The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation
Or, the Method of Realizing Nirvana Through Knowing
Preceded by an epitome of Padma-Sambhava’s Biography
and followed by Guru Phadampa Sangay’s Teachings
According to English Renderings by
Sardar Bahadur S. W. Laden La, C.B.E., F.R.G.S.
and by the Lamas Karma Sumdhon Paul
Lobzang Mingyur Dorje, and
Introductions, Annotations and Editing by
W.Y. Evans-Wentz, M.A., D.Litt., D.Sc.
Jesus College, Oxford
With Psychological Commentary by
Dr. C. G. Jung
THE GREAT GURU PADMA-SAMBHAVA
A photographic reproduction (about two-fifth of the original
size) of a modern Tibetan painting in colour, on cotton cloth, acquired
in Nepal, representing Padma-Sambhava, robed in his royal robes as a King
of Sahor, India, sitting in kingly posture on a lotus-lunar throne. The
dorje in his right hand, is held in the posture (or mudra) called the Indomitable
(or Vajra) Finger-pointing Mudra, to guard against all evils which might
affect the Dharma, and to place the Three Realms of Existence under his
dominion. The human-skull cup in his left hand is filled with the nectar
of immortality (Skt. amrita); and superimposed upon the nectar is the urn
of longevity and immortal life, also filled with the ambrosia of the gods,
of which his devotees are privileged to drink. The skull cup itself symbolizes
renunciation of the world. The trident-pointed staff (Skt. trishula) which
he holds in the folds of his left arm is highly symbolical. The trident
at the top symbolizes the Three Realms of Existence (in Sanskrit, the Trailokya),
and suggests his dominion over them and over the three chief evils, lust,
anger (or ill will), and sloth (or stupidity). It also symbolizes the Three
Times, the past, present, and future. The flames emanating from the middle
point of the trident are the Flames of Divine Wisdom which consume Ignorance
(Skt. avidya). The skull underneath the trident symbolizes the Dharma-Kaya;
the first of the two human heads below the skull symbolizes the Sambhoga-Kaya,
and the second the Nirmana-Kaya (note). The golden urn
below the heads is filled with the essence of transcendent blessings and
perfections. The golden double-dorje below the urn is described by the
lamas thus: the southern (or lower) point represents Peace; the western
point Multiplicity; the northern (or upper) point (hidden by the urn) Initiatory
Power; the eastern point Fearfulness; and the centre the at-onement of
all spiritual endowments and perfections. The white silk ribbon-like banner
below the double-dorje, resembling a Banner of Victory, of which it is
an abbreviated form, symbolizes the Great Guru’s Victory over the Sangsara.
The staff itself symbolizes the Divine Shakti.
The Great Guru wears as his head-dress what Tantrics call
the lotus-cap. The crescent moon and the sun, on the front of it, signify,
as does the lotus-cap itself, that he is crowned with all initiatory powers.
The feather surmounting the lotus-cap being that of a vulture, regarded
as the highest and mightiest of fliers among birds, symbolizes that his
Doctrine of the Great Perfection is the most aspiring, noblest, and loftiest
of spiritual doctrines. His blue and purple and priestly yellow inner dress
is the dress of a Tibetan Nyag-pa (Sngags-pa), or one who is a Master of
Kneeling on a smaller lotus-lunar throne, to the left
of the Great Guru, is the figure of Bhasadhara, his Queen when he was the
King of Sahor, offering to him amrita in a bowl made of a human skull;
and on his right, similarly enthroned and kneeling and making a like offering,
that of Mandarava, his most faithful and beloved disciple.
Immediately above the head of the Great Guru is shown
the Buddha Shakya Muni, sitting in Padmasana, or Buddha posture, on a lotus-lunar
throne, holding in His left hand the begging-bowl, symbolical of His being
a religious mendicant, and with His right hand touching, and thus calling,
the Earth to bear witness to the truth of His Doctrine. The Buddha is so
placed above the Great Guru because He is his spiritual Predecessor and
Ancestor; the Great Guru representing on Earth the Tantric, or Esoteric,
Emanation of the Buddha.
On either side of the Buddha, posed as He is, but on the
simpler throne of a disciple or Bodhisattva, are two Arhants (Arhats),
each holding a mendicant’s begging-bowl and alarm-staff. The Sun (red)
to the left and the Moon (white) to the right of the Buddha, the clouds,
the blue sky, the land and mountains and waters below, the blossoms and
the fruits, signify, as in other of the Illustrations, the Sangsara,
and, therefore, that the Teachers are still active therein and ever striving
for the salvation of mankind.
The Great Guru, the Buddha, and the two Arhants are enhaloed
in rainbow-like radiance: The Great Guru and the Buddha have nimbi of green,
indicating the eternity of the Bodhic Essence manifested through Them.
The nimbi of the other four figures are orange-red, suggestive of the possessors
not yet being wholly free from worldly or sangsaric bondage.
Directly below the Great Guru are the insignia of the
Five Objects of Enjoyment, offerings made to him by his devotees: (I) luscious
food substances, symbolical of pleasing taste, in the blue receptacle at
the centre surmounted by a red chorten; (z) the white conch-shell filled
with perfume, symbolical of pleasing smell, resting on two sweetsmelling
fruits; (3) the mirror on the opposite side, symbolizing pleasing form
or sight; (4) the pair of cymbals (resting against the mirror), symbolical
of pleasing sound or hearing; and (5) the red Chinese silk (binding the
two cymbals together), symbolical of pleasing touch or feelings. In the
Hindu system, whence they appear to have been derived, these Five Objects
of Enjoyment correspond in symbolism, in their order as here given, to
the Sanskrit Rasa (Taste), Gandha (Smell), Rupa (Form or Sight), Shabda
(Sound or Hearing), and Sparsha (Touch or Feelings).
DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIONS
FOREWORD: A Psychological Commentary, by Dr. C. G. Jung
I. Reality according to the Mahayana
III. Time and Space
IV. The Nature of Mind
V. Individualized and Collective Mind
VI. Wisdom versus Knowledge
VII. Illiteracy and Utilitarianism
VIII. The Great Guru
IX. Good and Evil
X. Tantric Buddhism
XII. The Yoga
XIII. The Problem of Self (or Soul)
XIV. The Psychology and the Therapy
XV. Origin of the Text
XVI. The Translators
XVII. The Translating and Editing
XIX. Criticism by Critics
AN EPITOME OF THE LIFE AND TEACHINGS OF
TIBET’S GREAT GURU PADMA-SAMBHAVA
Introduction, p. 103; Buddha’s Prophecy of Birth
of Padma-Sambhava, 105; King Indrabodhi, 105; King’s Despondency, 106;Avalokiteshvara’s
Appeal, and Amitabha’s Response, 106; King’s and Priests’ Dreams, 107;
Prophecy of Amitabha’s Incarnation, 107;
Wish-granting Gem, 108; Discovery of Lotus-Born, 108;
Child Taken to Palace, 109; As Prince, Athlete, and King, 110; Coming of
Arhants, 112; Plan to Marry Padma, 112; Marriage to Bhasadhara, 113; Renunciation,
114; Parting, 115; Karmic Taking of Life, 116; Exile, 117; God of the Corpses,
118; Overthrow of the Irreligious, 119; Youthful Escaped Demon, 120; Lake
Dakin’s Submission, 120; Vajra-Varahi’s Blessing, 121; Decision to Seek
Gurus, 121; Mastery of Astrology, Medicine, Languages, Arts, 122; Guru
Prabhahasti, 123; Padma’s Ordination by Ananda, 124; Ananda’s Pre-eminence,
125; Story of Unfaithful Monk, 125; Choice of Ananda as Chief Disciple
126; Buddha’s Foretelling of Monk’s Death, 126; Ananda’s Testimony concerning
Buddha, 127; Padma’s Studies under Ananda, 128; Ananda s Testimony concerning
Scriptures, 129; Padma’s Teachings and Studies, 129; Initiation by a Dahiz`,
131; Wisdom-Holder Guru, 133; Zen-like Methods of Burmese Guru, 133; Birth
of Mabjushrl, 134; MaDjushrl’s Tortoises and Astrology, 135; Padma’s Restoration
of Manjushrl’s Astrology, 135; Other Gurus, 136; Padma’s RecoveryofHiddenTexts,
137;Masteryof Yogic Arts, 137;Destruction of the Butchers, 138; Conquest
of Evils and of Deities, 139; Resuscitation of Evil Beings, 142; Mandarava’s
Birth, 142 Mandarava’s Escape and Ordination, 144; Padma’s Instruction
of Mandarava, 144; Mandarava’s Imprisonment and Padma’s Burning at the
Stake, 145; Padma’s Prevention of War, 147; Sahor King’s Initiation, 148;
Mandarava’s Questions and Padma’s Answers, 148; Meditation in Caves, 150;
Princess who gave her Body to Feed Starving Beasts, 151; King Ashoka’s
Condemnation of Padma, 153; Public Medical Examination of Rival Princes,
154; Sun Yog’ sets fire to Vikramashla, 156; Supernormal Birth of Arya-Deva,
156; Buddhism in Bengal, 157; Padma’s Attaining of Buddhahood, 158; Mission
to Eight Countries, 159; Padma’s Suspicious Friend, I6I; Sevenfold Brahmin
Birth, I6I; Wine-drinking Heruka, 162; Urgyan King Cured of Snake-bite,
163; Burning at the Stake of Padma and Mandarava 164; Abandoned Female
Babe, 165; Cowherd Guru, 166; Story of Shakya Shri Mitra, 168; Bodh-Gaya
Controversy and Victory of Buddhists, 168; Deformed Prince’s Marriage,
171; Formal Giving of Name Padma-Sambhava, 173; Brahmin Boy King of Bodh-Gaya,
174; Padma’s Further Exploits, 175; Monkey-reared Girl and Padma’s Interrupted
Meditation, 176; Padma’s Magical Guises, 177; Texts and Treasures Hidden
by Padma, 178; Persons Fitted to Discover Hidden Texts, 179; Scorpion Guru,
181; Padma’s Journey to Tibet, 182; Water Miracle, 183; Royal Reception
and Fire Miracle, 184; Construction of Samye, 184; Subjection of Naga King,
185; Miracles at Consecration of Samye, 187; Controversial Defeat and Expulsion
of Bonpos, 188; Authoress and Origin of Biography, 188; Hiding of Biography’s
Text, 189; Tertons, Death of Bodhisattva and Tibetan King, and Summary,
189; Padma’s Departure from Tibet, 190; Padma’s Arrival among Rakshasas,
191; Colophon of Biography
THE YOGA OF KNOWING THE MIND, THE SEEING OF
REALITY, CALLED SELF-LIBERATION
INTRODUCTION . . . . . . I95
PART I: THE INTRODUCTORY PRELIMINARIES (EXCERPT)The
Obeisance, 202; Foreword, 202; Guru’s First Charge to Disciples,
and Invocation, 202; Salutation to the One Mind, 203; These Teachings Supplement
the Buddha’s, 203; Guru’s Second Charge to Disciples, 204; Results of Not
Knowing the One Mind, 205; Results of Desires, 205; Transcendent At-One-Ment,
206; Great SelfLiberation, 207; Guru’s Third Charge to Disciples, 208;
Nature of Mind, 208; Names Given to the Mind, 2o8.
PART II: THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION . . . 2IO Timelessness
of Mind, 2IO; Mind in its True State, 2II; Mind is Non-Created, 212; Yoga
of Introspection, 214; Dharma Within, 216; Wondrousness of These Teachings,
2I8; Fourfold Great Path, 220; Great Light, 221; Doctrine of the Three
Times, 222; Yoga of the ivirvanic Path, 222; Explanation of Names of Wisdom,
226; Yoga of the Thatness, 228; Yogic Science of Mental Concepts, 23I;
The Realization and the Great Liberation, 234.
PART III: THE CONCLUDING SECTIONS . . . 237 General
Conclusion, 237; Final Good Wishes, 238; Guru’s Final Charge to Disciples,
THE LAST TESTAMENTARY TEACHINGS OF THE
GURU PHADAMPA SANGAY
II. THE: GURU’S TEACHINGS
III. CONCLUDING THOUGHTS: POWER, CONQUEST, SECURITY
[ PART I. THE INTRODUCTORY PRELIMINARIES ]
[ THE OBEISANCE ]
To the Divine Ones, the Tri-Kaya,1
Who are the Embodiment of the All-Enlightened Mind Itself, obeisance.
[ THE FOREWORD ]
This treatise appertains to ‘The Profound Doctrine of
Self-Liberation by Meditating upon the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities’.
It expounds the Yoga of Knowing the Mind, the Seeing of
By this method, one’s mind is understood.
[ THE GURU’S FIRST CHARGE TO THE DISCIPLES AND THE
O blessed disciples, ponder these teachings deeply.
Samaya; gya, gya, gya. [Divine Wisdom; vast, vast, vast]
E-ma-ho ! 3
[ SALUTATION TO THE ONE MIND ]
All hail to the One Mind that embraces the whole Sangsara
and Nirvana 4,
That eternally is as it is, yet is unknown, That although ever clear and
ever existing, is not visible, That, although radiant and unobscured, is
[ THESE TEACHINGS SUPPLEMENT THOSE OF THE BUDDHAS ]
These teachings are for the purpose of enabling one to
know this Mind.
All that has been taught heretofore by the Buddhas of
the Three Times, 5
in virtue of Their having known this Mind, as recorded in ‘The Door of
the Dharma’, consisting of the Eighty-Four Thousand Shlokas, 6
and elsewhere, remains incomprehensible.
The Conquerors 7
have not elsewhere taught anything concerning the One Mind.
Although as vast as the illimitable sky, the Sacred Scriptures
contain but a few words relating to knowledge of the mnd.
This, the true explanation of these eternal teachings
of the Conquerors, constitutes the correct method of their practical application.
[ THE GURU’S SECOND CHARGE TO THE DISCIPLES ]
Kye! Kye! Ho! [ O ! ]
Blessed disciples, harken.
[ THE RESULT OF NOT KNOWING THE ONE MIND ]
Knowledge of that which is vulgarly called mind is widespread.
Inasmuch as the One Mind is unknown, or thought of erroneously,
or known one-sidedly without being thoroughly known as it is, desire for
these teachings wili be immeasurable. They will also be sought after by
ordinary individuals, who, not knowing the One Mind, do not know themselves.
They wander hither and thither in the Three Regions,l
and thus among the Six Classes of beings, 8
Such is the result of their error of not having attained
understanding of their mind.
Because their suffering is in every way overpowering,
even self-control is lacking to them.
Thus, although one may wish to know the mind as it is,
[ THE RESULTS OF DESIRES ]
Others, in accordance with their own particular faith
and practice, having become fettered by desires, cannot perceive the Clear
They are overwhelmed by suffering, and are in darkness
because of their suffering.
Although the Middle Path contains the Two-fold Truth 9,
because of desires it finally becomes obscured.
[ THE TRANSCENDENT AT-ONE-MENT ]
There being really no duality, pluralism is untrue.
Until duality is transcended and at-one-ment realized,
Enlightenment cannot be attained.
The whole Sangsara and Nirvana, as an inseparable unity,
are one’s mind. 12
[ THE GREAT SELF-LIBERATION ]
Owing to worldly beliefs, which he is free to accept or
reject, man wanders in the Sangsara.
Therefore, practicing the Dharma, freed from every attachment,
grasp the whole essence of these teachings expounded in this Yoga of Self-Liberation
by Knowing the Mind in its Real Nature.
The truths set forth herein are known as ‘The Great Self-Liberation’;
and in them culminates the Doctrine of the Great Ultimate Perfection. 13
[ THE GURU’S THIRD CHARGE TO THE DISCIPLE ]
Samaya; gya, gya, gya.
[ THE NATURE OF MIND ]
That which is commonly called mind is of intuitive Wisdom.
Although the One Mind is, it has no existence. 15
Being the source of all the bliss of Nirvana and of all
the sorrow of the Sangsara, it is cherished like the Eleven Yanas. 16
[ THE NAMES GIVEN TO THE MIND ]
The various names given to it are innumerable.
Some call it ‘The Mental Self ‘.
By the Hinayanists it is called ‘The Essentiality of Doctrines’
Some call it ‘The Means of Attaining the Other Shore of
Some call it ‘The Buddha Essence’.
Some call it ‘The Great Symbol’. 22
Some call it ‘The Sole Seed’. 23
Some call it ‘The Potentiality of Truth’. 24
Some call it ‘The All-Foundation’.
Other names, in ordinary language, are also given to it.
[ PART II. THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION ]
[ THE TIMELESSNESS OF MIND ]
If one knows how to apply in a threefold manner 25
this knowing of the mind, all past knowledge lost to memory becomes perfectly
clear, and also knowledge of the future, thought of as unborn and unconceived.
In the present, when the mind remains as it is naturally,
it is ordinarily comprehended by its own time. 26
[ MIND IN ITS TRUE STATE ]
When one seeks one’s mind in its true state, it is found
to be quite intelligible, although invisible.
In its true state, mind is naked, immaculate; not made
of anything, being of the Voidness; clear, vacuous, without duality, transparent;
timeless, uncompounded, unimpeded, colourless; not realizable as a separate
thing, but as the unity of all things, yet not composed of them; of one
taste, and transcendent over differentiation. 27
Nor is one’s own mind separable from other minds.
To realize the quintessential being of the One Mind is
to realize the immutable at-one-ment of the Tri-Kaya.
The mind, being, as the Uncreated and of the Voidness,
the Dharma-Kaya, and, as the Vacuous and Self-Radiant, the Sambhoga-Kaya,
and, as the Unobscured, shining for all living creatures, the Nirmana-Kaya,
is the Primordial Essence wherein its Three Divine Aspects are One
If the yogic application of this Wisdom be thorough, one
will comprehend that which has just been set forth above.
[ MIND IS NON-CREATED ]
Mind in its true nature being non-created and self-radiant,
how can one, without knowing the mind, assert that mind is created ?
There being in this yoga nothing objective upon which
to meditate, how can one, without having ascertained the true nature of
mind by meditation, assert that mind is created ?
Mind in its true state being Reality, how can one, without
having discovered one’s own mind, assert that mind is created ? 28
Mind in its true state being undoubtedly ever-existing,
how can one, without having seen the mind face to face, assert that mind
is created ? 29
The thinking-principle being of the very essence of mind,
how can one, without having sought and found it, assert that mind is created?
Mind being transcendent over creation, and thus partaking
of the Uncreated, how can one assert that mind is created ?
Mind being in its primordial, unmodified naturalness noncreated,
as it should be taken to be, and without form, how can one assert that
it is created ?
Inasmuch as mind can also be taken to be devoid of quality,
how can one venture to assert that it is created ? 31
The self-born, qualityless mind, being like the Three
Voids undifferentiated, umnodified, how can one assert that mind is created
Mind being without objectivity and causation, self-originated,
self-born, how can one, without having endeavoured to know mind, assert
that mind is created ?
Inasmuch as Divine Wisdom dawns in accordance with its
own time, and one is emancipated, how can opponents of these teachings
assert that it is created ?
Mind being, as it is, of this nature, and thus unknowable,
how can one assert that it is created ?
[ THE YOGA OF INTROSPECTION ]
The One Mind being verily of the Voidness and without
any foundation, one’s mind is, likewise, as vacuous as the
To know whether this be so or not, look within shine own mind.
Being of the Voidness, and thus not to be conceived as
having beginning or ending, Self-Born Wisdom has in reality been shining
forever, like the Sun’s essentiality, itself unborn. To known whether this
be so or not, look within shine own mind.
Divine Wisdom is undoubtedly indestructible, unbreakable,
like the ever-flowing current of a river. To know whether this be so or
not, look within shine own mind.
Being merely a flux of instability like the air of the
firmament, objective appearances are without power to fascinate and fetter.
To know whether this be so or not, look within shine own mind.
All appearances are verily one’s own concepts, self-conceived
in the mind, like reflections seen in a mirror. To known whether this be
so or not, look within shine own mind.
Arising of themselves and being naturally free like the
clouds in the sky, all external appearances verily fade away into their
own respective places. 34
To know whether this be so or not, look within shine own mind.
[ THE DHARMA WITHIN ]
The Dharma 35
being nowhere save in the mind, there is no other place of meditation than
The Dharma being nowhere save in the mind, there is no
other doctrine to be taught or practiced elsewhere.
The Dharma being nowhere save in the mind, there is no
other place of truth for the observance of a vow.
The Dharma being nowhere save in the mind, there is no
Dharma elsewhere whereby Liberation may be attained.
Again and again look within shine own mind. 36
When looking outwards into the vacuity of space, there
is no place to be found where the mind is shining.
When looking inwards into one’s own mind in search of
the shining, there is to be found no thing that shines.
One’s own mind is transparent, without quality.
Being of the Clear Light of the Voidness, one’s own mind
is of the Dharma-Kaya; and, being void of quality, it is comparable to
a cloudless sky.
It is not a multiplicity, and is omniscient.
Very great, indeed, is the difference between knowing
and not knowing the import of these teachings.
[ THE WONDROUSNESS OF THESE TEACHINGS ]
This self-originated Clear Light, eternally unborn, is
a parentless babe of Wisdom. Wondrous is this.
Being non-created, it is Natural Wisdom. Wondrous is this.
Not having known birth, it knows not death. Wondrous is
Although it is Total Reality, there is no perceiver of
it. Wondrous is this.
Although wandering in the Sangsara, it remains undefiled
by evil. Wondrous is this.
Although seeing the Buddha, it remains unallied to good.
Wondrous is this.
Although possessed by all beings, it is not recognized.
Wondrous is this.
Those not knowing the fruit of this yoga seek other fruit.
Wondrous is this.
Although the Clear Light of Reality shines within one’s
own mind, the multitude look for it elsewhere. Wondrous is this.
[ THE FOURFOLD GREAT PATH ]
All hail to this Wisdom here set forth, concerning the
invisible, immaculate Mind!
This teaching is the most excellent of teachings.
This meditation, devoid of mental concentration, allembracing,
free from every imperfection, is the most excellent of meditations.
This practice concerning the Uncreated State, when rightly
comprehended, is the most excellent of practices.
This fruit of the yoga of the Eternally Unsought, naturally
produced, is the most excellent of fruits.
Herewith we have accurately revealed the Fourfold Great
This teaching without error, this Great Path, is of the
Clear Wisdom here set forth, which, being clear and unerring, is called
This meditation upon this unerring Great Path, is of the
Clear Wisdom here set forth, which, being clear and unerring, is called
This practice relating to this unerring Great Path is
of the Clear Wisdom here set forth, which, being clear and unerring, is
called the Path.
The fruit of this unerring Great Path is of the Clear
Wisdom here set forth, which, being clear and unerring, is called the Path.
[ THE GREAT LIGHT ]
This yoga also concerns the foundation of the immutable
The teaching of this changeless Great Light is of the
unique Clear Wisdom here set forth, which, illuminating the Three Times,
is called ‘The Light’.
The meditation upon this changeless Great Light is of
the unique clear Wisdom here set forth, which, illuminating the Three Times,
is called ‘The Light’.
The practice relating to this changeless Great Light is
of the unique Clear Wisdom, here set forth, which, illuminating the Three
Times, is called ‘The Light’.
The fruit of this changeless Great Light is of the unique
Clear Wisdom here set forth, which, illuminating the Three Times, is called
‘The Light ‘. 38
[ THE DOCTRINE OF THE THREE TIMES ]
The essence of the doctrine concerning the Three Times
in at-one-ment will now be expounded.
The yoga concerning past and future not being practiced,
memory of the past remains latent. 39
The future, not being welcomed, is completely severed
by the mind from the present.
The present, not being fixable, remains in the state of
[ THE YOGA OF THE NIRVANIC PATH ]
There being no thing upon which to meditate, no meditation
is there whatsoever.
There being no thing to go astray, no going astray is
there, if one be guided by memory.
Without meditating, without going astray, look into the
True State, wherein self-cognition, self-knowledge, self-illumination shine
resplendently. These, so shining, are called ‘The Bodhisattvic Mind’. 40
In the Realm of Wisdom, transcendent over all meditation,
naturally illuminative, where there is no going astray, the vacuous concepts,
the self-liberation, and the primordial Voidness are of the Dharma-Kaya
Without realization of this, the Goal of the Nirvanic
Path is unattainable.
Simultaneously with its realization the Vajra-Sattva state
is realized. 42
These teachings are exhaustive of all knowledge, exceedingly
deep, and immeasurable.
Although they are to be contemplated in a variety of ways,
to this Mind of self-cognition and self-originated Wisdom, there are no
two such things as contemplation and contemplator.
When exhaustively contemplated, these teachings merge
in at-one-ment with the scholarly seeker who has sought them, although
the seeker himself when sought cannot be found.
Thereupon is attained the goal of the seeking, and also
the end of the search itself.
Then, nothing more is there to be sought; nor is there
need to seek anything.
This beginningless, vacuous, unconfused Clear Wisdom of
self-cognition is the very same as that set forth in the Doctrine of the
Great Perfection. 13
Although there are no two such things as knowing and not
knowing, there are profound and innumerable sorts of meditation; and surpassingly
excellent it is in the end to know one’s mind. 43
There being no two such things as object of meditation
and meditator, if by those who practice or do not practice meditation the
meditator of meditation be sought and not found, thereupon the goal of
the meditation is reached and also the end of the meditation itself.
There being no two such things as meditation and object
of meditation, there is no need to fall under the sway of deeply obscuring
Ignorance; for, as the result of meditation upon
the unmodified quiescence of mind,l the non-created Wisdom
instantaneously shines forth clearly.
Although there is an innumerable variety of profound practices,
to one’s mind in its true state they are non-existent; for there are no
two such things as existence and non-existence. 44
There being no two such things as practice and practitioner,
if by those who practice or do not practice the practitioner of practice
be sought and not found, thereupon the goal of the practice is reached
and also the end of the practice itself.
Inasmuch as from eternity there is nothing whatsoever
to be practiced, there is no need to fall under the sway of errant propensities.
Although there are no two such things as pure and
impure, there is an innumerable variety of fruits of yoga, all of which,
to one’s mind in its True State, are the conscious content of the non-created
There being no two such things as action and performer
of action, if one seeks the performer of action and no performer of action
be found anywhere, thereupon the goal of all fruitobtaining is reached
and also the final consummation itself.
There being no other method whatsoever of obtaining the
fruit, there is no need to fall under the sway of the dualities of accepting
and rejecting, trusting and distrusting these teachings.
Realization of the self-radiant and self-born Wisdom,
as the manifestation of the Tri-Kaya in the self-cognizing mind, is the
very fruit of attaining the Perfect Nirvana.
[ THE EXPLANATION OF THE NAMES GIVEN TO THIS WISDOM
This Wisdom delivers one from the eternally transitory
Inasmuch as it does not fall under the sway of any extreme,
it is called ‘The Middle Path’.
It is called ‘Wisdom’ because of its unbroken continuity
Being the essence of the vacuity of mind, it is called
‘The Essence of the Buddhas’.
If the significance of these teachings were known by all
beings, surpassingly excellent would it be.
Therefore, these teachings are called ‘The Means of Attaining
the Other Shore of Wisdom [or The Transcendental Wisdom] ‘.
To Them who have passed away into Ninvana, this Mind is
both beginningless and endless; therefore is it called ‘The Great Symbol’.
Inasmuch as this Mind, by being known and by not being
known, becomes the foundation of all the joys of Nirvana and of all the
sorrows of the Sangsara, it is called ‘The AllFoundation’.
The impatient, ordinary person when dwelling in his fleshly
body calls this very clear Wisdom ‘common intelligence’.
Regardless of whatever elegant and varied names be given
to this Wisdom as the result of thorough study, what Wisdom other than
it, as here revealed, can one really desire ?
To desire more than this Wisdom is to be like one who
seeks an elephant by following its footprints when the elephant itself
has been found.
[THE YOGA OF THE THATNESS]
Although he that is ignorant of this may seek externally
or outside the mind to know himself, how is it possible to find oneself
when seeking others rather than oneself ?
He that thus seeks to know himself is like a fool giving
a performance in the midst of a crowd and forgetting who he is and then
seeking everywhere to find himself.
This simile also applies to one’s erring in other ways.
Unless one knows or sees the natural state of substances
[or things] and recognizes the Light in the mind, release from the Sangsara
Unless one sees the Buddha in one’s mind, Nirvana is obscured.
Although the Wisdom of Nirvana and the Ignorance of the
Sangsara illusorily appear to be two things, they cannot truly be differentiated.
It is an error to conceive them otherwise than as one.
Erring and non-erring are, intrinsically, also a unity.
By not taking the mind to be naturally a duality, and
allowing it, as the primordial consciousness, to abide in its own place,
beings attain deliverance.
The error of doing otherwise than this arises not from
Ignorance in the mind itself, but from not having sought to know the Thatness.
Seek within shine own self-illuminated, self-originated
mind whence, firstly, all such concepts arise, secondly, where they exist,
and, lastly, whither they vanish. 50
This realization is likened to that of a crow which, although
already in possession of a pond, flies off elsewhere to quench its thirst,
and finding no other drinking-place returns to the one pond.
Similarly, the radiance which emanates from the One Mind,
by emanating from one’s own mind, emancipates the mind.
The One Mind, omniscient, vacuous, immaculate, eternally,
the Unobscured Voidness, void of quality as the sky, selforiginated Wisdom,
shining clearly, imperishable, is Itself the Thatness.
The whole visible Universe also symbolizes the One Mind.
By knowing the All-Consciousness in one’s mind, one knows
it to be as void of quality as the sky.
Although the sky may be taken provisionally as an illustration
of the unpredicable Thatness, it is only symbolically so.
Inasmuch as the vacuity of all visible things is to be
recognized as merely analogous to the apparent vacuity of the sky, devoid
of mind, content, and form, the knowing of the mind does not depend on
the sky-symbol. 51
Therefore, not straying from the Path, remain in that
very state of the Voidness.
[ THE YOGIC SCIENCE OF MENTAL CONCEPTS ]
The various concepts, too, being illusory, and none of
them real, fade away accordingly.
Thus, for example, everything postulated of the Whole,
the Sangsara and Nirvana, arises from nothing more than mental concepts.
Changes in one’s train of thought [or in one’s association
of ideas] produce corresponding changes in one’s conception of the external
Therefore, the various views concerning things are due
merely to different mental concepts.
The six classes of beings respectively conceive ideas
in different ways.
The unenlightened externally see the externally-transitory
The various doctrines are seen in accordance with one’s
own mental concepts.
As a thing is viewed, so it appears.
To see things as a multiplicity, and so to cleave unto
separateness, is to err.
Now follows the yoga of knowing all mental concepts.
The seeing of the Radiance [of this Wisdom or Mind], which
shines without being perceived,’ is Buddhahood.
Mistake not, by not controlling one’s thoughts, one errs.
By controlling and understanding the thought-process in
one’s mind, emancipation is attained automatically.
In general, all things mentally perceived are concepts.
The bodily forms in which the world of appearances is
contained are also concepts of mind.
‘The quintessence of the six classes of beings’ is also
a mental concept.
‘The happiness of gods in heaven-worlds and of men’ is
another mental concept.
‘The three unhappy states of suffering’, too, are concepts
of the mind.
‘Ignorance, miseries, and the Five Poisons’ are, likewise,
‘Self-originated Divine Wisdom’ is also a concept of the
‘The full realization of the passing away into Nirvana’
is also a concept of mind.
‘Misfortune caused by demons and evil spirits” is also
a concept of mind.
‘Gods and good fortune’, are also concepts of mind.
Likewise, the various ‘ perfections 53
are mental concepts.
‘Unconscious one-pointedness 54
is also a mental concept.
The colour of any objective thing is also a mental concept.
‘The Qualityless and Formless’ 55 is
also a mental concept.
‘The One and the Many in at-one-ment’ is also a mental
‘Existence and non-existence’, as well es ‘the Non-Created’,
are concepts of the mind.
[ THE REALIZATION AND THE GREAT LIBERATION ]
Nothing save mind is conceivable. 56
Mind, when uninhibited, conceives all that comes into
That which comes into existence is like the wave of an
The state of mind transcendent over all dualities brings
It matters not what name may carelessly be applied to
mind; truly mind is one, and apart from mind there is naught else.
That Unique One Mind is foundationless and rootless.
There is nothing else to be realized.
The Non-Created is the Non-Visible.
By knowing the invisible Voidness and the Clear Light
through not seeing them separately-there being no multiplicity in the Voidness-one’s
own clear mind may be known, yet the Thatness itself is not knowable. 58
Mind is beyond nature, but is experienced in bodily forms.
The realization of the One Mind constitutes the AllDeliverance.
Without mastery of the mental processes there can be no
Similarly, although sesamum seed 59
is the source of oil, and milk the source of butter, not until the seed
be pressed and the milk churned do the oil and butter appear.
Although sentient beings are of the Buddha essence itself,
not until they realize this can they attain Nirvana.
Even a cowherd [or an illiterate person] may by realization
[ III. THE CONCLUDING SECTIONS ]
[ THE GENERAL CONCLUSION ]
Though lacking in power of expression, the author has
here made a faithful record [of his own yogic experiences].
To one who has tasted honey, it is superfluous for those
who have not tasted it to offer an explanation of its taste.
Not knowing the One Mind, even pandits go astray, despite
their cleverness in expounding the many different doctrinal systems.
To give ear to the reports of one who has neither approached
nor seen the Buddha. even for a moment is like harkening to flying rumours
concerning a distant place one has never visited.
Simultaneously with the knowing of the Mind comes release
from good and evil.
If the mind is not knowr, all practice of good and evil
results in nothing more than Heaven, or Hell, or the Sangsara.
As soon as one’s mind is known to be of the Wisdom of
the Voidness, concepts like good and evil karma cease to exist.
Even as in the empty sky there seems to be, but is not,
a fountain of water, so in the Voidness is neither good nor evil.
When one’s mind is thus known in its nakedness, this Doctrine
of Seeing the Mind Naked, this Self-Liberation, is seen to be exceedingly
Seek, therefore, shine own Wisdom within thee.
It is the Vast Deep.
[ THE FINAL GOOD WISHES ]
All hail! this is the Knowing of the Mind, the Seeing
of Reality, Self-Liberation.
For the sake of future generations who shall be born during
the Age of Darkness, 60
these essential aphorisms, necessarily brief and concise, herein set forth,
were written down in accordance with Tantric teachings.
Although taught during this present epoch, the text of
them was hidden away amidst a cache of precious things.
May this Book be read by those blessed devotees of the
[ THE GURU’S FINAL CHARGE TO THE DISCIPLES ]
Samaya; gya, gya, gya. [ Vast, vast, vast is Divine Wisdom.]
[ THE COLOPHON ]
These teachings, called ‘The Knowing of the Mind in Its
Self-Identifying, Self-Realizing, Self-Liberating Reality’, were formulated
by Padma-Sambhava, the spiritually-endowed Teacher. from Urgyan. 61
May they not wane until the whole Sangsara is emptied.
by DAbase) (for the full notes, buy the book, below)
1. the three states in which the Buddhas the All-Enlightened
Ones, exist, namely (I) the humanly incomprehensible transcendent at-one-ment
of the Dharma-Kaya (‘ Divine Body of Truth’) the primordial, unmodified,
unshaped Thatness, beyond the realm of descriptive terms, and knowable
solely by realization; (2) the celestial state of the Sambhoga-Kaya (‘Divine
Body of Perfect Endowment’), the reflex or modified aspect of the Dharma-Kaya;
and (3) the state of divinely pure human embodiment, the Nirmana-Kaya (‘Divine
Body of Incarnation’)
2. The mantra may be rendered as ‘Vast, vast, vast is
3. E-ma-ho! is an interjection, commonly occurring in
the religious literature of Tibet, expressive of compassion for all living
creatures. In this context, it is to be regarded as being the guru’s invocation
addressed to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in super-human realms that They
may telepathically bestow upon the disciples Their divine grace and guidance.
4. Sangsara (also Samsara): or the phenomenal universes
of appearances (by implication: bondage, maya, illusion, dillusion) ;
Nirvana [the unmanifested noumenal state] (by implication:
real bliss, liberation, enlightenment) (see also: note 11)
5. The Buddhas of the Three Times are: Dipambara (‘The
Luminous One’), of the past time-cycle; Shakya Muni (‘The Sage of the Shakya
Clan’) of the present time-cycle; and Maitreya (‘The Loving One’), of the
6. These 84,000 shlokas contain the essentials of Buddhist
teachings, and are, therefore, commonly known among Tibetan Buddhists as
‘The Door of the Dharma’, or ‘Entrance into the Dharma’.
7 The Conquerors (Skt. Jina) are the Buddhas, Who are
the Conquerors of sangsaric, or conditioned, existence.
8. These are: (I) the Gods (Tib. Lha: Skt. Sura or Deva);
(2) Titans (Tib. Lha-ma-yin: Skt. Asura); (3) Man (Tib. Mi: Skt. Nara);
(4) Beasts (Tib. Du-do: Skt. Tiryak); (5) Ghosts (Tib. Yi-dvag: Skt. Preta);
(6) Dwellersin Hells (Tib. Nyal-kham: Skt. Naraka). Thus the Six Classes
of sentient beings are those of the Six States of Existence within the
9. (1) Ordinary or phenomenal truth and (2) the transcendental
10. the yoga concerned with religious observances
and worship (kriya).
11. Seva-Sadhana, the Sanskrit equivalent of the Tibetan
bsnyen-bsgrub (pron. nyen-drub) of the text, literally means ‘Service-Worship’,
with reference to a yogic practice of regarding all one’s duties to society
and the world aa sacred, to the end that every act of life on Earth shall
be performed with religous reverence.
12. This aphorism expounds most succinctly the ultimate
teaching of the Mahayana. To comprehend it intellectually, a thorough understanding
of the doctrine of the Voidness, the Shunyata, is necessary: [In common
with all Schools of the Oriental Occult Sciences, the Mahayana postulates
that the One Supra-Mundane Mind, or the Universal All-Pervading Consciousness,
transcendent over appearances and over every dualistic concept born of
the finite or mundane aspect of mind, alone is real. Viewed as the Voidness
(known in Sanskrit as the Shunyata), it is the Unbecome, the Unborn, the
Unmade, the Unformed, the predicateless Primordial Essence, the abstract
Cosmic Source whence all concrete or manifested things come and into which
they vanish in latency. Being without form, quality, or phenomenal existence,
it is the Formless, the Qualityless, the Non-Existent. As such, it is the
Imperishable, the Transcendent Fullness of the Emptiness, the Dissolver
of Space and of Time and of sangsaric (or mundane) mind, the Brahman of
the Rishis, the Dreamer of Maya, the Weaver of the Web of Appearances,
the Outbreather and the Inbreather of infinite universes throughout the
endlessness of Duration. )
The One Mind being the Cause of All Causes, the Ultimate
Reality, every other aspect of the Whole, visible and invisible, and all
states or conditions of consciousness, are inseparably parts of the One
Mind. Every duality, even the Final Duality, the Sangsara and Nirvana,
is, in the last analysis, found to be a unity. Therefore, both pluralism;
or the belief that the Cosmos is primordially and eternally a plurality
rather than a unity, and dualism, or the belief that all things conceivable
are divided into indissoluble dualities, are untrue.
[ This Great Statement by Padmasambhava is a pinnacle
of Vajrayana Wisdom. The “point of view” is the Mind (abeit “The One Mind”)
and causality pointing toward the Uncaused and Non-Duality, or in Avatar
Adi Da’s words, “Consciousness (Itself)”. Adi Da notes that Buddhist Realizers,
have demonstrated “their characteristic reluctance to positively (or directly)
describe the Nirvanic Condition Itself”. Ultimate Realization is described
as “Void”, and “Emptiness” and in some cases “Luminous Void”. Padmasambhava
points toward the “Clear and Great Light” or “Luminosity (Itself)” or in
Adi Da’s Words; “The Bright” or “Brightness (Itself)” or “Unbroken Light”
or “Inherently Indivisible Light” or “Light (Itself)” or “The Real
(Ultimate) Condition” or “Real God”. [ See To Realize
Nirvana Is to Realize the True “Self”: Buddhist “Realism” and Its (Ultimately)
Inherent Sympathy with Advaitic “Idealism” (2000) and Real
God Is The Indivisible Oneness Of Unbroken Light (1999) and The
Unique Sixth Stage Foreshadowings of the Only-By-Me Revealed Seventh Stage
of Life (1993) and There Is Simply The “Bright”
Itself (1990) and Nirvanasara (1980).]
13. (Text: Rdzogs-pa ch’en-po; pron. Dzog-pa ch’en-po=Rdzog-ch’en);
‘Most Perfect’, or ‘Most Complete’, or ‘Great Ultimate Perfection’, with
reference to the chief doctrine known as the Great Perfection of the Nyingma
School founded by Padma-Sambhava. In this doctrine, of which our present
treatise is the quintessence, all doctrines reach their
culmination, or fruition which is emancipation from sangsaric, or conditioned,
existence and the attainment of the non-conditioned supra-sangsaric state
14. Or literally, ;quick-knowing’. Intuitive Wisdom is
known to the Mahayana as Prajna, the awakening of which, by practice of
meditation, in relation to the doctrine of Enlightenment, is the aim of
Zen Buddhism. As taught in the Saddharma-Pundarika, the Dharma, ‘the true
law understood by the Tathagata, cannot be reasoned, is beyond the pale
of reasoning’, Cf. D. T. Suzuki, Essays in Zen Buddhism (New York, 1949),
| * | barnes
and noble | * | powells
| * | alibris
| * | others
| * | barnes
and noble | * | powells
| * | alibris
| * | others
15. Or, ‘it has no existence sangsarically, that is to
say, ‘it has no conditioned existence’.
16. ‘Eleven Yanas (or Paths)’, with reference to eleven
schools of Buddhist philosophy or doctrine of which the Maha-Yana and Hina-Yana
are the two chief primary divisions.
17. According to the Mahayana, heresy, or the holding
of wrong views concerning Truth, is of two sorts: (I) denial of reincarnation,
denial that charity, self-sacrifice, and righteousness produce good karma,
and denial both of unrighteousness and of Divine Wisdom, (2) the assertion
that happiness and misery are arbitrarily allotted to human beings by a
deity rather than as a direct result of the individual’s past deeds, and
that all things are either permanent or real, and that there is no Nirvanic
Reality as their root or essentiality.
18. Text: bdag (pron. dag), ‘self’, ‘ego’, ‘I’: Skt.
19. The Yogachara is a system of Mahayana metaphysics,
based on yoga, and developed by Aryasangha.
20. Text: sems (pron. sem), ‘ mind’, ‘consciousness’,
‘Wisdom’, & etc.
21. Text: Shes-rab pha-rol phyin-pa (pron. Shay-rab pha-rol
chin-pa) = the short form, Sher-phyin (pron. skier-chin): Skt. Prajna-Paramita,
‘Divine Wisdom’, known to Tibetan Buddhists as ‘the means of arriving at
the Other Shore of Wisdom’. It is also referred to as ‘the Ship of Salvation’,
or ‘the Vessel which conducts man to Nirvana (or the Other Shore) ‘.
22. Text: Phyag-rgya Ch’en-po (pron. Chag-gya Chen-po):
Skt. Maha-Mudra, ‘Great Hand-Gesture’, or ‘Great Symbol’. The technical
yogic meaning of Maha-Mudra is Anuttara, the highest and final doctrine.
MahaMuird the method of practically applying the Dharma, is also known
as Dharma Karma. Phyag refers to knowledge of the Shunyata, or Voidness,
and rgya conveys the meaning of liberation from worldliness; and Ch’en-po
signifies the at-one-ment of these two all-important teachings.
23. Text: Thig-le nyag-gchig (pron. Thig-le nyag-chig),
‘Sole (or Unique) Seed’. Thig-le’ = Skt. Bindu, ‘ Seed’, ‘Point’, &
24.Text: Chos-hyi-duyings (pro. Cho-hyi-ing): Skt. Dharma-Dhatu,
‘Seed (or Potentiality) of Truth’, equivalent to the Dharma-Kaya, the Shape
(which is Shapelessness) of the Divine Body of Truth regarded as the all-pervading
25. It is customary among Tibetan Buddhist gurus to assign
to all things a threefold aspect.
26. Mind per se, in its true ornatural state, is unmodified,
primordial quiescence. The current of the thought-process, born of sangsaric
existence, is inhibited and the True State realized. Then, there being
no longer past or future, mind per se is comprehended by its own time,
which is timelessness. As the great Buddhist Patriarch Ashvaghosha taught,
during the first century A.D., ‘ While the essence of mind is eternally
clean and pure, the influence of ignorance makes possible the existence
of a defiled mind. But in spite of the defiled mind the mind [per se] is
eternal, clear, pure, and not subject to transformation. Further, as its
original nature is free from particularization, it knows in itself no change
whatever, though it produces everywhere the various modes of existence.
When the one-ness of the totality of things (dharmadhatu) is not recognized,
then ignorance as well as particularization arises, and all phases of the
defiled mind are thus developed. But the significance of this doctrine
is so extremely deep and unfathomable that it can be fully comprehended
by Buddhas and by no others.’ (Cf. Prof. Suzuki’s translation of Ashvaghosha’s
Faith, Chicago, 1900, pp. 79-80.)
In other words, mind, in its pure, primordial, unmodified,
natural condition, is transcendent over what sangsaric man calls time.
As implied above, in the aphorisms that the One Mind embraces the whole
Sangsara and Nirvana and all other dualities, mind per se also transcends
space. For, as the Mahayana teaches, space is merely a mode of particularization.
Therefore, space per se has no existence any more than has time per se,
it being impossible to think of space apart from the variety of things
illusorily existing in space. In this sense, then, space and objects of
space are merely another dualism. Time per se being timelessness, space
per se is spacelessness. Neither time nor space, sangsiricaly conceived,
exists apart from relationship to the sangsaric particularizing consciousness;
and thus both have only a relative, not an absolute existence.
Mind, being in its abstract or potential condition non-sangsaric,
has innate power (while it ‘remains as it is naturally’, that is, in its
unmodified, or primordially Nirvinic, true state) to view, by its own standard
of timelessness, the past, the present, and the future as an inseparable
homogeneous unity. And this yogic power can be made operative in this world
or in any region of the Sangsara by the devotee who masters the yoga herein
The One Mind, as Eternity, is the eternal present, but
is neither past nor future. Time, as Plotinus teaches, is the measure of
movement. In its naturalness, the One Mind, as the Quiescent, is the Immutable,
the Motionless. Time begins with motion, with the initiation of thought;
when the mind attains the transcendent at-one-ment, by concentration upon
unity, and the thought-process is inhibited, simultaneously with the cessation
of thought, time ceases, and there is only timelessness.
27. The expression, ‘of one taste’, occurs throughout
Buddhist literature to indicate, as here, homogeneity, undifferentiated
at-one-ment, qualityless or supramundane unity. The Buddha frequently uses
it in this sense when speaking of the single purpose of the Doctrine, which
is to lead mankind to Freedom, to Nirvana. Even as the Great Waters are
of one taste, the taste of salt, so the One Mind is really One, and incapable
of being divided, or of being differentiated from any of the microcosmic
aspects of the Thatness, the Ultimate Reality.
28. In the True State, the State of Reality, mind and
matter in their sangsarc, or mundane, or temporally illusory aspects are
inseparably one. Ashvaghosha teaches, ‘there is no distinction between
mind and matter, it is on account of the finite in the round of life and
death that these distinctions appear [sangsarically]’. Eternally all things
‘are neither mind nor matter, neither infinite wisdom nor finite knowledge,
neither existing nor non-existing, but are after all inexpressible’. Although
words must be employed to convey thought, so that mankind may be led to
discover Reality for themselves,’ the best human thought of all things
is only temporary and is not Truth Absolute’. (Cf. Ashvaghosha’s Awakening
of Faith, as translated by the late Rev. Timothy Richard, Shanghai, 1907,
pp. 26-28 ) It is only quite recently that occidental scientists have discovered,
as the Sages of the Mahayana did very many centuries ago, that matter,
formerly believed by a now obsolete materialism to be inert, is, as indicated
by the electronic character of the atom, the very quintessence of energy.
Moreover, Western Science is beginning to suspect that the Universe is
wholly a mental phenomenon; or, as the Wise Men of the East teach, that
it is the product of One Cosmic Mind; or, in a theological sense, that
it is the Thought of an Incommensurable Intelligence.
29. Mind or consciousness in its true state being Reality,
and ever-existing, is of the Uncreated; and, being uncreated, is primary
in Nature. Accordingly, matter is derived from mind or consciousness, and
not mind or consciousness from matter.
30. Literally rendered, this passage would read, ‘Mind
being in its own place [i.e. in its primordial, unmodified naturalness]
31. Although the mind, in its mundane aspect, is the
root of all quality, in its natural or true state of primordial non-createdness
it is per se devoid of all quality and thus beyond the realm of predication.
Being undifferentiated voidness, vacuity, or no hing, it transcends sangsaric
attributes. As Ashvaghosha teaches, all phenomena thrcughout the Sangsara
are mindmade. ‘Without mind, then, there is practically no objective existence.
Thus all existence arises from imperfect notions in our mind. All differences
are differences of the mind. But the mind cannot see itself, for it has
no form. We should know that all phenomena are created by the imperfect
notions in the finite mind; therefore all existence is like a reflection
in a mirror, without substance, only a phantom of the mind. When the fimte
mind acts, then all kins of things arise; when the finite mind ceases to
act, then all kinds of things cease.’ (Cf. Ashvaghosha’s, The Awakening
of Faith. Richard’s translation, p. 26.) The object of our present yoga
is to arrive at that right understanding of mind which is attainable only
when the finite activities, the thought-processes, of the mundane mind
are stilled. Then the world of objectivity vanishes. When an electric current
is cut off, the external or visible manifestation of electricity as kinetic
energy ceases and no longer exists; there is then only electricity per
se in its natural or unmodified state of potentiality. To know mind, one
must know it in its true state.
32. Mind in its finite or mundane aspect cannot know
mind in its infinite supramundane aspect. By virtue of yogic discipline
the finite mind is purged of Ignorance (Skt. Avidya).
33. The finite aspect of mind being a microcosmic reflex
of the One Mind, and, in the last analysis, inseparable from the One Mind,
it partakes of its vacuous and foundationless nature. Only in the highest
trance state of samadhi, or divine at-one-ment, is the truth of this realizable;
it cannot be demonstrated intellectually, in the state in which mundane
mind acts. This yoga is the yoga of introspection.
34. The testimony from realization by the recently deceased
Sage of Tiruvannamalai, Sri Ramana Maharshi,
parallels this of the Great Guru: ‘After all, the world is merely an idea
or thought. When the mind ceases to think, the world vanishes, and there
is bliss indescribable. When the mind begins to think, immediately the
world reappears and there is suffering.’ (Cf. Who Am I?
35. According to the Mahayana, the Dharma, the Law of
Being, the Truth the Divine Wisdom, the Guide to the Science and Art of
Living, is in its true nature the unpredicable Voidness.
36. Excerpts from a translation made by the late G. R.
S. Mead of the original Greek of the Proem of the Gospel of St. John, and
contained in The Gnostic John The Baptizer (published by John M. Watkins,
London, I924), pp. 123-6:
1. In the Beginning was Mind; and Mind was with God.
2. So Mind was God. This was in Beginning with God.
3. All kept coming into existence through it; and apart
from it came into existence not a single [thing].
37. past, the present, and the future.
38. This epitomized yoga of the Light consists of four
stages of perfection in devotion: (I) the initial glimpsing of the Light
(the Divine Wisdom concerning Reality); (2) the progressive increase in
the perception of the Light; (3) the comprehension of the essentiality
of the Light, or of Truth; (4) the power to prolong meditation indefinitely
and so enter into samdhi. [see Real God Is The Indivisible
Oneness Of Unbroken Light (1999)]
39. Or, literally, ‘is relinquished’.
40. ‘The Bodhisativic Mind’ is a symbolic term signifying
the supernormally enlightened mmd of one who, being a candidate for the
complete enlightenment of Buddhahood, had taken the vow of a Bodhisattva
(‘Enlightened Being’), not to relinquish sangsaric existence, by entering
into Nirvana, until all Ignorance has been transmuted into Divine Wisdom.
41. All concepts, as our text later teaches, are in their
essentiality vacuous. In the True State, as in the Platonic realm of ideas,
concepts por so are devoid of form or sangsaric content. Being of the Voidness,
they are, as tho unshaped, unformed, non-created, the supra-sangsaric unpredicable
seed of thought of the Supra-sangsric Mind, whence they are sown throughout
space to produce shaped, formed, sangsiric universes of illusory appearances.
42. Vajra-Sattva (‘ Immutable Being’). . . Vajra-Sattva
is sometimes conceived as being equivalent to the Adi (or Primordial)-Buddha,
and he then symbolizes the Dharma-Kaya. Accordingly, realization of this
state, when He is in this aspect, is equivalent to the realization of Perfect
Buddhahood, or Nirvana.
43. Here, as above, and again in the aphorisms which
are to follow, the language is paradoxical, and should beinterpreted in
terms of the doctrine of the Voidness. The aphorisms of this section are
constructed with reference to the three aspects of treading the Path: (1)
meditation, or thorough intellectual comprehension of the teachings after
having heard them; (2) practice, or practical application of the teachings;
(3) realization, or attaining the fruits, or results, of the practice.
44. Inasmuch as ‘existence and non-existence’ are a duality,
existence per se and non-existence per se are merely meaningless sangsiric
concepts; and, therefore, cannot be applied either to the practices or
to the unpredicable Mind, which, being of the Voidness, of the Thatness,
is transcendent over both existence and non-existence. The Absolute Reality
can be realized, but it cannot be described by use of words, for words
are only symbols representing mundane, or sangsaric, concepts. As Ashvaghosha
teaches, ‘the best human thought of all things is only temporary and is
not Truth Absolute’.-The Awakening of Faith, Richard’s translation (op.
cit., p. 28).
45. Wisdom, or Mind in its native condition, being unmoved
by the process of sangsaric thought, is the All-Quiescent, the Motionless,
the Immutable, the Actionless.
46. Truth transcends the duality of acceptance and rejection,
and is for’ ever unaffected by man’s opinion. ‘When men consider and realize
that the Absolute Mind has no need of thoughts like men’s, they will be
following the right way to reach the Boundless.’-Ashvaghosha’s The Awakening
of Faith, Richard’s translation (op. cit., p. I5).
47. Text: Sangs-rgyas = Sangs-rgyasa, ‘Completely Purified
One (or State)’, i.e. the Buddha (or Buddhahood). In the Mahayana sense,
a Buddha is one who has become completely awakened from the slumber of
the obscuring ignorance of Truth, i.e. from what in Sanskrit is known as
48. This rendering of the aphorism was preferred by the
Lama Karma Sumdhon Paul. His collaborator in the translation of our present
treatise, the Lama Lobzang Mingyur Dorje, preferred the following rendering:
‘Quite impossible is it, even though one seeks throughout the Three Regions,
to find [or attain] Buddhahood without knowing the mind.’
49. Here, again, the Lama Lobzang Mingyur Dorje suggests
an alternative rendering: ‘Unless one realizes the Buddhahood [innate]
in one’s mind, Nirvana is obscured.’
50. The Yoga of the Great Symbol which propounds a parallel
analysis of the arising, existing, and passing away of mental concepts,
will here be found very helpful. Concerning this yoga of introspection,
upon which our present treatise is chiefly based, the late Maharshi
of Tiruvannamalai taught, in language surprisingly parallel to that of
our own text, ‘it is only when the subtle mind projects itself outwards
through the brain and the senses that names and forms of the grosser world
come into existence. When the mind lies absorbed in the Hridaya [the mind’s
Spiritual Centre or Source, or Heart], these names and forms vanish. When
the outgoing tendencies of the mind are suppressed and, with all its attention
turned on itself alone, the mind is retained within the Hridaya, that condition
is called introspection, or the subjective vision [Skt. antarmukha-drishti].
When the mind emerges from the Hridaya and busies itself with the creation
of the gross world, that condition may be termed extrospection, or the
objective vision [Skt. bahir-mukha-drishti]. When the mind resides within
the Hridaya, the primal thought of ego, or the ” I “, gradually vanishes
and what remains is the Transcendent Self or Atman [the Brahmanical equivalent
to the One Mind of the Mahayana]. It is that state, wherein there exists
not the slightest trace of the notion ” I “, which is called Real Vision
[Skt. Swarupa-drishti] and, also, Silence [Skt. Maunam]. This Silence is
spoken of as the Vision of Wisdom [Skt. Jñana-drishti] in Advaita
Vedanta. Thus quiescence is nothing but that state when mind remains merged
in the Self, the Brahman [Skt. Atmaswarupam]. ‘ (See Who Am I? pp.
7, upon which our more clearly expressed version is based.) [ See also
Realize Nirvana Is to Realize the True “Self”: Buddhist “Realism” and Its
(Ultimately) Inherent Sympathy with Advaitic “Idealism” (2000)
51. The sky, although in reality a plenum and not a vacuum,
illusorily appears to be vacuous; and only by reason of its apparent vacuousness
is it figuratively, or symbolically, employed as an illustration of the
vacuity of all visible or perceptible things, and then merely as a means
to an end.
The sky-symbol is employed merely to help mankind to discover
Truth itself. As Ashvaghosha teaches, the Buddha ‘only provisionally makes
use of words and definitions to lead all beings, while His real objective
is to make them abandon symbolism and directly enter into the true reality
[Skt. tattva]. Because, if they indulge themselves in reasonings, attach
themselves to sophistry, and thus foster their subjective particularization,
how could they have the true wisdom [Skt. tattva-jñana] and attain
Nirvana?’ (Cf. Suzuki’s translation, op. cit., p. 113.)
52. All objective things are born of mental concepts,
and, in themselves, or apart from mind, have no reality. When the sangsaric
or finite mind is active, objectivity arises; when it ceases its activity,
when the thought-process is yogically inhibited, objectivity ceases. Of
this, Ashvaghosha, in The Awakening of Faith, says, ‘All phenomena are
originally in the mind and have really no outward form; therefore, as there
is no form, it is an error to think that anything is there. All phenomena
[or phenomenal, or objective, appearances] merely arise from false notions
in the mind. If the mind is independent of these false ideas [or concepts],
then all phenomena disappear.’ (Cf. Richard’s translation, Op. cit., p.
53. The various ‘perfections’ are such as those classified
as the Six Paramitd (‘Transcendental Virtues’): Charity, Morality, Patience,
Industry, Meditation, Wisdom. Four others are sometimes added: Method,
Prayer, Fortitude, Foreknowledge. There are also particular doctrines known
as ‘perfections’, for example, the Doctrine of the Great Perfection of
the School of Padma-Sambhava; and our present treatise is a similar doctrine
54. This technical expression is purely yogic. It refers
to the state of samadhic trance, in which there is unconsciousness of the
external world of appearances, and profound one-pointedness of mind.
55. This technical expression refers to the Voidness.
56. Or, otherwise rendered, ‘There is nothing conceivable
that is not mind’. This aphorism is perhaps the most paradoxical and profound
of our present treatise; and to comprehend its significance even intellectually
requires meditation and careful thinking. Inasmuch as all conceivable things
are, in the last analysis, mind, there is nothing other than mind. Every
objective thing, the world of appearances as a whole, the Sangsara and
Nirvapa, are, in their essentiality, mind. Apart from mind they are inconceivable,
and cease to have even relative, or illusory, existence. So it follows
that there is in fact nothing conceivable save mind. As the preceding aphorisms
have emphasized, all conceivable terms descriptive of conditions and things
are no more than symbols of mental concepts. The conditions or things themselves
have their illusory being because they are the externalized products of
mind. In the True State, neither the Sangsara nor Nirvana are differentiated,
for they have no existence per se; there is only the Thatness. There being
thus nothing conceivable which is real apart from mind, it may be helpful
to apply to the Mind per se some such term as the Ultimate, or Sole, Concept.
In doing so, however, we must remember that this is merely one more sangsaric
term, and, as Ashvaghosha would say, is not Truth Absolute. The finite
mind per se can never know the Infinite Mind per se. Only when the finite
mind is annihilated, is blown out like a flame of a candle by the breath
of Divine Wisdom, and Nirvana is realized, can there be true knowing of
mind. Here we have reached the frontier of the realm of terms; and progress
beyond it is for the fearless, for those who are prepared to lose their
life that they may find it. Mind (sems) in this context must not, however,
be identified with the illusory sangsaric aspect of mind, which is, as
this yoga emphasizes, merely a reflex of the Supra-mundane Mind, even as
the moonlight is a reflex of the Sun’s light, and no more real, in itself,
than an image reflected in a mirror. It is in the mundane manifestation
of mind that there arise the mental modifications, or concepts, which,
as Patanjali teaches, the yogin aims to neutralize. The materialist, who
denies that there is supramundaneness, knows no consciousness save that
centred in the unenlightened human mind.
57. The mind’s natural function is to think, to visualize,
to conceive. This is true both of the mundane and of the supramundane mind.
The Cosmos is as much the product of the thought of the One Mind, the Great
Architect, as St. Paul’s Cathedral in London is the product of the thought
of the mind of Sir Christopher Wren. What a dream is to the dreamer, the
world of appearances is to the mind. Whatever dawns or becomes perceptible
in the Sangsira has been conceived in the womb of the mind.
58. Were the Thatness knowable, dualism would be true;
for there would then be an ultimate duality, the Thatness and the knower
of the Thatness. The Absolute Truth is that the Thatness and the Knower
of the Thatness are indistinguishably one; to know the Thatness, the knower
must become the Thatness and cease to be the knower, even as one who would
know existence must cease to exist.
59. Sesamum seed is one of India’s chief sources of edible
60. Text: snyigs-mahi = snyigs-mahi-dus (pron. nyig-mai-du),
the ‘degenerate age of evil’ now prevailing: Skt. Kali-Yuga, ‘Black [or
Dark, or Iron]
61. Text: O-gyan (pron. U-gydn), ordinarily transliterated
into English as Urgyan, the country of Odiyana, sometimes, but probably
incorrectly, in Tibetan Lam-yig, the modern Gaznee, in Cabul.
information and order from:
| * | barnes
and noble | * | powells
| * | others
out of print editions:
other editions (different cover,