric of defeating the intellect's demands for control in preference for a body-based spontaneity of image and action. This rhetoric is embodied in the direct transcendence's insistence on waiting in the intense silence of breakthrough for the movement of images to take shape and to resist the impulse to begin to structure that movement intellectually w i t h the forestructuring of preordained visualizations.

Craziness and Naturalness: The Differentiation between the Domains of Samsara and Nirvana This practice is split into three separate phases correlated w i t h our triune identity physical, verbal, and mental, reflecting the practical necessity of coming to terms with one's concrete embodied existence beyond mere intellectual analysis. spite this, it is governed by a unitary principle: the practitioner begins by simply crazily acting out whatever impulse pops up until finally pure exhaustion leaves trn or her w i t h no alternative but to enter a state of deep relaxed quiet termed settling into naturalness" (mal dbab). The quest thus is to begin with the ordinary as

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life-stream m u d d i e d w i t h emotionally fueled physical, verbal, and mental waves and proceed to zero in on a calm, natural, pellucid fluidity that is the mind's t r u

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nature. The practice opens w i t h a frenetic, sped-up version of life in samsara as the practitioner lets himself or herself go without the normal plethora of restrir tions due to personal neuroses and societal strictures, acting out whatever impulse to thought, speech, or physical action comes to m i n d . The traditional Buddhist w o r l d comprises six types of life forms, w h i c h also function as psychological states or orientations that humans may find themselves in at any given point: hell beings starving spirits, animals, humans, demigods, and gods. Thus a large part of this meditation naturally tends to be the imitating of these different beings' thoughts physical behaviors, and verbal languages in accordance w i t h whatever strikes one's fancy. It is essential that one yields to impulses in immediate and abrupt ways, rather than mentally directing and structuring activities. For example, one jumps and prowls like a wolf, howls like a wolf, and imitates its thought patterns as it thinks about h o w to track d o w n and capture a sheep; or one pretends to be a mass murderer and then suddenly switches to the outlook of a self-sacrificing saint. W h i l e in general this practice is discussed in terms of three distinct categories corresponding to body, speech, and m i n d , in fact some teachers have students do all three together since otherwise it entails improbable acts like saying things without thinking, and so forth. In short, one lets oneself go crazy physically, verbally, and mentally in a flood of diverse activity, so that by this total surrender to the play of images and desire across the m i r r o r i n g surface of one's being, one gradually comes to understand the very nature of the mirror itself. Thus it is important to maintain awareness even as one experiments w i t h opening up one's limitations and defined self, since the goal is not dissolution into insanity, but rather learning h o w to relax as one overcomes verbal, physical, and mental habitual conditionings. To aid in this maintenance of awareness, periodically w h e n the frantic nature of this process gets intense, one abruptly shout "phat" in a fierce tone and looks to the essence of the m i n d . U n t i l such a sudden glance reveals that one has broken through the defenses to gain an enduring relaxation into the empty nature of the mind, one continues to return again and again to the w i l d enactments. The overall time period is indeterminate since it all depends on w h e n the practitioner is able to make this differentiation and gain a visceral sensation of the mind's empty, vibrant nature: it can range from three days to three years, though often periods of seven, twenty-one, or one hundred days are mentioned. At some point, the sudden look into the mind's nature amidst all the crazy activity thus gives way to a collapse into a deep state of relaxation in which the underlying purity of the mind's nature can finally come to the fore, thereby allowing one to differentiate this transcedence of oneself out from the ordinary cyclical patterns of distorting activity that characterize life. In the state of q u i

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relaxation w h e n the body, speech, and m i n d become exhausted, habitual con ditionings and defense mechanisms are relaxed, leaving nothing but to let go into one's o w n natural state. This settling into naturalness can be done in whate\er

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position is physically comfortable, though in general a classic position in the Great Perfection involves lying on the right side with the right cheek resting on the right palm, and the right elbow tucked into the right side (lying facedown is said to lead to ignorance, lying on the left side to hatred, and lying on the back to desire). While in theory the moment for settling in naturalness should be guided by personal insight, in practice it tends to be somewhat prestructured: one can do it for three days following uninterrupted practice of the "craziness" for a number of days; alternatively, during the day or morning one can do the impulse-activity and then settle into naturalness at night. In his The Seminal Quintessence of the Master (LYT1 165.1, 166.3, 168.2), Longchenpa indicates one does the "conduct" during the day, while at night one lies down on a comfortable bed to settle into naturalness: following physical conduct the body should be perfectly still, following verbal conduct one should be perfectly silent, and following mental conduct one's mind should be perfectly nonconceptual. Either way, the settling into naturalness is done for a number of hours at a time. The commentary on the passage from The Tantra of the Self Emerging Teaching (VNT1 182.2-6) cited in The Treas-

ury of Words and Meanings provides a more programmed twelve-day schedule that one repeats once a year or as much as is possible given the circumstances: the practitioner begins with three days of physical activity, followed by one day of relaxing the body into its natural state by lying on a comfortable mattress; intermediately practicing verbal activity for three days, followed by one day where one relaxes speech into its natural state by not talking with anyone at all even to the extent of making a gesture; and finally for three more days practicing "differentiation" in terms of the mind, followed by one day during which the mind relaxes into its natural state via ceasing ordinary conceptualization. This preliminary dyad of frenetic activity and settling into naturalness mirrors the dyad of direct transcendence and breakthrough and also prefigures the ultimate end of direct transcendence visions when the visions fade away into nothingness. The texts themselves refer to both "exoteric" and "supreme" motivations or rationales underlying these practices, which are substantially identical to the explanations given below for the final set of preliminary practices. In The Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle (TCD2 201.7ff), Longchenpa explains the practice of physical conduct thus: Since when initially the body develops in the embryo, both our speech and mind develop based upon it, it is necessary first to engage in the body conduct. The necessity of this practice is that through it you exhaust the karma of subsequent ordinary embodiment and thus no longer delight in ordinary activities, as well as purify physical negative actions. . . . If you practice this for seven days, eleven days, or half a month, externally attachment to your body is naturally reversed, internally your body becomes calm and subdued, and esoterically it is certain that your [corporeal body] will be freed as a luminously radiant illusory body. Then by relaxing in the body's natural condition for three, seven, or eleven days, your psychophysical components and so forth expand, and your body is unified with the emanation body.

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Subsequently ( T C D 2 202.7) he explains verbal conduct in similar terms: In reliance u p o n thus [giving voice] to these different verbal expressions, y o u w i l l interrupt the flow of c i r c l i n g w i t h i n the three realms of samsara. . . . W h e n y o u d i l igently undertake this practice for the n u m b e r of days specified above, the most diligent w i l l be able to [totally] reverse attachment to speech itself, w h i l e for more ordinary practitioners realization w i l l d a w n that speech and all appearances are similarly aimless and impossible to p i n p o i n t . The b o d y is o u r foundation a n d the m i n d is the fruit or c u l m i n a t i o n , while speech is the connection between them; thus the conduct of speech is placed as the intermediate phase here. In this practice the rationales are to interrupt involvement in distorting forms of expression t h r o u g h v o i c i n g various sounds of y o u r o w n and others, to not subsequently be reborn as whichever type of being's speech y o u give voice to, and to free the cycles of letters. F i n a l l y (204.1) he explains mental conduct: H a v i n g practiced this for many days, y o u w i l l no longer cycle through the three realms. . . . V i a then settling into naturalness w i t h o u t any further projections or contractions, the basic gateway of ordinary psychic attention is b l o c k e d . . . . W h e n you are divested of attachment to b o t h the b o d y and speech, it is appropriate to engage in the conduct cutting the root of the m i n d . By training on it to the point that it inherently fades away w i t h o u t a trace, y o u become free of the three realms of samsara. In The Seminal Quintessence oj the Master ( L Y T 1 168.2), Longchenpa offers an optimistic outlook: W i t h diligent practice, superior practitioners w i l l experience the emergence of the requisite signs in three days; for the average it w i l l take five days; and for the inferior it w i l l take anywhere f r o m seven days o n w a r d . If at that time the sky becomes lucent w i t h r a i n b o w colored lights, it signifies y o u have exhausted y o u r negativities and obscurations w i t h mastery of the yoga; otherwise negativities and obscurations continue to h o l d sway, and thus y o u must again exert yourself in the practice. Earlier in the same text ( L Y T 1 165.2-4, 1 6 6 . 4 - 5 , and 167.5-168.1), Longchenpa specifies the experiential signs m a r k i n g success in each of the three phases; he also describes h o w the master w i l l meditate on reality's immediacy in his or her o w n residence d u r i n g these practices and periodically go out to a place where all his or her disciples can easily gather to inquire as to what signs have or have not occurred for each—if the requisite signs have not yet occurred for any given person, he or she has them repeat the practice. The signs of physically differentiating between samsara a n d nirvana are such things as becoming divested of any attachment to the body, feeling like one does not even have a body, not noticing heat or c o l d , not feeling hunger or thirst, never becoming fatigued, feeling as i one is flying through the sky, and blissful w a r m t h blazing in the body. By repeating the practice u n t i l such signs occur, it is certain one w i l l physically accomp l i s h the differentiation. The motivation b e h i n d this practice is to pacify physics

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Instructions, purify negativities and obscurations, free the body into the emanation body (nirmanakdya), and become nondually united with the unchanging damantine body of all the buddhas. The signs of verbal differentiation are such things as Sanskrit language, many teachings one never previously knew and melodious songs naturally welling up from within oneself, or the experience of such things as feeling no desire to speak and the supremely blissful dimension of the ineffable. The meditator is to repeat the practice until such signs occur. The motivation behind this practice is to pacify verbal obstructions, purify negativities and obscurations, free the speech into the enjoyment body (sambhogakdyd), and become indivisible with the essence of the adamantine speech. The signs of mental differentiation are that the mind becomes radiant and light, distorting ideation ceases, one experiences a blissful, clear, and nonconceptual contemplative state, and the realization of skylike primordial freedom dawns from within. The meditator is to repeat the practice until such signs occur. The motivation behind this practice is to pacify mental obstructions, purify negativities and obscurations, free the mind into the reality body (dharmakdya), and expansively awaken into the essence of the adamantine mind.

Subjectivity as a Vajra, Letters, and Perfectly Intangible: The Preliminaries of Body, Speech, and Mind The final set of practices is again divided into physical, verbal, and mental phases, which in this case are quite distinct from each other. However, the principle in each reiterates the pattern of activity followed by deep relaxation that characterizes the differentiation of domain practices. Longchenpa says it is best to do each for no less than seven days, acceptable to do each for three or five days, and necessary to at the very least do each for one day, since the introduction of the main practice depends on mastery of the preliminaries (LTY1 372.1). Of the three sets of preliminary practices, these are the mostly widely practiced in contemporary circles and the most emphasized in the classical literature. The reasons for their importance are fairly clear: they do not require special environments such as the other practices do (a windy spot, a stream, seclusion to act crazy in, and so forth); they are neatly packaged along the lines of the much beloved body, speech, and mind rubrics; their streamlined use of visualization invokes the power of tantric imagmal processes in a distinctively Great Perfection style; and the contemplation on the mind is a classic analytical inquiry opening up into breakthrough practice. T h e Preliminaries oj the Body

Jn a secluded spot, one assumes the "vajra" posture as one stays relaxed and eathes naturally. This posture involves placing the two soles together in a standing posture as one goes up on the toes, and putting one's two palms together w ith a small space between them) above the head but not touching it. In this

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posture, one visualizes the body image as a three-pointed blue vajra, blazing hot with hundreds of small fire sparks. Its upper three tips are formed by the two hands and head, while its three lower tips are formed by the two legs and genitals. The three lower tips symbolize the three bodies of a buddha (reality, enjoyment, and emanation), the three upper tips symbolize the ground's essence, nature, and compassionate resonance, and the body/vajra's unification of these two ends into a single unity via the waist symbolizes the integration of breakthrough and direct transcendence (KGYT2 336.4). You then hold this posture until finally the legs give out and you collapse helplessly to the prepadded floor; you do not decide when to fall, but rather wait until your body's fatigue no longer allows it to sustain itself. The body's deep fatigue blocks the mind's ordinary ceaseless stitching together of experience, thereby ripping a hole within the constructed world through which you can begin glimpse another nature. You thus settle into naturalness by relaxing in whatever posture you happen to collapse in as you fall to the ground (adjusting the posture after the collapse would only foster conceptuality and thought activity, and as such should be avoided). Once conceptuality begins to stir again, you repeat the process. In the Palyul (dpalyul) tradition, the meditator is instructed to thrust a white "a" from his or her head through the Brahma's aperture (i.e., at the head's center where hair swirls outward) far away into the sky and then fall back to flat on the back while chanting "ha, ha, ha" three times. Longchenpa in The Seminal Quintessence of the Profound (ZMYT1 200.3) identifies the exoteric rationale as reversing attachment to the body, calming obstacles, and purifying the body's negative actions, the latter being the common element in the former two. He describes the ultimate rationale as the body not subsequently entering into the stronghold of the womb, being freed within the emanation body, and becoming nondual with the Buddha's body, the latter being the common element in the former two. This practice's connection to direct transcendence contemplation is similar to the previous practices: the dynamic, motile visualization of sparks flying off a burning hot vajra, the forced exhaustion of ordinary mental processes through viscerally experienced exhaustion, and the tuning into a state of relaxed uncontrived naturalness that is direct transcendence's necessary precursor. The Preliminaries of Speech

The fourfold practice relating to speech involves the visualization and chanting of the syllable "hum." In the standard mantra "om ah hum" it corresponds to the Buddha's mind and is further identified as the seed syllable of all the buddhas; thus in these practices hum symbolizes one's own enlightened psychic energy. As you "seal," "refine your skill," "seek suppleness," and "enter the path" with the use of singular or pluralized hums which are visualized, chanted, and felt, your subjectivity thus undergoes concordant transformations: it is sealed, refined or activated, rendered supple, and finally inserted into pathways. The first phase is termed "sealing" (rgyas gdab pa), since in two steps one seals

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or authenticates all appearances as illusory by transforming them into hums. The initial phase is the sealing of external appearances: sitting in the lotus position with a straight back, the meditator visualizes his or her ground-awareness as a blue hum in the heart. From it a hum emerges from the right nostril (LYT1 367.1), then two, and then one after another many small hums fill up all of the external landscape, such that everything is transformed into hums. The meditator visualizes everywhere as filled with luminously radiant pure lands in the form of hums radiating with the light of the five primordial gnoses; he or she imagines mountains as large hums, forests as small hums and leaves as minute hums. These visual transformations are accompanied by continual chanting of long melodious hums done with the lips and teeth just barely separated (KGYT1 295.1-2). During the entire process the meditator is to maintain awareness of the heart's central hum, while gradually becoming convinced that nothing is real; impure vision is transformed into pure vision; the sense that the entire exterior display is a reflection of one's internal pristine awareness also induces a sensation of intimate intertwining expressed by the notion that the world is "self-presencing" (rang snang). Longchenpa sums up the significance of the practice thus (LYT1 367.2): "to ensure that at the time of the main practice your inner awareness will not fall under the sway of external appearances." In the second step the meditator is to seal the internal body and mind by imagining the external hums dissolve one by one into the body's interior through the left nostril or all the pores of the skin, such that the entire body is filled with hums (LYT1 367.4 and KGYT1 295.3). When the large hums (such as of a mountain) enter, one can visualize either the body as proportionately large or the hum as entering within a sesame-seed-sized body, which leads to the liberating experience of appearances as indeterminate and awareness as aimless. The meditator may experience an uneasy feeling like an overfull stomach as the hums fill up his or her interior, though via this practice he or she is eventually free from awareness being fettered by the physical body (LYT1 367.4). Finally, all the hums disappear within the expanse and one relaxes the mind into its natural state. I have been told of oral instructions that one can eventually do the entire process with each exhalation and inhalation: the hums manifest externally as all appearances with exhalation and then reenter the body with inhalation. The second phase is termed "refining skill" or "activating potency" (rtsal sbyong) as it further develops the practice by literally interpenetrating, a process that again begins with exteriority and then proceeds to inferiority. In terms of external appearances, hand-span-sized blue-black hums glowing with the fiery light of the five primordial gnoses (KGYT1 295.5) emanate out via the right nostril from the heart's central hum as the meditator repeatedly recites hum forcefully and incisively. These hums proceed unimpededly through material things with the capacity to perforate them at the mere touch; in their to and fro unimpeded penetrating movement, one imagines that everything one generally prioritizes in the visual field is gradually perforated. Thus in this practice appearances are not transformed but rather riddled with holes, becoming like rainbows in their transparency and

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intangibility. This explosion of materiality finally culminates in the total eradi cation of all appearances so that one no longer sees anything at all. The meditator then proceeds to the inner body, as the hums pass back and forth directly through the body without returning through the nostrils, such that their perforation even tually destroys the body; it becomes no more than the reflection of the moon in water. As before, this external/internal oscillation can eventually be done with each exhalation and inhalation, such that w i t h exhalation the exterior is shot through w i t h holes and w i t h inhalation the interior experiences a similar fate The third phase is termed "seeking suppleness" (mnyen btsal) or "seeking out an a i d " (gnyen btsal): the former term indicates seeking the gentleness or pliability of the m i n d rather than its usual rigidity and stiffness, while the latter term indicates using a stick as an aid for the visualization as the eyes focus on hums w i n d i n g up and d o w n it, w h i c h also functions as an "antidote" to mental rigidity Focusing on a meditative reference point in front, such as a mountain, tree trunk or upright stick planted in the ground, the meditator is to emanate out a rope of hums from the heart's central hum via the right nostril and coil it around the reference point so that it moves on up to its top in a spiraling motion. To develop one pointed mental stabilization, one then focuses attention on the hum at the top for an extended period of time, while maintaining an awareness of the garland of hums going back to the heart through the nostril. Then the hums slowly unwind d o w n the stick, recede back to the nostril, and thus dissolve into the heart's hum; one then repeats the entire process from the heart anew, eventually collapsing the entire projection and reabsorption into the space of a single exhalation and inhalation. W h i l e concentrating on their movements, the meditator utters melodious drawn out hums. The aim behind this phase of the practice is to gain stability in concentration so that wherever one focuses the m i n d , it takes hold there. As one thus gains control over awareness by shifting its focus point in space at will by training on these "flexible" reference points, awareness becomes more supple such that in encountering the exterior w o r l d a fluid mutability is introduced into its perceptions (LYT1 368.4). The fourth phase is termed "entering the path" (lam gzhug): identifying subjectivity w i t h a blue-black hum half an arm's length (or whatever is comfortable) in size as one hums a song of long melodious hums and begins to travel to places k n o w n and u n k n o w n . According to Khanpo J i k p h u n , there are various methods for the initial generation of this subjectivity as a traveling letter: the meditators o w n body is transformed into the traveling hum, the heart's hum increases in size, or a second hum is emanated from the heart's hum. One's body then literally becomes the hum rather than a dualistically conceived rider and mount and is considered to be the essence of one's psychic complex of unified winds and mm , one's h u m m i n g of hums matches the rhythms of this hum's movement. The me itator begins by traveling to places he or she knows and is attached to such as towns, dense forests, gorges, or waterfalls, thus bringing these karmic traces closure as attachment to them is exhausted in the simple fatigue of constant tra • One then proceeds to let the imagination roam free and overcome attacnm

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even to the more unusual spaces of imagination, as one opens up new fields of experience by transporting consciousness into unknown places, including pure lands where one then remains in a state of contemplation. Throughout one continues to consider that as a hum one can travel anywhere without limitations. If the mind grows fatigued in these travels, the meditator is to shout "phat" and release the traveling to remain nondually where one is. Ultimately, in Longchenpa's explanation, one travels farther and farther away, until finally with the thought that one is going infinitely far away to the limits of the sky, one just lets the visualization go and return to a quiet presence in the body without the hum sequentially retracing its steps; this can also be accompanied by a final "phat". The Preliminaries

of Mind

This final practice of questioning leads directly into breakthrough contemplation. It is centered in a famous triune practice of observing one's own mind called "origin, abode, and destination" ('byung gnas 'gro), which revolves around the temporal structures of past, present, and future. In three successive phases, the meditator is to observe each thought that manifests in the mind's landscape, inquiring as to where it came from, where it endures, and to where it departs when it subsides. The practice thus entails a rigorous quest for the mind, which despite its apparent nearness proves to be deceptively elusive when one seeks to pinpoint analytically its circumstances. In addition to direct introspective observation of particular thoughts, there is also a more analytical directed inquiry into the general nature of thought: how do they arise, how are they in their subsistence, how do they disappear? The meditator begins by examining possible sites of the mind's origination and its nature in its initial origination. Does it originate from external appearances, or is it merely a construction of socializing discourses? In observing a particular thought, one asks whether it is linked to one of the senses (something seen or heard?). Does it originate from the internal psychophysical components or from matter? Analyzing matter itself down to its atoms, one finds its own seeming solidity fades away under scrutiny. Eventually this sustained relentless questioning yields a realization that the mind is unborn, rootless, and empty, thus introducing the meditator to the inner dimension of the emanation body. The examination then proceeds to the mind's current site of endurance and how it might exist substantially as an agent of such endurance. Through a similar type of inquiry seeking the mind's essence within inner, outer, and liminal spaces, one realizes its truth as nonabiding and without support; this serves to introduce the enjoyment body. Finally the meditator turns to the ultimate site to which thoughts fade away and how they function as an agent of that fading: where do thoughts go when they cease? The consequent realization of the mind as unceasing and beyond limitations introduces the reality body, the openness into which all manifestation dissolves. Via this questioning and the consequent realization that there are no concrete answers to grasp onto, a gap opens up, a sense of openness that prepares the

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meditator for the symbolic introduction to the skylike nature of awareness. He or she observes the absence of any precise source, abode, or destination; instead, everything arises, exists, and subsides interdependently. When this inquiry thus yields no answers as the mind proves impossible to pinpoint in this way, one's awareness suddenly recedes to the intangible background of the mind, or the emptiness of mind-as-such (sems nyid). This then is termed the introduction to the mind's nature, the reality body of experience. The point of this is experientially finding what the wide open space of the mind's nature is really like, and thus as the master gives the symbolic introduction, the meditator suddenly realizes that the true characteristic of body, speech, and mind is none other than the sky. Once this recognition is stabilized, it functions as the initiatory introduction (ngo 'phrod) into the main practice. Breakthrough contemplation itself bypasses these more analytical types of conceptual inquiries, though it presupposes their previous utilization to penetrate to the emptiness of the mind.

Relaxation and Revitalization In The Seminal Quintessence of the Dakini, Longchenpa presents these preliminaries in three phases: the "external" (combining the "differentiation" practices with the preliminaries of body, speech, and mind), the "internal" (i.e., the six-syllablerealm meditation), and the "esoteric." The esoteric itself consists of two aspects (KGYT2 349.4-352.3): settling into naturalness and revitalization. In short, following all the frenetic activity shaking up the meditator's energy, he or she lies down and relaxes in a quiet state; this then must be followed by a revitalizing process allowing energy to reorganize into more positive patterns. While other Great Perfection preliminary practices are designed to enable one to enter the experience of the union of inner calm (zhi gnas; samatha) and incisive vision (Ihag mthong; vipasyana), this recedes to the background in the wild activity of the differentiation practice. Thus following this practice one "relaxes in the natural state" to avoid sickness ensuing after all the agitation, as well as to rest in the experience of the mind's ultimate nature that comes to the fore following the exhaustion of ordinary physical, verbal, and mental activities. Longchenpa indicates the meditator is to lie on a comfortable bed divested of thought, speech, or movement, resting in a natural state: still in the nonwavering of the body, quiet in the lack of speech, and nonconceptual in the mind's deep calm. Subsequently settling into naturalness is said to penetrate to the fundamental dimension of the breakthrough (KGYT2 352.6) Following this relaxation the meditator must revitalize or rejuvenate his or her now purified energies and thus reengage the union of inner calm and incisive vision; in this way he or she brings this union to the fore again, placing it in the path where it sustains the ensuing practices of breakthrough and direct transcendence. Having divested himself or herself of physical, verbal, and mental obscurations preventing the corresponding positive energies' development, the meditator

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now allows those positive qualities to unfold. Thus after settling into naturalness, one uses a trio of gazes in set postures to revitalize in the reintegration of stillness and movement: first the listener (sravaka) position stills the body, the posture of a bodhisattva stabilizes that quiet, and then the wrathful stance frees that stabilized energy so that it can participate in dynamic enlightened movement. The listener position refers to the classical lotus position with its seven points; the posture of the bodhisattva refers to sitting in the lotus position with the eyes staring wide open into space; and the wrathful stance signifies a standing posture with one leg extended out front with the heel on the ground and toes in the air, and the other leg drawn in with sole on the ground and knee crooked, while the eyes stare wide open into space as one verbally utters "ha ha hi hi." These three postures are done successively with the time for each phase indeterminate, since each is completed whenever one is able to attain stable meditative union of inner calm and incisive vision within it, at which point one moves on to the next phase. Since usually the wrathful position with its sound "ha ho hi" tends to make the mind waver, it is the most difficult and thus is done last; success with it indicates that the meditator's contemplation has become stable enough that he or she can move onto the main practices of the Great Perfection. The text of the Tshig Don Mdzod is translated from the edition of Klong chen rab 'byams pa's Mdzod bdun, published by Sherab Gyaltsen and Khyentse Labrang in six volumes; (Gangtok, Sikkim, 1983).

Further Reading For one of the most popular Nyingma accounts of the standard preliminary processes, see Patrul Rinpoche, The Words oj My Perfect Teacher (New York: HarperCollins, 1994). For a translation of Longchenpa's own account of such practices as well as an extension into Great Perfection contemplation, see Herbert Guenther, Kindly Bent to Ease Us (Emeryville, CA: Dharma Publishing, 19751976). For a very loose translation of a late Bonpo work with Great Perfection preliminary practices almost identical to those outlined here, see Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen, Heart Drops of the Dharmakaya, trans. Lopon Tenzin Namdak (Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications, 1993). For an interesting autobiographical survey of the Great Perfection, see Namkhai Norbu, The Crystal and the Way of Light (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1986). Finally, for an interesting account of practices similar to the "differentiation" in the wildly popular contemporary Qigong movement in China, see John Alton, Living Qigong (Boston: Shambhala, 1997). The preceding discussion was principally based on the following Tibetan sources: Theg mchog mdzod (TCD), Bi ma snying thig (VNT), Bla mayang tig (LYT), Mkha' 'gro snying thig (KGNT), Mkha 'gro yang tig (KGYT), and Zab mo yang tig (ZMYT). The first work is also published as part of the Mdzod bdun (see above), while the other five works constitute the massive Snying thig ya bzhi, published

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in an eleven volume edition by T r u l k u Tsewang, Jamyang and L. Tashi in N Delhi (1971).

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For more precise references, please refer to my u p c o m i n g translation of Jh Treasury of Precious Words and Meanings as w e l l as my associated monographs tentatively entitled Mysticism and Rhetoric in the Great Perfection The Architecture of Absence and Embodied Visions.

Preliminary Practices for Transcendence SETTING FORTH THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE PRELIMINARIES TO THE MAIN PRACTICES A n a l o g i c a l l y , it resembles h o w a traveler embarked on a frightening road first reconnoiters the road for concealed sources of danger, f o l l o w i n g w h i c h she or he can proceed o n w a r d comfortably w i t h o u t w o r r y . In a similar manner, you first penetrate to the fundamentals of y o u r three gateways [physical, verbal, and mental] v i a these preliminaries, and thus are able to proceed to the ultimate reaches of the m a i n practice w i t h o u t impediments or obstacles. It also resembles h o w someone first takes care of security at a sentry castle in a dangerous border region, and thus is able to stay in the " m a i n residence" w i t h their m i n d at ease. In a similar manner, y o u first cut the root of all oscill a t i o n between hope and fear or acceptance a n d rejection v i a the preliminaries, and then are able to rest at the time of the " m a i n practice" w i t h o u t compulsive exertion d r i v e n by y o u r hopes and fears. F i n a l l y , it resembles h o w p r i o r to farming one must amass the requisite materials, whereby "the m a i n stage" of farming w i l l go smoothly from the seedlings up to the a u t u m n harvest. O n e must proceed s i m i l a r l y in meditative practice: h a v i n g first resolved the ground's great spontaneous presence via the preliminaries, y o u proceed through the four visions' o p t i m i z a t i o n at the time of "the m a i n practice," and consequently attain in y o u r o w n being the fruit of the A l l G o o d O n e ( K u n t u bzang po) reality itself.

THE ACTUAL PRELIMINARIES T h i s involves three sections: training on the four elements' sounds and realities as the i n i t i a l guidance on the three bodies of a b u d d h a ; training on the conduct of differentiating between the domains of samsara and nirvana as the initia guidance on awareness; and training on the preliminaries of body, speech, an m i n d as the i n i t i a l guidance on the m i n d . The Initial Guidance on the Three Bodies: Training on the Four Elements' Sounds and Realities

The Direct Consequence of Sound Tantra provides a brief d i s c u s s i o n :

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The phase of training on the three bodies Emphasizes the sensual qualities of the elemental energies: The best way to definitively accomplish it Is through training on the supreme sounds of earth, water, fire, and wind. (1) Y o u apprehend the harmonies of the dakinis In the turbulent noise of water's sound; W h e n y o u continually cultivate attunement w i t h it, The emanation bodies w i l l definitively come to pass. (2) The c o o l and heavy s o u n d of earth Is endowed w i t h the voice of the great Brahma; W h e n y o u continually practice listening to it, The perfect enjoyment body w i l l definitively come to pass. (3) T r a i n i n g on the d r a w n out s o u n d of fire Reveals the melodious tones of V i s n u ; W h o m e v e r cultivates listening to it, W i l l definitively attain the reality body's enlightened qualities. (4) The w h i s t l i n g and fierce b l o w i n g of the s o u n d of w i n d Is the speech of the royal khyung's flapping wings as he soars in the sky; W h e n y o u continually concentrate on its recitation, Y o u are training on the shared exoteric d i m e n s i o n of the three bodies. The Illuminating Lamp explains these practices more extensively: (1) To expand on this, in seclusion Y o u get a fire going w i t h firewood and so forth, A n d then sit on a comfortable seat At a spot two fathoms in distance f r o m the fire. The key point of the body is that it s h o u l d be like an animal As y o u gaze f u l l y l i k e a l i o n By casting y o u r awareness into the fire's center. Y o u j o i n y o u r o w n cognitive experiences To the s o u n d of fire's energy there In its turbulent roaring, w h o o s h i n g , hissing, H u m m i n g , crackling, and snapping. The desired accomplishment w i l l w i t h o u t a doubt ensue For a fortunate one practicing thus for half a m o n t h , As the visionary becomes endowed w i t h psychic powers. (2) In practicing on the s o u n d of water The practitioner does the preliminaries as before; Then w h e n crops are r i p e n i n g in a u t u m n yellow,

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In an empty place where d o w n f l o w i n g water is falling turbulently, A n d waves are extremely agitated, The key point of the body is c r o u c h i n g d o w n , W h i l e the keypoint of awareness is directing it to the m i d d l e of the water As y o u gaze at its center w i t h an elephant's glance. If i n i t i a l l y y o u r capabilities aren't up to it, Y o u cover y o u r head u p , off where the s o u n d is m i n i m a l , A n d listen to the degree y o u r endurance allows. T h r o u g h meditating thus for three months Y o u w i l l accomplish the great assurance of self-awareness; W h e n y o u listen continually to this s o u n d of water H a v i n g directed y o u r cognitive attention to the ears, The supreme u n b o r n w i l l w i t h o u t a doubt u n f o l d , A n d y o u w i l l come to understand a wide variety of teachings. T h i s is a procedure appropriate for revitalizing depressed states. (3) Those w h o desire to attend to the s o u n d of w i n d S h o u l d do the preliminaries as before. At the juncture of three valleys or on a m o u n t a i n peak, Y o u carefully construct a secluded hut W i t h w i n d o w s i n the cardinal directions. The yoga itself then involves directing y o u r auditory attention To whatever direction the w i n d is b l o w i n g . T h r o u g h practicing this continually, The desired accomplishment w i l l w i t h o u t a doubt ensue F o r a fortunate one in one m o n t h , As the visionary attains the supreme felt experience. (4) The s o u n d of earth is heavy and consistent: M a k i n g many types of egg [-shaped clay balls], Y o u meditate continually on [their sound] As y o u toss them back and forth between y o u r hands. T h r o u g h meditating thus for six months y o u w i l l obtain The definitive fruit of d o m i n i o n over the elements. (5) F o r the s o u n d of space, the visionary W i t h the right fortune s h o u l d go to a m o u n t a i n peak; The key p o i n t of the body is to lie supine, W h i l e y o u cast y o u r awareness into the sky As a space soaring k h y u n g , A n d exhale y o u r breath again and again.

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W h e n y o u thus r e m a i n continually w i t h i n the sky, W i t h o u t a doubt in three years Y o u w i l l become like a b i r d in the sky. W h e n y o u meditate on these continually, Y o u w i l l a c c o m p l i s h w o r l d l y benefit A n d attain the level of the supreme seal. The Tantric Seed of Experiencing the Esoteric describes the practices thus: The w o n d e r of it! F o r the i n d i v i d u a l desiring s u c h exoteric signs to emerge So as to guide other l i v i n g beings, The branches of efficacious means to do so are l i k e this; F o r these varied exoteric activities and signs, Y o u must train in first reversing attachment. Whatever y o u are able to train on among the practice-phases on the mind, T h r o u g h it y o u tune into the nonconceptual m i n d . V i a the yoga of their sounds just as they are, Y o u become experientially attuned to the sounds and realities Of the four elements of earth, water, fire, and w i n d , A n d thus come to k n o w psychically by means of this yoga The respective languages of the six types of l i v i n g beings. T h r o u g h the succession of days in a m o n t h , seasons, and six aspects of a day, Y o u k n o w the inherent times of all of their languages. W h o e v e r understands this w i t h diligent exertion and divested of error, W i l l come to understand the flow of the m i n d , In future, present, and past just as it is, A n d act for the welfare of others w i t h emanations. If y o u don't train on this first off, Y o u w i l l not attain the potency of psychic powers In planting the seeds of emanations. Therefore, train on the sounds of the elements. The Initial Guidance on Awareness: Training on the Conduct of Differentiating between the Domains of Samsara and Nirvana

In the first phase of this triune practice y o u make the differentiation w i t h i n your body and in the evening settle into a natural state; then in the second phase y o u make the differentiation w i t h i n y o u r speech, and thus settle into a natural state; and finally in the t h i r d phase y o u make the differentiation w i t h i n your m i n d and thus settle into a natural state. As explained below, the under-

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l y i n g rationale for each phase is twofold. In the w o r d s of The Tantra of the Self Emerging

Teaching:

Those of superior fortune w h o desire to engage The thus described ultra-esoteric presence of reality's i m m e d i a c y M u s t begin w i t h the p r e l i m i n a r y practice of conduct, In order to i n i t i a l l y reverse attachment In their physical, verbal, and mental being. (1) In terms of the body, y o u must r u n , lie d o w n , Raise u p , shake the l i m b s , C i r c u m a m b u l a t e , and prostrate, W h i r l the limbs, r o l l the head, A n d do whatever actions come to m i n d ; Dance, do symbolic h a n d gestures, and make abrupt changes, D o i n g whatever actions y o u can imagine. W h o e v e r acts thus Cuts off physical attachment w i t h i n herself, A n d thus differentiation [of the two domains] ensues in all physical states V i a contemplatively i m p l e m e n t i n g this tantra, O emanation b o d y ! (2) After that, y o u begin the conduct of speech: Y o u s h o u l d chant mantras, recitations, preaching, Utter things existent, nonexistent, and apparent, As w e l l as diverse verbalizations of your thought processes, Or voice the symbolic cries of various animals A n d the diverse aspects of their languages. W h o e v e r acts thus Cuts off verbal attachment w i t h i n herself A n d thus differentiates between the domains of samsara and nirvana. (3) Subsequent to this, Y o u s h o u l d undertake the conduct of the m i n d By acting out various discursive thoughts: L i k e s and dislikes, pleasures and pains, Permanence and impermanence, and so forth; Reflection on views, meditations, and conducts, Religious and irreligious notions, and so forth; Desire, hatred, and ignorance, V i r t u e and nonvirtue, and so forth. W h o e v e r acts thus Cuts off mental attachment w i t h i n herself A n d thus differentiates between the domains of samsara and nirvana. The Direct Consequence of Sound Tantra describes these practices as w e l l :

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The wonder of it! W i t h o u t m a k i n g this astounding Differentiation between samsara and nirvana, The b i n d i n g involvements of y o u r body, speech, and m i n d In the three realms won't be severed. T h u s I w i l l explain the triune differentiation Of samsara and nirvana. (1) In terms of the body, m o v i n g and sitting, T w i s t i n g , a variety of yogic exercises, F l i n g i n g out and p u l l i n g i n your limbs, A n d a wide variety of other physical actions are utilized; First e n v i s i o n i n g them through imagination, The physical behavior and actions of the six types of living beings S h o u l d be mentally identified w i t h and then physically acted out. W h o e v e r is up to s u c h conduct Cuts off the flow of subsequent karma through thus undertaking it; This practice has two u n d e r l y i n g rationales Classified into the exoteric and the supreme. (2) H a v i n g thus o p t i m i z e d the first phase as m a r k e d by the appropriate signs, The practitioner undertakes the conduct of speech. Because this aims to realize verbal expression's true nature, Y o u don't repress anything y o u might say In a w i d e variety of sounds and languages. Y o u thus express all sorts of positive and negative things In the languages of the gods, serpent spirits, gnomes, Ethereal spirits, vampires, and V i s n u ; In brief, the languages of the six types of sentient beings A r e mentally envisioned and then verbally expressed. This phase as w e l l has two rationales Classified as supreme and exoteric. (3) H a v i n g thus reached o p t i m i z a t i o n of that phase The practitioner must perform the conduct of the m i n d , W h i c h involves relying o n mental activity's c y c l i n g Projections and contractions a r o u n d the past, present, and future. Y o u r m i n d in its likes and dislikes, n o b i l i t y and vileness, Its external examinations and internal reflections on A l l the variety of existent and nonexistent t h i n g s — The practice is m i n d f u l attentiveness to whatever thus pops into y o u r mind. The cutting off of subsequent births' flow is thus certain; This phase's u n d e r l y i n g rationales are classified as above.

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H a v i n g completed this practice of conduct Y o u zero in perpetually on the key points of immediacy, W h i l e w i t h its perfection y o u no longer enter the three realms of samsara— Y o u s h o u l d thus rely on this extreme exotericism. The Initial Guidance on the Mind: Training on the Preliminaries of Body, Speech and Mind

T h i s involves two aspects: the actual preliminaries and settling into a pristine natural state. The Direct Consequence of Sound Tantra describes the former thus: Since the preliminaries of the b o d y B l o c k the drive fueling ordinary activity, A s s u m i n g the adamantine sceptre posture A n d thus refining the b o d y benefits the m i n d . Speech: focused on the syllable hum, V i a "sealing," "refining s k i l l , " "Seeking out an a i d , " and "entering the p a t h , " Y o u refine speech, thereby benefiting the m i n d . The m i n d : w h e n y o u analyze the triad Of the mind's i n i t i a l place of emergence, Intermediate d w e l l i n g , and final destination, S u c h refining of the m i n d leads to an understanding of its abiding reality. The Direct Consequence of Sound Tantra also explicates [the consequent phase] of settling into a natural pristine state: V i a thus yogically t u n i n g into naturalness, Y o u must settle into a natural state. These preliminaries' u n d e r l y i n g rationale is as follows: the exoteric motivation is to pacify obstacles of body, speech, and m i n d as w e l l as cleanse evil acts and obscurations, w h i l e the supreme m o t i v a t i o n is to be freed w i t h i n the matrix of the Buddha's body, speech, and m i n d . T h u s it is said: T h i s practice has two u n d e r l y i n g rationales Classified into the exoteric and the supreme. The u n d e r l y i n g rationales and motivations b e h i n d the triune settling into a natural state are as follows: through the b o d y settling into its natural state, y o u r psychophysical components, sensory elements, and enlightening minds [i.e., the body's seminal nuclei) expand; through speech settling into its natural state, y o u remain w i t h i n an ineffable d i m e n s i o n as linguistically i n f o r m e d discursive thought processes become exhausted; and through the m i n d settling into its natural state, y o u liberate the objects ordinary thought is addicted to. My discussion of the p r e l i m i n a r y practices is thus complete.

— 20 — The Regulations of a Monastery

Jose Ignacio Cabezon

According to tradition, Tsong kha pa (1357-1419), founder of the Gelukpa sect of Tibetan B u d d h i s m , composed his commentary on Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarikas, the Ocean of Reasoning, while he was in residence in a small hermitage outside of Lhasa called Sera C h o d i n g around the year 1409. In the midst of writing this work, one of the pages of the text is said to have flown into the air in a gust of w i n d . It began to emit " a " letters (the symbol of the Perfection of Wisdom) in the color of molten gold. Some of these melted into a stone at the base of the h i l l and became permanently imprinted on it. Witnessing this, Tsong kha pa prophesied that this place w o u l d be the future site of a great center of Buddhist learning, an institution of particular importance for the study and practice of the Madhyamaka doctrine of emptiness. This was in fact the very place where Tsong kha pa's disciple Jamchen Choje (Byams chen chos rje shakya ye shes, 1354-1435), w o u l d found Sera monastery in the year 1419. The three great monasteries of the G e l u k p a sect, Drepung, Ganden, and Sera, are religious universities, centers for the study and practice of Buddhist doctrine. There, some of the monks engage in a twenty-year program of study and prayer that culminates in the degree of geshe. Based on the classical texts of Indian Buddhism and their Tibetan Gelukpa commentaries, the full c u r r i c u l u m included the study of Collected Topics (introductory metaphysics, logic, psychology, and epistemology), Perfection of W i s d o m (the fundamentals of the Mahayana B u d dhist path), Pramana (advanced logic, studied during special winter interterm sessions at a retreat outside of Lhasa, w i t h monks of all three monasteries in attendance), Madhyamaka (the theory of emptiness), Vinaya (the monastic precepts), and A b h i d h a r m a (advanced metaphysics). W i t h these subjects and texts as the basis of their c u r r i c u l u m , monks engage in memorization, oral explanation, and study, and especially debate as the chief methods of transmitting Buddhist doctrine from one generation to the next. The text translated below deals w i t h the traditions and customs of one of Tibet's great monastic institutions, the Je (Byes) College of Sera.

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The fifth holder of the Sera throne is a particularly important figure because he is credited w i t h having founded the Je College of that institution. This is Gunkhyenpa Rinchen Lodro Senge ( K u n m k h y e n pa R i n chen bio gros seng ge), a disciple of Tsong kha pa and Jamchen Chdje. M a n y interesting stories surround the life of Gunkhyenpa. According to oral tradition, after he received a handblessing from Tsong kha pa, Gunkhyenpa had permanently imprinted on his head the palmprint of his hand. A c c o r d i n g to another w e l l - k n o w n tradition, when he first arrived at Sera and visited the main temple, one of the sixteen arhat statues came to life. M o v i n g forward to greet h i m , it said, "It is good that the great Gunkhyenpa has come. H o w appropriate that y o u are raising the banner of the teachings here." This legend is perhaps meant to explain w h y Gunkhyenpa, along w i t h a h u n d r e d or so followers, abandoned his original monastery at Drepung to establish the Je College at Sera. Gunkhyenpa is one of the most interesting and controversial figures of his day, partly because of his multiple sectarian and monastic affiliations. B o m as the son of a N y i n g m a lama, he is said to have made an oath to h i m never to abandon the practice of the deity Hayagriva, a deity w i t h strong historical roots in the Nyingma sect (see chapter 35). Keeping to his w o r d , he eventually made Hayagriva the tantric meditational deity (yi dam) of Sera Je. A l t h o u g h Gunkhyenpa wrote several monastic textbooks (yig cha) that were used at the Je College in the early days of that institution, these were apparently confiscated in later times by the Tibetan government because they were perceived as not being in complete accord with what had come to be considered Tsong kha pa's ultimate stance concerning the profound view of emptiness. The early history of Sera is obscure. It seems that initially this monastery contained four separate colleges, w h i c h underwent numerous transformations until only two colleges remained, k n o w n as Je and Me (Smad). A third Tantric College (Sngags pa) was founded at Sera m u c h later under the patronage of the Mongolian ruler Lhazang K h a n , who controlled Lhasa during the early part of the eighteenth century (1706-1717). Hence, from that time u n t i l the final occupation of Lhasa by the Chinese in 1959, Sera monastery had three colleges and c o u l d boast a monastic population of somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 monks, making it the second largest monastery in the w o r l d (after Drepung). D u r i n g the final takeover of Lhasa by Chinese forces in 1959, Sera was bombed and many of its temples, libraries, and monastic living quarters were completely destroyed. Most of what remained was either neglected or pillaged during the Cultural Revolution. Today Sera monastery in Lhasa, partially rebuilt, primarily w i t h private Tibetan donations, has a resident population of close to 500 monks (the limit set by Chinese authorities). A "new" Sera monastery in the Tibetan settlement camp of Bylakuppe in South India was founded by monks of the original Sera, who went into exile in India after the overthrow of the Tibetan government by the Chinese. This latter institution, thriving to this day as a center of Buddhist learning, has a resident monastic population of approximately 2,000 monks. The translation that follows is an excerpt from a work that deals w i t h the traditions of the Je College. The Great Exhortation (Tshogs gtam chen mo), as the

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work is known colloquially, is an oral text that was published in written form for the first time only in 1991. Surviving in oral form for hundreds of years, it has been passed on from one generation of monks to the next simply by being recited several times a year in assembly. In the Je College, the oral nature of the transmission of the Great Exhortation is expressed by the saying, "a lineage from mouth to mouth, a lineage from ear to ear." The monks of the college consider the work to be of great profundity. Hearing it is said to be equivalent to hearing the complete teaching of Tsong kha pa's magnum opus, the Great Exposition of the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment (Lam rim chen mo). As regards content, the Great Exhortation is a conglomeration of historical anecdotes, spiritual advice, and the rules and customs particular to the Je College. It belongs to a genre of Tibetan literature known as cha-yik (bca'yig), documents that deal with the rules and regulations of particular monastic institutions. A l though all Buddhist monks and nuns in Tibet follow as their principle discipline the monastic vows as set forth in the Indian Buddhist vinaya tradition of the Mulasarvastivadin sect, Tibetan monasteries felt a need to supplement this general discipline with more specific documents that focused on the practical aspects of daily life: the cha-yik. The Je College's cha-yik, the Great Exhortation, is unique in that it is the only one, to my knowledge, that has been preserved orally. The work is composed in a highly honorific and formal style and, typical of oral texts, is quite repetitive. As one would expect of a living oral tradition, the work has become a hodgepodge of information by virtue of having been added to throughout the generations. It gives "the listener" information on such practical matters as the process that novices must follow to enter the monastery, the types and quality of robes and shoes that may be worn and their symbolism, the kinds of rosaries that may be used, and even where monks may urinate. The several discussions that preface the actual Exhortation (the last of the six divisions) provide us with interesting historical clues concerning life in the Je College. For example, the clear limitations concerning place, time, and the individual expounding the Exhortation are reflective of a historical period in which "advice" must have been plentiful and gratuitous, to the point where those in positions of power must have felt a need to limit and standardize it. Clues such as these make the present work one that is an important source not only for the study of monastic life, but for the study of Tibetan religious history as well. Its eclectic and synthetic character, combining themes and styles from both high and popular cultures, makes it unique in Tibetan "literary" history, and very enjoyable reading. The present translation is based on a manuscript that would become the first printed edition of the text, published by the Je College in India. Fearing that the work would be lost unless it was preserved in written form, several of the older monks of the monastery compiled a working manuscript. This preliminary version was then circulated more widely until consensus was achieved. Although now existing in a written version, the text continues to be recited by heart at regular intervals in the assembly of the Je College in India, either by the disciplinarian (Age skyos) or by the abbot (mkhen po). The passage that follows is a translation of the first third of the text Byang chub

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lam rim cha mo dang 'brel ba'i ser byes mkhas snyan grwa tshang gi bca' khrims che mo (Bylakuppe: Ser jhe Printing Press, 1991). The full title reads "The Great Regulations of the Sera Je College of Learned Scholars, [Composed] in Relation to [Tsong Kia pa's] Great [Exposition] of the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment." A c c o r d i n g to the Mongolian Geshe Senge, the recently deceased abbot of the Je College of Sera in Tibet, the Great Exhortation was written d o w n by the Mongolian scholar Janglung Pandita (Lcang l u n g pandita). U p o n searching the indices to the seven volumes of his collected works, however, I was able to find nothing under the title "Great Exhortation." The seventh text in the ca volume entitled Dge' Ida theg chen M a d sgrub gling gi bca' yig chen mo'i zur 'debs dren gso'i brjed byang w h i c h was missing from Geshe Senge's edition of the collected works, might ve well be thevork in question. It is possible that Janglung Pandita, w h o studied at Sera Je, adopted the Great Exhortation as the disciplinary text (bca' yig) for his o w n monastery, Ganden Thekchen Shedrupling (Dka' ldan theg chen shes sgrub gling). The present disciplinarian of the Je College in Tibet, w h o has seen the Janglung Pandita version, claims that it varied considerably from the one used at present. For example, the former is said to have only five major divisions, as opposed to the six major and three minor divisions of the version n o w recited at the Je College. U n t i l Janglung's w o r k is found, however, we must be content with the Indian edition as the only available one. The Great Exhortation, being the transcription of an oral text, is not an easy w o r k to translate. The text is full of archaisms, honorifics, and formal expressions, and the phasing is often difficult to render into English. At times one has the feeling that a sentence w i l l never end. W h e n it does the point is often lost in the ceremonial and poetical nature of the language. In my translation I have tried to strike a balance between, on the one hand, capturing the oral flavor of the text and, on the other, creating an intelligible translation. In the interests of the latter some explanations have been inserted in square brackets. The numerous repeti tions, the set phrasings, and the clear evidence of textual layering are of c o u r vestiges of trie Great Exhortation's very recent past as an exclusively oral text. T h i is an aspect of the text I wanted to preserve in translation because it is innate t the text's self-identity.

Further Reading The most detailed discussion of the Bca' yig literature in a Western language Ter Ellingson's "Tibetan Monastic Constitutions: The Bca' Y i g , " in Reflections o Tibetan Culture: Essays in Memory of Turrell V. Wylie, ed. L. Epstein and R. F Sherburne, Studies in Asian Thought and Religion, vol. 12 (Lewiston: E d w r Mellen Press, 1990), p p . 205-30. An excellent general overview of the curricula of the Gelukpa colleges is Guy Newland's "Debate Manuals (yig cha) in dGe lug pa Monastic Colleges," in Tibetan Literature: Essays in Honor of Geshe Lhund' Sopa, ed. J. I. Cabezon and R. R. Jackson (Ithaca: Snow L i o n , 1995). O n th

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tradition of Indo-Tibetan scholasticism pursued in Tibetan monasteries, see my Buddhism and Language: A Study ojIndo-Tibetan Scholasticism (Albany, N . Y . : S U N Y press, 1994).

The Great Exhortation It has been said, f r o m the supremely vast and beautiful vase that is the m o u t h of the glorious G e n d u n Gyatso (Dge ' d u n rgya mtsho, the second D a l a i L a m a ) , who [in his eloquence] brings a smile to the lips of Sarasvati [the goddess of scholarship]: The Je College is the place for the systematic study of the scriptures Of the two trailblazers [Asahga and Nagarjuna], of V a s u b a n d h u , G u n a p r a b h a , and Sakyaprabha, [Indian scholar-saints whose w o r k s , in Tibetan translation, f o r m the basis for the monastic c u r r i c u l u m . ] M a y this assembly increase like a lake in s u m m e r , A n d may the three aspects of scholarly activity f l o u r i s h . As he has said, [our college] is completely w i t h o u t an equal in elucidating, like the sun, the precious teachings of the C o n q u e r o r t h r o u g h the three activities of exegesis, dialectics, and c o m p o s i t i o n a n d through the three actions of hearing, contemplating, and meditating u p o n the oceanlike scriptural tradition of the scholars and sages of India and Tibet, like those of the trailblazers Nagarjuna and Asanga. L o r d refuge, great abbot, great Vajradhara, and those w h o sit before y o u , the supreme congregation, a d i s c i p l i n e d assembly of aryans, a congregation of a multitude of scholars, a precious oceanlike assembly, and also the general assembly of the deities of the mandala that are the play of the blessed one, the great glory, the Supreme Stallion [Hayagnva], the merest remembrance of w h o m allows one easily to obtain every accomplishment, b o t h supreme and ordinary, as w e l l as those w h o have been s w o r n into allegiance, G i n g - n g a ( G i n g Inga), Za (Bza'), D o n g ( G d o n g mo b z h i ) , Begdze C h a m s i n g (Beg rtse l c a m sring), l e n d me y o u r precious ears. W h a t is it that I have to say? The white banner, w h i c h is r e n o w n e d under the name of our o w n "Sera Je College of R e n o w n e d Scholars," flies forcefully from T o , where the air is filled w i t h the sweet aroma of the D z a t i , to M e , where the silk is manufactured. As y o u are all aware, f r o m today we begin our famous great S u m m e r D o c t r i n a l Session [one of the major periods of study and debate m the monastery's academic year]. So be it. As the first of the series of rules and regulations for this p e r i o d of time, the d i s c i p l i n a r i a n must make the asgnments for the begging of w o o d . [It must have been the case in the early days of the college that the m o n k s depended on the w o o d they received t h r o u g h Pegging for c o o k i n g fuel. T h i s they used especially for m a k i n g tea that w o u l d be d r u n k d u r i n g special debate sessions. In the later days, once the college S1

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exhortation it is necessary to make others slightly aware [of the identity of the person] by referring oneself to those w h o sit near h i m in the r o w a n d to his housemates. If the i n d i v i d u a l s t i l l does not recognize that it is being directed at h i m , then on the t h i r d occasion one must direct oneself at that very person a n d say, "You have b r o k e n s u c h a n d s u c h a r u l e , " offering [the exhortation] by p o i n t i n g the finger at h i m . The reason for offering the exhortation twice [before actually identifying the i n d i v i d u a l ] is that this college is an honorable and compassionate college. Hence, one is not a l l o w e d to p o i n t the finger f r o m the very beginning. G i v e n that it c o u l d h a r m the reputation of a particular'person, it is necessary to offer the first a n d second exhortations. It is permissible to s k i p the first two exhortations in the case that one sees, hears, or suspects that one of the four root monastic infractions or the d r i n k i n g of a l c o h o l has taken place, in w h i c h case it is necessary to p o i n t the finger f r o m the outset. (4.2) T h e fact that it is offered just as water is p o u r e d f r o m one vase to another a n d a stone is passed f r o m one h a n d to another refers to this. For example, whether it be water or nectar, if one pours it f r o m a g o l d pot into a copper pot a n d f r o m a copper pot into a clay pot, what one is p o u r i n g is the same in essence. It does not change [according to the receptacle]. Likewise, whether it be the Great Exhortation of this college or all of its great rules and regulations, insofar as these rules, w h i c h have been passed d o w n in a lineage f r o m m o u t h to m o u t h a n d f r o m ear to ear, have not changed in essence from the time of the great G i i n k h y e n L o d r o R i n c h e n Sengewa ( K u n m k h y e n Bio gros r i n chen seng ge ba) to the present time, this situation resembles that of the example. A n d just as the vessels into w h i c h it is p o u r e d can have different shapes, colors, a n d prices, etc., the one w h o is g i v i n g the Exhortation can have one of three types of mental faculties, sharp, m i d d l i n g , or d u l l . T h i s is how it is similar to the example. H o w it is offered l i k e a stone passed f r o m one hand to another refers to this. W h e t h e r it is a r o u n d stone or a square stone and whether one passes it f r o m the front of the line to the rear or f r o m the rear of the line to the front, there is no change in the shape and nature of the stone. L i k e w i s e , the lack of change in the nature of the rules of this precious college is what makes it similar to the example. [This is a c l a i m as to the accuracy of the oral lineage, the p o i n t being that the text can and does r e m a i n intact regardless of the nature of the i n d i v i d u a l s w h o pass it f r o m one generation to the next.] Just as the m a n w h o holds the stone in his h a n d can be good, bad, or m i d d l i n g , likewise, the person w h o gives the Exhortation m i g h t be the likes of even Maitreya or M a n j u s r i , or he might s i m p l y be like myself, someone who has no innate knowledge of spiritual or w o r l d l y affairs, nor any of the good qualities attained t h r o u g h training. T h i s is h o w it is similar to the example. (5) T h e stages of listening have four subdivisions: (5.1) h o w one should listen to it f r o m the v i e w p o i n t of body, speech, a n d m i n d , (5.2) h o w one should listen to it f r o m the p o i n t of v i e w of seniority, (5.3) h o w one s h o u l d listen to it f r o m the p o i n t of v i e w of p o s i t i o n , and (5.4) h o w one s h o u l d listen to it f r o m the v i e w p o i n t of abandoning the three faults of the vessel, w h i c h act as

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negative conditions, and of relying on the six recognitions that serve as positive conditions. (5.1) As for how one should listen to it from the viewpoint of body, speech and mind, it is as follows. Body: One should not rest one's back against pillars or walls and so forth. Speech: No matter what kind of profound tantric recitations one may be applying oneself to, one must cease those recitations and listen. As regards how one should listen from the viewpoint of the mind: even if one's mind is equipoised in the nonconceptual samadhi of bliss and clear [light], one must arise from that samadhi and listen. This is not because profound tantric recitations and the nonconceptual samadhi of bliss and clear light are not important, but because these very rules of the monastery and college are even more important; [it is for this reason] that one must cease those practices and listen. (5.2) As for "how one should listen to it from the viewpoint of seniority," it is as follows. The elders must listen to it as if they were judges. The middleaged should listen to it to refresh their memories. Novices should listen to it for the sake of learning something they did not know before. How is it that the elders should listen to it as if they were judges? It should not be the case that, influenced by their like or dislike of an administrator, they say that something is not one of the rules of the college when it is, or that something is one of the rules of the college when it is not. Instead, they should listen as impartial spectators to the law of karma. For example, they should listen as spectators to the law of karma, just as in the realm of embodied beings, the two chief disciples of our teacher [the Buddha] did; and, just as in the realm of the disembodied, the wrathful protector of the doctrine, Chamsing, does. [Tradition has it that some of the Buddha's chief disciples had the ability to discern the karmic actions in the past lives of beings that had led them to their present predicament. This allowed them to perceive a particular situation simply in terms of karmic causes and effects and presumably vitiated the tendency on their part to make judgments concerning the agents involved.] How is it that the middle-aged should listen to it to refresh their memories? Even if one has previously fathomed all of the rules of this college, and even if one has ascertained them in one's mind, in the meantime one might have gone on a short or long pilgrimage, or one might have gone to visit one's parents in one's native place, in the process slightly forgetting the rules. If this has been the case, then one should listen so as to refresh one's memory of them. How is it that novices should listen to it so as to learn something they did not know before? Realizing that they have never before heard the Great Exhortation of this college, they should listen to it for the sake of learning something they did not know before. As regards the term "elder," there are two types: those who are elders from the viewpoint of provisional meaning and those who are elders from the viewpoint of definitive meaning. The first refers to those [elder monks] who do not

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k n o w h o w to follow the rules of the monastery and college a n d w h o do not k n o w h o w to explain them to others. E v e n if these i n d i v i d u a l s have spent one h u n d r e d years in the college, they are nonetheless provisional elders and definitive novices. Those w h o do k n o w h o w to follow the rules and w h o know h o w to explain them to others, even if such i n d i v i d u a l s are o n l y in the lowest C o l l e c t e d T o p i c s class [for m o n k s in their teens a n d preteens], are nonetheless definitive elders and provisional novices. N o w someone may be an elder from the v i e w p o i n t of class or from the viewpoint of years. F r o m the viewpoint of class, someone is an elder if they have reached the V i n a y a class or above. F r o m the viewpoint of age, someone is an elder if they have been at the college for more than fifteen years. Someone w h o is middle-aged can be middle-aged f r o m the v i e w p o i n t of class or from the viewpoint of years. F r o m the viewpoint of class, someone is middle-aged if they are in a class between Beginning Scripture [the first subclass in the Perfection of W i s d o m class] and A d v a n c e d M a d h y a m a k a . F r o m the viewpoint of years, someone is middle-aged if they have been at the college between four and fifteen years. Someone can also be a novice f r o m the v i e w p o i n t of class or f r o m the v i e w p o i n t of years. F r o m the viewpoint of class, someone is a novice if they are in one of the three Collected Topics classes. F r o m the viewpoint of years, someone is a novice if it has been three years or less since they have arrived at the college. (5.3) As for " h o w one s h o u l d listen f r o m the viewpoint of p o s i t i o n , " it is as follows. F r o m on h i g h , the l o r d refuge, the precious abbot, even if he has been residing in the western suite d u r i n g the doctrinal off-period, d u r i n g the doctrinal p e r i o d must listen to the Great Exhortation by m o v i n g into the eastern suite [ w h i c h is just above the debate courtyard where the exhortation is given]. F r o m the intermediate level, the abbot's private secretary, the two managers, and so forth must listen to the exhortation f r o m the various w i n d o w s of the print shop [located just inside f r o m the debate courtyard]. F r o m below, the cook, water bearers, temple manager, teachers, students, a n d so forth must listen f r o m the two side doors that face each other on b o t h sides of the debate courtyard. As for " h o w one s h o u l d listen to it f r o m the v i e w p o i n t of abandoning the three faults of the vessel, and of relying on the six recognitions," it is as follows. One must listen devoid of the three faults: that of a vessel turned upside down, that of the leaking vessel, and that of the filthy vessel. F o r example, no matter h o w excellent the food or beverage one attempts to put inside the vessel, if it is turned upside d o w n , n o t h i n g at all w i l l enter it. L i k e w i s e , it is as if, having come to listen to the exhortation, under the influence of a lack of discipline and of distraction one shows not the slightest interest in listening w h e n the master or administrator offers the exhortation. T h i s is h o w it is similar to the example. As for h o w to listen to it devoid of the fault of the leaking vessel, it is follows. E v e n if one puts food or beverage into a leaking vessel, it w i l l not remain there for long. Likewise, it is as if, having come to listen to the exhoraS

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tation, one does not retain in m e m o r y the little that one has managed to ascertain, so that w h e n one arrives at one's quarters and one's teacher asks h o w the exhortation went today, one has n o t h i n g to say in response. T h i s is h o w it is similar to the example. As for h o w to listen to it devoid of the fault of the filthy vessel, it is as follows. No matter h o w excellent the food or beverage one puts inside a filthy vessel, even if it is divine ambrosia, it cannot be used due to the filth. L i k e w i s e , it is as if, no matter h o w excellent a j o b the master or d i s c i p l i n a r i a n does in giving the exhortation, even to the point of g i v i n g extensive scriptural citations and reasoning, if one is oneself influenced by an evil m o t i v a t i o n , instead of taking it as a m e t h o d for d i s c i p l i n i n g oneself, one claims that what is part of the exhortation is not part of it, and so forth. T h i s is h o w it is similar to the example of the filthy vessel. In brief, just as the Blessed L o r d has said, "Dedicate yourself to listening w e l l . " It is necessary to listen w i t h a proper motivation. As for h o w one s h o u l d listen f r o m the v i e w p o i n t of relying on the six recognitions, it is as follows. The six recognitions are: 1. O n e s h o u l d recognize the one w h o gives the exhortation to be like a doctor. 2. O n e s h o u l d recognize oneself as the patient. 3. O n e s h o u l d recognize the exhortation to be like the medicine. 4. O n e s h o u l d recognize its sustained practice to be like the cure of the disease. 5. O n e s h o u l d recognize the Tathagata to be a h o l y being. 6. O n e s h o u l d have the recognition, "may the doctrinal methods remain for a l o n g period of time." Alternatively, one can recognize the one w h o is g i v i n g the exhortation as one's master, one can recognize oneself as the disciple, and one can recognize the exhortation itself as the stages of the path to enlightenment. On top of these three recognitions, one can add the last three recognitions [of the previous g r o u p i n g of six]. But whichever of these two systems of enumeration one adopts, it is important to realize that i n d i v i d u a l s w h o are afflicted w i t h a serious illness w i l l liberate themselves of the disease in dependence u p o n the assiduous application of m e d i c i n a l treatment that is consistent w i t h the advice of an expert doctor. In this same way, one s h o u l d have a recognition of oneself as the disciple. O n e s h o u l d have a recognition of the person g i v i n g the exhortation as one's master, a n d one s h o u l d have a recognition of the Great Exhortation as the doctrine, the stages of the path to enlightenment. It is also necessary to listen w i t h the thought, " H o w w o n d e r f u l it w o u l d be if by my assiduous practice of these series of rules and regulations, the precious teachings of the C o n queror, w o u l d remain in the w o r l d for a l o n g period of time." As the Bodhicaryavatara says: If, being frightened by the possibility of ordinary illness, One follows the advice of a doctor,

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W h a t need is there to speak of the need to constantly apply oneself W h e n one is afflicted w i t h the illness of the m a n i f o l d faults such as attachment, etc.? Hence, it is necessary to listen w i t h a g o o d basis in these n o n m i s t a k e n recognitions. (6) As for the actual Great Exhortation, w h i c h is what is to be listened to, it is as follows: (6.1) the series concerned w i t h the entrance of a postulant, (6.2) the series concerned w i t h the practice of the rules once one has entered, (6.3) the series concerned w i t h taking up the banner of the accomplishments at the end, that is, after having practiced, and (6.4) as an aside, a discussion on asking permission to be absent. (6.1) As for the series concerned w i t h the entrance of postulants, it is as follows. Postulants are of two types, laymen, w h o wear white clothing, and b r a n c h m o n k s , w h o come f r o m afar. Let us consider the case of laymen, who wear white clothing. [The layman] must be the k i n d of person [who is malleable] , l i k e a stainless white piece of w o o l that can take up whatever color one applies to it, be it y e l l o w or red. He must be seven years of age or older, and even if he is seven years of age, he must be able to scare away a crow. [These are the criteria that the V i n a y a gives for the time at w h i c h a y o u n g boy is a l l o w e d to take novice vows.] In short, he must be someone w h o is devoid of the four impediments that act as conditions obstructing o r d i n a t i o n [the obstacles to the arising of the vows (e.g., not being h u m a n or b e i n g a hermaphrodite), the obstacles to the maintenance of the vows (e.g., not h a v i n g the perm i s s i o n of one's parents), the obstacle to the betterment of the vows (e.g., illness), and the obstacle to the beautification of the one w h o possesses the v o w s (e.g., having a c r i p p l e d or mutilated hand)], and they must possess the five concordant conditions. [It is not clear what these five conditions refer to, although the 'Did ha'i sdoms suggests that a series of four concordant conditions refer to the three requisite robes of a m o n k together w i t h the begging bowl.l Let us consider the case of branch m o n k s w h o come f r o m afar. They must be m e n w h o have not come after having embezzled funds or offerings from their o w n o u t l y i n g monasteries, and w h o have never had to be even slightly reprimanded by qualified masters and administrators in their o u t l y i n g monastery. In short, they must not be m o n k s w h o make the rounds of all the great monasteries as if they were a circular earring [causing havoc in one and moving on to the next], they must not be the type of m o n k w h o makes the rounds of the o u t l y i n g monasteries as if he were shifting through the string of his beads. Such a person s h o u l d then be properly examined so as to determine to which house or regional house he belongs. [Seraje monastery had ten houses and six regional houses. A l l of the latter were, at least in theory and perhaps in the very distant past, associated w i t h one house, but in recent history a l l have acted as essentially independent entities w i t h almost the same authority as the houses themselves.] He s h o u l d then be taken care of w e l l . He s h o u l d not immediately

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be pounced u p o n [by m o n k s of a certain house] like dogs attacking a piece of lung- If someone is a branch m o n k w h o belongs to one's o w n [house], whether he is a k i n g w h o comes on a throne of gold or a beggar w h o comes w i t h a stick and an empty satchel, the house or regional house to w h i c h he belongs must take care of h i m w e l l . If I hear that there is a difference in the attention given to a m o n k based on his economic position, I w i l l not leave it at that, but, calling in the offending parties, I w i l l mete out p u n i s h m e n t that w i l l not be light. On the other h a n d , if a m o n k does not belong to one's o w n house or regional house, even if it be a k i n g on a golden throne w h o s h o u l d arrive, one is not allowed to take care of h i m . It is necessary to take care of those w h o belong to one's o w n [house], whatever their p o s i t i o n , because one never k n o w s h o w a particular person w i l l in the future be able to benefit the teachings of the Buddha or, in particular, the religious and political status of this college. It is necessary to practice as it is stated in the Vinaya: "Caste and family line are not the chief thing; spiritual attainment is the chief t h i n g . " It is necessary for the teacher of that postulant first to present to h i m a complete set of robes, f r o m the hat to the boots. Let us take the case of the hat. It s h o u l d be as y e l l o w as possible—black, the color of crows, is not allowed. Moreover, the m a i n p o r t i o n of hat [called the "lawn"] symbolizes a B u d d h a field; the threads that stick up f r o m the top symbolize the thousand buddhas [of this aeon]; the l i n i n g of the l a w n s h o u l d be white, the l i n i n g of the trailer must be blue, and its outer covering s h o u l d be r e d — t h i s symbolizes the threefold protectors [Avalokitesvara, M a f i j u s r i , and Vajrapani, respectively]; the twelve lines of stitching to be f o u n d in the front part of the trailer represent the twelve branches of scripture; the three blue strings that hang f r o m the trailer represent the three baskets of teachings. E v e n if one is an ordinary r u n of-the-mill m o n k w h o possesses no other religious objects, it is sufficient if one makes one's hat an i c o n and makes offerings to it. No other [icon] is necessary. Let us n o w t u r n to the overcoat. It must have a lotus collar, and it must have been cut [and restitched] at the waist. The lotus collar is necessary because it is an auspicious s y m b o l for one's taking future b i r t h w i t h i n a lotus in the pure land, w i t h a b o d y that is of the nature of m i n d . The upper part of the overcoat must be turned inside out and stitched to the lower part of the overcoat, and the s y m b o l i s m is this. T h i s serves as an auspicious s y m b o l of [the continuity of the teachings, that is, of] the fact that immediately after the teachings of our incomparable teacher, the L i o n of the Sakyas, there w i l l arise the teachings of the conqueror, the protector Ajita [Maitreya]. It is necessary to line the inside border of the overcoat w i t h y e l l o w cloth, and this serves as an auspicious s y m b o l for the spread, in all directions, of the teachings of the great master T s o n g k h a pa, the bearer of the y e l l o w hat, the protector M a f i j u s r i himself. Let us n o w t u r n to the vest. It must have " l i o n shoulders" [symbols of fearlessness]; it must have "elephant tusks" [on the back, symbols of constantly

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being in the jaws of death]; and it must have the blue thread [lining the arm openings]. It is necessary to have the blue thread so as to remember the k i n d ness of the Chinese m o n k s [who wore blue robes and w h o helped to reestablish the monastic lineage in Tibet after a period of persecution]. The master, the recognized incarnations, the college's chos mdzad [a class of m e n from aristocratic or wealthy families w h o enter the monastery as m o n k s and, due to their families' benefaction, are given special status], and so forth are a l l o w e d to wear fine w o o l on the backs of their vests. Everyone else must either wear a vest made of r o u g h w o o l or else a vest like those w o r n at the L o w e r Tantric College. Let us n o w t u r n to the s h a w l . It is not permissible to wear a fine woolen shawl w i t h f u l l h e m m i n g in the summer time, n o r is it permissible to wear a finely w o v e n hundred-stitches-to-the-thumb w o o l e n shawl in the winter time. Let us n o w t u r n to the skirt. If one is a fully ordained m o n k , one must wear a real lower garment [with patches]; if one is a novice, one must wear an " i m i t a t i o n " lower garment [without patches]. B o t h must have an upper border and a lower border. In short, it is necessary that one's robes be s u c h that they are capable of acquiring the blessing as explained in the Vinaya. [Robes that meet the criteria set forth in the Vinaya can and must be blessed. F u l l y ordained m o n k s must keep their robes w i t h them and never sleep apart f r o m them. If they do so, the blessing is lost and the garments must be reblessed.] Let us n o w t u r n to the underskirt. F r o m a m o n g the one that is open in the front and the one that loops in a closed circle, the former, w h i c h is open in the front, is not allowed. Let us n o w t u r n to the shoes. O n e is a l l o w e d to wear o n l y Sangpu (Gsang p h u ) - l i k e shoes. O n e is not a l l o w e d to wear any of other brands that are in fashion, s u c h as white shoes. W h a t is more, the Sangpu-like shoes symbolize the three poisons of the afflictions. It is necessary to wear only these because they serve as a special auspicious s y m b o l of the fact that our o w n m i n d s are under the power of the three poisons of the afflictions. O n e is allowed to fix [broken] soles o n l y w i t h a piece that is spliced at the m i d d l e and not w i t h an entire n e w sole. Let us n o w t u r n to the water receptacle. G o l d or silver, etc., are not allowe It is necessary that the water pot s h o u l d be made either of copper or of bronz and for the pot cover to have all of the proper characteristics, s u c h as having an exterior of red w o o l and a l i n i n g that is blue. Let us n o w t u r n to the rosary. O n e is a l l o w e d to carry o n l y those made of the seeds of the b o d h i tree or of six-faced b o d h i seeds. As an exception, the m o n k s w h o are engaged in the Hayagriva p r o p i t i a t i o n rituals are allowed to carry, discreetly, rosaries made f r o m the likes of 'Bo ti rtse and Raksa. One is not a l l o w e d to carry anything apart f r o m these, to w i t the different rosaries that are in fashion. W h e n one reaches Introductory V i n a y a class one is allowed to add one counter [to one's rosary], and w h e n one reaches A b h i d h a r m a one is allowed another counter [to help one keep track of all the divisions, subdivisions, and other enumerations that are covered in these two classes]. One is allowed no more than a pair of counters. A l s o , one must not separate the two

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counters on one's rosary but must put one beside the other. It is completely forbidden to put turquoise, coral, or other ornamental stones among the beads of the rosary. Let us n o w t u r n to the b o w l and flour bag. O n e must carry a b o w l of the Ganden indentation style, and that too must not be of a r a n d o m size. It s h o u l d be a b o w l the size of that of the general safigha, and s h o u l d be the same size as the b o w l of the great chanting leader. The b o w l of the chanting leader s h o u l d also not be of a r a n d o m size but s h o u l d be s u c h that it can fit w i t h i n his five fingers. Let us n o w t u r n to the flour bag. It s h o u l d have the r a i n b o w red and yellow strips. The outer covering s h o u l d be blue and the inner l i n i n g white. This symbolizes the objects focused u p o n w i t h i n krtsna-samadhi. The flour bag s h o u l d be just large enough to carry one meal's w o r t h of barley flour. The strings for closing the flour bag, for the rosary, and for the hat handle s h o u l d be made o n l y of stretched musk-deer leather. C o t t o n strings and so forth are not allowed. The mat s h o u l d be s u c h that [when placed on the cushions in the assembly] it can protect the property of the sarigha. In short, the required dress should not be so good that it rivals that of the master a n d administrators, etc., nor so poor that it is just a series of patches w i t h none of the original material left. O n e s h o u l d avoid falling into either of these two extremes. A l l of the administrators of this college, the general manager [of the m o n astery] , the m a i n enforcer [of the monastery], the abbot's private secretary, the [college] managers, the h o u s i n g manager, the treasurers, secretary, and so forth, all have attire that is proper to their station. Some are allowed to wear vests w i t h brocade, some are not. Some are allowed to wear re zon shoes, some are allowed re zon shoes w i t h brocade on the calves. It is completely forbidden to have shoes w i t h layered leather soles. After the teacher has made the proper arrangements for the required dress of the student, it is necessary for the house warden first to i n f o r m the abbot's household. He must therefore come before either the steward of the abbot's household or the chef and partially unravel his shawl [as a sign of respect]. If they are sitting, he must kneel properly before them and state that there is such and s u c h a postulant w h o belongs to his house and w h o is either a b r a n c h monk f r o m afar or, if he is not a b r a n c h m o n k , a layman, w h o wears white clothing, w h o is a postulant for admission into the college. He must then ask when they can have an audience w i t h the l o r d refuge, the precious abbot. If [the members of the abbot's household] are standing, then he must partially unravel his shawl and ask h u n c h e d over. M o r e o v e r , he is not allowed to make a suggestion as to the time, saying, " C a n I b r i n g h i m t o m o r r o w m o r n i n g ? " or ' C a n I b r i n g h i m n o w ? " He must be ready to b r i n g h i m whenever he is told to do so. After the i n d i v i d u a l teacher has made the proper arrangement for the robes of the postulant, since it is considered the first auspicious s y m b o l for the postulant's entering the doctrinal door of the college a n d monastery, he [must offer to the abbot] a pitcher f u l l of tea and a ceremonial scarf that is as clean as possible. The butter to be used in the tea s h o u l d be as delicious as possible

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and the tea itself as fine as possible so as to insure that the l o r d refuge, the precious abbot, finds it to his l i k i n g . There is a saying that in olden days a ceremonial scarf w o r t h five kar ma was to be offered. Be that as it may, since this is the first auspicious act [the student w i l l engage i n ] , he s h o u l d have a ceremonial scarf that is as white as possible, and if [the postulant] is a layman, w h o wears white clothing, he s h o u l d also offer one tarn kar as a fee for the ritual cutting of the hair. In brief, one s h o u l d offer the master at least a needle and some thread and [if one is w e l l off] a horse or even an elephant. T h e n , an elder m o n k w h o has at last arrived at the V i n a y a class must bring the postulant and open the entry curtain of the steward of the abbot's househ o l d . W h e n they go in for the audience, the postulant must do three f u l l prostrations [extending his body f u l l length], w h i l e for the teacher it is permissible to do three abbreviated prostrations. Moreover, it is not permissible for the elder m o n k to prostrate placing himself in front and the postulant behind. The postulant must do f u l l prostrations so that it can be determined whether or not he has any defects in his limbs. As soon as the audience is over [the abbot] w i l l offer one cup of tea. Squatting, the postulant s h o u l d take the cup respectfully w i t h b o t h hands and drink immediately. O n e is not a l l o w e d to set it d o w n . T h e n , so as to examine whether or not the postulant has any faults in his speech, the l o r d refuge, the precious abbot, w i l l ask the elder m o n k , " W h a t is his native place? W h e r e is his home monastery?" and the elder m o n k must answer. T h e n he asks the postulant, " W h a t is y o u r home monastery? W h a t is y o u r name?" in response to w h i c h the postulant must answer. W h e n the question is being asked of the postulant, if the elder m o n k answers, this is an i n d i c a t i o n that the postulant has something w r o n g w i t h his speech. W h e n the question is being asked of the elder m o n k , if the postulant answers, it is an i n d i c a t i o n that he has a disrespectful or slanderous nature. As soon as the tea is finished [the elder monk] must partially remove his shawl, kneel on the floor, and ask permission [for the student to attend assembly], prefaced by a reason. If [the student] is a branch m o n k f r o m afar [the elder m o n k ] must ask, "Please be so k i n d as to allow this postulant to attend the tea-assemblies of the college and the tea-assemblies of the monastery discreetly for three doctrinal sessions [approximately three m o n t h s ] , u n t i l he has prepared [that is, memorized] the threefold special recitations and the n i n e f o l d r i t u a l cake offering of this precious college." [These are the r i t u a l recitations special to the Je College that all m o n k s must k n o w by heart before they enter the monastery officially. U n t i l that time, the postulant is allowed to attend c o m m u n a l tea-assemblies "discreetly," w h i c h is to say u n officially. It is assumed that the monastic postulant w h o comes f r o m a branch monastery has already m e m o r i z e d other essential and c o m m o n texts and prayers. A n e w l y ordained layman is given a more lengthy p e r i o d of time m w h i c h to prepare all of the required texts, as we see in the lines that follow.] If he is a l a y m a n , w h o wears white clothing, [the elder m o n k ] must ask, "Please be so k i n d as to a l l o w this postulant to attend the tea-assemblies of the college

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and the tea-assemblies of the monastery discreetly for three years u n t i l he has prepared the o n e - v o l u m e Special Recitations Called 'The Extremely Clear' that begins w i t h 'Refuge' and ends w i t h the 'Prayer for the L o n g Life of the Doctrine,' the Abhisamayalamkara, the Madhyamakavatara, the threefold special recitations, and the n i n e f o l d ritual cake offering of this precious college." After the audience w i t h the l o r d refuge, the precious abbot, is finished they must go, in order, to the d i s c i p l i n a r i a n of the Great A s s e m b l y [the c o m m o n assembly h a l l of all of Sera's colleges], to the d i s c i p l i n a r i a n of the college, and to the house master, tell them that the audience w i t h the l o r d refuge, the precious abbot, has n o w been completed, a n d request, as above, that the postulant [be allowed to attend assembly, etc.]. If the postulant finishes m e m o r i z ing the Special Recitations Called "The Extremely Clear" in one m o n t h , then it is not necessary for h i m to wait three m o n t h s or three years. He is a l l o w e d to attend the debate sessions [immediately].

Prayers and Sermons

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The Sermon of an Itinerant Saint

Matthew

Kapstein

Shabkar Tsokdruk Rangdrol (Zhabs dkar tshogs drug rang grol, 1781-1850) ranks among the most revered of popular Tibetan preachers and saints. An adept, pilgrim, and poet, he traveled throughout Tibet during the early nineteenth century, delighting people of all classes—commoners and ordinary monks, as well as incarnate lamas and the highest officials of government—through his wideranging activities as a Buddhist teacher and his enormous personal generosity and charisma. His autobiography, from which the selections presented below are drawn, is regarded as one of the masterworks of Tibetan literature. In these passages, we meet Shabkar around 1820, after he had journeyed thousands of miles from his homeland in Tibet's northeastern region of Amdo (he had been born near the border between the Qinghai and Gansu provinces of modem China) to far western Tibet. There he passed some time dwelling in the vicinity of the great pilgrimage center of Mount Kailash, a mountain sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists. This region is to the north of the Crystal Peak and its environs in western Nepal, places that are also discussed in other chapters of this book (see chapters 5 and 34). During the course of Shabkar's sojourn in the Kailash area, he attracted numerous devotees and disciples from the surrounding regions and so was often asked to deliver religious teachings. Our selection opens with an account of the way in which he came to be associated with great wonders by the local population. Following this he records the contents of a typical sermon delivered to those who attended his teachings, thus providing us with an exceptional record of the content of popular Tibetan Buddhist preaching. The main themes that are stressed in the sermon are also well-known from texts concerning the stages of the Buddhist path: the unique qualities and rarity of human life, its transitory nature, the workings of karma, and the trials of rebirth. What distinguishes their presentation in Shabkar's autobiography from the similar discussions found in doctrinal treatises are his descriptions of the context for his teaching, the sense of urgency that as a preacher he imparts to his words, and his desire to appeal to Tibetan Buddhists of all sectarian backgrounds. This last aspect

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is evinced by his quoting not, as is usually the case, only w e l l - k n o w n Indian Buddhist scriptures and the Tibetan representatives of just the author's own sect but also past masters who adhered to several different traditions. For example he juxtaposes passages from Tsongkhapa and Longchenpa, the leading thinkers of the Geluk and N y i n g m a sects. Thus, he preaches in a style that Tibetans sometimes characterize as "nonpartisan" (ris med). As Shabkar's account makes clear, the successful Tibetan Buddhist preacher even if he or she enjoyed no established hierarchical position, could accumulate substantial wealth from the offerings of the faithful. It is important to note that nowhere do we find evidence that Shabkar charged a formal "fee" for his teachings; indeed, this w o u l d have been considered unacceptably bad form in Tibet. The forces that encouraged devotees in their generosity were, rather, the strong belief that donations to a worthy religious teacher were a powerful means to gather the positive karma needed to insure a favorable rebirth, and sometimes even success in this life, and the social pressure that encouraged Tibetans to "keep up w i t h the Joneses" by matching the charity of their peers. Extravagant generosity in this context c o u l d actually promote the advancement of one's social status, m u c h as "conspicuous consumption" is thought sometimes to do in modern consumerist societies (see chapter 22). As for the teacher himself, it was generally held to be essential that he or she not simply hoard the wealth received, though undoubtably some teachers and ritual specialists d i d just that. It was expected, rather, that the charitable gifts offered by devotees w o u l d be redistributed by their recipients, contributing to the support of monasteries, temples, and retreats. Shabkar, among other things, became famed as a great supporter of the restoration of the famous Bodhnath stupa in Nepal and other religious monuments, and also acquired a reputation as one who made especially generous gifts to beggars and indigents. He exemplified in this way the notion that wealth accumulated through religion was best "reinvested" by continuing to fill one's o w n karmic store w i t h good works. Shabkar's account well illustrates, too, the carnival atmosphere that often accompanied public religious teaching in Tibet. For the laypeople, there is always plenty of chang, the rich home-brewed barley ale of Tibet, and the sessions of religious instruction are concluded by popular songs and dances. The weighty topics of suffering and mortality, in the traditional religious culture of Tibet, are seldom set in a gloomy atmosphere. They provide, rather, the impetus for living this life w e l l . This means, above all, that one should strive to the extent possible to realize spiritual values, but without altogether neglecting, at the same time, the cultivation of a j o y f u l affirmation of the fleeting goods of this life. The present translation was originally executed on behalf of Professor Nancy Levine of the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, L ° Angeles, in connection w i t h her research in H u m l a , Nepal. It is based on the original Tibetan blockprint edition of the autobiography, Snyigs dus yongs ty s

1

skyabs mgon zhabs dkar rdo rje 'chang chen po'i mam par thar pa rgyas par bsha

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pa skal bzang gdul bya thar 'dod mams kyi re ba skong ba'i yid bzhin nor bu bsam 'phel dbang gi rgyal po (Dolanji, Himachal Pradesh: Tsering Wangyal, 1975), 2 vols.

Further Readings A complete and thoroughly annotated English translation is available in Matthieu Riccard, trans. The Life of Shabkar (Albany: State University of N e w York Press, 1994).

A N APPARITION A T C R Y S T A L P E A K I formed spiritual connections w i t h a l l the lamas f r o m a l l regions w h o arrived at my hermitage, w h e n I was staying near M o u n t K a i l a s h , and I established connections w i t h them through the dedication of merit. I w o r s h i p p e d and prayed to the deities of the snow peaks repeatedly. T h e n , one night d u r i n g a dream, L a m a D o r d z i n R i n p o c h e (Bla ma R d o r ' d z i n R i n po che, a hermit w h o lived on the slopes of M o u n t Kailash) of the s n o w peak arrived and said, " N o w , if y o u ' l l come to see the h o l y places, I w i l l guide y o u ! " He then went off and I followed. We visited a huge palace, as b i g as the great temple of glorious Sakya (Sa skya, the m a i n seat of the Sakyapa sect), and made of various precious stones. Inside of it was a massive stupa of taintless crystal, w h i c h one c o u l d see right through, inside and out. It was transparent and of the nature of light. Inside it were a l l of the deities of the four classes of tantra, the foremost among them being Cakrasamvara, appearing like the images in a m i r r o r , each one clear and distinct. I offered prostrations, performed circumambulations, made offerings, and prayed, w h e r e u p o n light rays p o u r e d forth f r o m the hearts of all those deities and struck me. I dreamed that the excellent pure awareness of bliss and emptiness was b o r n i n m y b o d y and m i n d . A g a i n , one day, w h i l e I remained in meditative absorption I had a mystical experience in w h i c h m a n y heroes and dakinis appeared in the sky, saying, We're going to circumambulate the fortress of the deity Cakrasamvara." T h e y gathered various items for w o r s h i p and I saw them d o i n g circumambulations in the sky above M o u n t K a i l a s h . Then w h i l e I was staying there, patrons w h o came f r o m near the valley at Crystal Peak asked me to visit their h o m e l a n d . I responded that I c o u l d not come there, but I told them to have faith and pray, and that the blessing of my Protection w o u l d be just the same as if I were to come there in person. These Patrons had s u c h faith that they believed that my w o r d s meant that I w o u l d travel there miraculously, and so they prayed for this to occur. A c c o r d i n g l y , I

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repeatedly imagined that I went where they l i v e d and blessed them. Based on s u c h circumstances, one day some woodcutters and herdsmen, whose karma was pure, saw me come flying through the s k y f r o m the direction of M o u n t K a i l a s h , h o l d i n g white banners in each of my hands. T h e y said that they really saw me alight on the s u m m i t of Crystal Peak and plant those banners there and then fly off. W h e n they t o l d the locals of this everyone l o o k e d and saw a great white banner on the s u m m i t of C r y s t a l Peak, w h i c h had not been there before. A l l of them became most faithful. F r o m that time o n w a r d the circumstances a l l o w e d for the great spread of the Buddha's teaching in that place.

T R A V E L S A N D SERMONS IN FAR W E S T E R N TIBET Leaving the S n o w Peak, M o u n t K a i l a s h , I went to the n e i g h b o r i n g places, Kangzakpa and Parka T a z a m , to benefit the inhabitants. In my dreams at night I crossed the ocean in a boat and traversed a great, p o l l u t e d p l a i n , r i d i n g a horse, and so forth. These and other, similar dreams I took to be portents that many goods and riches w o u l d come to me. T h e n I went to Tsegye monastery, Gopa Rinchen's tribe, N y a l a C h u k p o ' s tribe, T o c h u monastery, and Pretapuri, cont i n u i n g as far as K h y u n g l u n g monastery, where I acted as b o t h a p i l g r i m and a teacher simultaneously. I had audiences w i t h , a n d w o r s h i p p e d the venerable m o n k s , and I e x p o u n d e d the doctrine to the patrons. G o p a R i n c h e n offered me a large tent, w o r t h forty silver srang, and five zho of gold. [The srang is a Tibetan measure of weight, a bit less than half an ounce, and also is the name for a c o i n of that weight. The zho is a tenth part of a srang.} A n d other patrons offered to me g o l d , silver, c l o t h i n g , jewelry, and m a n y foodstuffs, riches, and luxuries. R e t u r n i n g f r o m there, I visited K e p a Serki C h a k y i p monastery, on the banks of M a p h a m Yutsho (Lake Manasarovar), and B o n r i monastery, Seralung monastery, and B o n m o p u k monastery. I distributed tea to the m o n k s , worshipped, and prayed. T h e n I visited some W e s t Tibetan n o m a d encampments of the H o r p a tribes, and L i m i in R o n g . M a n y of the patrons f r o m the Crystal Peak of R o n g came there to meet me. I instructed them in the dharma and all apparently turned to religion, for they made m a n y offerings of food and clothing. A f t e r w a r d , I traveled in stages to N g o c h u k p o in the south of R o n g , and to the upper, m i d d l e , and lower districts of Purang. To m a n y hundreds and thousands of m o n k s , disciples, and lay-patrons I gave the empowerment of longevity, the empowerment of the Great Compassionate Avalokitesvara, the transmissions and instructions for the creation and perfection stages of meditative deities, and whatever other teachings seemed appropriate. At first, to make the disciples fit vessels for the doctrine, I w o u l d teach them the meditation and mantra of the b u d d h a of purification, Vajrasattva. Then I w o u l d bless them, by having these disciples meditate on the guru seated above

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their heads in the divine f o r m of the b u d d h a Vajradhara. After that, I w o u l d give them an o r d i n a r y exposition of the doctrine, s u c h as this: First y o u all must adopt a refined attitude, as is appropriate for listening to the teaching, by t h i n k i n g , " O n behalf of all sentient beings, our mothers throughout the universe, we must attain the precious stage of unsurpassed, authentic and perfect B u d d h a h o o d . By a l l means, we must attain it swiftly! To do so, let us listen to this p r o f o u n d , true doctrine, taught by this genuine and glorious g u r u . T h e n , let us try to incorporate what he teaches us into our o w n experience." F o r it says in the Tantra of the Diamond Peak (Vajrasikharatantra): C o n t r o l l i n g w e l l a l l y o u r thoughts, Listen w i t h an exceptionally fine attitude! A n d in the Collection of Aphorisms (Udanavarga): A b a n d o n sleep, torpor, and sloth; A n d listen w i t h utmost j o y ! A n d in the Birth Stories (Jataka): As a patient listens to the doctor, L i s t e n to the doctrine, d o i n g it homage. Just so y o u s h o u l d listen w i t h a refined mental m o t i v a t i o n and a respectful physical deportment. To continue: At this time, w h e n we have acquired the great ship that is the liberty and endowment of this h u m a n existence, we must free ourselves f r o m this terrible sea of samsara. W h y do I say this? It is because, o w i n g to the force of some previous virtues we have n o w met w i t h favorable circumstances and so have acquired precious h u m a n bodies. We have all five senses. We can talk and think. We have been taken into the f o l l o w i n g of spiritual friends. We have encountered the Buddha's teaching. F o r these reasons we have the ability to practice the doctrine. At a time l i k e this, w h e n we k n o w the means to practice the pure doctrine that w i l l certainly release us f r o m samsara, if we do not practice it here and n o w , it w i l l be most difficult to acquire s u c h a foundation again in the future, and encounters w i t h the doctrine w i l l become exceedingly rare. As the B u d d h a has said: T h o u g h there are m a n y world-systems, B i r t h on the saw-edge of J a m b u d v i p a is rare, A n d a pure h u m a n b o d y is most difficult to obtain. A n d in the Enlightenment of Buddha Vairocana (Vairocanabhisambodhi) it says: In this w o r l d the omniscient buddhas A r e as rare as the U d u m b a r a flower: These may rarely come forth, or they may not,

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B l o o m i n g once in five h u n d r e d years. A n d this w a y of the practice of secret mantras Is even rarer than that! A n d the venerable, magnanimous Tsongkhapa [1357-1419, founder of the Gel u k p a sect] has said: A h u m a n b o d y and the encounter w i t h the teaching A r e frequently not obtained, but n o w we have them. Because it is possible n o w to achieve a great goal, C o n s i d e r this w e l l , and gain the essence of h u m a n existence! The a l l - k n o w i n g [great N y i n g m a thinker] L o n g c h e n Rabjampa ( K l o n g chen Rab 'jams pa, 1308-1363) too, has said: To obtain this liberty a n d endowment is a one in a h u n d r e d chance. B e y o n d that, meeting the doctrine is l i k e f i n d i n g a daytime star, A n d to encounter the doctrine of the supreme vehicle is l i k e reaching the end of the w o r l d . So n o w is the time to practice that doctrine f r o m the very depths of y o u r heart. Because they have a l l thus affirmed it, we must indeed practice the doctrine. If we do not practice it then we are even dumber than the merchant w h o returns empty-handed f r o m his j o u r n e y to an ocean isle. We are l i k e corpses without h a v i n g d i e d . We are l i k e m a d m e n w i t h o u t h a v i n g been possessed. We are even d u m b e r than someone w h o uses a jeweled vase as a spittoon or a bedpan. As it says in Nagarjuna's Letter of Friendship (Suhrllekha): Someone may use a golden u r n , decorated w i t h jewels, To dispose of filth and sweepings. But one, b o r n h u m a n , w h o does h a r m f u l deeds, Is said to be far dumber than that. W i t h reference to s u c h persons, w h o are the worst sort of idiot, let us leave off the discussion of their obtaining the path to liberation and omniscience in the future. Such persons fall into the three evil destinies of the hells, tormented spirits, and animals, and then for many m i l l i o n s of aeons do not even hear the w o r d " h a p p y destiny." As it says in the Entrance to the Bodhisattva's Life-style (Bodhicaryavatara): By not p e r f o r m i n g wholesome deeds, A n d amassing h a r m f u l ones,

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F o r one h u n d r e d m i l l i o n aeons O n e w i l l not hear the phrase "happy fate." So, if for the sake of the trivial food and c l o t h i n g of this lifetime, y o u amass h