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A Record of the Teachings of the Great Perfection in the Twelfth-century Zur Tradition

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Matthew T. Kapstein

(EPHE-PSL Research University, CRCAO, University of Chicago)

Rose.” The dating for this teacher as given in the traditional histories is open to discussion, but I believe that he was active until the mid 1170s and composed the “All-Encompassing Lamp” towards the end of his life. The importance of the “All-Encompassing Lamp” lies in the fact that it affords us, for the first time, a detailed record of the teaching system of the early Zur, who, as we know, were of crucial importance for the codification of Rnying ma

tantric traditions in general. Moreover, given the inclusion within the text of many hundreds of citations drawn from Rnying ma canonical writings—what would later come to be called the Rnying ma rgyud ’bum—it provides a unique perspective on the formation of that corpus. As my arguments concerning these

points are detailed in the article referenced above, however, I shall refrain from further discussion of them here. In accord with the interests of the present volume, my topic will be limited to the précis of the Atiyoga teachings set forth by Shakya rdo rje in the first chapter of his work. While matters relating to Atiyoga are scattered throughout the twenty-three chapters of the “All-Encompassing Lamp,” it is the unique subject of just one, the

twenty-first, entitled the “chapter teaching the tenets of Atiyoga” (a ti yo ga’i ’dod pa bstan pa’i le’u). However, in the first chapter, the “general presentation of the doctrine” (chos spyi’i rnam bzhag), which amounts to a self-contained treatise detailing the architecture of the system overall, a

brief summary of Atiyoga traditions is given as part of a section treating the “means of exposition” (’chad thabs) of the doctrine. It is this passage that I translate and reproduce below.

Following the traditional histories, Dbus pa ston sh?k, for whom we do not have precise dates, would have passed away approximately in either 1158 or 1164. But as I argue in notes 32 and 42 of the article cited earlier, the dates probably need to be adjusted by one twelve-year cycle, pushing his likely death

date to about 1176. 4 The traditional accounts of the Zur lineage are summarized in Dudjom 1991, vol. 1, pp. 617-687. These accounts have in fact remained quite stable within Rnying ma historiography, at least since the fifteenth century, but, as I have shown elsewhere (Kapstein 2010, n. 2), they were probably derived from a now unavailable lineage record of the Zur. As Dalton 2016, p. 52, remarks, few original writings of the Zur patriarchs seem to have

survived. Nevertheless, for some facets of the early Zur tradition, refer to Kapstein 2008, 2010, and Wilkinson 2012, 2014. 5 In the manuscript, this chapter covers 45 folios, 164-208, and so is the longest chapter of the work as a whole. 6 It is now clear that the Zur devoted much attention to the topic of ’chad thabs. Cf. my remarks on this in Kapstein 2008: 4 and the recent discussion of the treatment

A particular point of interest may be found in Shakya dorje’s presentations of the traditions of Rdzogs chen teaching known to him. He initially divides these into six major cycles (skor): sems sde’i skor, klong sde’i skor, rgyud sde’i skor, shan ’byed bram ze’i skor, la zla rgyal po’i skor, and rang grol mngon du ston pa gdam ngag gi skor. And he lists by title the major tantras assigned to each cycle. All but two of these, as far as I have been able to identify them (and some I cannot), correspond to works now classed among the Rdzogs chen sems sde and klong sde. Although, on one occasion, he uses the phrase man ngag gi skor to refer to the [[rang gro] mngon du ston pa]] gdam ngag gi skor]] of the foregoing list, the titles he mentions demonstrate that this is

not be identified with the man ngag sde as it is known from later Rdzogs chen classifications. The author goes on to name, as exemplifying the proliferation of Rdzogs chen traditions, no less than eight additional skor, among which we find the system of [[Aro Ye shes ’byung gnas, that has been preserved in the Rnying ma bka’ ma down to the present,8 and what may be the first reference known to the puzzling spyi ti’i skor, that, on the basis of

what other sources tell us, seems to have emerged in circles close to Nyang ral Nyima ’odzer (1124-1192), who must have been a junior contemporary of Sh?kya rdo rje. He mentions, too, three particular persons as exemplifying the attainment of the Great Perfection in Tibet: Sba tshab (= Spa/Pa tshab) Stong grags, Lce btsun Seng ge dbang phyug, and Bla ma Nyang chen po Ri khrod pa. The first figures in a number of Rdzogs chen lineages stemming from the

tradition of Gnyags Jñanakumara;10 the second, who lived in the late eleventh century, is very well known to Rdzogs chen history and I shall return to him in a moment; the third is perhaps to identified with either [[Nyang Shes rab mchog or Nyang Ye shes ’byung gnas, who were particularly important for transmitting the teachings of the Bsnubs tradition to the Zur.

of it in the Kun byed rgyal po in Valby 2012. It will be seen that the latter is particularly pertinent to the text examined here. The locus classicus of the sde gsum division of the Rdzogs chen teachings—sems sde, klong sde and man ngag sde—appears to be the A ti bkod pa chen po of the Bi ma snying thig. See Dudjom 1991, vol. 1: 319. 8 Also known as the A ro thun bdun and the Rdzogs chen khams lugs, several versions have been perpetuated down to the

present time. On the teachings and traditions of spyi ti, refer to Achard 2015. For instance, in the gsan yig of the Fifth Dalai Lama: Rgyal dbang, vol. 4: 315, 328. 11 Dudjom 1991, vol. 1: 615-616. In the Deb dmar: 81, Nyang ri khrod pa is mentioned among the figures seen in vision by Dpal ldan gro of Snar thang, who must have been active no later than about 1200 and so was perhaps contemporaneous with the author of the “All-Encompassing Lamp.” In his commentarial
The various divisions of the Great Perfection teaching outlined above only partially overlap with the threefold hierarchical division that became widespread in Rnying ma pa teaching following the promulgation of the Seventeen Tantras of the Man ngag sde and the Rdzogs chen snying thig systems based

upon them. This is evident from the absence of hierarchical ranking among the several systems mentioned, but even more from the fact that the characteristic distinctions of the Snying thig systems, emphasizing khregs chod, thod rgal and the luminous visions associated with the latter, are

entirely absent here. We are left with something of a puzzle in fact, for either these teachings were part of an esoteric transmission on the part of Lce btsun Seng ge dbang phyug that was not yet known even to such a well placed figure as our author, or Lce btsun, for all his inspirational role in the emergence of the Snying thig, was not in fact primarily responsible for the redaction of its most distinctive doctrines. As Lce btsun’s disciple Zhang ston Bkra shis rdo rje, who may have been the real redactor of the textual traditions of the Seventeen Tantras and their early commentaries, was an exact contemporary of our author, it may well have been the case that this innovative system was not yet much diffused.12 Nevertheless, among the various systems

Shakya rdo rje does mention, there is a mysterious Ke tshang gi skor that, like the Snying thig traditions, is divided into a phyi skor, nang skor, gsang skor and gsang ba bla na med pa’i skor. Does this suggest that Shakya rdo rje had received early reports of the new teaching that would come to be best

known as the Rdzogs chen snying thig? The evidence so far available does not permit us to know. In all events, it will be a worthwhile project for the future to compare the information regarding Rdzogs chen transmissions and tantras as we find them enumerated in the “All-Encompassing Lamp” with other

relatively early sources in which similar matters are detailed, for instance, the pertinent writings of the second Karma pa hierarch, Karma Pakshi (1206-1283).14 On the several additional topics of interest that are raised in the passage I present here, I have added some discussion in the notes

notes on the Deb dmar, p. 389, Dung dkar identifies Nyang ri khrod pa as Nyang ral Nyi ma ’od zer, but I do not think that this is plausible. Nor can we eliminate the possibility that Nyang chen po Ri khrod pa is to be identified with the important ninth-century monk-minister, Nyang/Myang Ting ’dzin bzang po, who is recognized as a patriarch of the Rdzogs chen snying thig tradition. On Zhang ston, see Achard 2012. 13 Refer to Dudjom, vol. 1: 332. Some memory, at least, of the Ke tshang gi skor was conserved in later Rnying ma historiography; see, e.g., Dudjom, vol. 1, 651. 14 Karma Pakshi’s works represent the early tradition at Ka? thog, which was, of course, derived from the Zur. Refer to Kapstein 1985.

accompanying my translation, and certain others are considered in my study of the manuscript. Because the orthography of the manuscript, which is of a high standard overall, nevertheless does not always accord with the conventions most familiar at present, I have taken the liberty of using better-known spellings on some occasions in the translation.

[35b1] According to the system of the Rdzogs pa chen po transmission, when explaining the tantras and precepts, they are to be explained in five general topics. As it says in the All-Accomplishing King:
At first, to teach the credible source, One should teach the history, the genuine explanatory tradition. Because all phenomena are gathered in mind, the root, One should then teach the meaning of the root. In order to distinguish the specificities of the vehicles, One should teach the root meaning of yoga.

To teach that attainment through exertion is unnecessary, One then teaches the purpose, the true reason. So that the uncomprehended meaning may be realized, One must articulate the verbal meaning.

(I) The history, [which explains] the original source of the precepts, (II) The meaning of yoga, [which explains] entryway and vehicle, (III) The significance of the purpose, [which explains] the individual who is the receptacle [to receive the teachings], (IV) The root meaning, in sum, of the title bestowed, (V) The verbal meaning, explaining the text from start to finish— It is explained through these five general topics.

(I) As for the first, [the history], the Ornament says:
In fact, the lineage of the nondual Is indicative of the meaning free from conventions; It teaches the Rdzogs chen’s proper characteristic Through the epistemic authority of the precepts,16
15 I have not yet identified the work here referred to simply as Rgyan.

16 The terminology used here is of considerable interest, in that it suggests that the author of the text cited was intentionally appropriating and subverting the conventions of pram??a, “logic and epistemology,” tshad ma in Tibetan (and translat

[As transmitted in the lineages] of the Conquerors and Knowledge-Holders,17 down to mundane individuals.
These are the lineage of the Conquerors’ intention, the Knowledge Holders’ [36a1] lineage, by means of their awareness, and the lineage of mundane individuals [which passes] from ear to ear.

Furthermore, there are ten [topics]:

(1) the greatness of the teacher, the Buddha;

(2) the greatness of the teaching, the Dharma;

(3) the greatness of the lineage of Knowledge-Holders, or of the learned panditas;

(4) the greatness of the translators;

(5) the greatness of the field [of merit], the patrons;

(6) the distinctions of the shrines that were raised;

(7) the greatness of the siddhas who accomplished [the goal];

(8) the greatness of the ground that is to be established;

(9) the greatness of the path that is to be traversed; and

(10) the greatness of the fruit that is disclosed.

(1)   There are

(1.1) the distinctions between the fully perfect and not fully perfect Teacher; and

(1.2) the greatness, or special superiority, of the self-emergent ground, the teacher Samantabhadra, who has never deviated in error.

(1.1)   The former [refers to] the Tripi?aka, etc., as pronounced respectively by the nirm??ak?yas and others, and the Great Perfection transmission, pronounced by the fully perfected Buddhas of the five embodiments.

(1.2)   The second is the teacher who is the self-emergent ground, apart from which, being awakened in primordial quiddity, he has never deviated in error, and so is especially superior. He is the buddha of the path, or the buddhas of the respective vehicles, apart from which he has never undergone partiality and progress on the path, and so is especially superior. And he is the buddha of the fruit, the disclosure of realization, apart from which he has never experienced realization by means of the path, and so is especially superior.
ed here as “epistemic authority”). The use of the term rang mtshan (Skt. svalak?a?a) in the preceding line is also adopted from pram??a, in which context it refers to the “autonomous particular,” which is the object of direct perception. However, here it can only be taken to refer to the pith of the Rdzogs-

chen teaching, which is “directly perceived,” when its true meaning is grasped in immediate experience. The idea that the authority of the guru and direct spiritual experience constituted a kind of tshad ma was also current in the Lam-’bras tradition. 17 The spelling rigs-’dzin instead of rig-’dzin may

suggest that, instead of vidyadhara, lit. “knowledge/spell-holder,” the underlying term intended may be kula?dhara, “family/clan-holder.” While the former has surely been predominant in Rnying ma pa thinking, we cannot exclude the second, given the importance of the theory of “clans” (kula) for tantric thought overall.

(2)   The teaching is taught to be especially superior owing to
(2.1) its distinction of being entirely complete and to

(2.2) its seven or five greatnesses.

(2.1) As for the former, from among the nine sequential vehicles, the three dialectical vehicles, being the causal vehicles, [36a1] are the

teaching of the nirmanakaya. That, moreover, is pronounced in the 84,000 dharma-gates from among the three pitakas. The three exoteric tantras among the mantras reveal the fruit just in its general aspect as the path and are said to be primarily the teaching of the sambhogakaya. There, moreover, it is said

that there are innumerable tantras. The three esoteric vehicles of overwhelming means are the fully perfect teaching of the five embodiments’ spontaneous presence. In particular, they are the teaching of the svabhivikakaya and dharmakaya. There, Mahayoga and Anu yoga] make the fruit, endowed with its

proper characteristics, into the path and teach the nonduality of sansara and nirv??a. Mah?[[[yoga]]] is said to include the four classes of the M?y?j?la, the eighteen classes of tantra,18 etc., beyond counting or description. Anu yoga] is said to be the five great Sutras of the transmission, etc., the

transmitted teaching beyond counting or description.19 Atiyoga establishes that all phenomena, in self-emergent gnosis, are nondual with respect to cause and fruit, nondual with respect to sa?s?ra and nirv??a, without limitation or partiality. That, moreover, fully teaches the vehicles up through Anu[[[yoga]]]

and, in particular, teaches that the teaching of Ati yoga is unbounded, like space. If that be indicated just in part, there are six: (i) the cycle of the mind class, (ii) that of the spatial class, (iii) that of the tantric class, (iv) that of the analytic brahman’s class, (v) that of the determining kingly class, and

(vi) the cycle of the esoteric instructions disclosing natural liberation. (i)   The first is said to include the eighteen [[[tantras]]] of the mind class—the Rmad ’byung (Ng. 45, 47-48),21 the Rig pa mchog (Ng.

18 Refer to Eastman 1983. 19 On the scriptural corpus of the Anuyoga, see now Dalton 2016, appendix. 20 Or: “transcending,” la bzla ba. The tantras mentioned in our text have been identified where possible, using the siglum Ng., according to the online catalogue of the Rnying ma rgyud ’bum (NGB) of the

Tibetan & Himalayan Library:

It should be noted that in some cases the brief titles given here are suggestive of the titles of several works in the available editions of the NGB so that, where a firm identification is not yet possible, several alternatives are listed.

842, classed as Mahayoga), and the [[Bkra shis [37a1] mi ’gyur gsal bar gnas pa’i rgyud (Ng. ) and the others among the eighteen great tantras—namely, the five ancient translations and thirteen later translations,22 making eighteen instructions, and others beyond measure. (ii) In the spatial class there

are four: (a) in the cycle of the seal counted as exoteric, there are the 180 nails, the Glang po che rab ’bog gi rgyud (Ng. 555, classed as Mahayoga), etc.; (b) in the esoteric cycle of the secret seal there are 180 esoteric instructions, the Kun tu bzang po rig pa rtsal shar ba’i rgyud (Ng. 60), etc.;

(c) in the cycle of the small secret seal, there are 180 [teachings of] contemplative absorption, the Rin po che bkod pa’i rgyud (Ng. 62), etc.; and (d) in the cycle of the seal conferring the intention, there are 180 determinations, the Klong chen rab ’byam rgyal po’i rgyud (Ng. 58), etc. And it is said that in the Nam mkha’ che (Ng. 3) there are all four of the aforementioned ways of exposition. (iii) In the tantric class, there are said to be forty-two

tantras, including the Nam mkha’ mtha’ mnyam (cf. Ng. 63, 170), the [[Nya mo ’khor lo’i rgyud (Ng. 186), etc., together with the esoteric instructions. (iv) In the brahman’s cycle it is said that there are six root tantras and thirty-six branch tantras of the brahman. Among them, [the six root tantras] are the Nam mkha’ klong yangs kyi rgyud (Ng. 121, 146, 235), the [[Ye shes gting nas rdzogs] pa’i rgyud]] (Ng. 152), the Kun tu bzang po ye shes klong gi rgyud

(Ng. 149), the Rang byung bde’ ba ’khor lo’i rgyud (Ng. 148, 151), the [[Nges don ’dus pa gter gyi rgyud (Ng. 143), and the ’Khor ba rtsad nas gcod pa’i rgyud (Ng. 25-27, 29, 144-5, 195); the general tantra is the Ye shes mkha’ dang mnyam pa’i rgyud (Ng. 150). (v) As for the determining kingly class, it includes five root tantras such as the Bkra shis dus tshod ’dzin pa khu byug gi rgyud (Ng. 49, 224), the Yon tan rtsal chen rdzogs pa’i rgyud (Ng. 1),

[37b1] the Thig le sgron ma gsal ba bkod pa’i rgyud (cf. Ng. 119), the Kun byed rgyal po’i rgyud (Ng. 10-29), and the [[Rig pa nam mkha’ dang mnyam pa’i rgyud]] (cf. Ng. 63, 170). There are said to be one hundred branch tantras together with their esoteric instructions. (vi) The cycle of esoteric

instructions includes: the cycle of what is hidden, which discloses the hidden; the conclusive cycle, which turns awareness to the essence; the cycle of the precipitous path to the fortress, whereby reality-as-son meets reality-as-mother; and the cycle of the final lineage, which teaches the direct perception of

22 Refer to Dudjom 1991, vol. 1, 538, 673-674; vol. 2, 221; Kapstein 2008; Liljenberg 2009, 2012; Lopez 2018. 23 Cf. Dudjom, vol. 1, 651. 24 Bsgags.

natural liberation. In each there are said to be fully complete tantras together with their esoteric instructions. And in each of those the tenets of all the vehicles are said to be entirely complete, including the rebuttals of the erroneous opinions of the extremists and others, the analyses of the eight

[lower] vehicles, the determination of the Great Perfection, and the introduction in direct perception to natural liberation. Besides those, there are: (vii) the Ke tshang cycle, which includes an exoteric cycle, an esoteric cycle, a secret cycle, and an unsurpassedly secret cycle, etc.; (viii) the A ro

cycle; (ix) the Dom sgro cycle;25 (x) the cycle of the unelaborate clarification of the essence; (xi) the spyi ti cycle; (xii) the spyi mdo cycle; (xiii) the cycle of the king’s vital treasure;;26 (xiv) the universal liberation cycle; and inexpressibly many others. (2.2) As to its special superiority

owing to seven or five greatnesses: (i) owing to the greatness of being the highest pinnacle among the vehicles, it is like Meru, king of mountains; (ii) owing to the greatness of being king among all transmissions, it is like the center of the sun; [38a1] (iii) owing to the greatness of being the commentary

upon all pronouncements, it is like the clarification of all the world and its inhabitants within the expanse of space; (iv) owing to the greatness of being the root of all esoteric instructions, it is like a man who has obtained the secret orders of the king; (v) owing to the greatness of being the

birthplace of all teachings, it is like the appearance, from the space that supports the elements, of the five elements; (vi) owing to the greatness of bringing to conclusion all topics, it is like a traveler who has returned and arrived once more at his own home; and (vii) owing to the greatness of being

the mirror of all dharmas, it is like an untarnished mirror. As it says in the S?tra:27
(i) As continents and mountains, within the surrounding perimeter, Are clarified from the summit of Meru,
25 The term dom sgro, probably refers here to a small pouch or casket made of bear’s fur. Rgyal dbang, vol. 18, p. 22, relates that, in a dream, Ye shes mtsho rgyal conferred a dom sgro on Nyang ral Nyi ma ’od zer (1124-1196), which was found to contain the profound doctrines of master Padmasambhava (thun

gcig mnal ba’i dus kyi tshe// mtsho rgyal sprul pa’i zhing skyes mas// ’di yi bdag po khyod yin zhes// yang zab thugs kyi man ngag gi/ dom sgro nag po dngos su gtad//)). I am grateful to Jean-Luc Achard for his help in clarifying this term on the basis of the Bon sources with which he is familiar. 26 The

notion of a rgyal po bla gter, referring to texts that served as the talismans of Khri Srong lde’u btsan, occurs in relation with other early traditions as well and remains to be investigated in detail. Cf. Dudjom 1991, vol. 1, p. 756, in relation to the bka’ brgyad revelations of Nyang ral Nyi ma ’od zer. 27

Probably referring to the Ten S?tras (mdo bcu) appended to the Kun byed rgyal po.
Revue d'Etudes Tibétaines 118
So all the enumerations of vehicles, as many as may be, Are clearly seen when the greatness of just that [is beheld].
(ii) The king of light in the world Is the glorious, bright sun; That which fully clarifies all dharmas Is just that all-clarifying greatness.
(iii) As the great opening that is space Opens the place for the four elements, So it is that the very consummation of the secrets Clearly comments on all articulate expression.
(iv) One who obtains the [king’s] secret order Depends upon no other man; When all is mastered in the secret essence, One need not search among spoken expressions.
(v) The continuous stream of the elements Arises and appears in the expanse of space; So too the elements of spoken expression, Have arisen from the profound sphere of thusness.
(vi) All enumerations construed as topics In the end, when the fruit [38b1]is attained, converge; Though enumerations be expressed in abundance, All are gathered in suchness.
(vii) As the heart of a clarifying mirror Reveals the face’s reflection, Just so the mirror of dharma Clarifies the nature of all.
The five greatnesses have been explained earlier.28
(3) Third are those who have mastered [the attainments of] the three knowledge-holders and the Great Perfection,29 the nonduality of sa?s?ra and nirv??a, having realized all dharmas in selfemergent gnosis, such as the great teacher Mañju?r?mitra, ?r?si?ha,
28 The author here refers the reader to a section near the beginning of the first chapter (folios 6b-7b) treating “the awakening in five greatnesses of the unconditioned gnosis of Ati[[[yoga]]]” (a ti ’dus ma byas kyi ye shes che ba lngar sangs rgyas pa). 29 Contemporary Rnying ma traditions usually list four rig ’dzin—rnam smin rig ’dzin, tshe dbang rig ’dzin, phyag chen rig ’dzin, and lhun grub rig ’dzin. Possibly the three mentioned here are the first three of these, with the Great Perfection as equivalent to the fourth. Cf. paragraph (7) below.

Vimalamitra, etc.—the twenty-five who were learned30—as well as king Dza, the five noble ones of the enlightened family, master H??kara, and the venerable Padmasambhava, etc., who ceaselessly realized reality in direct perception, bound gods and demons in servitude, overpowered all that appears, and knew the

360 ways of translation, etc., so that they were able unimpededly to teach the dharma in the languages of the six classes of beings. (4) Fourth are the five bhik?us, Bka’ mchog rin po che, Gnyags Jñ?nakum?ra, master Vairocana and the others who were learned in the five sciences, knew the 360 ways of

translation, etc., so that they could listen at once, without impediment, to the languages of the six classes of beings, and in whose minds the entire teaching was complete. They are designated as the translators who were knowledge-holders, bodhisattvas, and nirm??ak?yas. (5) Fifth, [39a1] the patrons

are said to have been the three ancestral kings who were nirm??ak?yas: Lha tho tho ri snyan shal was the emanation of Vajrap??i; Srong btsan sgam po was the emanation of Mah?k?ru?ika; Khri Srong lde btsan was the emanation of Mañju?r?—so it is said.31 Moreover, at first the dharma made its appearance; in

between its tradition was established; and in the end Khri Srong lde btsan spread and increased the dharma. (6) Sixth, [the shrines:] when shrines could not be erected in Tibet, the four [[[temples]]] to tame the horns, the four to tame the muzzles, the four [that were like] points of blood-letting, and the

four [that were like] moxibustion points, etc., were constructed. Onehundred-eight temples, including Lha sa, Bsam yas, etc., were erected. Many self-emergent assemblies of divinities and assemblies of constructed divinities dwelt there. Srong btsan sgam po and master Padmasambhava and others consecrated

them, whereupon the assemblies of gnostic divinities were really invited to come forth and dissolved in union [with the divine images]. Then, it is said, all these receptacles [i.e., the divine images] pronounced dharma discourses. (7) Seventh, [those who accomplished the fruit] in Tibet include the four

bhik?us—Bsnubs Nam mkha’i snying po and the others—as well as She’u Tshul khrims, Gnyan ?c?rya Dpal dbyangs and others, who, by means of Glorious Yang dag [[[Heruka]]], obtained [the realizations of] the knowledge-holders with power over longevity, the knowledge-holders of the mah?mudr?, etc., who awakened as buddhas without relinquishing their bodies. It is said that many such emerged in each of their respective lineages.

30 Refer to Kapstein 2008: 5-6. 31 This exceptional list of the three ancestral kings is discussed in Kapstein, forthcoming.

Pa tshab Stong grags, Lce btsun Seng ge dbang phyug, and Bla ma Nyang chen po the hermit, etc., by means of the Great Perfection realized [39b1] the nonduality of sa?s?ra and nirv??a, whereby all appearance arose [for them] as the body of reality. Without relinquishing their bodies, without coming or

going, many such came forth as awakened buddhas—so it is said. If one wishes [to examine] those matters in detail, they are explained fully in connection with their respective lineage origins. (8) Eighth, [the greatness of the ground], establishes the ground, the indivisible union of sa?s?ra and nirv??a, as selfemergent gnosis, as is taught below in the chapter on the ground.32 (9) Ninth, the greatness of the path that is to be traversed, and (10)

tenth, the distinction, or greatness, of the fruit that is disclosed, should be known according to the explanations of the chapters on the ground, path, and fruit of the secret mantras. 33 (II) The second general topic is the significance of yoga, namely, the analysis of the four yogas34 and their

culminating determination in Atiyoga. (III) The third general topic is the purpose: In general, this is explained in the respective sections on the vehicles. In particular, so that one who is energetic in attainment may be free from illness that threatens life, having inerrantly determined the

significance of the distinctions of the deviations and obscurations, [the Atiyoga] teaches natural liberation in direct perception. (IV) Fourth is the summary designation: as all dharmas, are gathered in just mind, which is the root, or in self-emergent gnosis, it is perfected; and because nothing is

superior to it, it is called the Great Perfection. If one distinguishes [designations of titles] in particular: the ??listambhas?tra and such like are so titled on the basis of metaphor; the La?k?vat?ra and such like are so titled referring to a country; the Devaputraparip?cch?s?tras35 and such like [are

named] after the solicitor; the Three Stages (Kramatraya), Hundred and Ten,36 and such like on the basis of enumerations; the Stages of the Path, [40a1] Secret Nucleus

32 Ch. 3, gnas lugs ngo bo nyid kyi gzhi bstan pa’i le’u, fols. 60-61. 33 Chapters 11-21 (on the nine vehicles and their subdivision, fols. 98-208) and

22 (on the fruit, fols. 208-226). 34 Sometimes ting nge ’dzin, byin rlabs, dbang bskur, and mchod pa. But see also Valby 2012: 160-161. 35 Several canonical s?tras are entitled as “Responses to the Questions of the Son of the Gods” (devaputraparip?cch?). 36 Perhaps erroneous for the various

divisions of 180 (for which the text reads brgya dan brgya bcu) listed in connection with the spatial class (klong sde) above.

(Guhyagarbha), and such like are entitled on the basis of the expressed meaning; [works whose titles include such phrases as] “analysis,” “garland,” and so

forth on the basis of the expressive form; and [those including phrases such as] “gathering of intentions,” “allaccomplishing,” “great expanse,” etc., are named with respect to their purport. In these and other ways, it is said that the assignments of titles and their enumerations surpass the imagination. (V) Fifth, the verbal purport, explained from beginning to end, should be known according to the respective occasions [of the exegesis of each particular text].
Diplomatic Edition of the Text

Because the surviving thirteenth-century manuscript of the “AllEncompassing Lamp,” calligraphed in an early form of the ’bru tsa script, is the most authentic witness now available, and as that manuscript was scrupulously prepared with very few evident errors, I give here only a diplomatic transcription

of the portion of the text translated above. The orthography is quite regular and, with occasional exceptions (e.g. bcwa for bcu), closely accords with classical conventions, with abbreviations or contractions only infrequently employed. The small number of significant departures from this standard are noted at first occurrence. The following conventions have been adopted:

•   Where the scribe introduces a tsheg where current convention would not, this is indicated by a blank space, e.g., pa ’i instead of pa’i.

•   Where the scribe contracts by eliminating a tsheg, there is no space used in the transcription, e.g., lasogs for la sogs.

Folio and line numbers are given in square brackets. •   The yig-mgo is represented by @.  

Subscripts are used to indicate insertions in miniscule hand, added—probably by the original scribe—beneath the line in which they are to be inserted. (As these demonstrate, the text was very carefully corrected.) •   Book titles and the proper names of teaching cycles are italicized.
[35b1] ||bka’ rdzogs pa chen po’i lugs kyis [2] rgyud dang man ngag ’chad kyang spyi don lngas ’chad de| |kun byed rgyal po las| dang por yid ches pa’i khungs bstan phyir| |lo rgyus

don gyi bshad lugs bstan par bya| |chos [3] kun rtsa ba sems su ’dus pa’i phyir| |de nas rtsa ba’i don de bstan par bya| |theg pa’i khyad par so sor

dbye ba’i phyir| |yo ga don gyi rtsa ba bstan par bya| |rtsol [4] bsgrub bya mi dgos par bstan pa’i phyir| |dgos ched don gyi dgos pa de ru bstan| |ma rtogs don de rtogs par bya ba’i phyir| |tshig gi don de sgra ru brjod par bya ces pa dang| | [5] rgyan las |man ngag ’byung khungs lo rgyus dang| ’jug sgo theg pa yo ga’i don| |rten gyi gang zag dgos pa’i don| |dril nas mtshan gsol rtsa ba’i don|| [6] dbu zhabs dkyus bshad tshig gi don| |spyi don lnga yis

bshad pa yin ces gsungs so| |de la dang po rgyan las| don gyis mi gnyis brgyud pa can| |tha snyad bral [7] ba’i don mtshon pa| |man ngag tshad mas rang mtshan ston| |rgyal ba’i rigsdzin gang zag tu’o ces pas| rgyal ba dgongs pas brgyud pa|37 [8] rigsdzin

[36a1] @@| |rig pas brgyud pa| gang zag snyan nas snyan khung du brgyud pa’o |de yang ston pa sangs rgyas kyi che ba dang| bstan pa chos kyi che ba dang| rigsdzin [2] brgyud pa’am mkhas pa pan tri ta’i che ba| sgra bsgyur lo tsha ba’i che ba| yon bdag zhing gi che ba| bzhengs pa rten gyi khyad par| bsgrub

pa ’o grub thob kyi che ba| gtan [3] la dbab bya gzhi’i che ba| bgrod pa lam gyi che ba| mngon du byas pa ’bras bu’i che ba dang bcu ’o| |dang po ni ston pa yongs su rdzogs ma rdzogs kyi khyad par dang| gzhi [4] rang byung gi ston pa kun tu bzang po ’khrul ma myong gis che ba ’am khyad par du ’phags pa’o|

|snga ma ni sde snod gsum lasogs pa rnams ni sprul pa’i sku lasogs pa sku re res [5] gsungs pa yin la| bka’ rdzogs pa chen po ni sku lnga yongs su rdzogs pa’i sangs rgyas kyis gsungs pa’o| |gnyis pa gzhi rang byung gi ston pa ni ye ji bzhin pa’i sangs [6] rgyas las ’khrul ma myong te khyad par ’phags| lam
gyi sangs rgyas sam theg pa so so’i sangs rgyas las phyogsdzin dang lam bgrod ma myong pas khyad par du ’phags| | [7] ’bras bu rtogs pa mngon gyur gyi sangs rgyas las lam gyis rtogs ma myong pas khyad par du ’phags so| |gnyis pa ni| bstan pa yongs su rdzogs kyi khyad par [8] dang| che ba bdun nam lnga yis khyad par du ’phags te bstan pa’o| |snga ma ni| theg pa rim dgu las| mtshan nyid kyi theg pa gsum ni rgyu’i theg pa yin

37 The final syllables of line 7 and all of line 8 up to the syllablesrigsdzin” have been partially erased by grating. The erased passage was a dittography of the phrases beginning with “brgyud pa can” in line six and continuing “dgongs pas brgyud pa” in line 7.

[36b1] zhing sprul pa sku’i bstan pa’o| |de yang sde snod rnam pa gsum las chos kyi sgo mo brgyad khri bzhi stong du gsungs pa’o| |sngags phyi rgyud gsum ni ’bras bu spyi’i rnam pa tsam [2] lam du phyed la| longs sku’i bstan pa rtso che bar gsungs te| de la ’ang rgyud sde dpag du med pa yod par gsungs so|

|nang pa dbang bsgyur thabs kyi theg pa gsum ni sku [3] lnga lhun grub gyi bstan pa yongs su rdzogs shing khyad par du ngo bo nyid kyi sku dang chos sku’i bstan pa’o| |de la ma ha dang a nu ’i ’bras bu rang gi mtshan nyid dang ldan pa lam du byed [4] cing ’khor ’das gnyis su med pa r ston pa ’o| |ma ha ni
sgyu ’phrul sde bzhi dang tan tra sde bcwa brgyad lasogs pa dpag du med cing brjod pa las ’das pa yod par gsungs so| | [5] a nu ni lung gi mdo’ chen po lnga lasogs pa lung gi chos dpag du med cing brjod pa las ’das pa gsungs so| |a ti yo ga ni chos kun rang byung gi ye shes la rgyu ’bras gnyis [6] su med

cing ’khor ’das gnyis med rgya chad phyogs lhung med par gtan la ’bebs pa’o| |de yang a nu man chad kyi theg pa ’ang yongs su rdzogs par ston la| |khyad par [7] a sti’i (sic!) bstan pa nam mkha’ dang ’dra ste mtha’ med par bstan pa’o| |de yang phyogs cig tsam mtshon na| sems sde’i skor dang| glong38 sde’i| rgyud sde’i| shan [8] ’byed bram ze’i| la zla rgyal po’i rang grol mngon du ston pa gdam ngag gi skor dang drug go| | dang po ni| sems sde bcwa brgyad te smad 39 ’byung dang| rig pa mchog gi dang| bkra shis
[37a1] @@| |mi ’gyur gsal bar gnas pa’i rgyud lasogs pa rgyud sde chen po bcwa brgyad dang| snga ’gyur lnga phyi ’gyur bcu gsum ste gdam ngag bcwa brgyad lasogs pa dpag du med pa [2] yod par gsungs so| |klong sde’i skor la bzhi ste| phyi rtsis rgya’i skor la glang po che rab ’bog gi rgyud lasogs pa gzer ru

brgya dang brgya40 bcu| | nang gsang rgya’i skor la kun tu [3] bzang po rig pa rtsal shar ba’i rgyud lasogs pa man ngag brgya dang brgya bcu| |gsang ba rgya bu chung gi skor la| |rin po che bkod pa’i rgyud lasogs pas bsam gtan brgya dang brgya bcu| [4] dgongs pa gtad rgya’i skor la glong chen rab ’byam rgyal po’i rgyud lasogs pa la bzla brgya dang brgya bcu yod pa gsungs so| |nam mkha’ che la ’ang gong gi bshad lugs bzhi po de [5] rnams yod par gsungs so| |rgyud sde’i skor la| nam mkha’ mtha’ mnyam dang| nya mo ’khor lo’i rgyud lasogs pa rgyud bzhi bcu zhi41 gnyis man ngag dang bcas pa yod [6]

38 This spelling is used generally instead of klong, which nevertheless does occur on some occasions, as we find in other sources. I have no reason to believe, however, that this represents anything other than an orthographical variant. 39 Read: rmad. 40 Read: brgyad. The same variant is found throughout. 41 Read: zhe.

par gsungs so| |bram ze’i skor la| bram ze rtsa ba’i rgyud drug yan lag gi rgyud sum bcu rtsa drug gsungs so| |de la nam mkhaklong yangs kyi rgyud dang| ye shes [7] gting nas rdzogs pa’i dang| kun tu bzang po ye shes glong gi dang| rang byung bde’ ba ’khor lo’i dang| |nges dondus pa gter gyi dang| ’khor ba rtsad nas gcod pa’i dang| spyi [8] rgyud ye shes mkha’ dang mnyam pa’i rgyud lasogs pa’o| |la bzla rgyal po’i skor ni| |bkra shis dus tshod ’dzin pa khu byug gi rgyud| yon tan rtsal chen rdzogs pa’i
[37b1] dang| thig le sgron ma gsal ba bkod pa’i dang| kun byed rgyal po’i dang| rig pa nam mkha’ dang mnyam pa’i rgyud lasogs te rtsa ba’i rgyud sde lnga’o| [2] yan lag gi rgyud sde brgya tham pa man ngag dang bcas pa yod par gsungs so| |man ngag gi skor ni gab pa mngon du phyung pa gab pa’i skor dang|

|rig pa gnad la [3] ’bebs pa bsgags pa’i skor dang| |chos nyid ma bu sprod pa rdzong ’phrang gi skor dang| rang grol mngon sum du ston pa brgyud pa tha ma’i skor ro| |de re re la ’ang rgyud sde dang man ngag [4] du bcas pa yongs su rdzogs pa yod par gsungs so| |de tsho re re’i khongs nas kyang mu stegs

lasogs pa’i log rtog bsal ba dang| theg pa rim pa brgyad kyi shan dbye ba [5] dang| rdzogs pa chen por la bzla ba dang| rang grol mngon sum du ngo sprad pa lasogs pa theg pa thams cad kyi ’dod lugs yongs su rdzogs par gsungs so| |de lasogs te ke [6] tshang gi skor la phyi skor| nang skor | gsang skor| gsang ba bla na med pa’i skor lasogs pa dang| a ro’i skor dang| dom sgro’i skor dang| spros bral don gsal gyi skor dang [7] spyi ti ’i skor dang| spyi mdo skor dang| rgyal po bla gter gyi skor dang| kun grol gyi skor lasogs pa brjod pa las ’das pa yod par gsungs so| |che ba bdun nam [8] lnga yis khyad par du ’phags pa ni| theg pa thams cad kyi yang rtse yin pa’i che ba ri rgyal lhun po lta bu dang| lung thams cad kyi rgyal po yin pa’i che ba nyi ma’i snying po lta
[38a1] bu dang| bka’ thams cad kyi ’grel pa yin pa’i che ba nam mkha’i ngang las snod bcud thams cad gsal ba lta bu dang| man ngag thams cad kyi rtsa ba yin pa’i che ba [2] rgyal po’i bka’ gsang thob pa’i mi lta bu| bstan pa thams cad kyi ’byung gnas yin pa’i che ba ’byung chen gtos kyi nam mkha’ las ’byung

ba lngar snang ba lta bu| don thams cad [3] kyi ’jug sdud yin pa’i che ba ’gron po byes log nas slar rang gi khyim du ’ong pa lta bu| chos thams cad kyi me long yin pa’i che ba me long g.ya’ dag pa lta bu’o| |mdo’ [4] las| gling dang ri bo mu khyud bcas| lhun po’i rtse mo nyid na gsal| |ji snyed theg pa’i rnam grangs kun| |de nyid chen po nyid mthong gsal ces| ’jig rten [5] ’od kyi rgyal po ni| | gzi ldan gsal ba’i nyi ma yin|

|chos kun yongs su rdzogs gsal ba| |kun snang chen po de nyid do ces so| |go skabs chen po nam [6] mkha’ ni| |chen po bzhi’i go ’byed ltar | | gsang nyiddus pa de nyid kyis| |brjod pa’i brjod kun gsal bar ’grel ces so| |gang gis bka’i gsang thob na| | [7] mi gang gzhan la rag ma lus| |gsang pa’i

snying por kun chub na| |smra brjod gang la ’ang btsal mi dgos ces so| |rgyun dang bcas pa ’i ’byung ba rnams| |nam [8] mkha’i ngang las ’byung zhing snang| |de bzhin smra brjod ’byung pa rnams| |de nyid zab mo’i dbyings nas byung ces so| |don du bya ba’i rnam grangs kun| |mthar gyis ’bras bu
[38b1] grub par sdud| |rnam grangs rgya cher brjod mod kyang| |de kun de bzhin nyid du ’dus ces so| |me long gsal ba’i snying pos ni| |bzhin gyi gzugs brnyan ston pa [2] ltar| |de nyid chos kyi me long gis| |kun gyi rang bzhin gsal bar byed ces gsungs so| | che ba lnga ni gong du bshad pa bzhin no| | gsum pa ni rigsdzin rnaM [3] pa gsum dang| |rdzogs pa chen po ’khor ’das dbyer med chos kun rang byung ye shes su rtogs pas rig pa mchog la mnga’

mnyes42 pa yin te| |slob dpon chen po ’jam dpal [4] bshes gnyen dang| |shri sing nga dang| |bi ma la mu tra lasogs pa mkhas pa nyi shu rtsa lnga dang| rgyal po dza dang dam pa’i rigs can lnga dang slob dpon h’uM43 ka ra dang ru pad ma ’byung gnas [5] lasogs pa rnams ni chos nyid rgyun chad med pa mngon sum du rtogs pa lha ma srin bral44 du ’khol zhing snang srid dbang du ’dus pa| sgra ’gyur sum brgya drug bcu lasogs pa shes shing [6] rigs drug gi skad la

thogs pa med par chos ston nus pa’o| |bzhi pa ni| |dge’ slong mi lnga dang| bka’ mchog rin po che| gnyeg gnya na ku ma ra dang| slob [7] dpon be ro tsa na lasogs pa rig pa’i gnas lnga la mkhas shing sgra bsgyur sum brgya drug bcu lasogs pa shes pa| rigs drug gi skad la thogs pa med cing snyan gyis dus cig la [8] nyan nus pa| bstan pa thams cad thugs la rdzogs pa yin te| rigsdzin byang chub sems dpa’ dang sprul pa sku’i lo tsha ba yin par gsungs so| |lnga pa yon

42 Read: brnyes. 43 This is a rare instance in which the text represents the Sanskrit in an exact transcription, using the subscript ’a chung to mark the lengthened vowel: h??. 44 Read: bran.

[39a1] @@| |bdag ni| rgyal mes on45 rnam gsum sprul pa’i sku yin par gsungs te| |lha tho tho ri snyan shal phyag rdor gyi sprul pa| srong btsan sgam po

thugs rje chen [2] po’i sprul pa| |khri srong lde btsan ’jam dpal gyi sprul par gsungs so| |de yang| dang po chos kyi dbu mnyes| bar du srol gtod| tha ma khri srong lde btsan gyis chos dar zhing rgyas par byas so| |drug pa ni| bod du rten bzhengs su ma btub pa la ru non bzhi kha non bzhi| gtar kha bzhi| me

btsa’ bzhi lasogs pa byas [4] ste| lha sa dang bsam yas lasogs ste rtsug lag khang brgya rtsa brgyad bzhengs| |der rang byung gi lha tshogs mang po dngos su bzhugs pa dang| bzhengs pa’i lha tshogs rnams [5] la srong btsan sgam po dang slob dpon pad ma ’byung gnas lasogs pas rab gnas byas te ye shes kyi lha

tshogs dngos su spyan drangs gnyis su med par bstims nas| rten thams [6] cad kyang chos kyi bgro ba mdzad par gsungs so| |bdun pa bod du yang snubs nam mkha’i snying po lasogs pa dge’ slong mi bzhi dang| she’u tshul khrims dang| gnyan a tsa ra [7] dpal dbyangs lasogs pa dpal yang dag gi sgo nas tshe la

dbang ba’i rigsdzin dang phyag rgya chen po’i rigsdzin lasogs pa thob te lus bor ma dgos par sangs rgyas pa brgyud pa’i lugs re re la ’ang mang du byung par [8] gsungs so| |sba tshab stong grags dang| lce btsun sen ge dbang phyug dang| bla ma nyang chen po ri khrod pa lasogs pa| rdzogs pa chen po’i sgo nas ’khor ’das gnyis
[39b1] med du rtogs shing snang srid chos skur shar bas| lus ma bor bar ’gro ’ong med par sangs rgyas pa mang du byung bar gsungs so| |de rnams rgyas par

’dod na rang rang gi brgyud pa’i khungs [2] dang sbyar la rgyas par bshad do| |brgyad pa ni| gzhi ’khor ’das dbyer myed rang ’byung ye shes su gtan la ’bebs pa yin te| ’og nas gzhi’i skabs su ston pa bzhin no| |[3] dgu pa bgrod pa lam gyi che ba dang| bcu pa mngon du byas pa ’bras bu’i khyad par ram che

ba ni| gsang sngags kyi gzhi ’am46 ’bras bu’i skabs nas bshad pa bzhin du shes par bya [4] |’o || ||spyi don gnyis pa yo ga’i don ni| yo ga bzhi’i bye brag phye la a ti yo gar la bzla ba’o| |spyi don gsum pa dgos ched ni| spyir theg pa [5] rang rang gi skabs nas bshad pa bzhin dang| khyad par du rtsol sgrub can tshi47 chad pa nad dang dbral ba’i phyir| gol sgrib kyi shan phye don ma nor bar la bzla nas| rang grol mngon [6] sum du ston pa’o| |bzhi pa|

45 Read: dbon. 46 Evidently err. for lam. 47 Read: tshe.

dril nas mtshan tu btags pa ni| chos kun rtsa ba sems nyid dam rang byung ye shes su ’dus shing rdzogs la| gong na gzhan med pas| [7] rdzogs pa chen po zhes bya’o| |bye brag du phye na| mdo’ sde sa lu ljang pa lasogs pa dpe’ la mtshan du btags pa dang| lang kar gshegs pa lasogs pa yul la mtshan [8] du btags pa dang| lha’i bus zhus pa’i mdo’ lasogs pa zhu ba po las dang| rim gsum dang brgya bcu ba lasogs pa rnam grangs las dang| lam rim dang gsang [40a1] snying lasogs pa brjod bya las mtshan du btags pa dang| la shan dang phreng ba lasogs pa brjod byed las dang| dgongs ’dus dang| kun byed dang| klong chen lasogs pa don [2] las mtshan du btags pa’o| |de lasogs te mtshan gyi ’dogs lugs dang rnam grangs bsam gyis mi khyab pa gsungs so| |lnga pa| dbu zhabs su dkyus bshad pa tshig gi don [3] ni rang rang gi skabs bzhin shes par bya’o| |


Tibetan Works

Deb dmar: Kun dga’ rdo rje, Deb ther dmar po, ed. Dung dkar Blo bzang phrin las. Beijing: Mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 1981. Rgyal dbang, vol. 4: Rgyal dbang lnga pa ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho’i gsung ’bum, vol. 4. Beijing: Krung go’i bod rig pa dpe skrun khang, 2009. Rgyal dbang, vol. 18: Rgyal dbang lnga pa ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho’i gsung ’bum, vol. 18. Beijing: Krung go’i bod rig pa dpe skrun khang, 2009.

Secondary Scholarship

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Institut, Band 26, pp. 233-266. ———. 2015. “The View of Spyi ti yoga.” RET 31/3 : 1-20. Dalton, Jacob P. 2016. The Gathering of Intentions: A History of a Tibetan Tantra. New York: Columbia University Press Dudjom Rinpoche, Jikdrel Yeshe Dorje. 1991. The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism: Its Fundamentals and History. Trans. Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein. Boston: Wisdom Publications. 2 vols. Eastman, Kenneth. 1983. “Mah?yoga Texts at Tun-huang.” Bulletin of the Institute of Cultural Studies, Ryukoku University 22: 42-60. Kapstein, Matthew T. 1985 “Religious Syncretism in 13th Century Tibet: The Limitless Ocean Cycle.” In Soundings in Tibetan Civilization, ed. Barbara N. Aziz and Matthew Kapstein, Delhi: Manohar, pp. 358- 371. 2008. “The Sun of the Heart and the Bai ro

rgyud ’bum.” In Tibetan Studies in Honour of Samten Karmay, Part II. RET 15: 275288. 2010. “Between Na Rak and a Hard Place: Evil Rebirth and the Violation of Vows in Early Rnying ma pa Sources and Their Dunhuang Antecedents,” in Matthew T. Kapstein and Sam van Schaik, eds., Esoteric Buddhist at

Dunhuang: Rites for this Life and Beyond, pp. 163-203.
Translations of the Dzogchen Mind Series.” RET 17: 51-61. 2012. “On the Thig le drug pa and the sPyi chings, two of the Thirteen Later Translations of the rDzogs chen Mind Series.” RET 24: 137-156. Lopez, Manuel. 2018. “The ‘Twenty or Eighteen’ Texts of the Mind Series: Scripture, Transmission, and the

Idea of Canon in the Early Great Perfection Literature.” RET 43: 50-94. Ostensen, Morten. 2018. “Reconsidering the Contents and Function of the rDzogs chen Classifications of Sems phyogs and Sems sde.” RET 43: 32-49. Valby, Jim. 2012. “Five Principles of rDzogs chen Transmission in the Kun byed rgyal po.” RET 24: 157-163. Wilkinson, Christopher. 2012. “The Mi nub rgyal mtshan Nam mkha' che and the Mah? ?k??a K?rik?s: Origins and Authenticity.” RET 24: 21-80. ———. trans. 2014. Beyond Secret: The Upade?a of Vairocana On the Practice and of the Great Perfection. Cambridge MA: Christopher Wilkinson.