3. THE ESTABLISHMENT OF ALL PHENOMENA
3. THE ESTABLISHMENT OF ALL PHENOMENA
The purpose of the third chapter is to explore the nature of this compassionate spirituality as it manifests in the world.
On the basis of the aforementioned diffusion of compassionate spirituality, there are six sages embodying awareness who then emerge from the indestructible body, speech, and mind of the tathāgatas in order to teach the six classes of living beings (v. 1). In a lengthy overview, the commentator also provides a detailed explanation of this buddha body of emanation (nirmāṇakāya) according to the common and the uncommon vehicles. The former view, referring specifically to Śākyamuni Buddha, concerns his cultivation of enlightened mind, accumulation of provisions, and attainment of buddhahood over many successive lives, emphasizing his celebrated twelve deeds. The latter interpretation focuses on the emergence of all emanations such as the thousand buddhas and six sages of this “auspicious aeon” from Samantabhadra, the buddha body of actual reality.
The buddha body of emanation, represented by these six sages, teaches by means of the following four kinds of instruction (v. 2): by the great merits of the buddha body (v. 3), by supernormal cognitive powers of buddha mind (v. 4), by inconceivable miraculous abilities (v. 5), and by knowledge conveyed in the five vehicles of buddha speech, namely, the vehicle of gods and humans, the vehicle of pious attendants, the vehicle of hermit buddhas, the vehicle of bodhisattvas, and the unsurpassed vehicle of secret mantra (vv. 6–8).
The text then analyzes the nature of the living beings who are to be trained by these instructions and the nature of the sacred teachings through which they are trained. First, the nature of cyclic existence (saṃsāra) is ultimately established to be the pure reality itself. Although it diversely arises on the basis of fundamental ignorance, the underlying reality of buddhahood is present from the moment of its initial appearance as ignorance. The bewildering appearances of cyclic existence are a miraculous display of mind, baseless in nature, and thought itself is actually a display of pristine cognition (vv. 9–14).
Second, the sacred teachings through which beings are trained and through which this apparent bewilderment is removed are, in the final analysis, established to be inexpressible in nature because they refer directly to the unsurpassed result beyond the exoteric teachings of the causal vehicles. Here, all the teachings are regarded as a miraculous display without inherent or independent existence; despite their unchanging basis, they exhibit great flexibility in content and great diversity in their teachers or expositors. In particular, this Guhyagarbha Tantra is revered as the emanational basis of all the vehicles that lead to buddhahood and as the all-embracing, universal interpretation of the sūtras and tantras. Although all teachings and all things that can be known are conventionally assigned names and labels, essentially they too are without inherent existence (vv. 15–20).
The chapter concludes with a synopsis that describes the bewildering appearances of cyclic existence and the buddha fields of nirvāṇa as natural manifestations of mind and pristine cognition respectively (vv. 21–23).
THE THIRD [CHAPTER] concerns the establishment of all things through the nature of the compassionate spirituality [of the buddha body of emanation], which is arrayed as the lamp of the world, without moving from actual reality (184.108.40.206). This comprises (i) the context (220.127.116.11.1); (ii) the explanation of the verses (18.104.22.168.2); and (iii) the conclusion (22.214.171.124.3).
THE CONTEXT [126.96.36.199.1]
The first of these, the context [comments on the verse]:
The six sages, embodiments of awareness, compassionate spirituality, then came forth.
Root Tantra (Ch. 3:1)
Then the six sages, embodiments of awareness who are said [to arise owing to] the blessing of great compassionate spirituality that emerges from all the tathāgatas, came forth from the indestructible body, speech, and mind of the tathāgatas.
Following the foregoing explanation of the initiation of the discourse, then the six sages came forth from the indestructible body, speech, and mind of the tathāgatas of this self-manifesting array. These emanations are said to arise naturally owing to the blessing of great compassionate spirituality that emerges in and of itself from all the tathāgatas of the self-manifesting array. These are the embodiments of awareness because they themselves are the pristine cognition of the buddhas. They are [known as sages] because they have subdued all [world-forming] deeds and afflictive mental states, and they number six, including Śākyamuni, because they grant instruction respectively to the six classes of living beings of the six realms.283
THE EXPLANATION OF THE VERSES [188.8.131.52.2]
The second part [the explanation of the verses] comprises (i) a general presentation of the modes of emanation that accord with the four kinds of instruction (184.108.40.206.2.1); (ii) a detailed exegesis of the nature of the living beings who are the object of these instructions and of their doctrines (220.127.116.11.2.2); and (iii) a synopsis of cyclic existence and nirvāṇa as self-manifestations of mind and pristine cognition (18.104.22.168.2.3).
A GENERAL PRESENTATION OF THE MODES OF EMANATION THAT ACCORD WITH THE FOUR KINDS OF INSTRUCTION [22.214.171.124.2.1]
The first section, the general presentation of the modes of emanation, comprises (i) a general introduction (126.96.36.199.2.1.1) and (ii) an extensive exegesis (188.8.131.52.2.1.2).
The former [comments on the verse]:
They instruct the trichiliocosms of the infinite and limitless six worlds.
Root Tantra (Ch. 3:2)
Once they have come forth, each of these great sages or transcendent lords also acts on behalf of the five classes of living beings through four kinds of instruction in each great trichiliocosm of the infinite and limitless ten directions of the six worlds where, by the power of deeds, [[[beings]]] move, facing laterally, upward, or downward.
Once the six sages have come forth in this way, their [respective] world systems also appear differently by the power of the respective deeds accumulated by living beings. Briefly, there are worlds that are round, square, semicircular, and triangular,284 along with the bottomless nadir and topless zenith, where living beings move laterally, indicating that their heads are horizontal, and where they move upward or downward, indicating that their heads face up or down.285 In each world system of the great trichiliocosm, naturally pervading all of the ten directions of these six dissimilar environments, infinite in number and parts, and limitless in their modes of happiness, sorrow, resources, and so forth, each of these great sages or transcendent lords, granting their respective instructions, also acts on behalf of the five classes of living beings through their particular four kinds of instruction.
[These four kinds of instruction] are, namely, instruction by merit (bsod nams kyis ’dul ba), instruction by the direct perception of all meanings (don thams cad mngon sum du gyur pas ’dul ba), instruction by great miraculous abilities (rdzu ’phrul chen pos ’dul ba), and instruction by knowledge (rig pas ’dul ba).286
In this regard it says in the Sūtra of the Great Bounteousness of the Buddhas:
The distinctions of deeds are inconceivable.
The world of the hells slopes downward.
Animals, gods, and humans face upward.287
However, I think that all animals should indeed be included288 among those who face laterally.
So it is that the world system of a single trichiliocosm, its environment and sentient inhabitants subsumed in the five classes [of living beings] and endowed with three kinds [of motion] (lateral, upward, and downward), forms the field of instruction for the buddha body of emanation.
On this point, there are some who hold that the six worlds comprise those of the four directions that are lateral, along with a nadir that is downward facing and a zenith that faces upward, but they do not even partially discern the meaning of the text.289
THE EXTENSIVE EXEGESIS [184.108.40.206.2.1.2]
The latter [the extensive exegesis] comprises (i) instruction by the great merit of buddha body and its excellent activities (220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168); (ii) instruction by direct perception or the great supernormal cognitive power of buddha mind (22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199); (iii) instruction by great inconceivable miraculous abilities (188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206); and (iv) instruction by knowledge conveyed in the five vehicles of buddha speech (220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168).
INSTRUCTION BY THE GREAT MERIT OF BUDDHA BODY [22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199]
The first of these, instruction by the great merit of buddha body [comments on the verse]:
They demonstrate the twelve great activities of the buddha body.
Root Tantra (Ch. 3:3)
The sages who demonstrate birth, renunciation, austerity, buddhahood, the subjugation of demonic forces, the turning of the doctrinal wheel, the demonstration of great miracles, the passing into nirvāṇa, and so forth . . .
The sages are those who demonstrate the supreme miracles of enlightened activities in order to mature immeasurable living beings through their great emanation of buddha body and instruct inconceivable living beings—that is to say, [they are exemplified by Śākyamuni Buddha who demonstrated] the birth of the buddha body, the renunciation, the rejection of the household life, the austerity on the banks of the Nairañjana River and elsewhere, the attainment of buddhahood and the subjugation of the host of demonic forces at Vajrāsana, the turning of the doctrinal wheel in Vārāṇasī, the demonstration of great miracles at Śrāvastī, and the passing into nirvāṇa at Kuśinagara.
The words and so forth refer to [the other enlightened activities] in addition to these eight, which are universally presented. Included among them are the transference of consciousness from Tuṣita, the proficiency in the arts, the enjoyment with a retinue of queens, the arrival at the Point of Enlightenment, the subjugation of a rutting elephant at Rājagṛha, the teaching of the doctrine to his [deceased] mother in Tuṣita, and the subjugation of a great yakṣa in Aṭavī.290
There are some who hold that these activities number twelve, but that is not definite because the sage is additionally said to demonstrate miracles and other [[[activities]]] that are interspersed with these.291 The enumeration of twelve activities subsumed in the words and so forth is merely illustrative. In short, all acts that instruct living beings by the supreme miracles of buddha body are subsumed therein.
INSTRUCTION BY THE GREAT SUPERNORMAL COGNITIVE POWER OF BUDDHA MIND [188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206]
The second, instruction by the great supernormal cognitive power of buddha mind [comments on the verse]:
They instruct by means of the six great supernormal cognitive powers of buddha mind.
Root Tantra (Ch. 3:4)
. . . are endowed with the six great supernormal cognitive powers, namely, the absolute knowledge of the four times, the absolute knowledge of the continuum of the minds of all beings, the absolute vision of everything through the eye of miraculous ability, the absolute reach of hearing through the ear of miraculous ability, the absolute performance of beneficial acts through the provisions of miraculous ability, and the perfection of the conduct of Samantabhadra, absolutely positive with respect to the uncontaminated.
The sages are endowed with the supernormal cognitive power of knowing past abodes (pūrvanivāsābhijñā, sngon gyi gnas mngon par shes pa), that is, they have direct perception of all knowable things owing to their absolute knowledge of the four times, including the past. Through mastery of recollection in respect of many lifetimes, they instruct living beings. This knowledge of the four times resembles the knowledge of the formation [of past and future events] that arises on the surface of an oracular mirror.
Furthermore, they possess the supernormal cognitive power of knowing the minds of others (paracittaparyāyābhijñā, pha rol gyi sems kyi rnam grangs kyi mngon par shes pa). Essentially this refers to their absolute knowledge at all times and in all circumstances, without differentiation, of the nature of all afflictive mental states and conceptual thoughts associated with the respective minds of all beings without exception among the five or six classes of living beings who require to be trained, and it also refers to the enlightened intention or continuum of pristine cognition, which is the perceptual knowledge of the buddhas.
They also grant instruction through the supernormal cognitive power of clairvoyance (divyacakṣurabhijñā, lha’i mig gi mngon par shes pa)—the divine sight that arises owing to [[[meritorious]]] conditioning (abhisaṃskāra, mngon par ’du byed pa). This is the absolute vision of everything through the eye of unobscured miraculous ability, the perception of pristine cognition. Its range encompasses the transference of consciousness at death, and the birth and emanation of living beings both in pure buddha fields and in impure world systems.
They instruct sentient beings through the supernormal cognitive power of clairaudience (divyaśrotrābhijñā, lha’i rna ba’i mngon par shes pa)—the absolute reach of hearing with respect to every sound and language in all world systems, great and small, through the ear of miraculous ability.
They instruct through the supernormal cognitive power of miraculous ability (ṛddhiviṣayābhijñā, rdzum phrul gyi mngon par shes pa)—the absolute performance of beneficial acts in accordance with the volition of living beings through the provisions of miraculous ability, teaching each sentient being according to his or her needs.
And they instruct through the supernormal cognitive power of the cessation of contamination (āśravakṣayābhijñā, zag pa zad pa’i mngon par shes pa)—the nature of which is the complete perfection of the conduct associated with the inexhaustible wheels of adornment, that is, the buddha body, speech, and mind of Samantabhadra—absolutely positive and conclusive with respect to the uncontaminated pristine cognition in which the two obscurations and propensities are, without exception, purified in the expanse [of actual reality] .
In this way they instruct through the buddha mind—the six great super-normal cognitive powers, because through these six all knowable things are directly mastered.292
INSTRUCTION BY GREAT INCONCEIVABLE MIRACULOUS ABILITIES [220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168]
The third, instruction by great inconceivable miraculous abilities [comments on the verse]:
Their miraculous abilities comprise the buddha body, buddha mind, buddha visage, and buddha speech, which are inconceivable.
Root Tantra (Ch. 3:5)
They are endowed with the buddha body inconceivable to all, the buddha mind inconceivable to all, the buddha visage inconceivable to all, and the buddha speech inconceivable to all. Countless inconceivable forms are manifested in the ten directions.
The sages are revealed to be endowed with inconceivable forms, manifesting the buddha body as Brahmā, Śatakratu, or as a universal monarch and so forth, conforming in their appearance to all the infinite beings who require training. They also demonstrate the inconceivable beneficial activities of the buddha mind that definitively knows [the view] and quantitatively knows [[[phenomena]]], to all the immeasurable minds of living beings, engaging in conformity with their volitions. They demonstrate the inconceivable buddha visage that manifests as manifold diverse deities, peaceful, wrathful, and so forth, with their dissimilar maṇḍalas of body, apparel, and visage, to all trainees within range, with their dissimilar sensory elements and volitions, corresponding at each distinct moment to their respective perceptions. This buddha visage is felt to be present before one because it directs the loving-kindness of buddha mind exclusively toward oneself. It says accordingly in the Great Mother:
Those sentient beings of Jambudvīpa feel that [the Lord Buddha] is present exclusively before them, teaching the sacred doctrine owing to the loving-kindness of buddha mind.293
It is in this way the teachings are revealed, from the continents of Videha and Aparagodānīya as far as Akaniṣṭha.294
Also, it is said in the Tantra of the Hidden Vital Essence of the Moon:
Sometimes peaceful, sometimes wrathful,
And sometimes manifesting as the great spirits who cause obstruction,
[They emanate] in infinite supreme forms such as these,
And as mountains and all sorts of living creatures.295
In this manner, a single buddha body [of emanation] demonstrates the inconceivable modes of buddha visage.
And in addition, the sages possess the inconceivable buddha speech of the sacred doctrine, which resonates to all living beings, whatever their fortune might be, in conformity with the respective languages of sentient beings. Inconceivable forms are diversely emanated throughout the infinity of space, so that countless are manifested in the ten directions, instructing each in accord with his or her needs.296
INSTRUCTION BY KNOWLEDGE CONVEYED IN BUDDHA SPEECH [22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199]
The fourth, instruction by knowledge conveyed in buddha speech, comprises (i) the classification of the vehicles [of the Buddhist teachings] (188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1); (ii) the antidotes for which [these vehicles] are taught (220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.2); and (iii) an exegesis of the meaning of these [vehicles] (22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.3).
THE CLASSIFICATION OF THE VEHICLES [188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1]
Among them, the first, the classification [comments on the verse]:
The vehicles of the gods and humans, and those of the pious attendants, hermit buddhas, and bodhisattvas, as well as the unsurpassed vehicle. . .
Root Tantra (Ch. 3:6)
Moreover, all [the pronouncements of the emanational sages] comprise according to the power of their instructions: the vehicle of gods along with that of humans, the vehicle of pious attendants, the vehicle of hermit buddhas, the vehicle of bodhisattvas, and the unsurpassed vehicle. Through these vehicles . . .
Moreover, all the excellent pronouncements of the buddha body of emanation are presented within the hierarchy of the five vehicles, according to the power of their instructions imparted to sentient beings.297 As such, these comprise (i) the vehicle of the gods inhabiting the world systems of formlessness, form, and desire, where the four meditative concentrations, the four formless absorptions, and the ten virtuous actions are presented, along with the vehicle of humans, which emphasizes the nature of the ten virtuous actions;298 (ii) the vehicle of pious attendants, which actualizes the status of an arhat by means of meditation on doctrines that refer objectively to the nature of the four truths through renunciation and acceptance, and also on the thirty-seven aspects [of enlightenment];299 (iii) the vehicle of hermit buddhas, which progresses, as desired, to the level of supreme bliss by means of meditation on dependent origination and the five paths;300 (iv) the vehicle of bodhisattvas, which actualizes buddhahood through the two kinds of selflessness and the ten transcendent perfections;301 and (v) the unsurpassed vehicle of the way of secret mantra, which confers liberation in this lifetime through the knowledge of all things in terms of the three maṇḍalas, and through meditation on the profound path.302 Through these vehicles . . .
THE ANTIDOTES FOR WHICH THESE VEHICLES ARE TAUGHT [220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.2]
Second, the antidotes for which [these vehicles] are taught [comments on the verse]:
. . . constitute the sacred doctrine with its eighty-four thousand antidotes.
Root Tantra (Ch. 3:7)
. . . they have taught, are teaching, and will teach the eighty-four thousand [approaches of the] doctrine as an antidote for the eighty-four thousand afflictive mental states, which are conceptual thoughts, arising from fundamental ignorance.
As an antidote for the eighty- four thousand afflictive mental states, twenty-one thousand of which each comprise the afflictive mental states of desire, hatred, delusion, and their equal combination, and which are generated by the conceptual thoughts arising from fundamental ignorance in the minds of living beings, those teachers who emanate from the naturally present pristine cognition in conformity with the perception of those to be trained have taught previously, are teaching even at the present moment in the worlds of the infinite limitless ten directions, and will teach in the future the eighty-four thousand approaches of the doctrine (chos)—twenty-one thousand of which belong to each of the three piṭakas of the Vinaya, Sūtra, and Abhidharma, and to the piṭaka of the way of mantra, where [their distinctive features] are in equal combination.303
THE EXEGESIS OF THE MEANING OF THESE VEHICLES [22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.3]
Third, the exegesis of the meaning of these [vehicles comments on the verse]:
These [vehicles] encompass bewilderment, the fruition of deeds, and that which is never sullied.
Root Tantra (Ch. 3:8)
Also, as far as all their [[[Wikipedia:expressions|expressions]] of the sacred doctrine] are concerned, the vehicles respectively outline objects and subjective apprehension; outer and inner dependent origination; the realization that [the mind] that subjectively apprehends is nothing but bewilderment; [the teaching] that deeds and the fruition of deeds are not squandered; and the conclusive [[[realization]]] revealing that which is unsullied, will not be sullied, and cannot be sullied by deeds or the results of deeds.
Also, as far as all the expressions of the [[[sacred]]] doctrine, which are presented within the context of these five vehicles, are concerned, they may be respectively outlined as follows:
(i) The vehicle of pious attendants (nyan thos kyi theg pa) applies an antidote for the subjective apprehension of the psychophysical aggregates as self, because pious attendants understand indivisible atomic particles to be the ultimate truth, and they maintain that objects are devoid of self, surpassing the intelligence of ordinary beings who uphold [the existence of] gross external objects, and because they also understand that the inner mind forms a series of indivisible moments of time and is therefore also devoid of self.
(ii) The vehicle of hermit buddhas (rang sangs rgyas kyi theg pa) [additionally] applies an antidote for the subjective apprehension of external objects, comprising half of all phenomena, as self, because hermit buddhas understand outer dependent origination to be false, having realized that objects of external appearance do not ultimately exist even as indivisible atomic particles, but relatively resemble a reflected image arising in a pool of water. This is also because they meditate on inner dependent origination, understanding that when there is fundamental ignorance, [the cycle of dependent origination] emerges, from formative predispositions as far as aging and death, but that when fundamental ignorance is reversed cyclic existence is also reversed, as far as aging and death. They therefore realize that the [notional] selfhood of the individual and the [notional] selfhood of the externally appearing half of phenomena are nonexistent.
(iii) The vehicle of the bodhisattvas (byang chub sems dpa’i theg pa) actualizes the two aspects of selflessness and is held to be superior because the bodhisattva realizes, in addition to the previous one-and-a-half parts of self-lessness [understood by hermit buddhas], that the intellect or antidote that is the subject of that foregoing meditation, the very mind that subjectively apprehends internal phenomena as self, is itself nothing but an objectification of bewilderment (’khrul pa).
(iv) The vehicle of gods and humans (lha dang mi’i theg pa) teaches that causal deeds—positive and negative—and the fruition of deeds, which individually ripen, are not squandered. On this it says in the Hundred Parables on Deeds:
Deeds will not be exhausted, even over a hundred aeons. Once the [appropriate] provisions and time have been found, Their [appropriate] results will ripen in all corporeal beings.304
This [view] surpasses those prevalent among the non-Buddhists, which hold that deeds have no results.305
Further, on the necessity of attaining liberation dependent on the vehicle of gods and humans, the Hundred Verses on Discriminative Awareness says:
If the doctrinal tradition of human beings is well practiced,
Progress to the god realms will not be remote;
If the doctrinal tradition of the gods is well practiced,
Liberation will be gradually approached.306
(v) The supreme vehicle of the unsurpassed way of secret mantra (gsang sngags kyi theg pa) is the conclusive realization, revealing the abiding nature, devoid of ordinary appearances because the three media [of body, speech, and mind] are understood to be the three primordial maṇḍalas [of buddha body, speech, and mind], that is to say, the body is unsullied, the speech will not be sullied, and the mind cannot be sullied by deeds or the results of deeds.
THE DETAILED EXEGESIS OF THE NATURE OF THE LIVING BEINGS WHO ARE THE OBJECT OF THESE INSTRUCTIONS AND OF THEIR DOCTRINES [188.8.131.52.2.2]
The second section [of the explanation of the verses] is the detailed exegesis of the nature of the living beings who are the object of these instructions and of their doctrines. This comprises (i) a demonstration that the nature of cyclic existence is actual reality (184.108.40.206.2.2.1) and (ii) a demonstration that the nature of the doctrine is inexpressible (220.127.116.11.2.2.2).
A DEMONSTRATION THAT THE NATURE OF CYCLIC EXISTENCE IS ACTUAL REALITY [18.104.22.168.2.2.1]
The former has six sections, among which the first, the context (22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199) [comments on the verse]:
The tathāgatas then uttered the following aphorisms:
Root Tantra (Ch. 3:9)
Then all the tathāgatas uttered these following aphorisms.
Once the miracle of the four kinds of instruction had been revealed, then all the self-manifesting tathāgatas uttered these following aphorisms.
The second section, the appearance of cyclic existence (188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206) [comments on the verse]:
Owing to the subject-object dichotomy,
The phenomena of bewilderment [endure] dependent origination
And experiences of happiness and suffering,
Root Tantra (Ch. 3:10)
The phenomena of mundane bewilderment, as many as they are,
Cycle through both outer and inner dependent origination
Owing to the subject-object dichotomy of fundamental ignorance and ideation,
Giving rise to disharmonious experiences of happiness and suffering.
All the phenomena of mundane bewilderment subsumed in the environment and its inhabitants, which appear as the impure outer and inner phenomena, as many as they are, are merely like a dream. However, the essential nature, wherein buddhahood is primordially attained in the abiding state, is oppressed by fundamental ignorance with its darkest sleep. Conditioned owing to the subject-object dichotomy of dualistic ideation, the diverse and variegated outer objects and the immeasurable inner organisms appear. Sentient beings cycle like the wheels of a chariot, coursing through both outer and inner dependent origination, as fruitional bewildering appearances emerge from the cause of bewilderment, giving rise to experiences of diverse happiness and suffering which are the particular attributes of disharmonious objects and appearances, continually projecting from one bastion of cyclic existence into another.308
The third section, demonstrating the actual reality [of those appearances] (220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168) [comments on the verse]:
But from the moment when they manifest,
They are at one with the pure expanse.
Root Tantra (Ch. 3:11)
But their intrinsic nature itself does not degenerate from actual reality—
Genuine reality, dualistic in an illusory manner,
Does not differentiate the possessor and the possessed;
It is a modality at one with the actual pure expanse.
Phenomena appear as such, but the intrinsic nature of this cyclic existence does not degenerate from actual reality—the sameness or great perfection of primordial liberation. This is because its nature is emptiness. Accordingly, it says in the Sūtra of the King of Meditative Stability:
The offspring of the conqueror destroys entities.
All rebirth processes that there are, are primordially empty.
Those who uphold the extreme of ephemeral emptiness
And those who are puerile sophists cannot dispute this.309
From the very moment when cyclic existence appears, it does not actually exist but is the abiding nature of genuine reality. The nature of these relative appearances, dualistic in a merely illusory manner, when analyzed does not differentiate between the possessor who is subject to cyclic existence and the possessed objects of cyclic existence and nirvāṇa, just as the appearances in a dream and the dreamer’s own mind are not dualistically differentiated. The nature of mind appears as such. It says accordingly in the Sūtra of the Descent to Laṅkā:
The nature of mind that has no object
Mistakenly perceives external objects.
The mind that is deranged by propensities
Objectifies all appearances.310
However, when cyclic existence appears, it is a primordial modality, at one with the pure actual reality, in the pure and self-manifesting expanse. Thus, the enlightened intention of the spontaneous perfect buddha body of actual reality is one of unique equilibrium, in its great primordial pervasion of all cyclic existence and nirvāṇa. As is said in the Ornament of Emergent Realization:
There is sameness with respect to existence and quiescence.311
The fourth section, teaching that bewildering appearances are the miraculous display of mind (22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199) [comments on the verse]:
Misconceptions and bewildering appearance
Do not stray from actual reality.
Root Tantra (Ch. 3:12)
The extraneous phenomena of the possessor and the possessed,
Apart from being mere misconceptions,
Have neither subtlety nor profundity.
There is an interaction between the nature of misconceptions
And [misconceptions] themselves,
But there is no extraneous wavering.
The differences between oneself and extraneous phenomena that are intellectually appraised through the subjective apprehension of the possessor and the possessed, apart from being one’s own mere misconceptions, do not actually exist. When the nature of these misconceptions is investigated, they have neither subtlety nor subtle attributes, and there is no reality endowed with profundity that separately exists distinct from them. This is because the nature of misconception abides as actual reality. In conformity with this, the master Padmasambhava accordingly states in his [[[Revelation]] of the] Tantra of Union with All the Buddhas:
If ideation is known to be actual reality,
There will be nothing on which to meditate,
Apart from the expanse of actual reality.312
These appearances within the subject-object dichotomy of cyclic existence are an interaction between the object, which is the dreamlike apparitional nature of misconceptions, and the subject—one’s own misconceptions themselves. But, although these do appear as bewilderment, actually there is no extraneous wavering from the nature of mind, the abiding nature of reality, just as the fluctuations of the four material elements do not stray from the [underlying] state of space, or just as thoughts of refutation and proof do not stray from the disposition of the nature of mind. The Tantra of the All-Accomplishing King says:
Whatever appears is one with the real nature.
No one should contrive this.
From this king of uncontrived sameness,
The enlightened intention of nonconceptual buddha body
Becomes spontaneously present.313
The fifth section, the baseless and groundless nature of bewildering ideation (188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206) [comments on the verse]:
Misconceptions are the baseless and groundless pure expanse.
Root Tantra (Ch. 3:13)
Despite the continuity of misconceptions
In terms of their causes and results,
They are the baseless and groundless expanse.
The indivisible moments of time are a modality
Of the nature of the pure expanse.
Despite the continuity of those misconceptions that appear as the bewildering subject-object dichotomy, in terms of their causes and the results produced thereby, which seem to be related in a temporal succession of past and subsequent moments, this [apparent continuity] is nonexistent when investigated. Rather, the essential nature of awareness abides in the originally pure abiding nature, the baseless and groundless expanse of actual reality; but when it arises as the diversity [of ideation], it has no continuity and indeed has the nature of distinct indivisible moments of time. Furthermore, there is no past indivisible moment of time that has ceased, no future indivisible moment of time that is found, and, when even a present indivisible moment of time is investigated, it does not exist—either outwardly, inwardly, or in between. Indeed, there are no such things as indivisible moments of time. They are awareness—a modality that abides as the essential nature of the primordially pure sky-like expanse of actual reality. As is said in the Pagoda of Precious Gems:
Kāśyapa, wherever this mind is sought, it is not considered to be internal. It is not considered to be external, nor is it even considered to be in between. For it is like the sky.314
The sixth section, teaching that conceptual thoughts are the emanational display of pristine cognition (220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168) [comments on the verse]:
The continuity of ideation is pure
In the emanational display of pristine cognition.
Root Tantra (Ch. 3:14)
They are transformations occurring in relation to it.
Thus, self, others, and the continuity of ideation
Are the supreme attributes of the pure unsurpassed vehicle.
The emanational display of subjective intelligence diversely arises in relation to this originally pure actual reality, which is the essential nature of all appearance and mind and the object in which primordial buddhahood is attained. All these transformations are themselves the self-manifesting pristine cognition occurring in relation to pristine cognition itself. Thus, the apprehension of self and others and the entire continuity of ideation that arises as refutation, proof, and the five poisons are an emanational display of pristine cognition. Indeed, they are supreme attributes of the primordially pure unsurpassed vehicle. As is said in the Tantra of the All-Accomplishing King:
It is said that hatred, desire, and delusion too
Emerge from the path of great enlightenment.
The five attributes of sensory enjoyment too315
Are the ornaments of reality’s expanse.316
A DEMONSTRATION THAT THE NATURE OF THE DOCTRINE IS INEXPRESSIBLE [22.214.171.124.2.2.2]
The latter part [of the explanation of the verses] is the demonstration that the nature of the doctrine is inexpressible. This comprises (i) the demonstration that the unsurpassed vehicle is the result of having attained emancipation through the four vehicles (126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52); (ii) the demonstration that all things are a miraculous display without independent existence (184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11); (iii) the demonstration that although the teacher and teaching do not change, they instruct each according to his or her needs for the sake of those to be trained (18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124); (iv) the demonstration that the natural Secret Nucleus is the emanational basis of all vehicles (126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52); (v) the demonstration that this itself is the general commentary on all the sūtras and tantras (184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11); and (vi) the demonstration that all these, apart from being mere names, words, and labels, are nonexistent in the abiding nature (18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124).
THE DEMONSTRATION THAT THE UNSURPASSED VEHICLE IS THE RESULT OF HAVING ATTAINED EMANCIPATION THROUGH THE FOUR VEHICLES [126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52]
The first section, demonstrating the unsurpassed vehicle [comments on the verse]:
Having attained emancipation through the four vehicles,
One is united in the fruition of the single vehicle.
Root Tantra (Ch. 3:15)
Having attained emancipation through the four vehicles,
One abides in the fruition of the single vehicle.
When one has attained emancipation from the respective aspects of dis-harmony, the sufferings of cyclic existence, the lesser vehicles, and so forth through the four vehicles that have previously been taught,317 after attaining emancipation through them, one abides on the buddha level, that is to say, in the fruition of the single unsurpassed vehicle, where the natural Great Perfection is encountered. This is the nature in which actual reality, transcending acceptance, rejection, effort, and attainment, is realized.318 As is said in the Tantra of the All-Accomplishing King:
Nine natural vehicles of the teacher
Indeed form the path that progresses to natural Great Perfection.
But once this actual reality without acceptance or rejection has been realized,
Its nature is spontaneously present, just as it is,
Extending all-pervasively and without coming or going.319
THE DEMONSTRATION THAT ALL THINGS ARE A MIRACULOUS DISPLAY WITHOUT INDEPENDENT EXISTENCE [184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11]
The second section, [demonstrating that all things are] a miraculous display without independent existence [comments on the verse]:
When investigated by [a yogin of] realization,
This resembles a magical display, which appears but does not exist.
Root Tantra (Ch. 3:16)
When well investigated by genuine realization,
Anything at all may become present from that [disposition]
Where there is no inherent existence.
When the things of phenomenal appearance, cyclic existence and nirvāṇa, have been well investigated with awareness by a yogin who has genuine realization of the meaning of the abiding nature, one should know that anything at all may become present, through the circumstances of their apparitional modes, arising from that disposition of the abiding mode, where there is no inherent existence. This resembles, for example, a miraculous apparition in the sky, a magical display, or a reflection, and so forth. As is said in the Sūtra of the King of Meditative Stability:
Just as when swirls of cloud instantly appear
From a sky that has no trace of clouds
And, having emerged, disintegrate,
So that the swirls of cloud cease to exist,
One should examine whence they originate,
And one should know all things in their entirety to be similar.320
And in the Sūtra Requested by Druma:
Just as the face appears on the surface of a mirror
But does not independently exist as such,
So, Druma, one should know all things!321
Therefore, one should know that all things appear without independent existence, and from the very moment of their appearance they are a miraculous display, in no way substantially existing.
THE DEMONSTRATION THAT ALTHOUGH THE TEACHER AND TEACHING DO NOT CHANGE, THEY INSTRUCT EACH ACCORDING TO HIS OR HER NEEDS FOR THE SAKE OF THOSE TO BE TRAINED [18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124]
The third section, demonstrating that [although the teacher and teaching do not change] they instruct each according to his or her needs for the sake of those to be trained [comments on the verse]:
[The buddhas] do not pass into nirvāṇa;
[Their doctrines] do not decline;
But in order to instruct [[[beings]]],
They [demonstrate] the passing into nirvāṇa.
Root Tantra (Ch. 3:17)
The buddhas do not pass into [final] nirvāṇa.
Their doctrines also do not decline.
In order to instruct the ignorant
Through acts of maturation,
They emerge and then demonstrate
The passing into nirvāṇa.
The buddhas, such as Samantabhadra, in whom the two kinds of benefit [of self and others] are spontaneously present and who have progressed to the conclusive goal, reside at all times without conjunction or disjunction in respect of the three buddha bodies. Thus, they do not pass into final nirvāṇa. All their doctrines of excellent teaching also do not decline because they abide in a nature that does not change throughout the three times. Accordingly, the Sūtra of Supreme Golden Light says:
The buddhas do not pass into final nirvāṇa.
Their doctrines also do not decline.322
The nature of the three buddha bodies abides constantly and continuously, as is stated in the Sūtra Revealing the Three Buddha Bodies:
The buddha body of actual reality
Is the constancy of the essential nature.
The buddha body of perfect resource
Is the constancy of its continuum,
And the buddha body of emanation
Is the constancy of its noninterruption.323
The scriptures commonly hold the buddha body of actual reality and the buddha body of perfect resource to be constant; as for the buddha body of emanation, they hold it to be constant only in terms of its actual reality, transcending the dichotomy of permanence and impermanence. This is because its appearances that manifest before living beings in the manner of the moon reflected in water do not exist with independent characteristics in the presence of those to be trained. In this way, the three buddha bodies are without conjunction or disjunction and they do not essentially change. However, spontaneously present emanations do come forth from that disposition, in the manner of [[[Śākyamuni]] who performed] twelve deeds.
In order to instruct the sentient beings who are ignorant of the abiding nature, through acts of maturation and liberation, the buddha bodies of emanation emerge of their own accord, in conformity with individual perception, and then, after completing their objectives, they demonstrate the passing into nirvāṇa. As is said in the Supreme Continuum of the Great Vehicle:
The Lord Buddha (prabhū) always engages effortlessly
With regard to the temperaments of those to be trained,
The skillful means that confer training,
And the acts of training suited to the temperaments of those to be trained—
Moving in [appropriate] places and at [appropriate] times.324
THE DEMONSTRATION THAT THE NATURAL SECRET NUCLEUS IS THE EMANATIONAL BASIS OF ALL VEHICLES [126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52]
The fourth section, demonstrating that [the natural Secret Nucleus] is the emanational basis [of all vehicles, comments on the verse]:
All [teachings] renowned within the nine vehicles
Emanate from this Secret Nucleus.
Root Tantra (Ch. 3:18)
The Vinaya, Sūtras, Abhidharma,
Commitments, attainment, accomplishment,
And the tantras of buddha body, speech, and mind,
Renowned throughout the ten directions,
Emanate from the Secret Nucleus.
The Vinaya emphasizes the training of superior ethical discipline. As is said in the Ornament of the Sūtras of the Great Vehicle:
The Vinaya is so called because it sets forth
Offenses, their origin, their remission, and absolution,
As well as the individuals [who would commit them],
The original context of the transgressions,
Their interpretation, and [their] determination.325
The Sūtras emphasize the training of superior mind. The same text says:
The Sūtras are so called because they inform
Through context, defining characteristics,
Doctrines, and meanings.326
The collection of the Abhidharma emphasizes the training of superior discriminative awareness. The same text says:
The Abhidharma is so called
Because it is comprehensive,
Because it is repetitive, masterful,
And conducive to realization.327
Kriyātantra emphasizes the commitments of body and speech, such as ablutions and cleanliness. Ubhayatantra concerns the attainment of buddhahood through the performance of conduct, as in Kriyātantra, and the upholding of view, as in Yogatantra. Yogatantra concerns supreme accomplishment because it emphasizes mental meditation, with the mere assistance of physical and verbal conduct. The tantras of buddha body such as the Tantra of the Black Slayer of Death emphasize the generation stage of skillful means. The tantras of buddha speech such as the Tantra of the Emanational Display of the Supreme Horse emphasize the perfection stage of discriminative awareness, and the tantras of buddha mind such as the Secret Assembly and the Glorious Heruka emphasize the nondual nature. All these, which are renowned as genuine doctrines throughout the immeasurable buddha fields of the ten directions, emanate from the Secret Nucleus, the abiding mode [of reality], the nature of the Great Perfection. This is because the conclusion of all philosophical systems and essential meanings is gathered in the Great Perfection.328 The Tantra of the All-Accomplishing King accordingly says:
Generalities are gathered,
Particulars are gathered,
Everything is gathered.
They are gathered in the natural Great Perfection.
This is the very nucleus of all [teachings],
In which there is nothing that is not gathered.329
THE DEMONSTRATION THAT THIS ITSELF IS THE GENERAL COMMENTARY ON ALL THE SŪTRAS AND TANTRAS [184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11]
The fifth section, demonstrating [that this text itself is the general commentary on all the sūtras and tantras, comments on the verse]:
This is the source of the sūtras and tantras—
The supreme [[[vehicle]]] that establishes [all others].
Root Tantra (Ch. 3:19)
This natural Secret Nucleus
Is definitively established as the source
Of all piṭakas and of all tantras.
This natural Secret Nucleus, the abiding nature of all things, is itself the emanational basis and therefore indeed the source of all the three piṭakas and of all the six classes of tantras. Because it subsumes the essential meanings, this [[[Secret Nucleus]]] abides as the ground that is definitively established and as the object that is to be established, and it itself establishes all [other vehicles]. As is said in the Tantra of the All-Accomplishing King:
The nature of all piṭakas and all tantras is gathered in this nucleus. It is the general commentary of all the sūtras and tantras.330
THE DEMONSTRATION THAT ALL THESE, APART FROM BEING MERE NAMES, WORDS, AND LABELS, ARE NONEXISTENT IN THE ABIDING NATURE [18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124]
The sixth section, demonstrating that all these [apart from being mere names, words, and labels] are nonexistent in the abiding nature [comments on the verse]:
All phenomena are merely names and words
That have been applied, but they have no entity.
Root Tantra (Ch. 3:20)
Phenomena are merely names that have been designated.
The teachers designate names and words
Corresponding to their meaning, and then give teaching,
But the names and words that are taught have no entity.
—So they said.
All the teachings that bring about this establishment in the context of these five vehicles, and the phenomena subsumed within phenomenal appearance, cyclic existence and nirvāṇa, which are the objects to be established, are actually nonexistent. Thus, they are merely names that have been designated. There is a sūtra that says:
Subhūti, all things are mere symbols, mere labels.
They are absolutely without inherent existence.331
Who then designates these labels? The teachers of the gods and human beings—the buddhas—invent them, corresponding provisionally to the meaning of relative truth with its mere unimpeded appearances. They designate names and words such as cyclic existence, nirvāṇa, psychophysical aggregates, sensory elements, and sense fields, and then give teaching. Their purpose is that the real abiding nature should be comprehended. In this way, names and words are designated, but at the very time at which they are taught, the names and words have no entity. When [for example] they describe “space,” this designation is nonexistent in the space element. The designation space is even nonexistent in the body and mind. Indeed, the designation space cannot be found anywhere, for which reason it is not recognized as an entity. One should know that although all things are designated by the intellect, they are themselves indivisible from space, and therefore names and concepts are in all respects naturally nonexistent. The Sūtra of the King of Meditative Stability accordingly says:
Just as someone, having given birth to a child,
Gives it a name that is different from the child,
And when one searches for this [[[name]]]
It does not exist at all—inside or outside—
All things should be similarly known.332
So they meaningfully said that all things are inexpressible.
A SYNOPSIS OF CYCLIC EXISTENCE AND NIRVĀṆA AS SELF-MANIFESTATIONS OF MIND AND PRISTINE COGNITION [126.96.36.199.2.3]
The third section [of the explanation of the verses] is a synopsis of cyclic existence and nirvāṇa as self-manifestations of mind and pristine cognition. This comprises (i) a description of the causal basis that revealed this self-manifestation (188.8.131.52.2.3.1) and (ii) the actual manner in which it was revealed (184.108.40.206.2.3.2).
The former [comments on the verse]:
There then came forth the teaching that mind and pristine cognition are self-manifesting:
Root Tantra (Ch. 3:21)
Then this secret description of these nondual maṇḍalas of the tathāgata came forth from the indestructible buddha body, speech, mind, attributes, and activities.
Once the nature of all things had been described, then this secret description of these maṇḍalas of the tathāgata, where skillful means and discriminative awareness are nondual, revealing mind and pristine cognition to be self-manifesting, came forth as follows from the indestructible buddha body, speech, mind, attributes, and activities.
The latter has two parts: (i) demonstrating the bewildering appearances of sentient beings to be the self-manifest nature of the mind (220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168) and (ii) demonstrating the appearances of the buddha fields to be the self-manifest nature of pristine cognition (22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199).
The former [comments on the verse]:
The abodes, corporeal forms, and sufferings of the six classes of beings are of the nature of misconception.
Root Tantra (Ch. 3:22)
O! The disadvantages that form the basis of existence
Have issued from possessive ideation.
With respect to the six classes [of sentient beings]:
Birth, cessation, corporeal forms, resources, abodes,
The cycle of bewilderment that generates suffering,
And so forth are nothing but misconceptions.
O! is an exclamation indicating astonishment at the self-manifesting nature of all things. The five psychophysical aggregates and all the disadvantages that form the basis of the three planes of existence—the diverse bewildering appearances within the circumstances of cyclic existence—have issued from egotistical and possessive ideation. With respect to the different perceptions of the six classes of living beings such as the gods, during bewilderment in cyclic existence, they experience birth, death resulting from the cessation of the life force, diverse and distinct corporeal forms, diverse resources such as nectar and sugar cane, the diverse appearances of different lands including the abodes of the gods, and the cycle of bewilderment that generates the suffering of change and decay at death, and so forth.
The words and so forth here suggest the perceptions of happiness and indifference that [additionally] appear, diversely and in various hues.
All these are nothing resembling distinct external objects, but rather, they are misconceptions, created by the fundamental ignorance of these living beings and their propensities, which are dreamlike self-manifestations of the bewildered mind. Accordingly, it also says in the Sūtra of the Applications of Mindfulness:
The diverse corporeal forms, resources, and perceptions
Are diffused by mind and made by mind.
They are not extraneous at all, apart from mind,
Just as, for example, dreams.333
The latter [comments on the verse]:
Without dualizing, intrinsic awareness is present through pristine cognition, in the self-manifesting nature.
It itself appears as the buddha fields.
Root Tantra (Ch. 3:23)
Buddha mind, endowed with emptiness, selflessness,
Primordial knowledge, and intrinsic awareness,
Overpowers [[[phenomena]]] through recollection,
Without referenced and referencer.
This itself is none other than the wondrous buddha bodies,
Speech, attributes, and fields, which appear in that manner.
—Such were the secret words of indestructible reality that emerged.
The buddha mind is the naturally present pristine cognition, endowed with emptiness in all its finest aspects (sarvākāraguṇopetaśūnyatā, rnam pa mchog dang ldan pa’i stong pa nyid),334 the nature of the primordial buddha-hood of cyclic existence and nirvāṇa, the selflessness of the individual and phenomena, primordial knowledge, and individual intrinsic awareness. It overpowers the phenomena that appear to it through the recollection of pristine cognition, without dualizing between the externally apprehended objects that are referenced as extraneous and the internal apprehending mind that is their referencer, acting in the manner of a self. Since this is superior to other phenomena that are overpowered in that manner, [[[buddha mind]]] is devoid of individual characteristics and is present in none other than the self-manifest nature of the pristine cognition of buddha-hood, including the wondrous and marvelous three buddha bodies, their buddha speech of great pristine cognition which manifests as the vehicles, the buddha mind with its two kinds of knowledge,335 the immeasurable buddha attributes, the spontaneously accomplished buddha activities, and the inconceivable buddha fields.
Pristine cognition itself constitutes the inconceivable array of buddha bodies, fields, activities, and so forth, which appears in that manner. As is said in the Tantra of the Marvelous King:
Pristine cognition itself appears
As the buddha bodies, pristine cognition, buddha fields,
Attributes, and activities of pristine cognition,
As many as they are.
It is not extraneous but spontaneously present.336
All things are therefore not extraneous, apart from being arrayed in this great self-manifesting nature.
Such were the words of the secret tantra of natural indestructible reality that emerged.
The third part [of ch. 3] is the conclusion [which comments on the verse]:
All the teachings are gathered in this inexpressible nature.
Root Tantra (Ch. 3:24)
Through these words, the tathāgata himself knew that the teachings spoken by countless emanations of the six sages and by all the tathāgatas are indeed gathered in these [verses].
Through these words uttered by the conqueror himself, the principal deity [[[Samantabhadra]]], the original tathāgata himself, knew that the teachings given in many vehicles by countless emanations of the six sages, who emanate from this great compassionate spirituality, and the teachings spoken by all the tathāgatas of the self-manifesting array, are indeed gathered in these verses [of the Guhyagarbha Tantra], which reveal the inexpressible nature, the self-manifestation of mind and pristine cognition.
This completes chapter 3 [of the Secret Nucleus], entitled “The Establishment of All Phenomena.”
Root Tantra (Ch. 3:25)
This completes the third chapter from the Secret Nucleus Definitive with Respect to the Real, entitled “The Establishment of All Phenomena.”
This completes the exegesis of the third chapter from the natural Secret Nucleus Definitive with Respect to the inexpressible Real, which establishes all phenomena of cyclic existence and nirvāṇa to appear but to be the originally pure actual reality, essentially without independent existence.
Consolidating a great pledge through the power of maturation,
Possessing commitments that enhance the power of meditative stability and mantra,
The pristine cognition of the perfection stage arises dependent on supreme meditative stability,
And the supreme accomplishment of coemergent pristine cognition is attained.337
Through the compassionate spirituality of Padma,
There flourished the [[[Buddhist]]] teachings in the Land of Snows.
Through the doctrines of the meditation hermitages,
There flourished the experiential realization of King [[[Trisong Detsen]]] and his subjects.
Through the teaching of oral transmissions and spiritual revelations,
There flourished an excellent gathering of trainees.
Through the teaching of the tantras of means for attainment,
There flourished the spiritual and temporal well-being of living creatures.338
This [text] elucidates the meanings of all the vehicles:
The sūtras which engender this consolidation in great enlightenment,
Or the vehicle of indestructible reality of the most secret tantras—
Those teachings absent in the ordinary causal vehicles,
Which are designed to carry on the short path
The five poisons of the sensory attributes, without renouncing them.339
This completes Book 15 of The Precious Treasury of Sūtra and Tantra (mDo rgyud rin po che’i mdzod), which is a commentary on the exegesis of the title of the Secret Nucleus, along with an analysis [of the content and words of the tantra], and its actual inception, from which [the first three chapters]—respectively entitled “The Introductory Narrative,” “The Initiation of the Discourse,” and “The Establishment of All Phenomena”—all derive.
In order that the continuity of the precious exegesis of the Tantra of the Net of Magical Emanation of Vajrasattva, the emanational basis of all the vehicles of the sūtras and tantras, including the eighteen tantras [of Mahāyoga], the supreme tantra establishing the meaning of all the piṭakas of the root tantras and of all tantras, might spread and flourish, Longchen Choying Tobden Dorje compiled this text, in accordance with the commentaries entitled Dispelling the Darkness of the Ten Directions (Phyogs bcu mun sel) and the Ornament of the Enlightened Intention of the Lord of Secrets (gSang bdag dgongs rgyan).340
It was produced for the sake of the Buddhist teaching and living beings by one named Kunpangpa Pel.