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Studies en. e. Thirteenth Century rQzogs-chen Text


Christopher James Wilkinson



APRIL, 1988

~!'(i~~~lstopher J. Wilkinson 1988

Clear Meaning: Studies on a 13th Century rpzogs-chen Text

Christopher James Wilkinson

is thesis is devoted to a study of the history and

content of the Tantra of Great Unreified Clear Meaning or

sPros-bral Pon-gsal Chen-po'i rGyud in Tibetan (PBP). The

PBP claims a very ancient history, asserting its origins to
be with the famed founder of the Great Perfection tradition

dGa-rab rPo-rje, who is thought to have lived in the first

century C.E. The PBP is a "treasure" (gter-ma) text, which

is believed to have been hidden in Tibet by the teacher

Padmasambhava during the eighth century C.E. and discovered

by Guru Chos-kyi dBang-phyug in the thirteenth century.

Guru Chos-dbang taught this text in the year 1257, and it

was written down by one of his disciples. The PBP came to

be included in the great collection of Tantric texts known

as the Hundred Thousand Tantras Q!. the rNying-ma (rNying-ma

rGVJ19 __ 'bum), and is found in this collection today. As

such, the PBD represents the teachings of the rNying-ma

school of Tibetan Buddhism in general, and their thirteenth

century manifestation in particular.

The essence of the teaching of the PBD is that all

living beings have a pure awareness (rig~pa) which is non-

conceptual, uncontrived, and the fundamental state of the

mind (~). This awareness is the fundamental ground on

which both the deluded experience of samsara and the pure

experience of nirvana are based. When this awareness is

falsely intuited based on the primary ignorance of subject-

objf;!ct duality and the emotional defilements which arise

from this duality there is the experience of samsara. When

this awareness is directly intuited it is Buddhahood itself.

The history of the PBD is fully discussed in this

thesis, and a thematic study of the major points made in the

PBD is presented in the main body of the thesis. The PBD

discusses topics fundamental to the Buddhology of the

rNying-ma school. This thesis presents the PBD r s views on

the Base (~), delusion, the Buddha-kaya, wisdom, the

path, recognition, and the Great Perfection (rDzogs-chen)

vehicle. These are the major themes presented in the PBD.

This investigation provides an insight into the doctrines of

esoteric Buddhism as they are reflected in a primary text,

and provides an insight into a "treasure" text of the

rNying-ma school in the thirteenth century in particular.


I wish to express my deepest thanks to Dr. Eva Dargyay

for her instruction, advice, guidance, generosity, and
constant support, as well as for permission to quote

extensively from her book, .Ilut ~ Q.f Espteric Buddhism in.

Tibet. I thank Dr. Leslie Kawamura for his constant
encouragement and support. lowe thanks to Windsor Viney
for proofreading my manuscr fpt. I want to thank the

Religious Studies faculty at the University of Calgary for

much valuable instruction in the course of my studies. I

would also like to express my thanks to the people and
government of Canada for providing an institution and

program where studies such as my own are promoted and


Table of Contents

Title Page . . • • • • 1

Approval Page . . ii
Abstract . . . . . . iii
Acknowledgements . . . v
Table of Contents. vi
1. History of the Text. . . . . . . . . 1
Teaching of the PBD. . . . . . . . . 3
The Colophon . . . . . . . . . . .... 11

Transmission of the PBD. . . . . . . 24

Contents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
2. Methodology. . . . . . . . . . 52
3. The Base . . . . . . . . . . . . .. ... 57

4. Delusion 73

5. The Buddha-kaya. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87

6. Wisdom. . . . . .... 112

7. The Path . . . . . . . . . . . . 124

8. Recognition . · . .. . . 149

9. The Great Perfection . · • • • 172

10. Conclusion . . . . · .. . . . 200

Bibliography, Works Cited . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 206

Appendix A . . . . . . . . . • . • . . 2'10

History of the Text

7.b§. Tantra Q.L Great Unreified Clear Meaning, or sPros-

Wl.,Dop-gsal Chen-po' i rGyud in the Tibetan language

(hereafter the PBD), 1 is a text belonging to the tradition

of esoteric Buddhism. The text is a discussion on the view,

meditation, practice, and result of what it holds to be the

highest path of Buddhism, the rpzogs~chen or Great

Perfection. Its intention is to explain how enlightenment

1 The PBD is contained in the rNying-ma rGyud-tbum. There

are currently two versions of the rNying-ma rGYQd-'bum
available. These are: 1 ) Rnying. mc.1 Rgyud 'Bum. A.
Collegti9n21 Treasured Tantras Translated during t.Wit Perigd
Q.t First Propagation Qi. Buddhism in . Tibet, ed. by Dingo
Khyentse Rimpoche (Thimpu, Bhutan: n.p. 1973) where the PBD
is found in volume Cha p.374-608, and 2) ~ Mtshams.....Brag
Manuscript. gi, :tb.!t B.nJ.n. b. Rgyud 'Bum, (Thimpu, Bhutan:
National Library, Royal Gover~mentof Bhutan, 1982) where
the PBD is found in volume XIII, p.1-296. The version of
the PBD found in the 1982 edition of the rNying~ma .rGyud....
~. is superior with regard' to spelling and sense, while
the 1973 version occasionally offers superior readings.
Bothhave·beenusedin preparation for this study. Page
references to the PBD in this thesis refer to the 1982
version. All transla.tlonsof the PBD in this thesis are my·,

can be instantly intuited by the practitioner ,wi thout his

relying on any kind of gradual development or cultivation of
spiritual qualities. As a dialogue on the Great Perfection
the text rejects the common. Buddhist method of dealingw.lth
,tbeabsolute, for unllke more traditional Buddhist works the
PBD uses posltive language to describe the ultimate reality.
In fact, the PBD· presents an account of Buddhism that is
almost diametrically opposed to the traditional renderings.

of Buddhism in many ways.

It is the intention of this thesis to discuss. thePBD
in full. I will begin, by presenting the history of the
text. Then I will discuss my methodology in analyzing the
text. I will then discuss the major themes presented in the
text. Finally I will conclude with aft summary of the
important. points in thePBD and the areas in which fur·ther
research is needed.

It is not the case that the ideas presented in the PBD

are new to Buddhism. The· PBD itself is a very old text,2
though perhaps not the oldest to describe the Great
Perfection teachings. The transmission of the teachings of
the Great Perfection must certainly go back to the arising
of Tantr ic Buddhism in India, perhaps as early as the first
centuryC. E. 3 The teachings' of the Great Perfection'are·

2 See p.21 of this thesis.

3 See p.33 of this thesis.


generally held to have been made immanent in this world by a

certain dGa' -rab rDo-rje, who received them directly from·

the Buddha. It is not, however, from the historical Buddha

~kyamuni that dGa' -rab rDo-rje received the teachings, but
from the ultimate principle of Buddhahood itself --r·e·ferred
to in the PBD as rDo-rje 'Chang.. To understand the
historicity of the PBD it will. be useful to first examine
what the text itself says about its history. Based on this
information and a careful analysis. o·fthe text scholarly
discussion of the claims made in the text will follow.

Teaching ~ ~ ~

To get an immediate insight into the style o·f the

text, as well as to see what the text itself says about the
place and time that this teaching was given, I will now
quote extensively from the opening passage of the text:

In the Sanskrit language of India [this book

is] the:

Tilaka OUhakala,· Trad" Tilaka DuhakalaTantra

In the Tibetan language it is the:
sPros~bral Dop~gsal Chep-po'i rGyud
[In the English language it is:
Ib§. Tantra ~ IU. Great Unrelfied Clear

Homage· to the Body, Speech and Mind of the

Omniscient and Glorious Great rDo-rje 'Chang!

In the great'lnbuilt palace of the Thirty

Three (gods] (Tult ta) ab ides the ch ief of all
-~-t-he-gods-known"~,a,s-·,qndra,······RQler··of····,the ·Gods·."·····
He is surrounded by a retinue of subservient .
gods. He stopped a confrontation which had

created a great battle among the asuras,4

then (gave] these sacred instructions
for establishing bliss:

Dharma Sarya Tilaka AbSJIl Rupi.tikaya Triruka

Rusadup ihi .HAm.a,

Thus I have at one time heard:

T'heBlessedOne Great Dor-rje'Chang, who is

the actual intuition o·f sel f-awareness (Rang-
.tJr.g, rTogs-pa) , whose k5:ya S the force

4 Asuras are one of the six classes of living beings . . in

Buddhist cosmology. They are extremely envious· of the
-splendors of the gods and are excessively devot.ed to battle.
For a full description seeSgam-po-pa, IbJt Jewel QrnamentgL
Liberation, translated by Herbert Guenther;. (Berkeley:
Shambhala, 1971), p.68.

5 Klya refers to the state of true being. This technical

term is discussed in detail in this thesis on p.I' .

(rtsal) of wisdom-- appears without a self

nature, who exists in a variety< of bodily

colors, who, in the pose of the equanimous

lotus position, acts in a manner which

teaches the Kudradharma (phvag-rgya-chgs) for

he is the kaya 0 f wisdom" whose countenance

is brilliant clarity --unhindered in all the
ten directions, abides in the abode totally
pure by its own nature know,n as "Lotus Clear
Bl iss" (Pad-ma bDe,..gsal) . It's cause is
through the arising of the force of wisdom in
unhinderedl ight. It is caused by the five

colors. Its shape is that ofa square. Its

walls are formed from precious stones of the
five colors. I ts palace, is round. On the
outside it is encircled by a wheel of four,

spokes. It has towers. Its center courtyard

is full of goddesses. Its four doors have
dismounting facilities. It is endowed with
such requisites as dakinis o·f many kinds.
The vajra fence at its perimeter is
surrounded by lotuses. All this appears
without a self nature, like a rainbow in the

In "such a grand,celestialpalace abides

the Teacher .. the Blessed One, the Great rOo,..

rje 'Chang. His retinue, the unhindered.

force ofwlsdom, appears as the five families
(rigs~IMaJ. The unhindered force of wisdom
also [appears as] male and female
[Bodhi Jsattvas and· male and female Wrathful
Ones. The Lord of SecretsPhyag'""na rDo-rje
is the retinue of solici tators. dGa' -rab
rDo-rje is the retinue ·of compilers. There
are also the five kinds of dakinis,and these
five: The Pacifier of Purna., the Vajra
Wrath-faced Woman, the Single Crown Jewel
.Woman, the Corpse Eater Shant! with his
rosary of sku.lls, and He with Wings of Vajra
Wind. Each of these has his own retinue of
innumerable dakinis.

At that time the Lord of Secrets led the

retinue in making a seven-fold
circumambulation [of rDo-rje 'Chang]. Then,
s.itting. down· before him, [the Lord of
Secrets] addressed the Teacher with these

"0, 0 Blessed One, Great rDo-rje 'Chang,
you who have attained power. in the force of
the intuition (rtogs) of the meaning of self-
awareness, [you who areJ the sel.f-perfected
three kayas dwelling in the. mode of the

.' Sambhogakaya, (you who are) unreified

awareness, perfection in· the Dharmakay.a, (you

who· are] the unhindered· force of flickering.

( 'gyu-ba ), aris ing as the NirmanakSya," (you

who] in the way of the Sambhogakaya, are not
established by self nature , (you who) remove
both;onandconceptual ization, bringing
forth the benefi t 0 f 1 i v in9 beings: Wben it
is near the moment of the Kaliyuga (snylqs-:-
ma' i-dus), the path which leads through . the
nine vehicles is very lengthy. The five'
pois.ons of the obscurations. are very ripe in
the continuum. Pious a'spirations and
contemplation of doctrinal views are mentally
fabricated religion (blo-yi-chosh
I request the sacred instructions (man,,-
n9S.9.) of the Great Tantra of Unreified Clear
Meaning, the instructions which show the
sudden enlightenment (cig,,-car)

Dharmaklya,. which real ize the way 0 f being','

of self-awareness, the instructions ·which

cannot be harmed by objects, (the
instructionsl of self-liberation no matter
how the two forces (of good and evil larise,
which demonstrate the great meaning- with the·
lamp. ·.of words, which comprehend the meaning .'
8 ,',

when known through reading, and which are

decidedly certain through the connection of
words and meaning. 6
The presence of a Sanskrit name at the beginning of the
text should not·betaken as a certain sign that the text was
originally composed· in Sanskrit. It is possible that some
portions of the text are truly Banskri t in or·i-gin,while the
possibility is very good that the. majority of the text is

,Tibetan in origin. The Tibetan title is not a translation

of the Sanskrit title. The English ti tie that 1 have
offered is a translation of the Tibetan title. It is
difficult to make sense of the Sanskrit title, except for
notlng,thatTJ.laka is the Sanskrit word for the Tibetan word
Thig....le. 7 In chapter one hundred twenty two of the PBD are
listed the various nameso,f the text. 8 None of these names
has the word Thig-le in it. It is most likely that this
Sanskrit title is as,purtous creation of the Tibetan writer.
It is also significant that no,' translator of the PRO into
Tibetan ismentloned in the colophon. 9

6 PBD, pp.1-4.
7 Lokesh Cha,ndra, " Tibetan,....SMskr.i.t Dictionary, (Kyoto:
RlnsenBook Co., 1982),p.l029.
8 The PBD offers, in total, seventeen di·£ferent· names for
itself. ,It also of·f&rs specific' reasons. for eacho,f these .
names,. For a complete listing of the names of thePBD, see
appendix A.

9 See this thesis, p.l1ff.•


In the openingpas.sagewe gain the in£ormationthat the

Tantra was promulga,ted when Indra, the ruler of the Tu:Hta

beaven, ,had conquered the demi-gods or asurasand required a

teaching for establishing bliss . This unusualpassa,gewhich

precede,s the text of the Tantra itself is significant, for
in the dogma ,of trad,itional Buddhism, represented by texts
such as· The Jewel Ornament··Qt Liberation. the gods are
incapable o·f galningthe Buddhist teaching_ 10 It is, also
significant tha,t Indra is not mentioned again lnthe entire
text. The implication that it was due to the need of the
,highest god o·'ftheworld that the Tantracame into the world
of men shows that· the text wishes .. · from, '., the . beginning, to
proclaim l,ts divine status. 11
It is only after this introductory passage that. we find
the sign'i£ica,nt, , words "ThllS have· I at one time heard.,"

These are thewordswhicb formall,ybeg·ln the Tantra. After

the formal beginning. of·· the Tantra weare told that the
Blessed One rDo-rje 'Chang lives ina great celestial palace
in a land called Lotus Clear Bliss, and this is the place
where the Tantra is actually taught. Many other characters
are mentioned in this opening passage, but there are only

10, JewelQrpament,p.68.

11 On the· difference . between mundane (',) and

supramundane. ('jig....rtep lu. ' gods see D; S. Ruegg,
"On the Supramundane and the Divine in Buddhism, " Tibet
Journal, 1976~ 3-4.

two among those mentioned that· are mentioned again. These

are Phyag-narDo-rje, the solicitor or questioner, and dGa'-
rab rOo-rje, the compiler. In the actual body of the text rDo-rie is identified with rOo-rje 'Dzin-pai and
. e
the two names, are used Y• rOo-rj e 'Chang and
rDo-rje 'Ozin-paare two Tibetan translations for the
Sanskrit name.Vajradhara. 12 It therefore turns out that the
text of the PBD is a dialogue between . Vajradhara (rOo-rje
'Chang) and Vairadhara· (rOo...rje 'Ozin..-pa). In order ·.·to
avoid confusion I have left the· names in the Tibetanratber
than translate .. them into Sanskrit.
As I have pointed out, the text of tbe PBD is a
dialogue between rOo-rje 'Chang and rOo-rje 'Ozin-pa. Each
chapter begins with a question by rOo-rie 'Ozin-pa (Phyag-na
rDo-rie, the. Lord o-f Secrets) which is followed by rOo-rje
, Chang's answer. It is therefore the Lord of Secrets that
begins the Tantra withbis·request for the paD to be taught.
It is immediately apparent that many subjects. of
central impo.rtance to the· ,- paD are mentionedr ightat - the
beginning of the text. The request for, the teachings of
Instant Enlightenment and the comments <that the path-of the
nine vebicles is too lengthy are especially important. From
the beglnning.tbe PBO proposes to - teach the path ,o·f· ins:tant
enlightenment, and reJects all gradual methods of progress.•

12 LokeshChandra, Dictionary. p.1285 and p.1298 •.


These are .subjectsthat-will,be-dealtwitb in detail in this


-IWL Colophon
Now that we know whe·re, and·, in _what company, the PBD

claims to have beentaugbt, it will beworthwbile to look

at the PBD's colophon. The colophon at tbeendo,fthe text
describes the transmission of the text from its first
teaching to its being- put into writing. Here is the

Ratna BUa Halla

This Tantra 2f :t.b§..Great Clear Meaping2L

th!. Unification- of th!. Buddba( Sangs~[gyas
,mNyam-.sbygrQsm. 9Sal~ma Chep-mo'irGyud)
which liberates by perceiving it is
oompletely finished.

Guhya gTad rGya rGya rGya/ gTad rGya·

rGyarGya/gTadr-Gya rGya rGya.
This Great Tantra of secret saored
instructions wa's-complied by the-retinue of
compilers, dGa' -rab rDo-rje, -andsetfo-rth in
words and letters. He explained it to Guru
'Jam-dpaclbShes-gnyen. He explained it to
Guru ~ri Singha. He explained it to the Guru
of Orgyan, Padma.
I, Padmasambhavao-f· ---Org.yan, dur,ing tbe

degenerate time [of, thelastl fivehu-ndred,

[years) have hidden' this Great Hotherof·all
the Dharmas, this generator of all things,
enjoined and- perfect as a self-treatise
(rang-gzhungh 7b!t. Great Taptra ··21·· UnreHiied . '
Clear. Meaning" for the sake-of persons, with
the three endowments fldaD::Qsum.."skyes..,bu) .

This meaning of the u-n:1fioatio&· of sentient

beings and Buddha does . Dot rely on hearing,····
thinking, or meditating~ It is .realized. by
its teaching .'. and is clear by its
reco.llection. Its e.mpowerment is attained by
meeting. with-it, and liberation by perceiving
A Dharma, which at,tains the result i;n this
way is like, a wish-ful£illing,.-jewel... This

'secret treasure of Mind Treasure (thugs:=ater)

and Repeated T.reasure(yanq=aterJ 13 fills in
.incompletenessesandgathersthefragments .
This harvest of encounter, su·itahle for
practice, is a jewel of the 'heart. It is a

fruit. ·for the eye .

13 Fora full. discussion of "tre·asures" and tbedifferent

types tbereo'f-,seeTulku ThondupRinpoche, Hidden Teachings.
g!, Tibet, An Explanatiop of .thslTerma . ··Tradi,tion o £ :tbJt
Hying" cScho·Ql g.f, Buddh;ksm, . (London':WisdomPubltcations,

I mysel fam· not small· in learning.. My

knowledge is equal to that of rDo-rje 'Chang.

Therefore tbisSecret Treasure of the Kind is
the only treasure ·be tween . the sk.y and .... the

Even if this should meet w-ith one of
fortunate karma it [should be.] contemplated
in his mind for fiftee·nyears. During the
pa,ssage of this time for the secret vow
(gsang-dam) and vow~protectors the mind <b!.2.)
of samsara [should be] given up and the
certain mea·ning searched. Give up life in
devotion to the Guru. No,t everyone,· has
exemplary praise for the tbree(jewelsJ.
When the . time arrives the fortunate are
protected from those who. have attained it as
an oral transmission (snyan--brgyudl for the
sake of 1 i v ingbeings .
Fearing. the. decline oftb1s unexcelled
supreme Tantra, this Tantra· is hidden in·
t-hreetreasure-troves 19ter-k,ha). One is the
Northern Treasure atPraduntse. It is hidden
in the heart of Vairocana·., It will be
brought forth in· the tiger year. One is the'
Repea,ted· Tre'asurehidden here. It- will be
brought for,th· in the snake-year • One is in

the cave of mKba-ri dGye-rL It will be

Drought ,fo·rth lnthe monkey year.
Furthermore, the mother' and son. are here·
complete. The three Tantras 0 f Further
Treasure are in the way of the son. This is
because the potency of the mother is here
condensed . The 8upremeTantra2.i,Clear
Meaning is in thewayo£ the mother. This is
because it generates. all things and is
enjoined as a self-treatise.
In this'way it is profound, so it is a Mind
Treasure and is not taught at the rank of a

In this waytbe meaningof,the un,if~ication·

of Buddba, .' is. taug'ht by .this;, ,so may· the,

Tafttra come to its place.

Some· will cover it by the darkness of
commentary. Some will block it with the claw
of interpretation. Some will poison it with
the content .stomach of scriptural.quotatio.n.
·Therefore may the Pronounced Transmission
(bka' -brgyq.d)· find,.· its own place.
If it is difficult to interpret the
mea,ning, rely on the Guru.. Make a hundred
accumulations [0£ meritJandoffer mandalas,.
Examine. the similes minutely and ·apply them

to the> meaning~.,. 'There. is only liberation by

.' examination.
May this meet with those possessing a mind'

of profound knowledge and·· possessing,·

compas·s!on. ,Why? ,Because the essence of the

Secret. Mantra is' profound knowledge.
It,iGuhya ~ tltYs. rGya.
En Ma,HolThe pronoaftcement··.of the,',Buddhas
of the three times' has· . fallen ana' treasure
·finder like me, ·Chos-dbang.A supreme Tantra
of Essence like this has come into my
possession! This is certainly the greatest
·miracle amo,ng the great t
sNang-don Dad--seng of gZhu...snyereque,sted
(this Tan·tra,l from the- Nirmanaka.yaChos-kyi·

Lho-brag. in the year of the. snake, and wrote

it . dowltc. By the virtu&whicharisesfrom
this may this> Tantra of all things
continually liberate f 14,
It will be noted that this. colophon hasthr,ee. distinct
sections. The first is the account of its transmission
before ente,r1ng Tibet. Here' we .are· told· that the compile·r
mentioned "atthe beginning of the text, dGa· ...rab rOo-rje,

14 PBD, p.286f.

composed,the-. PBD in words and Ie tte·rs. From dGa·l-rab rDo-

rj.etbe· teaching .went,·to . IJam.,.,dpa,l·bSbes,-gnyell,. then to "~ri-/

Singha. andi·finallyto Padmasambhava·. The next secotion o,f,

thecolophon·;1s/Padmasambhava··s· account ,of how he hid the

texttnthree places so that its teaching WGuldnot decline,
with adv·lceregarding the finding andunderstandlng. of the
text. Finally there is the-- section discussing- the ...

revelation. of thePBDln Tibet. Here we are - told that the

text came to Guru·Chos-dbang (Chos-kyi dBang..,.phyug)· and was
iwri tten downbyhisstudentsNang-don Dad-seng.

tellsusthatdGa' -,rabrDo,...rjeput<the,PBD illtowriti'ng,and

the end of thecolophontellsustha.t sNang;!"'"donDad~-seftgput

the text into ,.wri, Itis,pos-sible that. both,peo·pl·e·.put

the text into words,. bu,t was "it the same . text exactly that

theY"wereconcerned with?
Tbe identif,icati·on, of the PBBasa"treasure tf (g·ter~ma)

Is most sign·lfioant<here. "Treasures" are sacred objects

and- particularly literary, works that are said to have been
hidden during the ., "early spread">· (snga.,.,dar) of Buddhlsm'ln

Tibet, the eighth andninth>centuries C.E.,15 so that. tbey'

15 The coming" of· Buddhism-to Tibet is cUvidedbyTibetan

hi~storians into· an fl.e~rly.spreadff.... (snga;!"'"dar), repre.senting,,'
the period before··Atil,a·'callletoTi'bet( 1042, C.E. landa
"later spread" (phYl-dar),. represented by the'·periodaft~~­
Atiga came to Tibet. See Guiseppe·Tuccl,. .··ns·.ii
Tibet.. . (Berkeley: Uni.versity of',Calif9~nta, . Pres's, l;Q(O~'
·,p.19;andp .250 .

might be rediscovered ina later period. The,PBD claims, to

,have been hidden byPadmasambhava for this purpose.

One of the features of the·· "'treasure" texts is that
:theyare oftenwr itten in "Dakinf

Script." DakinI
script is
wr i:tingthat . can· only be unders,toodby.· the pers.on·, who has
the karm:!c,·conneGtionto, read it. To others lt may appear
as strange. scribblings•. The te:xt of the· "treasure'" is
w·ritten,,>on wha,tare known as t1-yellow scrolls" (shgg-ser).. 16

Snob" scro:11s may not actually, be yellow"and they may. not

actnally be scrolls.. In many cases the contento£ a
treasure is nothing more thana small scrap. of paper with
strange writings on It.Thetreasure finder who uncovers
such a "yellow scroll" is though,tto· have the abi;lityto
drawQuta,nentire "treasure," perhaps of great length, from
this myste.rious, writing... The rationale forthi.s is that t'he
treasure finder is believed to have been one of the original

disciples of ,Padma,sambhava·, in' a former-life, ·wherebe or she

receiv,edthe teaching of the treasure in full. Uponfinding
the yellowscr.oll the memor·y of tbi,s,. previou-sli£e . is·th,.and the treasure finder is able to compose an
entire teachiDg . based.on it. Of·. course··, it may .a-laG' be the,·
case that the "treasure" found". ,is in fact .a . complete
manuscript." a partial manuscript, ar even some,other,object .

16 See Tulku, ThondupRi,npacbe,.HiddeR.,TeaqhiJlgs.,..pp.l03,

127, 237.

··suahasan . image 0 ftheBuddba . 17

As the PBD is a "treasure" there 1s some difficulty in

arriving at what might be called anUr-text,wbether such a
text might represent the composition of· dGa' -rab rDo-rje'

himself, the "yellow scroll" hidden by Padmasa·mbbava and-'

found' by Guru Chos'-dbang, or even . the text as composed by

sNang-don Dad-seng. The problem is compounded by·· ,the· fact
that the- PBD remained- .·as···a copied manuscript.·.· unt-il the,·····

"compllationof ·the Hundred .TbousandTantras2!..tU.rHying-,ma

(rNying"",ma rGyud-'bum) ···begun .by Ratoa .. 9bing-pa·· ('1'403-1479)
and completed by 'Jigs-med gLlng-pa Cborn 1729).18 Tbere are

variations ln tbe text o·fthe· PBDln the· different editions

of the -Hundred Thous.and Tantras" ~. rNy1ng..,.ma, yet these

amount to . nothing more thanminorvar1ants inreading·sand>

spel1ings. 19 It is safe to assume that· we still possess the.

-texto.f· tbe,P,BDas . Ratna gLlng-pahadit.

The stages of rev!·s·ion that thePBD took between the-

first compositlon",ofdGa"'-rabrDo-rje and RatnagLing-pa' s

inc1 uding"lt 1nthe"Mundred'l'housand Tantras '. -.Q;! . t.bJl r,Hying-

II@.; are difficult to determine. The text of thePBD does

17 Ibid, p.77.

18 See Eva Dargyay, lb!l··lU.U.a· Esoteric Buddhism. a%ibe.t,

(New ¥ork:SaIMlel'"lfeiser', Inc·.-,. 1978) p.7·O; .pr.1-44....14':7.
·Permirssio.n-to . q uote extensively from this work kindly
provided by· Eva,/ Dargyay •.. "

19 See this the&ls p.l,notel. See. also Dargyay,

·Esgterlc·Buddb,is.,pp.144ff, ,and 186f£.

contain in it short fragments of a-mys,terious wr iting, which

canbe·leen·tifled as "daklnT ser ipt ... 2.0 '·here is no

statementwbetberthesewritings are theorig.inal content of
- the· treasure, or . whether- there was more. Also to be
considered is the fact· that the questioner is calledPhyag~

na rDo-r:Je in thefirsttwo.-chapters ofthePBD· whi·le in

later chapters hels almost alwa.ys referred,toas the Lord·-
of Secrets or rDo-rje , Dzln-pa.. Anotber £eatureof the·
firsttwochap-ters .ofthe,te,xt is thelr- discussion of the
"force of good" (bzaM"",rtsal) and the "·force ··of evil" - (09an-

wins over evil, yet after the second chapte·rthereis no

discus-sion-of - these poin-ts w-hatever.
evidence' tha·t the· first two chapters earlier
-·thaotherest of the volume. Each cbapterof the PBD begins
with a. ques-tion from- the Lord of Secrets which 1s followed"
by rDo-r:Je 'Chang'S a-nswer. There is a very orderly
progress·i-onfr-omsu-bjectto subj ect. This gives the
impression·, that much 0 f the text may representt-he teachings·

o£ Guru Chos-dbangas given to his disciples and written· -

,. downbysNang-don Dad-seng.
The statements in the colophon·that this text "£111sin
incomp.1:.etenesses and, ·ga·ther.s the £rag:Jnents"·...i,s ·significant.
The words are put .·intothe _. mouth of Padmasambhava.,which

20 PBD,. p.9l, 288.


would seem to indicate that there were missing portions even

duringtbe early.history·of tbetext. Yet if we assume ·tbat
even this colophon was . the composi tion.,ofGuruChos-dbang
then', tbe . reference would indicate that the text was not
complete when it reached Gtl:!'.u.Cbos-dbang·' s attention., The
statement tha'tthetext should be contemplated for f·ifteen
years<before; be,ingrevealed to the pUb1 icmay be taken as an
indi,cation. that the contents of the PBD were onGuruChos-

dbang' smindfora long·time before he taugbtsNang-don Dad-

seng. The· statement· that .sNang-don Dad-seng . wrote '. the
,t-eacblngs ·down is an indication: that Guru Chos-dbang did not
have a w,ritten ,text from,·wbich.·to·.··teac-h.
If we are not to as·s'ume, that the PBD is a spurious
"treasure" we must assume· that Guru Chos-dbang did in. fact
find,sometbing, which, wa-slater developed into the texto·f
the PBD. There' is no 'way of knowing just wha-tit 'la,s that
Gur,Q< Chos-dba,ng. foun(h~.l but i,t is safe to assumetbat the
text as we havei t represents both the findings,o£ Guru
Chos--dbangas well as bis own inspiration in teaching.
I will therefore not attempt to define·· an Ur-text of
the PBD, as there is not enough, evidence .·of the text's

history to make such defini tion"pos,sible. It will be

21 IbI.;GreatTreasure&!scov,eries .~ iB:.ll.'Chps;:dbapg .Hiu~ru;, . . '

Chos-dbgng bi.,g!1ier-'bVUB9 ,Chen,....,' <manu'script copy kind-ly
made available to me'by Tu'lku Thondup,Rinpoche),p,.133.,
indicates that the PBD,was, one of the first eighteen major'
treasure ·,discoveries 'of Guru' ··Chos-dbang, <but does not
indicate,' the details of the ,discovery.

sufficientfor'the-pu:rposes of thepresen'tstudy to take the

text as we have it contained in the Hundred Thousand, Tankas

Qt. ~ rNying~ma-,asthebasis of the study. The·re may be

some doubt> as to· whether, the PBD. ,underwent. any serious,·'

changes at . the, handsofma·nuscript _. copie,rsbe·tween:bhe . time

These errors tend to be 1 imitad,' however, to errors in'

spelli·ng,·and·, .·no,t .·toma,jor·' rei.nterpreta tions of . . meaning,. so··'
it is pe·rhaps .. -safe to say that. the, principal form of the,
·manuscriptremained the same during this time. Thecolophon
informsu-s tba·tthe text was. revealed,duringthe snake· year,
which maybe· ,taken .. lll' this case to be the year 1257 . 2.2 This

22 This dat-ecan be determined based on the,i·nformation

that Guru Chos....dbangwas born, in '1212. The PBD,according
to "the Great Treasure DiscQyeries2.Lilwa. Qhos-,obaD9,p.133,
is one' of his firstmaj'or treasured'lscoveries~< which he .
began to make at the age of· 22. I f we allow" 15 years 0'£ .
contemplation. before theunveillng; of the . teaching .' this,
brings·us'to·the year 1249. The next'snake y,ear -after 1249
is 1257. It is also possible that the text was revealed in
the snake year 1269, one year before Garg,· Chos-dbang's

death. Itisnoteworthy'.thatsNang-donDad~sengreports ..
thathe·wrotetbePBDdo·wn lnthe snake year . If Guru Chos-
dbang'discoveredthe ,·.text··fifteenyear,s be,fo·re . . revealing it
it would> have· been discovered· in the tige,r year.·. -- which
contradict,s the-prediction ····in the c010phonthat .. the text·
wou,ldbe <uncovered-lnthe· snake. year. This would indicate .
tha·t··· the·writlngdownof· the, text by sNa'ng-.donDad-seng<-- -.
rathe-r, ··thantbe·uncoveringby GuruChos-dbang-- 1sthe,
revealing of· the ,text'pred,icted . in' tbe.colophalh 'lb1smay·
also strengtben···thesapposition"that, ··l,t is sNang~-don··Dad....
seng himself who is thetrueauethor,·ofthe<PBD, thougbhe
was gu'ided by Guru'· Chos,....dbang, in his composi,t.ion., See Eva
Dargyay" . Esoteric, 'Buddhi,slft!., ·p.·,10:~11'9"andKbetsiun.Sangpo'l
Bio.apb,icai'D·i:ct4onar¥'2.t.Tibe,t~.,(,Dharmasala·.,H'. P., . India:'

is ·tbeear-liestda·te.tha·tmay safely be given to the P·DD, as

the exact na,tu.reo£· the, teachIng handed ·dGwn·from the. Indian
· to·Padmas·ambhava canno tbedete·rmined.

The au-thority o·f the PBD doesno·t come/.f·rom, its being

··taughtbyt·heh·istorical·Buddha Sakyamuni."- In fact the text
itself, states. that "The· teachers of the past.. such as'

including the, nine. vehicles, . . as . the sudden penetration, -of'

awareness in -order to remedy the >obscurationso£ the· six
classes 10f living beingsJ.,,23 Another passage states:
I, the gr.eatDor-rje 'Cbang, thepe·rsonal
intuition of self-awar·eness,.. teach.wha.t; ha,s
.not been taught pt"eviously orbyano,ther, the
meaning wb:ichdoes· not dependo.n.hearing,, or meditating, the Dharma of 1 i ttle
toil. aru:! of eas-ein.unders·tanding<the great·
meaning, . that . which ,teaches the suddea"
pene·tration of the. Dharmakay.a . of -self-
awareness (ranq~rig::eh0s~sku.),· which· alb

inferior minds real·ize by the mer-eteaehing,"

which is the· great-essential meaning.. Oi£. all

Library of. Tibetan Wer.ks·;·and·Archives;. 1973),. p .. 37.

23PBD, . p. 9. The six classes of sentient beinqsare·:ll·
Gods, 2) Asuras,. 3JHuma,ns.,41 . Animals, 5). Hungry ghosts,
and, 6 ) Hel1 be·lngs...SeeSga·m...po--pa,tlewel'Qrnament,· pp·.. 5S...

the Dharma's, which is the- roo·t ·ofa11, the

vellic1esofsamsaraandnirvana, whlchis the

unification' of, transmis's'ion., satra"" and,

sacred·· instruction,· the· essenoeof·the·

awa,re,ness,the condensedmeaningwhlch severs

extremesandseversreiflcatlon. 24
The;, PBD,' therefore,.,." actuall: y.. teaches· '.' a. doc,tr ineth'at· ·i,t
·,clalmswas,not ., taught.bythe h lstor lca18Qddha .

proclatmedbythe historical Buddha. be, a Buddhis,t text? The'"

,answerwlll depend> on the perspective of,the perso.n in'

question. The Theravadatradition. 0'£" Buddhism'" holds"".that,

the Budd·ha·was a historical personage" wbe· gained'
enlightenmen.t, ,taught:, and,pass,ed away intoni'rvaaa. For
this tradition only the- teachings given. or authoci·zed' 'by
tbis .histar ical .Buddha·, can· be . considered orthodox.· 25 In.,,the
Mahayana, ,tradition.· . there are believed to be '. i,nnu'Marable
Buddhas, . . the Buddba. Sakyamunl.being' only one .' among, them·.- '
The teachings of, any of these Buddhas could therefore be

24PBD, p.IO.

25 See Ja·netGyatso., "Signs, Memory, and-H.!story: A Tantric'

Buddhist Theoryo£Scriptu,ra;l.Transm!-ss,ion~" . Joqroa1gj, t.I:uL.
International AssQciation " gL Buddhi·st . Studies' (Madison),
pp.• 7-3L See especially "pp. 9-11. -

considered orthodox~26 The Vajrayanaalso upholid·s the·

trad! tioD ofi,nnuaerable,Buddhas, ,but in-troducestheidea of

aqiaq,ibuddha, , ar 'supreme Buddha, ·that 'is thoU9bt torepresen,t h

the qu:inte,ssential .real i ty 0 fall Buddbahood. This

adibuddha is' referred to in·" therNying-ma tradition as

Sama·ntbabha,ora or the Al'l Good. ThePBD cla,ims that this
Samanthabhadra is none, other ·tha,nrDo-rj·e '. 'Chan9'bimsel'f.27
. In,thev,i,.wof Vajr~,yafta ,Buddhism theteaehingsgive,n byt'he

a41buddhaa,re. mostautbori tative, for they are thought to

come from ,. the highest principle of· Buddhabood,. and it is
this au,thortty that the PBD, cla,ims. , From,thils,perspective
it, is only 'fnfortuna te ' that thehisto'rical Buddha did, not

,promul-g-atethe~.eaohin9wb'lcb,rDo-rje"Cha,ftg presents in the

PBD; it is no-cause, for questioning the. authority of the
From, a scholarly point" of view there is little rea SOft' '.

shoul,d'sufflcethat a text such. as the PBD is held· to be

··authoritative,·.·by a··,tradition of,Buddblsm. ,The investlgation
of such> a text will only lead to a, deeper understanding-of,

"the '., brancho·f8uddbism,t'hat it represents.

transmission Q[, .:tti,., "'mll! "

I t wi 11 beuse,fnl·" a,ttbispoint . to briefly discuss ,the, '


27 PBD",p.24'•. ,

lives of the holders of tbe, transmission, as presentedby,the

text. ,,,At the opening o·f the PBD weare told that,1'Do-r je

'Chang is the actual· intuition of sel'f~awareness" the body

of wisdom, the· "princi;ple ·of Buddhabood' as represented. by
the three·kayas.Yet intbethirty eighth.,..,cbapterof the
tantrawe'are g'iven, a shortbiogra,phy of Dorj·e Chang. This
passage is so unusual that it1s worth quoting in full:
Tben againtbe Lord· of Secrets addressed·
(rOo"'1'je ',C.bang):
The three kayas are· unbindered
compassion.. , SQ.> how do· tbeyenact thepu;r,pose·····,

·0£· livingoe,ings?'

The Teacher . . gave. instruotion,~

Son of Noble ., 1· was bor·n.· a·s a

child ,who ·had .reached tbeage ofeigbtyears.
Then, for .' aper.iod,·of e.igh,t years· I, turned the,'

·y,beelofthe five wisdoms at t·ne life-tree of

.profound.knowledge.. By Intu,ltion,.· I was
11berated" I was put· into the true
insp11'at ion .
. The·n,. during .' the·firs't . eight.year.s, I
came .. £or,tb,as many.emana,tions .(Nirmana,) and
·;wo,rked t·hepurpose [of 1iv1.ogoe1ngs J.

I, removed the; torment of suffer ing.for.the

first ret.inues(inl·the. abode,.Gfgods·.·I


'strung a ·silktbreadwith a rosary ·of .pearls,

then"turned,the wheel, to the ou,tside. In
order to 'libera,te others by . compassion ,1 was·','

-inspired in the meaning of enigmas (Idem-po) 28

Then againattbepeak of the Burning Fire

Hou'ntain·, I saw with··certainty,thetrnth . of

the Buddba. I e»pla·inedthedhar.mas .of ,empty

appearance, (snang::ba~s,tong~pati.~chosJ.

Then at the Vulture Mountai,n> the Great

Tantras~ secret and fabulous, were released

from' (mylHindfthugs». [They were) wrapped

in the vessel of my throat, stretched out on"

the lotos ,of! my· tOD9't8,i 'and: scattered
.·bythe consciousness with, the quality of five

aspects. I explained. the Cuckoo '" gL.

Awarepess29 in a melodious voice, possessing
the sixty branches [o,f a Buddha,' s v.oice h I
cut off the doubt's and ·re,ifieations, of the

28 This, refer's ,·,to the distinction- bet,ween def,lnit,ive

meaning (nges~dop)-a,nd, interpretable meaning,,(dran9~doni)."
Enigmas in .this' case, are interpr,etable presentat'ionsof the
,.·teachi,ng,ratherthandirect .and .certai,p·expla,nations.
29. Ri9.~Da·,ti ., Khu~byuq. Tb,isis ashorttexbofsix, li,nes.
The' text'has beenstud'ied bySamten<Karmay'inhisart,icle
"'J.'heRdzogs..-.chen'fn its-Ea,rliest Text: A Hanu'script from>
Tun.....huan~l, ..'··· B.N;~: ',Azd,zandH'~'" Kapstein' (eds:.·) ·Sou,nding§>m·
Tibetan Clsdli;zatj,on ,(New Del,b,i:,Manohar, 1985) , "pp. 272-282.

retinue,' s minds· ( bl2;)'. twent,yferth year, at my nirvana, I

explained, the th~eeaspects ·of mywlllfzhal....,.
chems). For the purpo,se 0'£ followers 1

explained.. the, Unreified,···.·· Clear:.·, Meanina,

secondly tbe,~Knowledaei 'Total .. Yberation

(9Cig...,.sbes· Kun...,.gljo.lJ 30 C, .. and· ··thirdlytbe, Total··
Ga,theping., "Precious Jewel.s fRin...,.CheR 1Jm::.,
~).31 1 put them down for,tbe.purpose,o£· .
,.yfollo-we-rs.,those wbo a-re -without· the
fortune ·ofmeeting with me.,. .
I likewise pu,t down. ,tbereliquary of the·

three ·kayas. Then I (en,tered) complete

Speak these words fo,r·· the"sake·. of the,

i,future! H

Thus· be .spoke.

From·, the ·Great Tantra·· 2L Unreified.Clear

Meaning this is. the thirty eightb cha'pter>
whichteacbes the mannero'f·the·N.iroflakaya 's

30 This text is me·ntioned· in the· . hagiogr,aphyofGuru,Chos...,.,

·-dbang···translated ·by··. Eva,Darg,yay.(Dargyay....Es9.teric ····Buddhism,
p.llO·)'rw,herehe·readsthetext to bi,'s'father. It is not,
clear, however, whetberthistext was discovered by Guru"
Cho·s....dbangorby'another. I have been unable .toloeate any
extantcopy.o.ftbetextitsel f.
31 It has not.beenposs.ible. to locate this text or to
deter.mi·newhe ther -or ,not i t !s s t illextaat •

enacting tbepurcpose Coflivtng beingsl. 32

Tbisshort "antobiographytt doe,s not ,inform,· us of· the

time or place. that rDo....,rie'Cbang< was born or give us any

historically ·soU>nd"informationas .to his life. The·· story

has the character of many hagiographies, of Siddhas or

spiritualtraining,and, does. not report any. contact. ,with a

"teacherofany,ki,nd. It lssignificant .,that this biography,
fouRd··,lnthe., ,PBll,. ·sta,testha.t the·.PBD.was·.·taught, 'just before'
rDo-rje 'Chang. entered ca,mplete nirvana,i-ndica·ting that ,the

present exposition.. of the PBD wa·s· preached> afte·r tn,is

complete nirvana. This opens,the'questiono£ whether this·

biography is in fact one of thefra,gments mentioned., la, the . . "
colopbon,. for·.! £ it were an· inbe,rent par,t of thePBD it

cou-ld·'·not.mentlon,thePBDas .hav ingheen taugbt,ln· the past .

is in
·,tbisi,nforma,t-ion is ·found.
Al though,·thls biography. ·of rDo-rje 'Chang:cmight.lead.

33 See· e.g. Abhayadatta#, .BuddhaJ·s Lions. ·~/Lives2i.~'
Siddhas, translated by James ,Robinson,
(Berkeley: DbarmaPub:lisbing.:"19-7··9J.

the" reader· to believe that> he vas at some point a human

rDo-rjewas .thef.,i-rstbuma,n transmitter of the Great

·.Perfec·tion·(;r,Dzogs .....cben) teachings. 34 dGa-rabrOo-rje is held

by the PBD· as the redaetor of its teaehings.andtbe-fil"'st

one to ,writetbem down. Eva DargyayLnt·he 'B.ia.. 2.t,.Esoter Ie

.rDo....r.jewh!ch·',readsas follows:

The Lord, of· "Secrets .' (gSanq-ba,·i....bdag=oo)'··

instructed tbe Holders of Wisdom·.JRig.... 'dsin)

in Dbanalto'a . in· Uddly,ana,.· the contemporary'

There was a .'. large . temple·~

.called bDe .,..byed-brtsegs -pa ; i t was ,surreuaded

Kin9"Upa,raj.a~; and"

Queen sNa·IlCj, ....g.sal-ba·!,-.-,·od-ldan.....II\a' ··resided~'··,

there. Tbey,'badada09h.ter called" SudbaJltmi;:

. s·be, took the novice v.ows, and soon afterwards

the ·fu11··. monastic·· ·v.ows. ··SQdhar;majl ..·.·.toge·tber·

maditatecJ,- aboa$., the,,' ¥oga·Tant·ra (rna,1.... ·


Sudbarm~dreamed·"that a white man, had coma,..· .

wnowas.'t1·tterly pur,e.andbeaot,ifaLHe held.

a crys,talves'sel·· w,bieb·hadtheletter!s ·if·l·

34 Dal'gyay, Esote,ric . . ByddhisL.p,.19.,


hiim,.svA'hiengravedupon. it. Three, times . he·,

set the" vessel .upon the cro,wn of her head,
and···' light, then ,shone from, it. Whiletbis·
',bappened, she bebeldthetbreefold·world

pe'rfectly and clearly. Not, longa.£ter ,.thls',

dream ·.the BhiksunI, -gave birth to' a true· son

• •
o,f the ,gods,.. She, however., was· ve,ry asbamed·'
and thus bad ,bad, thoughts:, "Since the child

,was born withou"t. a fatherthewbole world

heap;, when ,this" cont·t·nued > for thr,eedaysancfl"

the. chi,ld·.,badno·t,tbe
• •
'believedtbe ,infant an lncar,nation(sPrul-pa)
andtookhlmback· into the bouse., . All> the

gods and"spiEi·tscamei ,to· pay., respe.ct, to the'

,was seven years old he asked bismotherto "be

allowed to dispute ·witb"the Patfits, the
because of .biste,nder age. However , a·fterhe
; he··stepped'.·i'flfront..,·.·",

'0£ the .,ft,ve <hundred scholars ,who were9ues.,ts


now th,e", ,scholars-' honoured,the, boy ,and,: gave

him the,name,Praj.nabhava, "TheOne V,ho'se-·

Belng"is W.l,sdom..-" Thaking,:, wno' < was very'

pleased ,. wi1:1hthi1-s·, 'oecur,r;ence,,'" gav~ ,hinL the '"

.name", sLob-dpon,. dGa,,'-rao, ,rDo....r;e;,under"tbls,

name he, became, fa,lRGus., Becaasehis"JDQ,t,her,

had once' thrown h1.., on ,the· dust~heap;,. he-"was

also known as Ro-langs-bde-ba' ,or Ro....langs,...' "

tbal.,..mdog, ,"Who,rose Happyfroa, -bheDust't or

"'The Ashy,...paleOne,wbo" rosefrom·".,the,,[N·s:b.'"

In terrible ,mou·a1:ain ',', ,ranges .,and"solitudes

where, the ,hungr,Y" spi,r'its <Pre,ta.) appear -in,

hordes,. he,-meditated for thirt:v-two years.

When, the, 'earth"trembled- ,'seven times... the,

'lle·ret1e,«nd ·l·nfidel mKba' .,.. '9r9 "'U called:

"He in;Jures the.Hlndu,bel,le-fl" TbeHindu' ".'

king",tbenwanted. to, hold· dGa,f-rab-rdo,.,.,.rje,

responsible, but" the latter. ascended . into

space. Because ,oftbis, eve,n,t",the, king . and·

",>,his- "ento;tlrage became ,~ver¥ reI igious •

After ,: tbese· 'asceti:c exerc1ses,.",dGa".-rab,-'

rde-rjeknew ,the<exo,teric,and,tbeesoteric '

path; and mCils,t·".o,f,all""the, sixty.,..four by, a·'

hundred. ""thousand "",verses' or· "the ,rpzoqszcben."

rQo ....rje ....sems-dpa'r the Being of

Uncbangeability", ,wbose emanation,dGa'-rab~rdo,.,. .


empowermen.t:,Cdbang,..,bskur,,) . TogetheJ!l- with.,··, the-

three mKbal-'gro'!""c'ma, he compiled an, . . index
Cdkar::chags!l of . the sixty-fourbya,handred
thousand. r[)zoQS'!""c'ghen,verses; this task took
three· years •. After· that he went. :to the
cremation gr-oUBcl' , ·SI'tavana, where' many'

It is at this poi,nt, in,dGa!-rab' rDo-r;'e', lifethat'he

comes into ,contact with.- • Jam~pal bShes,.-gnyeft",,'the,nex:t,
holder of the lineage,o£,thePBD.. The accoun,t,J:n· 'IK···IU.H,;
g,L<Esoter1cBuddhilmJ.n,Tibet continues as£0110ws:

follo.wing '··propheoy:
Buddbahoodgo.. to
th,ilsadvice,' a'ndmet·dGa,r -rab,..,·there,. "
For, seventy-five-:year,s:·· -'Ja~pal..-b'e,s""9ny:en;"··
listened to< dGa'-rab..,.,roo-r;e,·'s, instructions.
lnthe ,Dharma. After 'having 91v8nal1
tradit,ionsto' Jam.-dpal.-bles-gftyen, dGa' -rab..... '

35 Dargyay, Esp.tertc Buddn:ism.., p,.19-20. For a,no,ther,'

accounJt ,of dGa""-rab rDo......r j:e·'s life· with. slightvariation&·,
see~arthan9:TQ1:;~u,Cry.s,tal,"irr9rVol·.V '('Ber,keley:,Dha~ma
. Publisbing,; 1,971, .. pp.• l&2.,..186.,

Teacher dGah-rab,...rdo·-rje appeared· i,n the·

middleofa. ma,ss of light, surrounded· by

Spiritua.l··Beings.(mKha.I .".,lgro''''ma)..·, He. handed';

. contai·n.ed,therJ)zogs.".chepverses. He di v·lded
these· sixty...fourey a ··bund·ped,·:thousand.verses·
into. the, ···Three.. ,·Sect-iOfts. " ,0£·· tbe.rDzogs-pa...' '.'

chen-po. . . .36
It is not possible' to aseerta·in the. de'gree· of
historical trtt·th, that 'lies bebind,these·'stories, yet they,
are tlsefuli,n ·providingan insightlnto the Buddbist
tradit.ioD" svlew· of the··bolders of the· lineage of teaching ..
Eva Da·rgyayhas. proposed· the year 52€. E .., fordGa· ...rabrDo-
rje, 37 while, .·Tartbang,Tulku" propo,ses the·yea.reS5 C.E..for "his
birth. 38 A. If.. Hanson.-Barber arguest.hat<, is. too'
early' and sU,gges,ts 550. C. E. as a more suitable, date .' for',

bim. 3·9 Hanson....Barber· s method,s in, reaehing.tbis. da·te do Dot.

appear tobeent,irel.ysound,,40 wb,ilethe.firstcemtar,y,da,ting

'3~ Dargyay,. Esoteric: Buddhi.s.m#..p.21.

37 Dargya'Yi' Es,oterlc.Buddhj"Sm,.P .24.5 •.

38 TartbangTulku.;.: . CrystaLHirrH·,;- •. . p.182.

39 A.W. Hansert""Ba'rber;,~Thelden-ti£ication·o-f·, dGa· l . fab·, rao '

r:le, ff Journa·l.·,·S!t,·tWl InterMtionalAssQciati.on·.g,f: BtuidMst,
·,Sbldies .. · fffad.i·son) VoL 9 'no. 2. 1986 .'p.5'5-63.

4.0' There al'>e· two ·main weaknesse·s to Hansen-Barber's

argament.. . Firrst,·heucsesastandard';of·· "tair:ty-flve·ye'ar.
spacings>between.,..each·master and·stude·nt·.. It is poss'ible"···
that· a master,betbi·rty...five year,s older "tha'n.. bis.studenti

of dGa' -rab rDo-rie accords with· the ac.counts provided. by"

the Buddbist tradiotton' ltself. For this reasoni t;·· is

-·furtherevidencebeeomesava ilable .

Tulku'·repoJr'ts tha,t he came from·, a village j,ust west of

Vajrasanain India, and, was a Brahma,n'" known as ,sNyin9~po

·Grub..,.pa. He ,was an expert inSansk,rit,linguistics,

philosophy" logi'c,., and art.
kno:wledgehe was also known, as ' Jam,.",(ipal. bShes-gmyen>,
( MaDju6r,imI't.ral.· .TarthangTulku's·. account then,. reports., the

same events qQG.te.d, above about·. hi,smee,ting,. wi th.dGa:,f.,..rab.

rDo,...r·j.e.·. 41 Eva Dargyayplaces 'Jam,...(lpal bShes.,.gnye,n1sde'atb·
',: in<theyea,r 3'42 C.S .42
'.Jam,...Q.pal, bShes~nyen,f,s student was SrI. Simbilb·.·· A
short biography, of h!s li'£e is £otloo.·,1n: Eva"Da·rgyay's ~."

2.i,Esotcr ic dBuddhisma Tlbe t . It ,reads as follows :

but it is also possible -- and more likely -- that the

difference be greater or, lesser, perhaps very much· so.
Secondl,y, Hansen,...Ba,rber invents two holders· of the lineage
which 'the tradition does not know-of. These "are a se-eond<
Vimalamltr,a.,,·and······an·unknown,,···person· Hanson..-;Barber. ·does ·'not.
""propose to·,j;dentify.Heascribes thirty-five year intervals
for tbe,se, two ""lineage bolders,If, in, order,'to""suppo£t'his"
dating;, of . dGa.',-rab,rDo....rje in-the s,ix,thcentury,.,;, See'
. '··'Hansen'~Barber, ...IS.:i.4.
41 TartbangTu1ku..Cfystal' Hirr,or,..p.186,~·

4 2 Darg;y&y~ E,oter icBuddhism".p.24,5.


In Chlnain the town So-khyam",a son full

virtuous father and·his wife who· were of.·

clear intellec,t; ·this s'ODwas;.. tbe-T-eaeher
§rIsimha.Atthe, age of fifteen ,he· studied·

grammar. and .10g1cano" the, other usual;,

scholar,- one; night,. inthetown,·.of.gSer;-g11ng.

Avalokite'.yara appeared'" to him· and··

prophesied: "I··f·· you reallyasplre·for the
Buddbabood,thengo to Indiatotbecremation
ground, . · 80-sa4311n9""" The· 'Teacber,~rIsilJ'ha· .-.
'puthistrus t in,th is word. S·ince.he tbougbt
that tbe·o.t·he,r\·'l,anva,sbou,ld a·lao. be. studied ,

studied··tbe,exoter..ic a,nd., the asater iG ·'1'a-ntra···

with, the· .Teacher·,.BbelakIrtL, . ~r'IsilJha.took
the vows 0 famonk,. and for ,three years
o,practiced,asce.ticismaccording to the . ¥.iUya-

AdlROni,s'hed .. by,a·pr.ophecyrepeatedly, given., by

, Ayaloki.te'vara ,he set out to India. -Because

encoun~ered·.no. pain .·and' hardship·,·, on the way. '.


Thus be came, sa·fe,and,soundto the crema<t.i&a.,,'

grouftdSo...,sa...,gling... ,. "'bere··.be met ·.the.great
Teacher'Jam-dpal-b'es-gnyen,whorbecause of
§rIsimba's., entreaties, accept-ed. him asa

student·. FOr'···· t·wenty-five .years.·.··the,Te·aeher

belonging to it, till fina·llythe master

dtssolvedin-amass ofl ight.. ,

W·ben, 'rlsl-mba

was engaged. with .tbe-deathlamentations r ' the,:

form··,af, the master.appeareclin.:,tbe sk,y and··

instrueted ,h·iHh bodily. He gave· Sriscimba,· a.·

the Six Med:ttation ,Experiences-. (sGom...,nYaIls..."

After the death of his· master"

'r.I'simha.pract.lced til isdoctr·l,neandreal ized

,the absolutely real (doD79yl::ading) .43
, -
.' At this point in Sri Si,mha'sstory other character's,

become ·invo'lved·,tha·t, de,· not· ·fmmed,tately conceFn,,;us..~rt·

Simhareturned<toCbina.· He ·wasi·nvited, ·to Khota·n(Li.~yul·l

atalat'ter date anddiedthe·reafter·o,ne week' sstay .44 His

·main s·tude·nts· . .v.i'mal'am.ltra Aand ·.J~anas·utra. 45

43 Dargy.ay,Eso1berig,Budtlh4sm.".p.. 22,. Fora slightl.ylo·nger,

account of, his life see' Tarthang "TQlku, -Crystal Mirror,
44 See, Bargyay,. EsoterigBuddhism.. pp.24...,5." .

45 lRisl.,p. 2.7.

C.E.,46 while Eva Dargyay remains'uncommittedo'n a,date.· 4 ?

The. col'ophORr" o£ . . the:PB[)· ·reports.·:that~rr.. Simba it,aug'btl

the text to Padmasambhava, . who was the a,ne, to bringth,is

'ite,acbing ·toT'!,bet. ..Padaa;salftbhava .1sa figureo,f outs·tanai ng

impoE,tanee·.in 1:be ,n,iestory of Budd'hism,. in,'l'ibe;'b,.£o·r it, is he'


who is,. bel.ieved' ·to be, responsible .for.thesucce-ss of·

Buddl):'iism. in.· . that country. 48 Unlike,thei' previoUisgUr:US'" for'

whicn, we have only, .scanty· >biograph,i·cal.· ,informat.ion", . there·

are ....aa·ny.,yol.ulftes·· tnTibe·tan ,1 i-tera ture aevotedto . his·1 ife . 49

These· ··wo·rks.. ' are· mach" too.· le-ngthyto.··· be. included;" in ··the,

;·presents·tudy.'·.inat is' important·forthepresent 'purpose is

to note that Padmasambhava,·'vas invltedtoTibet, duri·ng the

re1gft ···.ofKhri·-srong ·lDe-btsan (reigned,7SS'-97 )50~and . . . was·

.instrQtae·ntali,ne·stablishiftg 8uddhi,sm there. It ·isbel ieved

·46 Tarthang:.Tulku,.CrystalH"irro.r.p.18,8.

4 7 Dargy'ay, Esoter iC( BuddhA,sm" .p. 24·5.

48 See e.g. 'Bar1:hang·.·TQlku.". Crystal Hiprqr",p,. 14,0££.

49 The following"are some· of the more well known

blograph;les..·of ·.Padma,sambhava:: The,bKa.',.-tbaASelzbraq....U",by .'. Sh
'Y-r.9.ya ·the_,Pad"a •. .
...n .9L....ii.'n9""'pa,.... g Llngzpa . . :::'~ft:R,Hqn-Sel
sGrop.-mej' ·by,Padma,<gLingpaioo ,;andthe,'adma" ..:..~_'-..:.._....;_Bsl.§a.!Jl:
br"by .·sNan9,···J,chan..Jt!,n"'chen~pal"i. U....rgyan' .' gLi,··<s .
biogrsapby ··Q:.f,·Padmasambbava· was' tr'ans.lated . . . tnt-e·... Pre'ncb by'
Gustave-Cbar.,lces.Toussa'int·,· as I.dL . . IU&:t... sm. PadM.. (PaI'is:
Libra·rire'·Ernes$·· 'Leroux r .... " 1933), and·, ,trans·lated .. fI'om,the·,
Frencb i·nto Englls·h 'by I\e,nneth Douglas and Gwendol·yn Bays as
:r.u. ld.a,Ad·LJrbe'l!o,t:ioQ:·.U 'PadmasaaIjWay8,p,>,.(Berk'e'1ey:'·· Dhar,ma,·
Pubelishlng, 1918+ 2 Nols •.

50 These .... dateasuppl,ied ,by.Sha;kabpa,...Tibe't,>6, .,Pol,i,ti@a,l"

HisTtory,'(-,NewHaven: ,Yale,Unlversi ty'Press,1967) ,p. 34.

by the, Tibetans that during. his stay In-Tibet he not only",

taught val"ious students· about·Buddb,ism,bll·thld many'
teach'ing-:sthrGugAout" Tibet, under the. eartb.,'in" rock·s,. in-,

temples, inrive,rs and lakes, in the, sky,. etc. 51 "These'

biade'ft, ,teaehiings-.are'" kno'wn ," as "'treasures ".< g,terzM'). ' The,·
.-,PBD lsone ,such ,treasure .

Padmasambbava,ls' knowD-,to ,have stfdied under, a certain .- f""'-

'Jam-.d-pal,bSbes-gnyen,t-he You'Dejer, ',who is believed to be the
reinca,rnation ,of the tJam-dpalbShes-gnyen mentioned above. 52
He is not kno,wn" to have,studied",with5rT Simhs i,nany Gf the-
traditiona'l, accounts.• 53 There is an account ,which states'
tha-tPadmasambbava·, ,ta-ugh1lSri5 -
imha~Tb'is· accoul'llt·. is taken-

by' Eva, Dar9yayas unr.ellable In. l"igbt. o;f, the" existil'lg

,accounts 0,£, i·no,i,pal trans,missiono;ftbe- rDzogs:cben .54
The, fact., tbat, , there, iSl'lOdirect conneetionbetweenJ

Padmas-ambhava- " and irI, 5imha l:n the reliable-existing

,accGuntsdees,aot-mea-n thatstlch aconnectionis.impossible.
It i s a common· feature" o-f the teacbi-ngso·f theVajray'lna-"
tbat they' ma,y be,handed. downinencoanters;o,f N,pure.,vision".;
(dag,..snang) • ·'l'hismeans t-nat ,a disciple can receive
teaching from· a, master long.· dead ina direct spiritual

51 5eeTu--l'kui'Jhondup"Rinpoebe ,;H'iddeB,.,'l.aeh'Ms~,p~.58;.··'
52 Dargyay, Eso:telic-'B!1dd,Msm, ,p.27 •.
53 See Da·rgyay"Eso$eri,q'Buddhism,'p,.27 •
54 Dar.9ya;y'i .. Esot&JPi·c'Bud4hlg,,, ,p,.55.

encounter,. 55 Suobtransmissions .·'are not rej,ected by' the,

tradition, but rather are taken very seriously. Tbe

colopnon'·Q·ftbe· PBD does 'not,s-tate that· i t was· received by

Padmasambbava, ,in this way" but by lnte'r,preting the,

transm;ission, in this way we are able to· explain., a·

. transmis's4on that 0 therw isemustbecons idered inaut,he,ntic.

PBD, during> ,his, .stayinT' in,tbee,J;gh,th' century'C.• E.

GuruChos--dbang,discovered ,thi,s,teacbing,andtaught. it< to

his disciple .sNang.-aon, Dad.-seng, who wrote· i t down. Thus

Guru Cbos...dbang, wa,s . a. ver:y famou,st'ransmittero.·£ the

teachei;ngsof the rHying,-ma".· school,. a-n.d',i:s .known a,s, . the,

secondgr:ea:t> .•Discoverer..-Kill9,*S.6 Eva, Dargyay i:n,her", lUJi&.,.Q!.

Esoteric Buddhi,sm, Ul"Tibe,t,.Ras, translated, a biography"o.f

GuruChos--dba,n9'~"" toolengtby" to be' qua ted in, full he,rei,57

t'herea,lso ex,ists,a£Ullbiogcaphy of hitmthatremainsto be

55 There, are· numerous ··accounts,·,of, sucheneounters. For'"an·

examp,le" see Dar'9¥ay" Esotep,iq.Budgh4·sm·"p" 4,8,. Forabrlef
,:cJisQU,ss,!on of ,this type of' 'spiri,tual . trans.iss,ion see
Gyatso,' "Signs, Memory and His.tor.y, ," p •. l0'. See al'so 'Jh:llku', '
ThondupRlnpoche,Segre.:t Teachi.ngs ,p. 90 •

56 8eeDargyay, Eso,teric. Buddbi:sm..p. 104.,

57 .Dargyay, ··'soter 19.Bgddh,ism~."ppi.l',O;3~1'}'9•. '.


,,,bls ·life.
Guru Chos-dbang,·wa-s born: in"theyear 1212.• 59 His. birth .'
was attended by. various miraculous-signs. He received ani·.

,intensiveeducati-o,n ..£roB\ a youncg age in literature, history,

and re;llgioustrad.!.tiGns. At the ageofthirteenhehad'a
spiritual vision in wbl:cbbe. encountered ·Tara., ·Va;rasa.ttva,
and a DakinI:. He co·ntinued.torece ive· large . numbers 0 £

important teachings:, and transmiss10n-s· until the age "0£·'

treaso·res· or :hidden·:- teachings.•.· He" revealed· eigh:teeamaj;or·

treasu'res·· .a'nd· nu-mer0Us·.·.• ·mi.nor" 'treasures,. He· prophesied" the:·',

Mongol- invasion. of._.Tibet,a pr.ophecywhl.cb in· fact came· .to

pass in. i.' the year.. 1239. -60 Guru:-Cbos...dba,ng .·not .only revealed·
'ma·ny . h~idde-n·treasure.s,ehe-wrote copious lyonmanyaspects a £
BUddhistrellg;i,o.n. He·· -d1ed in·.the. year 1270·.

. Guru· Ohos ...dbang",. is·. known.· to ba,ve· bad·"eight.." sp"iritua.}: .

sons, ,,61 yet the 'nameo£sNang.-don. Dac):-seng.doesnot'a,ppear:

58 ·%WLAutQbif)qrapbY:·~"lnstructi9Ds,'.21 . Go,u,· . Cbo§~kvi··

gBang..,.phyus:;. (J(yichu-"Temp'1e-,..Paro,; Bha-·tan.:Ugyen-Tempal
;(;yaltsen,1979). Two volumes •
59 Datesaccord-ing.toDarg-yay., EsqUerie Buddhism... ···p.103.,-
60 Dargyay, Eso-tericBuddhd"sm,p-.112.

61 DargyaY,.hgteric,p.118.

There .is no further information on the transmiss,ion,·of

thePBD',until ,its collection in the Huodred Thou,sandTaptras

Q.f :th!it ,,' rNyinq,,..mabyRatna 'gLing-!"'pa" (14o-3.,..14Q9l. 62 Ratna, ....

gLing.,·· W&'S a· tre'asu·re£inder himself, and, tbe"compiler ·o,f·

the gr.eatcollection,,·of rNyi,ng""ma . tantras. Vithregardto
his compilation of. the rN,ying-ma.. Tantras.EvaDarg,yay has
presented ,tbefollowing account.
The, 'lDan--dkar""ma Catalogue, of the Kanjur'

states tbattbe esoteric T'antras of the

Vajrayana(gsang.,..snaagsnana.,..rgygd) were not··
included ,because they were dangerous {if
studied. by non,-qualcified perso,nsl. The
transmission of these books . (~) and their
oral tradltion (l! become very sca'rce
and, preciou,s<, because, the.,Old'l'antras .o,fL the·' .
First,Periodo,f Transl,at,ions(snaa.,..'gyur,·

rnying~Mt.1::rgyu.d'¥'·were,not'taken· ··i·nto .' the"

collection of the Kanj\1<I'"dbKA,f-"gyurh Vitb, .
great enthusiasm Ratna-gl ing.,..paearnestly
searched for t,hese· books and, the',ora·l .'

traditionsinalJ directio·ns, 0'£ the compass·,.

Finally, be£ound·thema;ln", bu,lk,o,£· .the· , One,...,
,HQndred-,'l'housa,nd Tantras ("rGyud-"bum)at Zur-·
'ug-pa...,l,uDg;.,He,knew that, lnKhams, dBus"or,

62. Dates·' acco,rd·ing.toDargy'ay,. Esoteric·'Buddhism,;. ·,p.144.,·


gTsang,tbecomplete, ora-ltrad,!,tion,·wa,s, not,'

handed dow,n, to: anybody witb, th.,exeeptio.D'of,
Mes.,-sgom"'"9tan"",bzang ""po, iDgTsang,.· .He .could,!'. "

not imag1ne that this oral tradl tionwas to

,-be' interrupted so soen. .lJ!be mas'te-r-Has -8go·m,

in spite of his old age#· taught and gave, him;

,the ins truct ions, ,sftowinggre,a t zeal indo In9
so fO.r a long,time""

Lateron<,Ratnar-gl,ing~pacompl1ed" the- One.".·

Hundred....Thousand ,Tantras, (rG¥ud....,fbumJ in,a
single ccollection", .at- the.,LbuD""'9r,ub....pho,-brang,'
(palace) .in Gru-sul. At first he-wrote i tin

Indian . ink- bu-tclateron in golden tincture ..

Thereupon" he did,much,forthe.-di8sem:ina,tion<"
o·f· t·)lisoral traditioll:.Tbanks, to Ratna ....
91-in9~",,'tbe'9racious, and great Discovero£ -'.

Concealed",'l'reasares, even,-todaythe.Tantras .

--of the Vajrayana (9saD9""&ngags ""'-9Yud ) are

ava,ilable for' the Q,se.o·f,·ever.ybody like, a
wish,.,..bestowi.Dg jewel (clntauni,). i He, was,

e:xceedingly,- the whole ,rNYingzma....po' .'

Doctrine. 63
'lbispassage,shows, ,tllat,.the,te'achings, of ,the .rHying""ma,
tantras' bad, almost fully,declineda,tthe -' time, of, Ratna·

tral'lsmiss,ions . in"all of Tibet.

Ratna gLlng~pa edited, the mate,rials ·he compiled" in,tothe

IttmdredThousandTantras U tbil rHying-rna or ·l£be preserved

them' jus,t, as he found·the,ln,,,, . It is nonetheless.> due to the

e£forts' ,of Ratila,gLlng"""pa that tbePBD exists in the present

world··· and, is. a.val,lable ·for. study.,.

. The Huntkjed,·Thousa'pdTantras of·· ~rHvlnq~ma,·bas been·

handed down, since tbe,time, of Ra,tna",gLing., and ,exists in

severaleditions,·.a.nd,·eoples.Ai4 The ·PBD is £ound"in, all. known,','

cop;ies' of ···tats, collection.

There' 'are '. no,known""colDIReatar-·ies. ontbe,PBD., Refer-enees '

to tbePBO·,· ar,ealso lacking,in,tbe"ava!,lable' b,istorical,

accounts 0'£, ,the ,.transmiss,ion, .of Buddhism, ,,In.·. T,lbe$. The

,present studylsperbapst'hefirst,exploration of thePBD in

letters s inee,thetimeofRatna,gLing~pa,•


The . PSD· contains .two.··.hundredi··.··,nin:ty,~s,ix These,

ar:e di'vided .-.into,· one., hundred ·twenty-three chapters •.· The·.·

chaptertitlesa're 'recorded in the colophons of each

chapter. The,~cftap.tertitlesare,as, follows:·

I. Tbe,Baste .Top,lc·and·tak,!ng:·up thetoplc (p. l) .

2 •.. Thegeneral;;,ami"i~s.coa.tent. lp.,9 l.

3.The,way ,0£:be18g o·ftheBas& (p.• 12).


···4 .>Tbe'exlstentlal,,;mode of ·tbe:Base andt'heGreatAppearance

of the Base, (p.1S) ..

5,. Thepartioulars of the Base (p.18).

6.· . the',Ba5e
The.,;'similes.thate~empl',ify (p.19L

7-. Thewayo£ Being of· the Base and" eft-titles;. and, the
recogni:·tion. oftheword-whicbsy-mbol,izesthe,made of,

"appearancefp. 2 2 l.
8. A condensedteaah~ng on the Base and, its recognition (,p,.,27L

9. Thecomplete·recogn.itio,n of ·Wisdom(p .30) .

10. The·, wordstha,t si-gnify ;w'isdo...".(,p.33·).··

11.' The·com,ingforth;o,f' . the force of awarenessa,nd,the

tota,lly",pure . force (p. 34) .

12. The words, wbis,h"symbelize:th1s, (p.3fH,.

13 • Thefo,rce ·in·,brle f (p .36) •

14. The" ornament,andtbe,p,lay,(.p.37}.

15. The words ,for ffor,nament",and"play" I,D ·brief (p. 39).

16. The slgn,ifying; slmllesfor "ornament", and ,,,play" (p.40).

,,17. Teaches thatl:nthe pure·,. Base there -is, .nodelusionand;'
teaches the three bases,fordel,us,!on lnthe

appearanceo,fquality· (p. 4,ll.'

1'8 .1.'becauseand ti,me ofde:lusion,fp .,45),

19. The conditian· of deluslan,andtbede-lnslon of; the obj,ect

,duriog,the·'ill,termediate 'kalpa, ,aloftg-with"the· condit·,ions
of the body (p.47l •

. 20.' The,manner,·bk..wbiieh,the i,n,te-r'ioreon~en4h'. [of se,nt:ilen,t,

,bein<JSlis'es:tabl"isbed '(p.49).-

23. Tbecharacteris,tics of, the elements, and,the>'wayof,-

arising and way of dissolving in 'combination, with tbe

,meaning (p.53) .

24..- Thethr,ee" aeons (.p,.55).

,25. The coming ,£orth "of ,the two,RupakaYilsof compassio,n ·from

the Dbarmakay,a and, that the', twokayasdGnotexist in,

itself (p. 56) .

26. The, way theki'ya is clear as amudrl,'for the>discipleof

,·"pro'found',kROwledge,,'and, its arising as "perfectioft and

knowledge in" the·,kaya"oitbe', disciple (p'.,59;)·.

27·. ·Tbe·abode·ofdwellingand thethr'O'fte(,p. 60 ) •

28. The.'expl,anatlon, of the·meaning.ofa. throne, .(.p,. '6·1,h

29. ,The retinue 0 £.theSambbogakay·a (p. 61 ) .

30. The words which signify the SambbGgakaya, (·p.63h

,31. /L',begeneral ,characteristics 'and ·thefi,vef~mllies

conioinedwith,the femal,ecaRsorts· {p;...64l.

·32 . ,'l'he r·etinue of the;Sambhogak1iya joined totbeessence of

mean1ng" ,(p.66)., ,

33. The way the liirmtnattaya comes·fo·rth in the world (p.68 ) •

,3,4. T,he divlsio·nsof ·thethree kayas (.p. 69) .

35. The,words which signify the . tbree klyas and the.'

·eftumerations,o,fthe k.yas (p. 72).


'Buddba"i.n ",brief {p. 75) •

37. The, 'Bhaga,van.,,(bcom~ldan~~d9S} oftbe,', thl'ee kayas" the

Buddha (sangs~rqyas),. and the way of purify ingthe

defilements (p .76) •

1 lving be 1ngs ) (p. 78) .

39. The philosopbicalperspeet'ives ofthee-ight"vehieles

(p. 79).

40., The medLtations"oftheelgbt, velli,cles. (p.'82:l,.,

41. Theactlvi,tie'softhe'elghtvehicle,s (p. 84) •

42. The results of the, individual vehicles; tbe· doors of

(p .. 85) •

43. The recogn,i;tion, of the ,meaning,. of At! together with

questiGnsanda,nswers(p. 87) .

44. The recognition,of the tbreekayas including. ',' the

·,phenominaldlmens-ion,the Dbarmakaya ,Q,f awareness (p. 91).

45. Therecogn;itionofthe,£i,ve aspects of wisdo~,(p.• l,()O"h

·,46., ,The,pu,t·t4ng in order ;.o.,f theeightaccuMUlatio,ns and then

their",· reeogn.i.tion ".. (p" 10,2). '

47. Goingbe'yond.thecaQseofsa,msara,., severing ltsroo·ts

£romthe,end,and recognizing ltlp.1(5).

48. Divid,ing" the three ,time·sand, recogn,izing th.em (p.108').

51.·The·.· s-aered··ins,true,tionswbicb condense, the enter,tng lnto

recogAi.tioD.·.,(,p·.>120:l .. ··· "

52 . The viewin"ge'neral(,p .. 1211.

53. The view and its application,(,p.124,).•

54 .·The view i'n deta!1 (p .126) .

55. The gra·spiagof the ,one view· in one life. (p,.. 13·8).

56. The view" medita,tic.A", ano"practicecombi:ned into, one'

Cp.142) .

57. The final settlemen'tof the view (p •. 144¥.•

58. The jo ining,with··· existence anda·bsencein, meditation,
andthe< cont,inua,l samadbi fo,r·· average·mind1!k togetber:.

,withtts de,ftn!ng,enaracterist.ics .(p •.147) .

5~l.. The,' insp;j:ra,tionthat,,·teachesconte'nt.and, . lack,of conten·£·,'··

in,medita~ion., and.~the·, meansoi meditation ·de,tail '.


60 •. The ,'applied theory of med11:a·t10n· (·p ..· 157l.

6·1. .T,be..,.qro,unos ·£o-rer,ror in .meditation fp. 158) •

62. Tbe,·cutting,;"off·; of.tb&.. groQ'nds. for·error·in.meditatien,· .'

·(p.160) •

63. The·"practice, in condensed forRk(p •.175,) ..

64. The sacred···.,·instructio&s,·Q·f, applylng,equal·lythe . theory·

of re1.ig1-on5 'practi.ce.toitsel£during·,tbe fou·r,times

(p.178) .

65. The practice of the joining,- in equality of the three

titftes(-p-. 179) .
66.' The",eighteen",.spberes"of, ,ac,tivityocf,H"ra.. ,p.180l·.·

6 7. The ,e,xperieace (p .180 ) •

68. €learingdoabtsalld·"obstruetions.· (·p.181l

·69.,How theresulteomesfortb(p.181).

70. The explanation, of the· me,aning of a vehicle in .brief

(p.l81) .

71. The explanation ofthemenaing, of the view" tbe words of

,teaehing(p. 182) .

72. The explanatlon··ofthe·meaning . .· .ofmed,itation·. witb,·,

the ,words 0 fsignif·ication (p .182 ) .

73. Thee,xplanation oftbe, meaning·ofnon-medi,tational·oDg"

-wlth tbewordsofproclamation (p. 183).

74,. The praotice in brief (.p.184). "

. 75. T,lle explanation of· the, meaning of the resul t(p .185) .

76.· The individual defin·i,tions of the vehicles and the

. de·fini'Dg' charaote.ristics(p.187) .

77. The way's of superio,rity,of the eight vehicles in· brief"

(p.18S) .

78. The·/meaning,.of thesupe,rior ·(p.190J. '

79. The superiority, by five· greatnesses', over, the· eight

vehicles (p.191).

80. Teaches. that .the eight vehicles have error and·'

obscuratlon., and < that, the; Ati does·no>t" ba¥e erro.r,·,and·,
·obscuration (p.195J.
81. Anexpla,nation.of, grounds·· for error and the.word.s of,·,

sigD'ificat1onin brie·f(p.197).

82. The wo~rdsof.inquir;ywitb;a,certa'in, summar:y,(ofthe·


follow.iRgchapters 1 (p. 198) .

83. Theflveto-talitie's f,p.199J.

84. Theexplanation"of . the .mea·niag-of,,· the, five total·1 ties:
·toge,ther,wl·th the,ir.necessity (p. 202) .

85. The explanation •. ·of·.··tbe,··meaniug,·,of"a,,·Tantra.· G:p.203.)·.

86. The vow·s andempower-ments..· of· the measure of .' rLsing .o·fa .'
Ta·nt·ra ·(.p.204) .
87. Clearly teaches the explanationofthe·meaningi:o£··
·ie.powerffte,nt " (p. 21,0) .
88. 'l'besacred•.commi-tments (p·.210.).
89. The explanation, ·afthe meanLngof·a. sacredcomm!tment-·
(p. 211) .

90,_ The:manda·la.(p.• 21·2).

91. The self-nature ." of·sacred. aot10nis wi tho·ut .. deeds.or

searching (p. 213) .
92. Worship, aoo.:yoga, .(p.215) .. ·

··9·3.,Kant,raand·,·mudra fp.216).
94,. Retreat and! practice (.p.2181.·
95 . The ·JHNe.greatnessesoftbe .tran&mis-s!on(p. -219) .
96. The explana.tionof the meaning ··of,thetra,nsmission (p. 219).
97. The five neces.sar.ypu·rposes o·fthesacred instruction
.(p. 220).

98. The meani,ng,·.a,f the saar.ed·· instructions (p.•. 222l ..

99. Puts the levels.,tbepe·rfeetions, and,·the;·fivepatbs· in·'

··proper order ,and actuall yteaches the sta-qeso fthe

levels ·(p.,223).

'100 •. 'T·be ,mean!-Ing of a level (p .226) .

101. Tbe' result, the five . certain, paths (p.• 226).
102 • Theexplana,tion o·f themeanln9 of a path (p. 228).

103. Tbefour. paths· of, practice, of t·hete'D·perfections

1&4.. The,explanat:ion, of,·the< mea,ning,·of. the •.· per,fections, of..
.re,sul"tCp.230) .

105.. The·med tuma .(p .230,1~

10·6.'.rhe".mea,n·!.ng 0 f..appearanoein br ie·,f(-p . 232) .

107. 'l'he£ourmodeso'f·attachmen,t'<lh23Sl.
108. The fou,r ·i,nte·r;mediate states (p.236).

10'9. The div isio:n, betweenm,lnd",and" wi,sdom.. ·Cp.2'37-l.'

110. The- cOIMd,tments,,;·ofthe ge,neral char,acteris·ttcs of

l'ihera,t·!onandthe stqDs (.p. 240 ) .
11:1. The· signsofdeatb1Dde,tail(p. 24'2h

112.T·be res;ults. of the . intermediate state (p.244).

113. Theabs·ence,(of a need] for liber,ation· 1n those with'
eo·mpletelysuper i-Cilrsenses andthedivisl-on of·t'he
superior, a<Verage.. ··and·inieriorof those wi,t!l'"a·verage
·senses, . ,t,hed'irect ,recogni tion o,fPossessi"ngtheFive

and, Per·feo,tion" the· six superknow:'ledgesr'i'


individual: division,,·. 0·£, -the ,Great.- Posses-siag,.of.

.P er£ect-ion.(p .245) .
114. Tbemeaft>1;D.(jS) of.libera,t·ioD; and compa'sslon·,.(.p~2S8·).. "..

115. A gene; of similes toge.ther'",witban


expl,a,oati,onof tbelr meanings fp. 259).

116. The inspiration of n!,a,nd, the meanings: of the five

words.wbichsignifytt (p. 261).

117.. The"explanationof,tbemeaning,o,f·nirvaBa,,( p .26·7 l •

.l18 .,'lbe.meani,ng. ·,ofthe eyefp. 268) .

119. Tbemeanlng'of the·, four, extremes (.p.2.6&).,

',12'0,.·, Tbe' mean,ingof,tbeletters (,p.271).

121. Bringstogethe,r.·. the,,'sca,t±ered,., words" causes"freedom,

from doubt, and clears, away tbe extreme of ,faults (p.272).

122. The··names o·f· the· Tantra and offerl,ftgsofpraise(p'o280).

123. ConcludestbeTa,ntra (p.284).
Colophon ,.( 28:6¥,.

Tbe fol.lowing,.:chapters ....ofthisthe,s·ls· conststot a

.,themat.ics,tudy. o·f the ,most lmportant topics in tbePBD. T·be
PBD is a text attempting to comprehend every aS,pect of ·i,ts
view of tbeBuddbology,it,represents.. To"pFesent. ,a.·full
analysis. of everytopi'c, i'D the PRO, wouldrequire c ,nobhia9""
less than",a,ninterlinear, commenta,r,y: andconcordance;o,fthe
'entire tex·t., a .task that could well extend .into tbousandsof
pages.. For tbis·reasonlhave foeu·sed, on· the principal
subjects nece·ss·ary for a ··compre·heDsion; ,o-f, ·thePBDf,s .
'teaohings, tbose topics presentedrepea·tedly a·ndextensi vel y
througboutthe.·,··text. The·' PBD·.···prese.nts many·· secondary
topics, oftencrypticall,yandincomple,tely.,.' These topics I
.have; ,alluded to"butno,t discussed in detail.
ofthe,PBIHs;views:on,·lJ.The-Base,. 2) ()elU64-on,. 3,.),. T.he,

Buddha~aya#'" ··4,)··... ,.Wisdoa...,·,.S)···Tbe,,····path,,·6.),.• Recogni,ti,Oft,. .• ·anch··7),.·

...!fhe,A,tiyo,ga. ·I·t ,wo.uldcerta1nlybe ,desirable to· ,d.iscuss·tbe


relationship the ide'aspre,sentedln the PBDbave to var iou,s

other views of reality,. sucbas, the di,ffer,ent Bu-Mbi·st

.scbools 'of ·t.fiought,andt,he.·mys.ticall.i-teratureof tiheworld.
Such an enterprise ··woaldaga·lnrequire-detailed analy'sis·
al80untlng to a fall thesi·s'foreacb topic cov,ered,. M,ygoa,l
in preseatingth!s- information,··.. is to provide. as
camprehensi-ve a v.iew, a.spossible·ofa text that. is an.,
importan,t,re·pre.s.entation·,( of,," esoteric Btlddh,!sm.. in·.,genera1,.· '

and··· its ·thirteenth .cent.ury mani,:£estation .. ,

in,.parit.icular.~ ·1··
.. assume .my .reader ·to be .familiar "i·tb .the£undamental
concepts of the Buddh··traditi.on,. a,nda&suRle< that, he or
she is able, to draw q
conclusions· on . the import off· the

infot'lRationoI provide on-his orber o-wn part.

It ·ha.s not been,my·conoern. to a s.certain the truth or
falsity o,f the in.£ormation con,talnedi,n· the··PBD.· .1 have'
striven, ra.tber,. ·to provide t·be··reader with·an .. ·ins,,igbt,in,to
the thOUigbt.·:,o£:·. the: PBD .a-s..'accaratel·yas.possible.,·. dwlthouit" as ·tolts greatnes·s· in or lack of splr·itualvalue.
Thi.s . info.rmation,should ..provide.. ·.·.·tbe.·.reader·. witban.,aecurate·"
i.nsighti.ntothe tbeoriesandoutlook of one of the greatest
movemen.ts.·· in esater:ic Buddhl,sm". the Great Perfection

This study represents theflrsttime,the.PBD." ha·scome·; .

to the atten·tion.·of modern. scholarship,. There are no
translations of tbePBDavailable.· F-or.thisreason. it bas· .
been· necessary. to quote extensively fro.. the text iftiorder .

to provide' an accurate·, picture of the . tex,t .itself,. ·.t·nave ,"

augmen>ted,tbese,>'(Juo'katdi&ftS, from. the .. tex.t w4th,,,cla,rifying
remar'ks'· ·.·aOO··' footnotes,., yet, ,.o,f.ten "I " have, 'allowed., the, tex,t, to'.
speak, . for itself. I·bavestriven topickau·t the, most
appropriate quo·tations. from the PBD,, to expre,sstbesubj,ec,t.
at·· band .'.and.,. have .. provided,comme·ftitar.y and ,·aaalysis!"in" order·
to,make,,·thesepointsmor,e·lucid.tomy reader.
All translations.. in,,,, ,tllis,A:hesis,# unle·ss otherwise

noted... are my own.· lnpreparat.ion.·for .this, thesis I .have·

prepari!d:a prelimblary" trans,latio,n,·of"tbe, 'entire· text ~. ,Dr •
Eva;J}argyay·,.has'·,·kinclly"read,i:his ,maaascrdptin,compal'isoft"

w,Um theo,riginal ''ribetant8'xt . She' ,has of,reredaany,.useful

commentsandmllCh."good. advice. on, tec'hnicalpoi·nts·.· Th,ts

advice ,has been very helpful inarrivinq at su,itable
transla,tionsfortechnical term,s and· identifying. important
passages,•.,. The, transl a,t ions. 'presented are Donetheless my

own,. Aftyerror ormisunders.ta,nding..perpetrated.. by,taese

',' ·,tremsl·atlansis "my ow,n respons.lbility, though . the reader can
be suretbat, I bavemade every a;'btemp,t:to·present, the. text
.·lnas. accurate -and meaning fUrl a form as possible.
The met'bodologyof. my. 'trans,latioft .·repr.esents.ane£for.t·
to avoldtbe two extremesofover-l"lteralness lntranslati:on
ando<Ver-interpretdveness i,n trans·latto:n".· This,means·that I
havestr,iven. to render> the Tibetan, both accurately and"
succinctly.. In.av.oldin9·,over~literalne-ss1 have s:trlven, to
, present my,trans],·ati.onsso ,tbat,an< educated·> speaker: of.

.avo id ingover-lnte.rpret ivetranslatio,n I ·bavestrivento use

the .simple,stterms . possible to render' Tibetan.vocabular.y
An example·, of what I consider over.-i·nterpretive·

entitled' ·•. 'Primorsiia,l·<·.ExPerience'" where . be" translates . the

Tibetan,.term,rig,.".paas. "the flash· of knowing. that gives
aware·ness its. quality . ,,1 This me,thod. renders a single,
Tibetan word in,to, nine, . En-g11:sb.. words. .he,n··· ·numer·au,s·;
technleal,·termsare, ·found together, . , 1n.a· texttbe resulting;.
overabundaRce..; o.fwordsin English, can'easily turn a single,

sentence into a longparagraph:.; I havetra·nslated theter'IR:'

rig~pa.simply as "awareness." .I believe this word· to be
under.standabl,e to my reader , and· rely onthe·con,telC't·s· in
wbich .it is found to elucidate' its more subtle meanings.'
The text i.tse1 f often strives to gi,ve meaning.. to the,
tecbnicalterms it uses, and it is the co.ntext of the text
>i tselfthatgive·smeanin9·'t~the contents, ratherthan·;,the
specula·tlons atinterpreta,tion in, the,translator,'smind,.
For this reason I have opted· forsimplic,ity in expre,ss:ion
wi-th, the· . . . intention·· of provid·!ng·.· directly· accessible ".

1. Manjus.rimitra,.·Primordial, ,. Experience.' t·r.ans·.), Hamkhal""

Norou .and Kennard-" M-pman" <Bo·ston:·,:.1.987'),i

The·thema,tic analysis,of· thePBDnow,follows. The
oolophoao:E the PB9 , .a·s.ql1o,tedabove ,2.makespr-o,pbesies that

"some w,ill cover it w-itb the darkness of "GQmmentar,y. Some

will block it wi·ththe claw,.ofinterpreta:tloa. Some. will"

:poison ,it ,wi th .thecontentstomacb 0·£ scrlp·turalquo-tatiOfl. H

I have made every attempt not to fulfill, thlspropbesy,in··

thepre'sent 'study..- I hopetha t , I have elas.ida,ted."the'
mea·nln<j;,Q·f, the -.PBI) for . the· Engl1sb,speaklngworld -rather·
,thandar·kened it, in ,a,nyway.


I t has already been noted in ,theopening"pas,s&ge" o£

this ·tbesd:sthat the,PBD;, g,ses;pos!:tive"1'8nguage,, ,to d1seu'ss

theul.'tlmate,reality,.l ''llhe PBD, usesa,lar·genumberof .'. terms '

in relat,ion, to the' .u:l,tlmatereali,ty(don....dam.).,de5pite the,

fact tbattheBud:cith1stit,raditlon, and the,·PBDitsel£, c1aim

tha:t.. the',ul,tima,te:reality ,is u:nspeakab1e,.and,,'beyond,·

c09n1,t1Qn,.2 ThePBDexplains. 1t5use'o£· sucb,terminola9yin>

the '4fo.l low ing ,sticeinc,ts tatement :

[The- Base (!D.h.i.ll 1s· uas·peakable,. a,nd

" inconceivable, ,yet therels,ftoperfect.lypure

meaning-., other· than this., so 1t .must be

1. This thesis.,. p.2.

-g.. Santideva,
. 2. See->e /,,,

.-. -
BOdhlsat.t.yaqaryayatara •. ,.chapt-er nine';,"
preclaims"··.·tba·t· ·'":fhe'>u11:i-mate·.,[,ea111:y-· ·ls·
·no,1:1:he·' province ···o·'f,the.,m,j;;nd" ... (dop,...dam,...plg-yi ..,..,spyod-.YUl-.mlp) .'
See ·alsoPBD.,.p.24.

spoken! z,t·lM1s·tbeknown! 3
ThIs quo.tat.ion, no·t . only points' out the PRD'··s,
willingness to u·se positive .language.. ', to desc1'\ib&\ .. the
., ful:timat-e, itbrings:us .di-rectly·to.tbeaostfundamental te.zom

the·PBD usesinrela.tion·. to ultima,te· reality" the Base

(~) . There is a deep . inter..."relationship betwee'n< all: the
terms the·· PBI> uses on· the., ultimate ·level.; and an
understanding of one most . often depends u.pon·.an··
u'nderstand.tng,of the others~ It is, however, neoessary·to
··en4:er·into the·sys,tem·at ·some point,and·the·PBD itself uses
·tbe.Baseasi,tsownstartin.g point in th.isdlscusslon. 4
'l'bePBD"de·scribes :the,·Base bath· nega.t,l:vely,deseFibing·
wha·t it is not, .• and poslt.lvely" de·scribingwhat· iti,s. I
will firs.t present. the passages, that descrlbe,the.Base
. positively :
Before.' the realized intuit iOD < (rtp9sJ and.
de 1 Gslon( 'khpulJo.fsamsara . and, nirvana, it·

transcended•. both· ·cause .-and··. conciUtlon,. ·'50 it

lsself-arisen. S
It isnon..."dua·l .,equi.l U:>riu.,.. ·creating,·no,·
good orevilanywhe·re . 6

4. PBD; chapters

5.PBI>, p.13.
6. PRO,·· p.~ 14.

The uncontrivedis the· Base, so it iethe·'

matrixo£ al.l,·tba,t,is spontaneously.1"eal,ized'"

"andsel £.,.a'1"ls·1n9 . 1 t i stbe v ita! essence 0'£

the unadulterated,.·. the, a·l1· encompa,sslng:·
meaning.., .,

It is the uDcon.trived.mind' of perfect.·

,pu'1"·ity(byang-gbub""'Ums), .self-abiding. in .its

own· way 0 £being__ the pr imevalspontaBeously

reall·zedt,reasucyo·f all :precioQsthings. 8

It is the.essence'do£meaning"o£ all. the·

Dharmas . '.' of samsara,· ·and,-,·n·i,rvana.Its,arislng·'...

is that"' it arlsesf1".omthe· dimension. 0·£ :

. ,a.wa1"eness. 9

The essentialrea,l·i.ty . (aao-"",bp)o,f.tAe.-,·Base" "

,is "RPo-dualit-y . ,,, def,iD·!,tion·lstha,t

becau,se:itis the. matrix o£al1thlngs it is

the Base. Fu·rthermore it··lathe- supper-,t

(,~) o:f.both sa·msaraa.ndni-rvana .10

(The. Basel cleanses-ma:t,ter beca~iU,e··.·it i,s

subsumed.. under., "awa,reness" which is, cleansed·

7. PBD" .po; 14:. .

8. PBD,p .,16.

9. PBGi' p.17.


of all otberthings., It ·.·isclea,nsedof, ...

-entltiesbecause it exists in the empty

It cleanses the
appearance '0 f duality, for it is. w"ltbou,t··

for,· it is· self-arising,... It cleanses hopes

and, fear,s., fo,rit is spontaneously ·real-ized.
It cleanses .def.ilements,. fO.I\lt is perfec,tly.
pure, .. ll

It is liberated from,:the conventiona·lit-ie;s,··

of samsara and nirvana,,.,
, so it is tbe·,
Dharmak3y.a .12

There i,sno,tbing above it,. so it is g-reat.

primordial. Everything" arises .from, and,

appears ·from tt,.soit istheCrea·torof All
(kun-byed) . All ·of samsara and-nirvana
appear~rom·lt,soit is the Base. 13

It d'ld not appear

ad,vent1·tiously, and it istbeide,ntity ('bda9-

n¥JJl)of·· thepr imord,ia ll,y "exlstent<awareness,'

lI. PBD,. p.19.

12~. ,PBD, p.23.

13. POO, p.2:3 •.

(·,i~r;,. So it iSi'

It transcends, the· enumeration of Rupakaya
"Buddhas, .' andeverythingar ises and oomes
fortbfrom·reallzedi Intu'ition ,oflts meaning_
So· it is' the ·Ancestcn;, (mes-:-po l of all·

Its own;.essential nature ·isu,naefJ:leil,and,····

lit is cl:ear ly the, u·nh·inder:ed .great.. ·sel,£,...".:

··.l.wainesoe.nce,Ocf··,wisaom.Tbus'!.t is·above .all

tbl.ngs.., and it is the· u.ncDangJ:ng ·se1·£-.
appearaace" and.··self-aspeE:tto£, ,.awarenes,s. So
it lsthe highest Buddha" ·Unebangi,ng.,Light,i
(lQJlMl-' • 16
All:samsara. afu5,nir·va·ftaarisef,rom,it, and,·,
touc!l·,u.ponit,so it is,theroat. 17

Everything.' is born, fr.omand·connected with,·;

,this great Base, so it lsthe seed. 18

It is certain thattbe essential, nature: ,0,£

tbeBase is.tbeself-.arislngolearandempty.

14.PBD, p.22.

15. PBD, p.24~

·.16.,P·BD, .p.24.

17 • PBD.,p~25.


There, 1s·,no difference between the, arising",

and; non~arisin9' ·of certainknowleage·,(witb,';
regard to Itl. 19
These passages, "can; be "summarized by noting that· the;

,Base istbefuftdaaaental groandof being ·of.al1 reality,bo·th

conditioned' real<lty( sarns-ara;,). and transcendent·. reality
.,(·n"irvana) . It .is,te,aaporally .' a·ntecedent -to -all

sucR-manifestation,. It is also tbe>groundfrom.. wbich ·a,ll

rea:U,ty arises. In this, sense it is the creator ·of all·
real1ty(ku.n~byed).20 It is theultimate,principle·of be.!'ng·

the perspective, ofe,xper'ience it can/be, said, to. arise "froaa,

wisdom (ye...,she,s), '. asw·isdomis· the direct in-tul.tion· of .pure .'
awareness itself. Yet it does. net depend. in, allywayontbe'
perisanal·· .intuition;"01"' analysis. o,f . anyone."" it··.preceding,even·

tbeRupakaya Buddba·s.,2~. It is, in fact" the highest.,

pr,inciple. of Buddhahood itself, whether ,tbisistermedtbe,

20·. For. a· discus'sion,·"o,f 'the·terakUBrbyed and 'an·s·is of

the ultimatepr;lnciple·· as acreatoc' ofallreali,ty see .•Eva,'
.Dacgyay,,«theConcept ,of a 'Creator "God' ·,in ,''!'antr ic
Buddhism,.."·. ·~·'Journal,·,gf.·.• ·..tha ,·,International·Association· (If'
Buddhist Studies, (Had'J;sonl, Vol~ 8, Number' I; 1985~ p.3-1-
21.. Ropak·ayaBuddhasar,e ·,Sa·ddllas mani.fes~J.,ng,a,t.tbe.leveLo,f'
the Sambbocgakaya ·and'N,irmanak·a~a. Adisc'lssion,.of.these·
·tef7ms,is'fo110d ·In·.,this,thesis,p.90 .

, . 2 .2
DharmakX,ya... .,
thehigbes,t .
Buddha Unchanging. .
Light,. or the" .'
state of, en1'igh·tenedawareness; i.tself~-re,ferred to as . the,
mind,·of perfect purity (byanq....chub':""kyi ....sems.)... Tt1sa1,so<

These descri.ptions of; the Base may lead"thereaderto·
reify. it, thinking, that the,· Base is somethi,ng" trn1"
existent. The·PBDisverycareful ,notto·positsucha view,"thattbe,Base,; is beyond "tbe,'four,extrellle's, "wh;lch,
are existence, non-ex'!ste,nce;,; both; andne,itber..;23 That ls,
,to say that the Base is not an 'entity whose ex lstence ca,n be

whos,e,existence ··canneitherbe divorcedfroll\l.;,reality ,nor,

To gain. an,· ins·igbt in,to these points 'the PBD's"

I tdidnot arise from tbe compas,sion of'

the 8u9atas;,. It was not born; ,from the,·karma,
o·f '., sentient beings. It· was no tbornfromthe
five external· elements.

23 •. PBO,p.17.

the", inner;··. discursive· .

conceptual iz·a ti ODS , . (rnam",..rtoqJ. It. is not
affected by an individual's path-wise
attitude. 24

It bas no designation o·fname< or mark,

(mtshan~ma¥·· let basna" knowotng, .' DO realized
in~u1,tio,n.,'110 ignorance, nor ,delusion. The;

VAltioQS "conceptualizations of"delws"lofl;.< and,',

tendencies .'. (bag:"'"'gbags,) and" the· dbarmas.of··,

wisdom:,£oroe", appearanee,.and,re,sult.· aranot
distinguished: in the" Base,.,tbe 'self~ar,lsin9;i'

,wayof,being,{ofall ,reality]. 25

It isno1:es,tab,lished atbimeJs. beginnt,n9', '

or ,end·" nor ,in"the,past, or futu,re.•", It has
. "notbing, whatever toaccompl ish, to take up or
reject, good ,or bad. It has no, limit and ,no"
center I' no, d,trection. or partial ity. It is'
i,n, the .natural state, ,(9 n 26

It does· not bold to, any, tr-atb,or.fal,sity;,.'

existenceor,.,non-existence, at all. 27

24 . ·PBD, p. 13 .
25. PBD, p.,13.

26. ,PBD, p.14 .

2,7. PBD, p.·,14.•

It is without. thought,. and,·w.ltbou·t··

.... ,'. .
dwell,lng . ·or ····.non~wellln9..

It bas· no
permanence. OF cessation, no, ,unit¥ · o r
plur.ali ty .28
The· six .classes . ,of sentient·. be,ingsw,!,th"
their various delusions., the. ·k;iya.. >of the
Victorious One,. the appearance 'Of,wi-sdo... and
the ·different vehicle,s. ..

includi,ng the aiBe '. levels .. not

establ:isbed·, on· the·· Base:, by virtue of
exis·ti,ngi,n t-bewayof entities .29

It. has no exp.erieftOe, ·non~xperiencef' ·no

entering,ol'~ no,t.·entering. it. It ba.s no,·
dispe:Fsion or·· non..,.d,ispers 10ft .Tl'lu·s .. it .. 'not
,neoe.ssaryto seek! t .30
It·has;no ..cause.,.&.t·the,fi,rst.·.. t,t,.does,. nnt
·'bavean·,entity 's cause. H:·has Roconditions
at the ··'·middl,e •. · It has no. ·rival .at,. the end,.
Thus it is unchanging. 31

28. PBO.. p.l5.

29. PBD.. p. IS •.
30. PBD, p. 15.

31. PBD.. p.16.

66·clear,. tbat.the ·PBD . does not

. hold. the Base to be an ontologlca11yver-i·fiableobiect. The
not·ion tba·t the . Base is primordia-lis elucida·ted,by the,
sta·temen,ts that the Base' is· beyond·· temporal.. boundaries,

whether- they be .in· the past ortbe futu-r·e.. Thus· the'

statements. thatthe.Base·precedesall other·reall.ty, .mas-t-be.
.unders.tood cG*jnitive ly<ra,t;ber .tbanbisetor lea11 y . T·hat is to
saytha-t···.·the ·. "time"···· ·wh,ioh· "'precedes '. ·a·ll" time·· .bothe·trans·cends·
and enco.apasses .thetemporal,process;.andthisp:rimordial .

"time." lsthe locus. ·o·f· the Ba-se. The Base is a1 so beyond··

'allc-ognitive prooesses of .·the .' ·mi.nd,wbether they be
the notions .of existence, non,-..ex.istence, essence,
appearanse,.., non-abiding, experience, non-"
exper.!ence, etc . The. Base has no cause or conditlons 0.£. any
. kind.
These statements represen-ttbe,attempt. to speak. about·
the ultimate. real!tywo-ile Cl·t '" tbesame·.timepreve·nt·false.

conceptions from, arising, with regard to it. As a mystical Buddhism· the. PBD
cannot,-howev·er, ·.avoid some attempt to ·define and .ca-,tegorize.
the Base., . The tension i,.nheJr'en·t.·in '" o·f the"
unspeakable pervades.. the...'PBD,and.mast be accepted frola·the .
very begianing" ,in· order t-oappreciatethe . i-deas -thatlt sets
Atone point the PBD<states: "The limit"lofthe.,Base}.
has not. been defined.. . Know,ledge q(shes,.-pa)·canno-t"separate·'

it into ~ sections.• .,,32 Ne:Be'tbeless, ·'the······PB9;d·ivide·s.tbe~·.Base··'·

in' . two ways·. - Flpst .' ·it· .·makes. the ·distinction· ,be.tween,···the<'
existentialmoda.. ( 'dug....thSAl).· ·of. the> Base and. "the» g~eait·

appearance of the Base" (gzbi~snang~cben~Doh33 Secondly.,

it·d!vide.s -the8asein~o threedivlsions or types. 34

Tbe .PBD, defines the. esi.s-tentialmode of the Base and

·the,appearance of·. the . Base as the,Kaya of ·!ssentiality(DSI2::,
bg-nvid,""'kvi ....skuJ ·and·the·Appe-araneeo,f· Es,senti,ali'ky. (D99,~bp~'

nyid~kyi,..,.,snanq""'ba¥,35 .and states that· "as as1mi1e., they

exi·st,. I·ike .the-s.key: and thesllR.• ,,36Wit·h. regard to the Kaya
of Essentiality '. thePBD states the· f-ollow,lng:

The Kaye of·. Esse·ntiality ..·is, p·re-fou-nd,,·

>knowledge .(Shes-rab) which does not fall into

partiality. It is nnbinderedwisdom. It 1s
the spontaneousl., realized., Buddha .. It is

. and insubstantial. It transoends

all theextremeso·f·acrea-to,r. ·(byed-pa"...po),.
It is uftOontr·!ved, and.··. 'tra,pscend,s., all . · .·the
extreme,s' of· ex·aggera,tion.···aod"·deprec:iation,,

32. PBD, p,. 17,.

33. P-BO, p.,,15..-18.
34. PBD,. p.18,.
35. ,PBD, p • 16.
36. PBI);, . p •.16,•.

It is Qnadul;'te-ra.ted"...·lt. is. pu·~e<o£-. ·faulty.

extremes,.. 37
Witbregard,to the·- Appearanoe ofEssent;ialitytbe. PBD· .

Tbe obi ect· - of the Appear.anee. of

Essentiality is the· phe·nomenal dime·Ds-lon.
Cchgs-dbyings), the totally pure Buddha
·.fie-ld. . l·t ..hasno extreme nor center. Ithas
no abo,venor below~ no cardinal no.!l,secondar,y .
direction.- It- has. no '. plurali,ty nop,
supporting ground, ( . It isno·ta
materlal dharma,.. Whencpu-sbed." it . equalizes
the, suppr.ession·. Wben,li·fted, it. equalizes·

thear;is'i·ng:.. l~t-is brillian·tl"y, . olear."

penetrating:"" aoo"tota11y onh-i'ndereEh· It is
.' the.unrei-fieddiaension, the ·unehang·ing .space

The .poin.t.of· this distinction is·.··· that .altbo,ugbthe.. Base·,

isbeyond,a11 d\l>allty, . from."the.,po,int·of-view·o£ phenGJDenal
experience._,there is a·n, .·apparent difference; be·tween"the·
cente,r ofawaren&ss( yul.,..can,),and· tbe.·objects·of.<awareness,
(3all.) • Tl,estatement·that ·the.Appear-anceo f,Essential ity is
the phenomenal,dimension·refers to the ·.appearance ,o;f.. obj ects

37. PBD,p.16.
38 .;<pao, .p .16 •

to the,awarene,ss,,'while t))eKi.ya--of·Essentia·lity ·refers···to

the subjective sphere or center of awareness.•.,39 These two

are fundamenta,lly· .in,separable .... in·.· that ··each, depends. ,on· the-·
other,. and thePBD· is,car,eful, to point out that "The'

Appearance:o£ Es.sentiali:ty. and· tbeKaya lo£ Essent,ial,i.ty,),

.are spoken of· ano,exempli£ied> In.,.this way as two (tn,lngs;],
yet,acaordingto ,the, hig'hestmeaning they are not two • ,,40
The "three . typeso·f Base, mentioned in' the PBD" are: 1),

The, Total . · ·Base .of, ,··Primordial- Mean,lng"··{-ve---dop",",,kyi---kuPcG,zhi.)

whieh,isgl;ossed as "Thee.Base; of,To4:al ,Parity," 2l ,The

Total .Base which Gathers. the Kapy:Tbings( sna~tshqgs~bJaqs;'r'"
;pal l;~kuA~.gzb4.1·w.hichis,glossedastbeeight consaiousnesses

whieh aremixedw,lth karmictendencles,.and3lThe·; Total

Ba,se -which· is,tbe "Mean,tng of·Existenc~ (gMs..,,..kyi..,.kun-

'.~),whicb lsnotglossed. 41

The PRO.. providesexplana·.ti-on, ',fo,ronly the first 0.£

these. 42 Tb.f.s... explanation, ··,intends,to .show:· tbat"the, ··Total,

Base of Primordial.· Meaning, cannot ..' be identified with

anythi;ng,. .whetherlt bea dbarma. -of the phenomenal, ,:W&rld.or
of thetranscenden:trea;];i:ty. In 'part,icular,,,,.,the,,PBD-,po,iDts:

Gut-thati-tlsfree' from "t,he ei'CJh,taccuMu1at,ionsof

,39. ,PBD·,. p.15-19.

40. PBD,. p.17.

41. PBD,. p.19.

42. PRO., p.19.'


consciousness. 43 The text reads as follows:

It is without increase or decrease, so it
is liberated ,from-the Alayavii'nana (kun-gzhi-
rnam-shes). It has, no grasping-, to a self, so

it is liberated from the de'filed mind (nyon,-

mongs,-pa'i-yid). It has no subject-object
duality, so it is liberated from·, the, mental

consciousness (yid-kyi-rnam-shes). It has no

birth or cessation.. so it is libera:ted,' from· '

the (sense] consciousnesses. of, the five

doors. 44 Thus it is different (from all of
_them 1. 45

This passages,- refers, to the eight types of

consciousness according to the school of

Buddhism. 4~ The statement that the Ba,se is· liberated from
- ,.,- is most significant here, for ilayay,ij1iana
the Alayayiinana

may be literally translated as "The, Consciousness o£ the

Base." In the Yogacara system· the "AlayavijMna is that

aspect o£consciousness in which, karmic traces are stored

43. PBD, ,p.19.

44. Thisre£ers to consciousnesses of the five senses, i.e.

eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness" tongue,-consciousness,
nose-consciousness, and skin-consciousness.
45. PBD, p.19.
46. See Nagao Gadjin, "On the Theory o·f Buddha-Body (Buddha,""
MB)," %bit Eastern Buddhist, New Series, Vol. VI, No.1,
Hay 1973. p.46.

and ·wbicbserves as, the . basic ground from·· ·which· the other

forms. of consciousness arise. 47 Thls passage 'shows that the

PBll makes> a fundamental,,· di,st:i:ne,tionbetween·.:k..79Zhi"asthe,

wb,ich;, ·.gathers·.·. ···,' and,< hal!'bors ··ka·rm!c· tendencies.•.·· ·

"Herbert, 'GU:entberelucidates this differ·entlation clearly:

Sanskrit ilaya. This is usua,ll y . ',

sa·i-dto .oonta,in or "sto·re"the.,experlentially

initiated potentialities of, experienee.fbi51.::.

permanent/subs·tratuJD,:,ha's been created·. The '

dGe-l ugs""pa: understand" . by it

Collected, Works ,XV'II I 3, fo 1. '1bJ ;t,hebKa ' -

rN¥iD9,, distinguisb'" between· the k--,., .

~.. <'ijlaya::) as the ground. exbausting . itself
in being the ground, and,,· not·.· being behind...or
o'vertheresto,;f real. tty., and the kun~gzhi~,

rnam~shes. (alaya,,,,,yiioana,.) which is thefle,rst",

step in ,thedi-rec,tion,o,;f, concep·t.l1a-l,lza,tion

,and logical construction. 48

4'7. See .' Nagao Gadj:in, Ibid.. Also, see, Herbert ,Guenther, D!L'
"Revali2:mlg,i,Saraha , (Berkeley: Shambbala, 1973 ) ,p. 32.

48. Gaen,the'r*" Ibid..,.p-~3-2"d £n,.,·1.3·. ,,:rhedGe,,-lu9s~pa,:.·bKa.'''''·'


This opens thequestion,o£,··.w·heether,t.he.· second.·t.ype.·of·

Base ment:ioned>in tbePBD..The, Total Base wllichGather.s the,,·
Many Things, is in fact thei.layaviiiina_ for it is glossed

mentionech" The <PBD·isnotclearon t·bis . po,int, ye't its

staotementt'batt·bls second Base is alleigbt consciousnesses
runs counter to the Yogicara view which puts the'
AlayaviiMna in the eighth or bigbestposition. of


"Me·ani!ngof Existenoe , .is nei t'her .glossed,noraent1oned again

in the·PBD. An. explanat.ion ofits.slgnifi,cance> must awai·t

discovery ofa·>relatedtext tba,t ·d·!scusses .tbese·pointsmore

The PBD both-holds the Base as thefundame·ntal gr.ound,
of all being and begins . itsexpos!,ti·on. ,wi.thadiscQssion·of,

it. The PBD,alsoidentifies·tbe Base. with. the ultima·te

principle of Buddhahood. The question of course follows:
if the Base is BQddhaaood·. as wellasthe< groundo.fall
reality why. are no,t· alll,iving'beiogs.. alre·adyenl:igh~ened.·

brgyud·-pa, and "rNy,ing,..,ma,..,pa ·.·are ..schooIs . of . Tibetan,· Buddbis'lIh",

ThePBD belon9stothe.rNyi·n9~ma,..,pa. s c-hool. See thist·hesis
p.• 16.


At the' beginning '" of. chapter .. seventeen o£,the PBD the:

:Lord 'o,fSecretsreques'bsa,n·explanatlon·for delusion. 1 rOo-

rje 'Chang'" begins .Ilis .. answer wit-b.·the ··£ol·.lo·wi'Rg".·statement:

Son of Hable.. Fami·Iy,. listen wel1J The,
Base is unchanging.. ···.· It, ·1s primordial,.
:..Buddhahood. It is tbeBlessed One"tbeGr-eat
rDo-rje 'Chang. Previously it ba,s:ne·ver:,been,
,·deluded. Presen,tly it lsnetdeluded. It is
impossibletba,t· it will,· beoomedeluded.even.
intbe future,. It is like,. for examp.le.,,
vital essence of thesunhav!-ng no basis for
darkness" or·a crystalappearcing. acoordi.ftgto.'
whatever . conditions it meets. w,ith'~i: It
appears by tbepower of its clarity, yet

1 PBD,p.42.

no.tbing adberesto. oreovers .it.

In ethe ,same,way t,he,. pro.found,knowledge
w,bieb does not . fall lntoa direction. is
perfect. Buddbahood·:from,.· the P-rotec·t,i,ve Base
(mgon"",po....gz,hil... I·t, ls.·· fro..,,· thebegi,nning.,
pure ( ka""'us.....daq.,)of . the del-usioD,·.ofkarmic.·
,·tendencies...Where 1s theeonvention of
delusion in the undeluded Buddha?·

However" this" is not realized.. Just as

therels but one sun" bu,t by. t·be· pewerof..

perception. (mt·hgng.....,bal a separa,te sun'· for·'
each area appears,. so· there is but··one·.self...,
awar;:eness wbich· appea·rs as thepluralltyof
both samsara, , and.; ni.r.valla... Just as.campbor.·.
appea·rs . as;· Ebothl.medicine"andpoison,thau9h,
tbere.·.·.is. ··no.· ·div,isi.on~ . ·In··· -it betweenmedi·eiae.
and. poison,*", ·thenon~ual. . Great·."Appe.arance·,Q-f··

the Base· doe·s. not wave::r7fronktbe state, ·o·f

non~duality#bu-t· the.· power of,
[its] quall.ty. The ·quality of appearing. as
pl.ural also beeomesdeluded,.·and. a .qua-lity.·
arlses·asacfault. 2
Tb;is "passage. points, out . tha-ttheBaseremains . thesame-
-whether . "an ·i·nd·ividual.·has ,·en·lightened awareness or is

2 PBD,p.• 42.

deluded. The·. Base,,. conceived of· dualisticall'y, can'be

div idedinteitsesseneeand",its, appearance. Bot:h e fthe,se

ar:eintrinsicallypu~e,oif'a,lldefilemen~t"and"jdeluslon" yet,'

this is not. understoodand,living,;beings,co,ntinue, in the:

state of delusion.- In this ease the Base, which is the

'ground o-fallreality,hasbecome dualistically concei.ved on
accoun-t oftbe. defilement,s, of, a,ttachme-nt.. , a,versloft;"etc..
The essence' of tbe·se defilemeftts is tbe"subjeet~bjec.t'

,b,ypost4bi zation of reaIi ty , ,t·he essential dual i tyfr,om ·,which

all otber,du'al&ty ,comesfortb..

In.. its opening.,. statements, on the Base tbe:. 'PBD

['.l'heBasel becomes obscured. by such things:

as ignorance,<- :perve,rse views .. ,. fa.tthl,essness,;,-·

and laz'iness, but is free from, ,the, faults o£
,the,.ex,tre'lI\esof,pe,raanencea'nd cessation, ,the

extreme-s:· of existence- ' and non""'8:xistenoe-~,

eoarseawa,reness, andsub:lect -obj,ect

(dual,ity) . 3
This poin;t bas·, been ,'- expressedvery-cl-early. ,by Namkhai ,'. .,.

,Norbu,inh-j"sexpo,sition of the Great Perfectien,DlI.,Crystal

awl··~ lWtu.,Ligbt: .
It Is called, the Basebeeause,itls there<
,from·· the very beg inn,lng, "pure and se1 f-

perfected· and, " does· no,t ,have to be

construc!ted,. It exis,ts in·; every being" . a.Ad,.,.

',cannot<,be'destroyed, tboQgh the experience ·of
it is. lost wben.abeing,;enters in-to daalism".

It is thea temporarily obscured .'. by the

iateraction of the,.nega,tive, mentalsta,tes . 0£
the Passions', of:,.attaahment"and··,aversion thact

objecti.fiedas a self-ex,istent ·, it is a
.state, or condition ,of being .4
These statements point out the role played. by-. the
defilements of ,attractioD,.> &versio-n,.. !gnora,nce" etc·. in

the Base, is beyondall,·,·def·ilemen,t,how.can·,d,'t be <,the: basis·

..,' ,upon,wh.!ch,de··f:llement is established.

basis of defilement... ThePBDteaches that there are three

bases. of. defilement:,.·· ··1) Reality (.ghos"",pyid),'., 2,lTbe . · ·mind,·,· .
(UU) ,and3 ) Thebedy.{1Y.§.). Tbe·first of ,these refers in

,particular to the objective sphere, 5 the second t.a· a.wareness

(r.1g"",p9) "and t,beth!rd to the five lights. 6

4 Namkha,i.Nt>roo, ~,Crys,tal 5lD!l·tbs.Iiut·· .g,£. ,Ligh!, (New;·

York : Routledge &,KeganPaul ,19·86), p. 57.

5 PBD,p.43 ..

6 The :five, lights are ,.. azure.,·red,.·.white, green,;, ,aDd, .,. y<&I.10w"o'

The PBDexpla.ins,thesui,tability of these three bases,

forbeinq'bases·of delusion in these words:

Reality is fit to be the basis· for

delusion ('khEul ~gz.bll of tbe obj,ective

sphere,·'for ,without awareness i t appears as a

materialtbing,..A,wareness is fit to be' the
basis for delus!onofthe· mind)' for,mere,
awareness . . has parrtiality.. The five lights

are fit to be tbebasis· for delusion ,of the,;

boay,for, they M,ve, tbe,pa,r.tiali,ty of·colo,r

and sbape. 7
The way tbat:these,.bases for de-l,us,!o,n, ",are , developed,

·,1nto deluslon ,itself . is.·e,xplainedas follows:

1) At first: reali.ty is empty,. witbou·t

aspects. -At the .ql'asping,

conceptt1'alization, and" '. tendenc1e,s swell

forth,., . These appear as lfthey were
,essenceless.Tbis is ,taugbtastbebasis for
deluslon,o,£tbe ·,ob:ject,.

2) At fir st awarenes,s £1 lokers ( 'qyus}

In., the ··middle.·, '.

Theirrelat.ioftsbip-, "t&,the':body, ·and, ,to,. the "fivewisdomsi,s

.'. discQssed<inttlisthesis-onp .121 .

7 PBD., p,.4,4,.

towar,ds···tbe· lum,j"ne,scenee·.· is,/born,., ,At ·thee,ad"··

<,theme·fttatlon o·f. the mind (sems-kyi-vid)
flickers. From, this men'tal conce,ptions
-(sems,.,..rtog ),ar ise i:nplural i ty. This teaches

tbe, Dasis for de·lusia,n, oitha mina.·

3) At.,.' firs,t, ,awareness;, >ari,ses fro., ,s,pace, ,
(kl,onq)., Intbemiddle,reali,ty arises in
space. At the end. the ·ma,terialpsycbo,.,...,

physical constituents, CskaMbasl ',of ,form,,'

,appea,rbe·cause,o,fthetendencles towards this
(reality}. This teaches, the ··ba;s!s '. for
delusion ,of the body. 8

Al"ltbree of .these anal'yses areexpressions-of-howa·-

1 ivi·ng:beingaeparts,frolft-·the,spber.e,of pure be ing;through,/
the igDO,rance.of duallstie,conceptions.•" This delus'ionmay.·
take as its object reality, . the m-lnd,;, or the,body,
such. . these are the base,s of ignorance;·., ,Prom,,· tbisbasi·c,

ignorance, ··a,ll. c.ondltio,ned ..,existenae,including,.,our tempora,l","

·w,orldand, ,the .sentie,ntbeingsthat live in it, -are fOl:',med.
The procea·sby wh,ich.the worlais .for,med·or, created is
alsodisonssedln ,the ·PBO .T'hepassage i·nquest.ion
describesi·'how,··, reali:ty·isatfir·st. pure.bu,ttben,: 'beoomes,,
obsculTed· due.: ,··to obJectHiication,·· conceptua,],:.izat,ton, ,. and,
,graspi,ng.Jl'he ,;passage,readsas

I, (rOo-rde' '." Chang:}, will explain- the,"

cause (of del:u·sionJandthecondition ·of the'

'cause (·of··.,(jel·usion)·. The cause is···u,nhi:ndered
awar·eness;. The· condition, . is. empty,reali·ty
(chos~nyid,...stqn9, Aw.areness, . the'

characteristic of.' the Dharmakaya" is

emptiness. inse·parable. . from awareness,
unobstructed pro,fGund...knowl.eage··•. , ··T,he.. ·.aeure., . .

·,·white, .r.ed, .yello,w,andgreenhold,iad ividual

characterlstics-.· .', Pure real tty, .. wbicb",abides:
lnit5Gwll cause, is ,seen·&imirror.The
five. arisings. of w,isdom".,(¥e-shes,....tb¥UAq~!

1DS8;> 9. arise like·ara·inbow"j;,n·the,sky.

In tbe, next momeRt, theas.pec,ts of· the.
i,ma9ination,.. (dmiqs~..,.pa,)· appear as an.. object.
Conceptual',i:zati&Dcomesfor·th. by grasping·. to
··thecondit·lon (o.·f, emptyrealit.y J. • • .
At this moment the.·.f,!ve natu· lights
cannot be clear due to the discursi;ve
cencept·ualizations of subject and object.
The·, four continents·, Ht •. Meru·, and the····
.·ands.appear, like chunksa·f· ice on. a
lake < or Ch'il'llk:s,· af.·scum-,aD".yogurt., by. imeans·
0,£1' tendencies towards·· the. five image·s.····

( gzugs~brnyan)· The egg.· of the world, 10

froit, trees, medicinal [herbs}, ·.flowers and
forests are born in the; potency of these,

and·· wa,rmth. In tbis.. way tbevessel of the'

world [·enters].·· a different .aeonafte.r the',
intermediate aeon.· [The worldlis bor·nfram,

·knowledge .
The e99 of the· wo,;,l,d,..·.. whiah., has. t·he
ident.ity; of tllafive elementis' (of earth;,
water ,fIre, wind, and spaoe) is ..icmpure. The

That which has the ident.tty· 0'£ both
·at·tachment and aversion o·fthe
,body. 11

The PBD·, also discuss,esthe way sent.ien,t,beiog.scome

·,fortbin tAe"wor 1<1 :
Just as .. w100 f1 ickers through t,he empty·
sky ,..the, greatwindo·f themlnd (w,>eourses
everywhere.• By the.· engagement. of· the,eyes
the egg.· of the world is perceived .. · By the

10- For a descr·1ption.'·of,the,-.e99tO£ ,theworld",see.Namk.b§,j..",

.',Noirbu, ,·.iU.·Crys·ta1 ud.'~. .1H g.i.'Ligbt,QR.,sa:t.. ,..p.60.
11 PBD.,pp. 48... 49,.

engageme:nb· Q'f the mind" the egg,o£ the world,

is well.· and,··beautifully understood. Bytbe

. ", G.£the face the mind 0'£ attaohment

dwells inooniunctlon w:ith,the<·mlnd.

Sentient beings ripell.a,tthe,:rootto both

male and female.· Fromthefonr (types of 1
birtbs.,12 this is the, egg. born•.

In the Base the five psycho':"'"physical

constituents 1 3 are establi'shed,ln:, the five'
great eleme,n,·ts. The 'aspect of . the five"

[elementsl whieh. comefromthe,sapport.. [o·r

Base] is compl.ete,; .so the .psycho-:,pby·sical .

cO.nstituents;, the sense bases,. and the

elements14 areestabl lshed. They are kno.w-ft'··,
.'as tbe son·s' of ".men and ..f,r-iends·o.fmen .

12 The four· types. . of birth,. are: 1 ) Eggebor.n ,.such, as

birds; 2)Womb-born, such as humans; 3 ) Adventitiously-born,
such as insects (wbichare believedtoar isef-romthe>dus·t);
and. 4 ) . M'iiracu 1'0 asl,y-oorn·" such as incarnate- Buddhas,,' who -
·appear . ·.drirectl·y.. tn't:<he ·wo,r1'8 without··· ,any normal" "birth. II

13 Tbe, five ps,yoho....physicalconsti,tuentsare: 1) . . Form,

CrUpal, 2) Feel-lngs (Vedan'il,3lPercePtions~)',4¥
Impulses, (sa,sklra handSl Consciousness.(yij2:dl., See
Th,. Stcherbatsky,. IU,;' .··.·.CentralCopqeptioD .. _g,t Buddhl,smi
(Oelhi.:Hotilal.Bana·rsidass,19'70) ,.pp. 6-7.

14· Tlle .sense bases .··.elvatana,) a,re,." the.·-· cognJ.tive. faculties:

and thelrob:Jects. Theelements(~)aretheslxsense
faculties.. the sixob:Jectsof the·se faculties, and the six
;>consc.iousnesses.See <Stcherbatsky, ib14,p. 6-10 •

The untor-·men,ted, g·rad.uall.y. becomes the,

are bad. At last [they] touch the abode. of

Avici(hell) .15

These passages show that from tbe-point.,o£view·of thee

come into existence with tbearising,,-o£the defilemen:tso·£ .-

attachment . and aver·sionwhich hav-e ignorance- at. the-irroot.

Thus both the experiencersandobiectsof experience that-
consti:tute" inauthentic being.. are the -resalts, of-a, bas.ic
del us ion > whose ·-bas,ia - na.bllreis thedicbotomi.-zing,.ofreal i ty--

aversion -towards this. bi f_ureated-·reality.•-

The PBD' does not leave off- its anaIy,s,is of delusion
with these passages,. but a,lso· presents a deeper anal·ysis.of .-

delusion itself.·ln this analysis thePBDdlsc-riminatestwo

sorts of delusion: ];) Co-emergeRt. ignorance (lban....G.lq~

skyes.. ..,pa,'i-ma...,riq--pal 16 , and 2·) The igDoranceof fa-lse

15 PBD.,- p.-50. The Avici bel.l-.i-s the lowest of the eighteen

bel-Is of BUdQhilst-cosmo.lo9Y'~ See·Sga~po.-pa#2a. £i.t... ,
16 Saha1a..,.ayidya. This, trans-Ia:tion folloiwin9.-Herbe~t
Guenther, who' says. witb,--.regard.• toco-emergentw'ls,dome,tthe
opposite· of our term): "The literal trans lati-on , of-the
Tibetan.. term Ihap-ciq,...,skyes...,pa, (Sanskrit .sahaia) would· be
'aaemerge-nae ',·and --,as --,such-it -,is expl ained -,by --.Padma --dk-ar -po,
Phyaq-chen - gan..,.mdzod.- •• , fol-s. 29a, ff.. Essenti,all,y - it --
refers to the spontaneity and. total-i.tY -of- the experience in'
which, theapposi·tes --such, as transcendence, and.. imminence"

'U,t,h regard to the first of· these, t,he c:o...,emergent.

ignorance"tbe,PBD, statest . "Theco-emer.gentigllorance . 1-5

born toge·ther wi-tb,· that·. which ··i t comes· from·.- H18: The text

then.goesonto give a clearer explanation of the term:

.I fyou, ask. from wha.t£ei t comes), · i t is·
from the Bas,e Grasping Awareness . .T,f you ask

what andwhatda·rise togetherl, it lsthe co-

emergentwisdom19 andignorance-. If you ask
what lit is}, it is tbat by contrivance there
is ignorance . -toward .. tbe .. space.. o£ .uneolltrived,:

there is, both wisdom, and ignorance,;. whieb., ar,isetogether ,

and that thismome,nt of cogni,tio.nrepresents a·; ·.contrived,or

subject and, object, thenoumenal, and. t·he phenomenal,·

iind'ivislbly,blend.Tbetranslation·of -this term by '1' lnne'
(K. Shahidulclabland,'tbe innate' (D.L.· Snel,lgrove) . is
·,wrong." See~Royal62DaQLSaraha,QQ.. £ll..,p.9n.
17 Thlstransla.tion. following. Nagao, Gadiin who tra·nslates
"the·termparikalpi ta· (Tlb .kup:::brtags )asHimagifla tioa," ·bu t
speci fies'that "',' thi's ·.imag,ina-tion is- always'. fa1s'e,. See. Nagao',
·Gadj,ln:r"'l'.he.,Buddbis,tWorldYiewasEl,uc'ida,ted in ,tlle· Three -
Nature, TbeoJr·y.and·,ItsSimiles ,.-" ~Eastern,Buddtti.s,t,'·New·
Series,. Vol. XYl,No.!; Sprlng"1·983. pp.1-18. See
'espec lal-1 yp. 2.
18, PBD, p.45.

19 See above .p. 82.. fn·.16 .•

20 PBD, pp.45-46.

false intu! tlon, of .tb&real.ity inquest-ion •. ' Th,is coga,it.ion"

comes· from, a grasping., or attaobmen:t' to",tbe, Base. The
PBD of£er,s,·i,tbe ,s,ima..·le,ofa,n,. image, appearing, in a,mi,rror,
wherethemomenttbe object !splacedin ·front o·f the mirror
·the·re,flection also arises .21
With regard·"to . the· second fo,rm of, ignorance, ..thePBD"
The ignorance; of·falseimag,inati.onis OOr-n,.'

in,. subtle and coarseconeeptualizations

toward,· an obj'e.ct. It is in" the.,mannero·!
pJ:leviou.sand· late.r·,moments. 22
This is to say. that with this ignoranee,tbere:'may be a·n
.. awareness of an object whicb is then grasped upon to be some
par,ticular . . . tbing,.bythe .imagination" ,which·, has no .·grasp on
the true reality oftha,t ·thing.
The· term parikalpita.. ,(,false·imagination.) isemplo,yedby
the YogacaEa, , school,ofBuddhism,.··'wnere it ·is, one of·' the··
"tbl"ee·natQres·~ (trisvabMya'hThe· PBD,does, ne-tu,se the
,,(J,tbert-wo ·.termsof·the threenaturetbeoryat any ,point . An
under s,· .o.f .. this.··· term ·.1n. its. tracli·t,!onal·: •Buddllis.t·.-usage
will nonetheless be, . help,ful inga-ining·insig,h,t, this,

term. Nagao.,.Gadj 1-n p.r·esents an excellent . discussion.of this

term-· ' in,. his article•... " The... Buddh·!s·t,,·Wo.rld,..,V·!e'w. ··as.'Eluc1-da,ted···.····

21 PBD, p.45.
22 PBD, p,.. 45•.

nei<thercontaminatednor purifi-ed, but rather

neGtral, ju,st like· the world,; ,·which '. a -
, ,'.

research..." However .. insofar· as·· our

interaction this world occurs directly

reflection or self....consciousness-":'" ·that. is.,

insofar as· we are Doty,et ,enlightened, to' its,

speak of .this· ,world a's a world of the

imagined nature·; it is an imaglnedworld.

Through-.· our ,cognitio,ns, or discriminations"
or intellect" weare. always; projecting some
ki'nd"o'f imagination (which· is always. false

onto the world tha·t isoriginally,neutr·.al.

Thi,s .proj'ection; of.,·falseimaginat.i.on,·ckanges.
o.r"con·taainates"th-e world,thinklngtbat it
is the real world. Thisattachment,gives
rise to all forms of human-, suffering,
discontent,. ,conflict, defileme.nt" and,so,o-n,.,
In short.. this con-taminatedwarld to which",

, -
samsara,whicb, the, Budd,ha declared ·tobefull

of suffering. Theimagined'iworld,· then,

appears upon the .' change,· .conversion,· or
ttlltAabo·ut·of·· theworldfrom·"a· neutral·, pure,,t..ed.. ··s tate . to an· '. impu're,,.·imaq.ined,, ..

>co·n.taminated state. 23
These two sorts of del us·ion·, are held by the PBI) to be·
the cause·ofall concH tio,ned,·e.xistence, anil i,n part,icu,l·atr.
the· failure .to, intuit the Base in its true being. From

.these£orms of i<jnoranceallthe deflle'ments·comefo.r.tb.,the

mater'ial, world andthe,,switbinit arise, andsu£fering;·
ensues. ",,theless, ~I9noranceis 'Dot ,re,al,but is
expe'rien.t,iallyexistent. ,,24

Theaat ····of, going. beyond ,this ignorance" of." in.tutting.,

reality"i:nits primorcUa,l.purity" is. te,r.medr'.by thePBD,
"rec09ni,tion"(ngo~spr;odl. Before entering. a 01scus·s1on·"",0£·
recognition' ia, t'he ,PBD.,.boweve,r '" it, will be helpful to

elucidatetbePBIl:'::s views on the. na·ture of, .tbeBuddha" ·of·

wisdom,," and,of . the path. This discuss,ion will lay a
fr,amework· from, whichthe·,PBD' s s'tatements, . . . Oft ·recogni.tion·'··
will·be . more ··full y,under s toad.

23 Nagao Gadjin, ga.£it..."p,.,.3 ..

24 PBD; p.46·~.·

The' , a Buddb.i,s.t···text,,, yet up·.te tbe-present.··tbe:re'

has been, almost no mention, of the Buddha"illc:thls thesis '+
'T-hewo-rdWA."has"however "occurred in v'ar ious ·.,quotations I
have madefrom··the.PBD." This section' of tbe the.sls will be
devoted to an explanation"o,fthePBD·'s,. understanding of· the.,
.,Budd'ba andw,ill also ,cla,rify the,word,ma,.

There. is a close in,teJrrelationship.. between, thePBD',s.

",understanding ·o·f·Buddhaand of.wa,. ·Befor·etbis·connection

isdiscuss,ed.. however., it will be useful to disctlSS the,term that it 'may be properly understood. a. Sanskroitword, andis··translated iDtothe,
Tibetan,as~•. l Inh!s Buddhist. Hvbrid·Sanskrit9J.ctionanr·
Franklin Edgerton defines &W,. as "body, H and provides

understandings of the term that designate it as both the

1 Loke'sh Chandra, ,po 129.


body of a person and the body· of a group ,of per.sons or

things, i.n w.hich case,· he. recommends,.the terms "mass~"

"bundle,,'. or o~group.... 2 He also points out. that this term is

used in .the Buddhist technical terms Dha,rmakaya,

Sambbogakiu,andeUrmipak'lya. 3

Na9ao' ·Gadj:·in·,in··.·his. ·.exce1:1ent:,study ·.onthe . history. ··and>

mean'1119·;o,£.. the. te.rm.. kiya.. ·"On,·the Theory o,f, "the·· Buddha".,.B0dy·

Hany other
····'authors .·:·and ·trans·lators .·.fo,ll,ow this·t-ransIa·tion as·,well. I-n

the trans·}a'tlon.of Tibetan"t.ex;ts the word. "body" is often·

used asa ,·transla·tionforthe worduy'."Thlsterm "&!l is in
Tibetan the, honorific term for the ward "lu.r. wh·i:,cb.doe.s ·in·

fact mean "body."STheword "body" is no.t~ howeve.r, a.n~

adequate. translation . of either. the' 'l'ibe,tan H!!' or the
Sanskrit~. HerbertGuentherco.mme,nts ··that "the'l'ibetan
term .~ alway,s,··impl,ies·.·the,··.dy,nam-ic., .character·· .of··· belng.····andi.,·,

ex lstlng;thestaticaspectof' body '.is ter:med1,wt. ,,6 This

statement strikes right at theheart·of· the; difficulty of

adequately translating UJl... The problem becomes, compounded·

2 Franklin Edgerton,. Buddhist Hybrid, Sanskrit Dictionary

(Delhi: ,MattIa! ··Ba'narsldass,1977), p.177.
4 Nagao. Gadjin" " 'l'heBuddha.....bod.y," QQ.. . w..
5 H.A. Jaschke', A. 'l'ibetan...English Digt.ionary,.. (London,:'
Routledge & KeganPaul Ltd ... 188l),·p.21.
6 Herbert Guenther,. %IlstRoyal..~. Q;i Saraha:,(Berkeley:
·,.Sha-mbhala,:il973J i\p.:5"Rote .' 4.

when~ ·ls:comblnedwithothertechnicaLterms,toformthe

words 'chOS~sku, CQharaaki'ya), 'longs~sku" CSambhQ.gaMya )" .and

sP£ul..,.sku fNirmavaki:ya'h..Nagao . Gadjin, .. translates these
terms ."Dharma.,...body," "Enjoyment".,body," and,."Transforma,tion.,...
body" respectively.7 Tulku Thondup Rinpoche ,translates
these terms, "Ultimate body," "Enjoy,ment· body," and
"Manifesting,,body •. " 8 Herbert. Guentherr., on" ,the other .hand,
uses the terms "noetic being," "communicative· being, "a·ad'

Each of these translations of §kJl or w.a has,

advan-tages ··anddisadvantages. The striking, point, to be
no·tedhere is that ,there is no consensus as to how .the ter,ms

should be translated. This is in part, due to the lack of

te,rms :In,''Englisbthateasily lend themselves to encompassing
the, meani,ngs, of, the Sansk,rit and Tibetan, te,rms. Herbert
Guen,ther" '., in. ~,'.'L.i.f.I.. , sm4·.·Teaching21 Hargpa., has opted to
translate the Tibetan term" Hll,·a,s "kaya. "10 He also
translates the connected ·.··technical, terms,men,tioned above
into, the<ir Sanskr it equivalents. He does not italicize
these Sanskrit words, for they are used as the, work,i'neJ,,

7 HagaoGadj,in., gg..£i.t.
8 Tulku ThondnpRinpocbe, 2Q.w.., P.273-279.
9 H. Guen-ther,. Saraba. p. 5 note 4 •
10 Herbert Guenther, ,~,. L1a.. ·smsl·feacbing, ·2Llaropa...
(·London:,Ox4:ordUniversity ·Press, 1963).

vocabulary of his study. For my pre,senta,tion. ·of .' the.PBO,L,

have determinedthat.tbis is the best course to take, for it
avoids the difficulties inherent in eacho·f the.possibl-e
.. "Englis,btranslatlons ,and allows the reader to develop his or

her own compJ!'cehension of the true meanings· of the,se·tel'ms.

ThePBO speaks of the Buddha as being, or havin9"two,
kayas" (sku-gnyis) or "three kayas lf (sk!1~gsuml.·. The. two·
kayas referred to are the Oharmakaya (chos-sku) and·, the

Rupakaya, (gzugs-sk u). The three kayasmentioned are thei'

are not actually separate groupings. lnthe PBD,i for the
·RuPakayao£ the two kaya system is actually the Sambhogakaya

and Nirmanakaya.-of
. the three -kayasystem•
under·stood in.<tha,t, . theDhar,malGi'ya.,is thepu,r,e, noe,tic,. and·

uDlllaAi:fest aspect, "of Buddhahood"wbile the twa Rupaki'yas are

man.ifest.aspects .o£<Buddbahood •. ,. . The 'difference ,between the'

two '. Rupakayas 1s that the. Sambhogakay,a. manifests only to

accompli.shed spiritual beings or Bodhisattvas (Bel.ngs of·
Enligh:tened.,'MincU while the Nirmanakaya,
. manifest·s in the
'mate-rial warld tanarmal 1 ivlng beings.
The PBD's discusslon.oftheBuddhais therefore found,
initsenameratiGn and clari fica·tiono·f thethreeJ{i"yas. In
my analysis of, this discussion I will first prese,n~ the
PBD's defi'n·ltions of the threetta'yas, then I w'illdiscuss
some of the, terminologyc ·the,PBDuses, i,n rela,tion·to the

thre.e kayas, a,nd,.finally 1,.' will .present.. a,· detailed account,


of each of the kayas according to the PBO's statements on· \

<these points .
In chapter" tbirt·y-fouroft.he PBD tbeLord', of Secrets
requests an explanation of the, three kayas from" ,rDo"",rje

,'Chang.rDo-",r;e 'Chang's answerbeginsasfo11ows:

The essence of the Dharmaka·ya 1s profound
knowledge which does not fa111nto pa,:-tia1ity
and ,. is non~dual.

The, essence
Character is.tic Grasping-Wisdom,clea,rand

The essence of
.U<ftbi'-ftderedcompass ion.
The definition of the Dbarmakaya is
,pervasiveness and non-support (ma-rten~pa) .

Thedefin·itio·n of·,the Sambhogakaya is the

enjoyme,nt,·" (sambllogalof., the., pure ,realm: 'and of thereti,nue.

Thedefini:tion·of the Nirmanauya is, that
unhindered 'compassion man,ifests. (nlrmina)· as
many things. It is the Nirmanakaya

because!t abides for a short while .. It is
the Nirmanakaya because it appears. in

accordance (with ,theworldl. It 1sa1so, the

[fo·rmsl.· 11 .
The Buddha, is often referred to as the Blessed, One
fBhagayan) ,·,bothi'D the,P,BOand in ,the ,Buddhist tradition in
general. The Sanskrit word Bhagavapistranslated into

Tibetan as bcom~ldaD,~'das. 12 This;T1betanword has three

syllables, which me'an.· 1 iterally "defeat" (~).,

"possession" (ldan), and "transcendence'" (~.>. Chapter

thirty-seven ofthePBD is devotedteanexplanat'ioBcof the,
,Buddha's ,th,ree kayasbasedon the three....,fold division of the
word, bcom,..,.ltian"..'das.
,', ,de £.1,81 t10ns .'o·f '. ctheki'yas jus,tmentioned .
. The DhaFmakaya. is unbinde,red· aBd . thus

destroys (~) . the Mara 13 of the Lord of

Death. It has no marks and thus destroys the

Malta. of '. thepsycbo,...physicakconstitue,nts. It,
isnon...dual andtbus destroys,tbeMara of the

passions. It destroys them", by, its very

The ,11fe1e'5s ( sroq,,,..medJ five

11 PBD, pp.70-71.

12 Lokesh Chandra, pigtionary.. ,p.679,.

13 Mara,(Wiwl> is the force ofnega,tivity that attempts to'
prevent,sp1ritual progress andenligbtenment. The,re ar;e
traditionall¥four·~rtas. These·'are:ll The Harao·£the" <

defiltemen·ts<k.l;eU,..,.m'lral!2) T'heMara ,0 f the psycho-physical

constituents (skandba~mlral, 3) The Ha1"a·,o£ the Lord ·0£
Death (mrtyu-mira); and 4> TbeDevaputra".,:Mfra,. or
anthro.pomorpbici zed "Evil One'. " See F. Edgerton,
.,0 ictionary, . p .430 .

(Sambhogalkayas, destroy the Narao·f the Lord

of· Death. Wisdom ,is an, il,lusion, and tbus

destroys the Mara of thepsyoho-.physical

cons t i tuents. The mind, ( BIJl§.) without,,tio'D destroys . the· Mara of,

"passions ano, the ,Deva.putra ,Mara.

The intuition,··· of·. .the, Hi,rmanakaya,,, of

adamantinebe·ing' spur.posefu1ness destroys

the Mara of the defilements and, 1 ikewisetbe,

.Devaputra Mara. •

The Dbarmakaya is the Wide Door· of Quality

and ).tbuspossesse,s .. (~) the,f.iv.ewisdoms1,4

and two lRupa lkayas. The. Sambhogakaya.

possesses. the marks a,nd., seaondac.y. marks., I t

possesses the inspirat.ion o,f the fiv·e·

wisdoms. It pO.ssesses the. sixdbarmaso£

'supernatural . perception. 1'belH,rmi'nauya

possesses miracles andmag'ic •.

The Dharmakaya transcends (~) all the

extremes,. Tbe,Sambhogakaya. tra'Dscends

subject and objec,t, the ,dhat;.mas ,ofsamsa,ra,.,

The Ni,r,ma,akay,a. possesses. great, profound"

knowledge,. 'and co,mpassionate. means,,. .and" thus

does not abide in .and transcends thee~tremecs

1.4 The fi,ve· wisdoms are discussed in· this .,thesis. ·on·, ,p.l'12ff.

of both samsar,aandnirvana. 15
The word "Buddha," is rendered sangs-rgVa,s in
Tibetan. The syllable sang,s,mea,ns,toremoveor clear away.

The syllab.lergvas . means to expand'" eropenupi.,16 ThePBD,·

presentsthe<,threekayas in relation to these two terms that

makeup "Buddha,":
The Dhar.makaya. removes (sang.s) all the
dharmas of, marks, which ap.peardual,istically.
It expands ( rgvas) . the self-clear ·non,,-,dua,l
'wisdom. ,The ·SambhogakayaremQves the dha,rmas
of samsar,a'.' '. It, expands. omniscience and the
greater good quality of the Dharmakaya. The
Nirmanakaya,removes all ignorance and

perverse views. It removes samsaraand
deluded . appearance. It expa-nds profound
knowledge, skillful means, ,a,nd, compassion. 17

Another analysis of the three kayas i,s with refer,enee

to their .purity.
The', Dharmakaya,in.'its-esse,ntia.l.i.t,y is;non~,

defiled. The Sambhogakayais pure of·.. the

defilements of what can be known, (shes-bya).

; The.,.N.irmanak'ay,a is ; pure ·ofthede,filements of

15 PBD, pp,.76.-78.

16 Jaschke" Qictionat:v ... p.571 & p.10-9-. '.'

17 PBD.,p. 77.

the obscurations [.of attachment;~ aversion,

19nora·nce, etc.) .18

The'se are .. the,definitions·of the, thr,ee,o)tiayas.fou'nd"in·

the' PBD. The PBD's usage, of these. terms willnew··be

,elucidated so that the k'ayas,Rlay be better understood.

The first defin,ition·of tbe,·Dharmakayapresentedabove,

was that it .is "profoand, knowledge.that,.does no·t .fal·1,· into

par,tiality'8nd isnon-dual." In the discussion of the Base,

under the divisions· of ,. the existential, mode·of. the Base and

the Great Appearance o,f the Base, the Kaya, of Essentiality

( u.. Sk t. syabhAV,ik.:-kAva)
existential mode of theBase-- w~~/ defined. as "profound,;

knowledge that .does notfallinto,par.,tiali-ty,.. "l~ That"tbe

terms Dharmaka;ya.and:<,Syabhav;i~lda¥aaredefi:.nedidentica;ll.y, ".

might lead,ns" '. to, believe them" identical. I,ndeed.. . Nagao
Gadjin in. his study of the'va,sa,ys ,that these', two

terms" refer ·to the same . tbing .. 2Q Howeve,r, ·the"PB9a,tone,

point defines- tbeDharmakayaastheGrea,t Appearanceo'f the

Bas&.,2l This would indicate that .whiletbeSyabhaviki,Jt'iya,
is the existential mode afthe Base the Dharmakaya is the

Appearanceaf the Base., The,PBD isnotrconsistent 'on· this

18 PBD., p .. 78.

19 See this thesis, p.67.

20 Nagao . Gad,j,in, Buddha-"k.a<Ya., .p .. 31.,

21 PBD" .p.,56.

poin,t, however, for Dharmakayais g,1ven. asa synonym for the

Base in its non-dual aspect as wel1. 22 ThePBD clarifies
the issue' to somedeg,ree in, stating that "at the time. [the
Dharma·kaya] is not ··in.taited it is the Kaya of Es.sentiality.·
At the time of intuition it is exactly the Dharmakaya. ,,23
This statement ." is help·ful,- but also obfuscate·stheissue
further, fortbe K'aya of· Essentiality astRe existe:at1al
mode of the Base is not subject todelusion~ The ··PBD· is'

.thereforenot conslst-entorclear regarrdingtbe relationship

of the - -
Syabhayikakaya and the· Dbarmak'i'ya..
On many occasions throug·bout t·he text the ·PBDspeaks of
"The DharmaJta:ya.- of self-awareness" (rang~tig~cho§:-sku). On

one occa-sion self,...,.a·wareness (ran9:-ri9') and the Dharmakaya

are said to be identical. 2.4 "Self-awareness" is a very
literal transla,tlon for the Tibetan word rang-rig. This
translation presents. the, , r 1sk tha,tthe, word. may be

correct. "Self-awareness~1 refers. toself-referen;tlal

awareness, awareness which·· is not directed toward an· object
but rather is aware o·f i tsown,beingaware. This is not the

same as introspective awar,eness in tha,t,· introspect!ve

22 This ·thesis, p.60.

23 PBD, p.99.

24 PBD, p.157.

makes· them.i.tsobject.The· '. term;."self~refe,rential aw,areness"

·'m·lg·ht be used to translaterang,..,rig, yet I have preferred to

stick as close to· the Tibetan.ternk&s-,po:ssible despite the
,risk·ent-ailed. r,t is hoped t·hatfalse understandings of the

term· ··may. be prevented by thepres.ent explanation.···

With regard to therelationshlp. bet-v'een the three'
ka,as, the PBD holds that they are neither identical nor
different. 25

between. ,the tbreek'i'yas wblchtbe PBDdescrlbes as·follows:

The Sambhogakayais multiplied through the
Dharmakaya" and· this is taugh,t to be the



The .,forty-two Sambho.gakayas are

transformatioDsof, the. light (' od,..,'g,yur)of

the Dbarmakaya. From their speech. the

playful Nirmanakayas explain the

characteristics· [·of.realityJ,-inciUviduallyto
thes ix di.sciples. 27

25 PBD, p:.102.

26 PBD, p.75.
27 PBD, p.69. Theforty,.,..two ·Sambhogakayas are, discussed· in;.
this thesis. onp. The. six disciples are· the disciple·s
of the six,classes>oftemporal,exlstenceo~·The gods.. MU.tas",

The PBD presents a divisiono·f the three kayas that

will be helpful incunderstanding the relationships between,

them as well as to clarify the <PBD's own view of the three

kaya'S. 28 This division divides each of. the threek~as' in

turn into three more> kayas. Thus for the Dharmakaya, there,

are .the- Dharmakaya,...,Dharmakaya" the Dharmakaya,-Sambhogak'l"y-a ....

and the Dharmakaya,-Nirmanakay,a.•. · For the Sambhogakaya there

. are the. ··Sambhogakaya"",Dharmakaya, the ' Sambbogakaya,-

and, tme .Sambhogakaya...Kirmanakaya, ..

N:irmanakaya ., there are the Nirmanakaya-Dharmakaya,.
• •
Nirmanakaya-Sambhogakaya, and

The PBDdoes not provide elucidation of" all nine af these

kayas, but, describes most of them,., The description is as


The· Dharmaki'ya-Dharmakaya' is awareness

free from, .al1· identifica,t ion·. The

Dharmakaya~Sambho9a'kaya is awareness· wl,th

unhindered;, knewledge (mk,hyen...,.pa), oithe k'aya;

of profound'" knowledge,. The Dharmakay·a-

',N.l,~manakaya is, thef1vekayas,whicbappear to

disciples. These. are.·. called,··the,·,

essence, true nature, and,compassion. They

humans, animals., hungry ghosts, and: hell beings. See 8g8m'"":

.'. pO.-pa, Jewek.Qp,oamept.pp. 55-74.

28 PBD,'p.70.

are also called the three, kayas·wllich, abide

in the Base.
The Sambhogakaya.,.,.Sambhogakiiya,ls the four
. . {Buddha) ,families. ,The Sambhogakaya-

is the male and

Bodhi,sattvas. These are called the

,threekayas setout in,aspects.
The Nirmanakaya-Dharmakaya,
. is the fou,r"

[Buddha] The
.Sambhogakaya is the, "male and female
Bodbisattvas. The NirRnaki."ya-Nirmanakaya is
• •
the I i9ht., rays of compassion. These,'

are called the threekayas, which bring forth

compass·ion,•. "'. They are also. called the

three' kayas which subdue living. beings. 29
This description' defines, all nine kayasexcept, the"

Sambhogakaya-,.Dharmakaya., The· four Buddhafami,l,ies",will ,be'

discussedshortl,y. For the pr,e·sent it should be na.ted ,that,
the four, Buddha",£amilies (rlqs...,.bzhi,). ,·"are an.abbrevia.tion""o,f,
the five' Buddha ,fam.11ies (rigs.-lnqaJ,the di,fference< being'

that in the four family system. the central, figure of

Vairocana and his family are disregarded. The Buddhas which
are the lards of these five Buddha families· are the ' five
kayas which" appear to d,tsciples., This,allaws,presentation

29 PBD,.pp.70-71.

of a· diagram . sbowing.,.·the·.. relationshoips·.betwee,n.· these nine

kayas. For the. sake of space Dharmakaya is shown as "D,"

D-Il. . .............
0-8. .

D-N:.. • • • S-S. . . . . . N-D . .

. . • . S--N. N-8. .
8-8 • .

This table shows, that there is an overlap between.

the three kayas as they are subdi,vided···,i,nto their nine
levels. The pos.ition.of., the. SambhogakayarDharmak8ya,· has

been·determ:inedbypostulating its place .in reference to the

definitions provided. for the other eight kayas • This
.prese.ntation of ,the t·hree kayas as nine ..k'ayas is helpful for
seeingitheinterconnectedness of thethreekayas, yet it is
anI y inthisnl,ne-kayapr-esentat ionthat t,hed! f,fer-enti-a·tton
is used in the PBD.. In the general body of the text the

threekayas are not presented in this way. This introduces

the d'ifficul:ty, that a refer· the Sambhogak'aya, for
example, may ,refer to the .. Dhar.makaya-Sambhogakaya, the
8ambbogakaya·-Dharmakaya,.the Sambh09ak~ya-:Sambho.gak"i"ya.,., the.'

or the Nlrmanak'iya-:8ambhogakaya.

The element ·o·fconfuslonthis creates is not resolved in the

PBO. The" reader mGst simply do his or her best to
iunde:rstandthe··,three ·kayas on .w:hateverlevelthe PBD

presents.thematany ..·particular point.

There is one paragraph. in the PBD whererDo-rj.e 'Chang

gives three of how. .tbeBuddha·s ·fit into
this nine kayasysitem. It reads as .foll.ows:
I, the adamantine· being" . am· the
,D.ha~makaya-Nlr'manakaya. . Thekayas such

as Ma~ju'ri"",amala~garbha are· Sambhagaltaya-
N,irmanakayas... The· six sages·.. (thub'-Ri) such

as dGa'-rab rDo-rje are Nirmanakaya-

This statement info·rms us that ·rDo-rJ·e 'Chang is

manlfestiDgon the. level of the fiveBuddha.fam,1.1ies;wbich'

will·· be discussed shortly. Ma"ju~ri is. known· as .the

Bodhisattva of Wisdom and as such is presented. on· the level
... _...... h
of theSambhogakaya.-Nirmanakaya; the level of Bodisattvas •

dGa',...rab rDo-rje lsthe compiler of the PRO and is also held

to be the sage .for the class of huma,nbeings at the level ·of

the --... ..... ....
.Nirmanak'aya·-Nirmanakaya.• The six sages are· the.
• •
manifestations of Buddhahoodthat appear in the. six locales
of samsaric existence. The six sages, according to the

traditional rNying,.,.ma presentation, are: 1) Indra for the

gods, 2J Thags-bzang.-ris.for tbe asuras.. 3)
the huma-,as, 4) Seng.,.,.ge .Ra~brta,n· for the animals, Sl sGrom.-bu
Iba-' barfo·r thehuRgry ghos ts , and 6) the Dhacma-king¥amafor

the· hel1s. 31 The' PBD replaces. the Buddha Saityamuni w,ith
dGa~ -rabrDo-rie as the .sage for the. huma·ns.This indicates
tbe;primaey·the PBn places. on the first human expounder. of

the Grea,t. Per·fection tradition ove·r the historical founder·

of the Buddhist religion.

In the definition of the three k~yasof-the Dbarmak~ya' '
just mentioned they were described as, the,. "essence, true
nature, and compassion." The PBO elucidates tbispoint by
noting that "the essence (nao-boJ is the Dharmakaya • The
true-nature (rapg-bzhin) is the Sambhogakaya. Compassion
(tbugs-rjeJ is. the N.iI'1lt'anaka:ya.,,3~ These· terms are:· inddturn·,

eluo!dated,as .fol lows :

The essence is unereated, uncontrived,

unadulte·rat.ed," and. na,tural1 y
pure. It is the' great uncompou·ndedwisdom, .
the sky-l ike reality,

subject ,.
(ston9~Da--rdo-rie~chos;-can) the
insubs,tantial .. primordially pure,
penetrating awareness.
The true-, nature is the grea,t wisdom which,

abides in, the Base and is the. five· wisdoms

which grasp characteristics. It is

31 This in.iormation, kindly prov,ided Tibetan ,informant'

Khenpo: Palden Sberab, who is one of . the·mast,deeply learned
native scholars of the rNying-ma tradition living.
-",-,. p -'.. 72 ..
32 PB·O'"- - . '. ' ,

\111billc!lered" "just, as I i9llt is clear in ' the

,(abo,vemen,tioned ) essence.
Compa,ssion ,is in", its vital,essent,itali,ty.",

the fivekayas. 33

This quotation provides an insight into the . Dbarmakaya"

on its ,thr,ee levels. The, five ,wisdoms will, be discussed in,
the followlng ,chapter of this thesis. The fiv,e kayas and
the fiveBuddhafamilies,ofw·bi,ah they are the lords will
,no,woe lnves t igated .
The Buddhas 0.£, the five fami.lies are presented in the
PBD as.Sambhogakaya Buddhas. 34 It has already. been shown,
,however, that the level onwhlch the Buddha families
mani fest' may be e1 ther the Dharmakaya,-Nirmanak'aya, the

·Sambboga·kaya-Sambhogakaya, or the ,Nir.manakaya.,...Dha.rmakaya .

The PBO describes the ,Sambhogakaya as the ffking,ofkayas,,,35
for, it is the Sambhogakayatha,t actua.l,ly initiates the

dlssemina·tionof theteaoblng on the highest possible level.

The Dharmak,aya is unmanifest and. beyond interaotive

processes .' The N-i,rmanakay,a·mani·fests ,·intheworld", and as

such conforms, wi th the I imitations inherent" in wor Idly

existence, thoug·hit is capable ofmiraculo\lsactivity,. It

is the Sambhogakaya that is both manlfe,stand completely

33 PBD" p.72.
34 PBD" p.,6,4.
35 PBD, p. 65.

be,yond liimitatio,ns.
The PBDdescrib&s the origin of ,the Sambhogak;aya as
The space (klang) of the indivisible
reality and Dharmakaya islknown as 1 The,
Dense Array of Purity. 36 The five vessels
Cbum"",pa) of self-luminescent wisdom appear as
unhindered sprouts (myu""9u ),. The five
appearance's of pure reality, the azure,
white, yellow, red, and green complete "the
unmixed' clear wisdom, (ma.,..'dres-9sal-ba' i.,

~). The five kayas , are ,realized from,',

amongst ,these five. They abide, in the five

(places·], four' di:rections and the.:
center. 37
Tbi-s passage.: informs ustha;t, from· the Dharmakaya, in its

indivisible connection with reality the five self.,..

luminescent wisdoms come fort,h. These five wisdoms manIfest

as light. of the, five colors. The five Sambhogaklyas come
forth as manifestations of this luminosity. This passage

makes apparent the importance of the five wisdoms in

understanding the lord,s, ofthefi:veBuddha,faml1ies. A full

36 The Dense Arra.y 0'£ Purity is the name, of a"Buddba.,..,fleld

w·here the· SambbQgakaya becomes apparent... See Bod-rgya'
'" .Tshis::mdzodCbeft-po, Vo1.2,p.l103.

37 PBO"p.S9.

discussion· of the nature of the·· five·· wisdoms· and their

relationships- to the five Sambhogakaya Buddha,s follows in,

the next chapter . At this point I want to ,draw atte,ntio,nto

the final statement in the above quotation, that; the five

Buddhas abide in tbe fou·r directions and the center.

"The four directions and the center" is a reference to
the posltions in the mandala or interactive matrix. Each of
the f!.ve Sambhogaki'ya·Buddbasabidesi,n, one position of this

mal}9al,a. 38 The ·PBD devotes. f1vecha,pters,toadescri,ption.of

this mangala in all its,aspec·ts.• 39 The mandala in its
•• ••
entirety contains forty,...two figures, which are referred to
as the forty-two Sambhogakayas. 40 The space available .does

38 The five tathaga·tas, the. lords ·of . the five Buddha" families,'
,are not a creation of the Tibetans, but are found in the
earliest Sanskrit Tantric literature. They are mentioned in
the Sidhanamila (Baroda: GaekwadOrie·nta·l Series, 1968)1n
the Kurgltulla-s'idhana by Indrablmt~i,'wbi,cb··li's,ts·.thefi;ve;
Sambho'9ak~ya;Buddbas, jus,t;as· does .tbe"PBD.;,The Arapachaoa""
sadhana 1n the Si'dhanamalaalso speaks of the five
ta th~gatas, but considers them eminations, 0 f Manju,'r LThe
GUhyas4ddhi ,by Padmavajra ment;ions the; five Baddhas,'bu,t
, ~~:~~~~=~:n~.) n::':bhy;~e§)a~:t:~e~:a~~:::b::~a,~~ .~~s~;:,:
(Amitabha l,and 5 Kulad'ya(AmoghasiddhihTbe Jnanasiddbi"
;bylndrabhut,i (foundin~ Vajrayana'orks,Barada : Gaekwad
Or lenta;l Series" 1922) Ed. by Benoytosh'BhattacharYijlists,
the five tathaga,tas as in. the PBD.The Sahajas4ddhi,by
. -
DombI'heruka (Baroda: Gaekwad Or ientil Series, tl'npubl ished
manuscript l lists these same· five tathagatas under thena,me,
of ~efias (Lords of the Families). ,The Adyayasiddhiof
Lakf,amkaralBaroda: UnpUblished manu~cript\)' Malati',
Shendge,'pr'esentst,hesa.melisto ftathagatas .

39 PBD, chapters 26,...31.

40 See this thesis, p.97.


not allow a full. description ··of th·is ma,qalawith reference

to the- indi,vidual, signifi-cance of each member. I shall
therefore pr.esent the . five Buddbas, whoa,rethe principal
figuresoftbe mal}falaand,the, lords of the five Buddha

famillesaloDg, with the, names and loca,tions o,f the other

members of themaDdala .
The PBDpresentsthe. fivema-in. figures of the mandpla
,. .
as follows:

At the center Vairocana ·faces all· [the

other) four in the·· wisdom ·of all appearance
(kun""snang, . He appears as Ak~obhya,

Ratnasambhava, Ami.ti'bha,. and the great·

Amoghas,iddhi..• His mOOra is held at his own
heart. He holds the identity of· the,five
colors. 41

Furt-her in the .-text the. -name·s·· of -these Buddbas .. are--·

givenwi-th short glosses:

The onett-ayawhich,exists in lumi,nosit.y as
the five kayas is Vairocana. He is
unchaftg,ing, Ak~Obhya;.. He br lngs forth good
qua1itie.s, withou,t partiality., so he is
Ratnasambha-va,.,. ,He· is the, appearance' of. the
force of compassion unstained by faults:
Amitl'bha is the kaya without limit. He

41 PBD, p .. 59.

accomp,lishesthe purpose of self and, others

.without obstructio·n, so the kaya ·of

Amoghasiddbireaches the 1: imito f· . spiritual
action. 42

These passages make', i tclear that Vairocanaencompasses

all the Buddhas while the different aspects of his being are
manifested as the other four Buddhas. It is for this reason·

that the PBD alternately speaks of the four Buddha families .

and the. five B'-1ddha families.

the families of Vairocana .. Ak.'obhya, Ratnasambhav,a,
Amitabha,. and Amogbas iddbL Tbe four Buddha fami·lies are,

the secondar,y manifestations of· Vairocanaasthe, central

figure and. are thus Ak'obbya, Ratnasambha,va, Amitabha,and,


The PBD refers to the Buddha- fa'miliesby the names of

The, Vajrayana tradition~

however, has separate names for these Budd,ha . families which

di ffer ··fromtbe .name's 0 ftheBuddhas .themsel ves .'1'hef,ami I y

of Vairocana. is referred to as· the Buddha family.
Ak'obhya's is the Vajra family. Ratnasambha,va's is., the

Ratna family. Amitabha's is family.

Amoghasiddhi's is the Karma family. 43

42 PBD,.p.65.

4~ See KeithcDowman,,. .a¥. Pancer" .(London:Routledge,'& Kegan

Pau.l" 1984h· p .,193. Also see MkbasGrub Rje, Intrg,duction
m :tM;.. Buddhist Tantrio Systems, trans. F. D. Lessing and A.

Each of these £1ve SambhogakayaBuddhas sits inun10n

w1thhlsconsort (~). The male principle of the Buddha·
himself 15 referred·. to as a manifestation . of method.·. or

skill ful means (thabs) while the consort is a manl festa tion

of profound" · (shes-rabl . Their being joined in

.sexua·l anlon,is ·anindicationo ftbeinseparab,il i ty of means
and ,profound knowl.edge •. 44 T-hePBDstatesthis clearly:

The five female consorts·· fare joined to

the Budd,bas ] like a· body (lwi,) and its

shadow. Thus the non-dual means and profound

know,l·edge abidew,ith faces joined. 45

The PBD does not give a name, for Vairocana's consort,

nor does it describe any, Bodb,t-sattvas.iDhls reti.nue.Each

of the o·thet fourBuddhas,howeve,r, not· only hasaconsol't·

but hasaBodhlsattvaonbis le·ftand right. Eachoithese
Bod-hisattva·s in-. turn has a consort • - The PBDspeaks of each"

Buddlla,w1·th, his consort and retinueasa,

(thsom~bu","dk¥il-'khar). Thus the oftemandala of-the five q

Buddhasbecomesflve 'Modalas .
• #

The PBD does not state any particular direction of the

:mandala in which any particular Buddha abides . This

informa-tion cannot safely be -derived from outside ,sources·,

Wayman: (Delhi: MotilalBanarsidass,. 1968) ,pp.119,147, 149.

44 PBD, p.60.

45 PBD, p.• 60.


for the locations of. the five Buddhas vary intbedifferent

Tantric sysotems.
The consort of Akfobhya is Buddhalocani. On· his right ,.
sits K~i::ti9a'rbha witbhi,s consort Lisya,. Onhl·s·1eftsits

Maitreya wirth his consort Dhupe.. The consor t of

Ratnasambhava is Kamak!. On his right sits Samantabhadra
with his consort Klla. -, -
On his left sits Akasagarbhawi th
Dhupe .. , The consort of Amitabhais pandaravasinI'. On his
ri9h~ sits Avalokite'varawith,G'irtima.On his left, sits
,., ,
Manjusr i w,i thAloke. The consort of Amoghasiddhi is'
Samayatara. , with Ghirti.
On his right slts Vajrapani On
.hisleft sitsSarvanivaranaviskambhinwithGante.
EacbBuddh'a,andBodhlsa,ttva . is also.· Samantabhadra. 46

The . Buddhas are .thus identi,fiedwith the .pr imo.rdialBuddha

Cadibuddba).This Samantabhadrashould not be confused with
the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra, who sits at Ratnasambhava's·

right. Yair-ocana, the central· BUddha,. 1s not only

identifiedwlth Samantabhadra" he is none· other· thantbe,

teacher of the PBD, rDo ....rje 'Ohang .. 41 The above quoted
passages indicates that the ·four·Buddhas are emanations of
Vairocana, yet in another passage it states that:
Vairocanasees "the,!r .faces and, knows their
inspiration. Vairocanais self.~apparent ,and..

46 PBD, p.74 ..

47 PBD, p.69.

has no appearance '. as another. He is self-

arising, self-apparent, self-rising, and is
known by himself. His own force is not
c,reated ata,ny one point. 48

The mandala is protected. in each of the four quarte,rs,

by a gate,...keeper (sgo,...srung.). 49 Each gate-keeper alsoMsa
consort.,!',hesefigures are not named in thePBO.
The total number of ·figures in the mandala. is said to'
be forty-two, yet it is difficu'l·t to add,upthe cbarac,ters
ment;ioned to that number·., ,The five Buddhas w,ith their
consorts make ten. The eight, Bodhisattvas with their
consor.ts make sixteen. The four door-keepers with their

consorts make eight . This adds up toatotal o·f thirty-four

figu.res.. If.. however.. the four Buddhas that surround,
Vairocana and theircon'sorts, are counted twice: once in,
their identities as Ak~obhya, Ra·tnasambhava., Amitabha;.. and
Amoghasiddhi..etc. ; and once in their identities. as
,.Samantabhadr·a ,and Saaantabhadr!, the total number does
beeome;",forty,!)~Tbe no,t clear
Nowherein,thePBD,does itrecommend.·that,·thj.,;s, ,maMa1a. '

of Sambhogakaya Buddhas be used as an 'object of medlta tion .

or spir itualpractice. The pur.pose for this exposition,
appears to be simply to show· the waytbe Samboogakaya,'

48·- PBD, p. 59.

49 PBD, p.62.

mandala is layed out,. The importance of the five·

Sambhogakiya Buddhas inthePBo is most strongly felt In the
presentation of their relationships to the five wisdoms.
'l'hiswll1be discussed in the next chapter.
It remains to present the PBD' s account. 0·£ the
Nirmanakaya. The PBo is very quiet on tbispoint,bowever .

The six sages mentioned above· are described as y,irmanakaya

Beyond this the PBD has almost nothing to say,
except· they are',

manifestations of. compassion and that theybavetheability

to per form, miracles. The lack of lengthy discussion 0'£ the
Nirmanakayas. in the PBDcan be· attributed to. the importance.

placed on the Sambhogakayaas both,· -the . origin of the
·,teachbuj and ,the pure "mane! fe station of wisdom.
This· comple.tesmy di,scus:siono£ the Buddha· and. his
.threekayas. The threekayaswill be mentioned again in the

discussion of recognition; where the· recognition of the

three kayas is presented as a> fundamental insight i·ntothe
definitive meaning of the BUddha'steachin9' and, neces,sary
for the el.iminationo.fdelnsio,n·. . The nature of. wisdom and,

the pa·thmust be discu!ssed first, however; fo·r the PBO's

statements on these subjects will serve as a g,roundworkfrom
which recognition will. be ·.better·Q·nderstoed.

preceding. portions of this thesis. It is a fundamental

aspect of the PBD's presentation. This chapter is devoted
to an inquiry intothePBD's treatmento-f this subject.
ThePBDsometimesspeaks of wisdom as a single concept,
'but "most often·wisdomis presented in a particula.raspect or
enu,meration.. The five wisdoms" in particular, are mentioned·
throughout the text. In the preceding chapter on the
Bugdha..,kaya it was shown that these five wisdoms are the,·
ground froDl'whicb thefiveSambhog-ak.-aya,·Buddbas arise.. In.
the discussion of the Base it was shown that . wisdom is, a
·synony·m .' for the Base . Theses ta tementswi 11 now be
Just as the five families of Sambho9aka'yaBuddhas a,re;,
sald to be manifestations of Vairocana, the five wisdoms are

said to arise from the essential wisdom which, is known as·


the Base abiding wisdom:,(gzhi ....9nas~kyi The· five

wisdoms" are: 1) The wisdom" of the pbeno.menal dimension

(chos...dbyings-ye-shes), 2) The mirror, like wisdom,(me ...1ong....
Ita....bu-ye-shes), 3) The equality wisdom (mn'(am:-pyld-ye-

~), 4) The\ distinction conceivi,ng., wisdomCsg....sor-rtoq.....

par i-ye-shes), and 5) The deedaccomplishingwisdom,(~ • i -ye ....shes . 1

When thePBD first discusses wisdom it presen'tstbese

five wisdoms as well as other wisdoms.,wblchareshown to be

elucidations of different aspects of the Base, abiding"

wisdom. ThePBD presents wisdom in thefollo,wi,ng phrases:
The essence of wisdom· is tbati,tis clear

andnon....conceptual. Furthermore, the

naturally 'pure Base abid1ng, .. wisdom is

insubstantial and·· penetrating.. When

correlated with the· kaya it is the,

Dharmakay'a,. When correlated, with awareness .

it ,1 stheessence (nao .

Son of·· Noble Famlly, its existential mode
abi'des as light, so when it is correlated

with the kaya it is the Riipakaya. When

correlated with wisdom it is the five·

character isticgrasping wisdoms (,mtshap....nyid-

•dz· i -shes)',

L PBD, p.30.

The mode of appe'arance lis that it 1

.appears without an exterior or interior, thus
it is unobscured clear wisdom.
Fu.rthe·rmore, its pure nature transcends

the extreme of permanence. ··Its existential

,mode as light transcends ,the extre·me of
cessation. Its Inodeof appearance is without
exteriorand.·interior,.. so i t l s pure ofp the
extreme of subject and object.
This is the essence of wisdom ..
The definition is that unmistaken.
knowledge .cshes",,:,pa) of the . meaning which

exists from the primordial is wisdom.'

Ifall samsaraand ni,rvanaappear ·from·,
this great., pene trat lng, primordial.lypure,
insubstantlal awarene,ss,- it is the Base
abiding wisdom. This (wisdom] abides in, the
empty (ston9~paJ,so i,t is the wisdom of the
phenome,nal.. dimensioD,. The empty .exis·ts
(~) as unhindered. awa,reness.,. thus" it is
the mirror. wisdom., This empty itself is
awareness, and this awareness, itself is
empty. As the empty and awareness are .not
divided they are the equality wisdom;. The,
empty 'and aw,areness are wlthO-ut dual! ty and,
(yet) are ,known distinctly, thus there is the

distinction conceiving wi.sdom·.Thewisdom of

insubstantial awareness is nota mater ial

thing.. thus. there is the Wide 0001' of Good
'Quality. Force (rtsal) come·s £orthwithout

any· obstruction whatever .. without direction.

Thus tbereisthedeed accomplishing.iwisdom.

Kye MaHo! Son of Noble Family, thlssort

of knowledge (shes-pa) is aware of its own;·
self-awarene·ss (rang=:ais""'raBg-r ig..,.,pa) , thus
there is the self~aware wisdom.
There is no creator of· [wisdomh tnusi·t
is·the self-arising wisdom.

There is no transcending its meaning# so

it is thet-ranscende;ntbeart wisdom.
To teach the,s·imiles: A simile (~) for
the Base abiding;,wisdoDh is that it brings .

·.fortheverything, like-a precious jewel.

The·.:{sim.ilelforthe airror wisdom· isth-at
it is like sparkling. water-or a polished

That for the equality wisdom is the. simile

for the equaliity of the three times: It is
like a r iver.

The simile for the' non-dual· that··

it is 1 ikegolda·nd yellow.

The simile for the distinction conceiving

wisdom is that it is like the,a,ri,singofthe
planets and stars at sea.
The simile for the deed accomplishing-

wisdom is that it is like the wind and the,

The simile for the non-abiding, w,isdom,,,is
that· it is like. the moon [reflected onJ .'.

The s imlle, for these If-aware wisdom; ·is
thatl,tislikecrystal and light. 2
This .passageno,t,on1y mentions the five· wisdoms, it

also talks about other aspe.ets, of the, Base abiding.· wisdom.

In the body of the text, however, 1t1s the five wisdoms
that receive the greatest attention. A passage t,hat
identifies these five wisdoms and, their interrelationsh,ip


The essence of awareness exists (~) as '"

the . empty, thus it is the emptines,sw1sdom
(stong~Da-ny1d-ky1-ve-shes). This empty

awarenessitsel£ is unhindered clarity, so it

is the mi~ror like wisdom., Awareness, is
without. the dualJ.,ty of the emp,ty . and"the·
clear;. these two are equal, so there is the

2. PBD, pp.31-33.

non~dual equality wisdom. Awareness is the

essence of this, and from. theperspectiv&

(bltas) of the direction of the empty it is
clear as the·· emp.ty. From .'. tbeperspeotlve of

the direction. of clar! ty it exists as

clarity. From theperspectiv.e of the
direction of non--dua11ty it is non--dual.
Fromsuch,unhinder-ed,indi,vidual.aspects it is

the distinction oonceivingwlsdom. Alldeeds

are unobstructedlyaccomllli,shed, by the· force .
of realizing this.· meaning;, it is the deed,
accomplishing wisdom. Non--intuition of these
five arises as the five poisons. 3
In this passage the wisdom of the pbenome'nal dimension
bas been replaced bytbe .emptinesswisdom. ·This is in order
to elucidatetbe relationsh.ip,betweenawareness, emptiness,

and clarity. The PBD. is generally consistent< in its

enumerationofthefive< wisdoms, with the exception of the
·f1rstwisdomwhich is sometimes referred to as the wisdom of
the phenomenal dimens.ionand ,some,times as the emptiness
wisdom. The statement tha,tthe fivepoiso,ns( ° f attachme'at,
avers.ion, ignorance, pride, ,and jealousy) are the non~

intuition of thef·ive wisdoms, though not elaborated further

in the PBD, deserves further inquiry.

3. PBD, p.lOl.

The connection between· the ·five wisdoms. and, the-five

pois.ons. is common to the traditions of, TantricBuddhlsm'O·
Keith Dowman, has presented this connection in<his, book ~

Dancer. 4 There he states that the poison connected with the

wisdom of the· . phenomenal dimension is ignorance. . That .
con·nected·wl·th ,mir.ror like wisdom is aversion. That
connected with the equality wisdom is pride·..T'hatconnected
with, ,the. distinction conceiving wisdom. is attraction. That

connectedwitbthe deed accomplishing wisdom is jealousy.

The PBD does not present any method of finding the five
wisdoms with,in .the five poisons, nor does it recommend any
practice that would turn the five poisons into wisdom. It

does state, as above, that the five poisons are the fallure
to recognize or intultthe five wisdoms, which is delusion ..
The five Sambhogakaya, Buddhas,. as mentioned in the
previous chapter, are manifestations of· the. fi.vewisdoms.

Thisrela,tionsh ip is described in the follow ingpassage from

the PBD·:
All things arise and appear from
awareness, the single essence, thus it is
also called "The Great All-Appearance". (Un=.
,soana:;eben-co). Self-awareness is unhindered
good quality,. so it is explained as "The
Great Self-ar ising. It is Amlt'lbha,. e,ndowed

4. Dowman, ~ Dancer, p.193.


with the power of compassion. It is

unobstructed profound knowledge, so is

AmoghasiddhL This (awareness) itself is
unchanging, so is Aklobhya. The essence of

the five. kayas of profoand know,ledge is the··

unobstructed· non-dualemp,ty: awarenessw·isdom.
(stOR9~pa~ri9"'Da"'9nvis S
In scattered references. throughout the text thePBD
corr-elates the five Sambhogakaya Buddhas with the· five
wisdoms. 6 These pass.ages can be summarized by not·ing,~tha.t

Vairocana· is the manife·sta·tion of the wisdom of· the

. phenomenal dimension or emptiness wlsdom; Ak/obhya
represents . the mirror like wisdom;. Ratna,sambhava represents

the equality wisdom; Amitaoha ." represen.ts .. thedisti,nctlon·

conceiving. wisdom; and Amoghasiddhi,· represents the deed
accomplishing wisdom.

In the discussion of the Sambhogakiya in the previous

chapter 0 f this thesis it was shown .' tha,t· from the
indivisibility of real.fty aBel the Dha·rmakayawisdom
manifests as the five colors of.· light.. which in turn
.manifesY as thefiveSambhogakaya Buddhas. Each wisdom and
SambbDgakaya Buddha is associated with a particular color o.f
light. The simile used in the PBDfor tbisrelationsbipis

S. PBD, p.S7.
6. See' in particular PBD,pp.66-68.

that of a crystal and the rainbow it produces. 7 When a

crystal is held in the sunligllrt a ··rainbow is proj ected
forth.. The rainbow is not . the same, as the crystal , nor can
it be' separa,ted from, the crystaL., The Dharmakaya is like

the crystal while the five Sambhogaki'yas are like the light-
rays that issue forth from it. The following passage
clearly presents the relationships between the five wisdoms
,and.the five colors of light:
The self~luminescence,(rang"'!"9dangs)of· the

wisdom of tbe,phenomenaldimens·!on . as light

(chos-dbYings"'!"'od~kyi-ye-shes) is clear, from
the state of the empty as azure. The self-

luminescence of the mlrror wisdom is clear

from the state, of the unhindered as· white.
The self-luminescence of the equality. wisdom'
is clear from the sta,te of ,the .inseparable as

yellow. The self,...luminescence ,of the all

conceiving wisdom is clear f·rom the state of·

the knowledge of thusness as red. The se1f-
luminousity of the deed accomplishing w,isdom

is clear from unbindered space as green.

These five arise in the space of reality.8
Nowhere in thePBD, doe,s it state the actual colors of

7. PBD, p.116.
8.,PBD,p! 34.

the Sambhogabya Buddhas. This information, maybe derived,

however, from the relationships of the wisdoms to the colors

and. the wisdoms to· the Buddhas. Vairocana, as a
manifestation o·f the wisdom of the phenomena-I. dimension
would be· azure. Akfobhya as mirror. like wisdom would be
white. Ratnasambbava as theequal.ity wi.sdom. -wou-ld be
ye.llow .,Am1tabha as the distinction conceiv.ingwisdom would
be red . . Amogha.siddbi;&s thedeedaccomplishingwisdemwGuld-

be green.
The PBD holds.. that these five wisdoms are·manifest
throughGut reality, though due to delusion they may not be
perceived. In particular.. the· five elements of ear-th,
water, fire, wind" and sky are in fact the five wisdoms.

Thep·BDdoes not, however , correlate the elements with their

specific wisdoms. The PBDalsoholds that the body ofa
human or other living being is in fact a conglomeration of

the five wisdoms in their nature as light. This is stated

as follows:
Flesh a-nd bones are from· white light. The'
bile and pus are from.yell0·w· light,. Blood
and warmth are from red light. Breath is·
from green light. The comfort of the body is
from azure 1ight. 9
In the chapter on delusion it was pointed out that the.

9. PBD,. p.53.

body is one of the three bases for delusion. The present

elucidation demonstratestha-t thebod,y,can.alsobe a basis
for the intuit,ioD,.o£ wisdom,. if it seen in. its nature, as
,li,gh·tratbertban taken to be merely a material reality.

The PBD, also holds that the five wisdoms are actually
none other than the three kaya,s. This is demonstrated-in
the following. passage:
There is no division between the five

wisdoms and the meaning. of the three kayas.

The empty aspect of reality, clear awareness,
and the non"", dual. aspect. are the- essence of .
the Dharmak~ya. The two l-Rupa.Jkayas are,

unhindered force, and light· comesforth,£rom·,'

,theunbinderedi-ndiv idual aspects. This
itself istbe essence of the Sambhogakaya .•
The enactor of the purpose of living, being,s,

with compassion, the Nirmav-akaya, is the deed

accomplishing.· w'isdom,. The .. three -kayas and,
five wisdoms are spontaneously realized in
the state of the Oharmakaya. IO
If the exposition in the PBO- reqUired rational
consistencythi·s statement -would be-i,mpossible, for the five
wisdoms have already been· shown to· manife·st as the five
Sambhogakaya-. Buddhas.· If· this passage,were,correlated-wi,th

lO. PBD, p.102.


the previous stateme·nts it would, follow· that Vairocana,

Ak'obhya, and Ratnasambhav& are in, fact Dharmakayas,

Amitabha would, be the only Sambhogakaya,andAmoghasiddhi
. would be a Nirmanakaya. Such a position ,runs Gounterto t,he

identification of the five Buddha,£amiliesas manifesting' on
the Sambhogakaya level. This statement must. ther,efore. be
taken to represent a totally different way of looking at the
wisdoms, where the principle,s of emptiness, clarity, and,

non~uality are held to reflect cthe true nature of pure

awareness .(theDha,rmakaya) ,the .ab!1 i ty todist ingu ish these
separate aspects represents the division o·t·pure awareness
into aspects (the ..Sambhogakaya), and the fact that all deeds

issue forth from the state of pure awareness represents the

princi-pleof .compas,sionin action, (the Nirma~akaya).

The fact that the five wisdoms ,can be seen in these two
different presentations must be taken as an-encouragement to

the reader· not . to pigeon"""ho.le or relfy the five. wisdoms as

being definite "things .. " In the chapter on recogni tion,I

willdiscU'sshow.the PRD·· advises the direct intuition of
the'se wisdoms in oneself as a· means> for eliminating
delusio:n. First, however, it is necessary to investigate,
the PBD's presentation, of the different. Buddhist paths,
<the·ir merits and -,faults.
The Path

In- the preceding chapter I have discussed the

fundamen-talconcepts that are dealt with in the PBD. It
remains to discuss thePBO's treatment of the Buddhist path,
the actual application. of the previously discussed themes to
the spiritual quest, and a summary of the PBD's statements
regarding the mode of. spiri tual·· being, the Great

Perfection. Tbischapterwil1 discuss the path.

The Va.jraya'natradition of Buddhism has beensubdlvided·
in the Tibetan tradition into two·main bJ:'anches: 1) The "Old
School II (rnying..,..mal·whichrep.rese·nts . the Buddhisttraditicon"
in its early diffus.iop. i,n'Tibe~·.(,6th-9thcenturies c. E •.),
and, 2) The. "Ne·w Schools" . (gsar,:",mal which. represent the
traditions prQmu1gate.d during the later spread.of Buddhism
in Tibet (10th century onwards C.E.).l There are generally

1 On the Old and. New,'Scbools,. see this· thesis, p.l6.·


held to be three "New Schools." These are· the dGe..-lugs~pa"

the Sa-skya-pa, and the bKa'-rgyud~pa.

There is a fundamental difference between the Old

School and the New Schools in their presentation> of the

tantric systems. The New· Schools present thetantrasunde·r

four subdivisions. Tbese are: 1) Kriya-yoga, 2) Carya-yoga,

3) Yoga..-yoga, and 4) Anutara~yoga.2 The Old Scbool d·ivldes


the Buddhisbpath into nine '. levels, referred to as vehicles

(tbeg""'oa" Skt.. xina.). Tbi.snlne vebicle,· .system. does not.

limit itself to tbe tan·tric systems, but includes them,.. As.

an, Old School text, tbePBD maintains the nine vebicle
subdivision of the Buddhist paths. This division is

enumerated as follows: 1) The Auditor vehicle~· 2) The

Pratyeka'...buddha veh>tcle~ 3)Tbe Bodhisattvaveh·icle, 4) The

Kriya""y09a vehicle, 5JThe Carya..-yoga vehicle (which is also

known as Upa.-yoga), 6) The Y09a~y09a vehicle., 7 ) The Maba...

yoga vebicle~ 8) The Anu-yoga .' vehicle, and 9 ) The Ati -yoga

vehicle (which, is also known as the Great Perfection,·

(rdzogs -chep) .

NamkbaiNorbu' has elucidated the ,status of· tbeseviews

in the rNying ...maschoolvery clearly:

In the rNying ma pa school, there isa

nine-fold division of spiritual pursuits:

2 These four· levels of tantra are thoroughly disctl'ssedin '

Mkhas.GrQb ,'Rje '5 IntroduQti2nm ~BuddbistTantric
Systems,£Q.. £U.., pp.l0'1~27l..

the three ordinary pursuits, -- tha>t of gods

and men, of the Sravakas (Auditors) and
Pratyeka"..buddhas, and of the Bodhisattvas;
the three outer tantras· -- Kr iya, Carya, and

Yoga; and the threeinne'r, unsurpassable

'" por.soits -_. Hahayoga. Anuyoga.· and Atiyoga"

1,Among these, the three .ordinary
l pursuits
pr imar ily teach." the way of. renunciation

(SP0Da lam.); the three outer tantras teach

primarily the way of purification (sbvgnq·
lu); and the three inner tanb-asprimarily
the way ·of transfo·rmation( sgvur lH,). 3

The PBD refers to the first eigbt of these spiritual

pursuits as "the eight vehicles." As a. text representing..
the At! yoga,. or Great Perfection, the.PBD is explicit in
rejecting these eight vehicles as a truly effective means to

realize the definltivemeaning. of . the Buddhis,t.·teach.!ng.

Thefollowlng,passage makes this clear:

The . Auditors, Pratyekabuddha,s.,
Bodhisattvas,tbethree classes of Kriya, Upa
and Yoga [Tantrasl, and both generatlon·[the
Mahayoga,} and perfection, [the Anu,yogal grasp,
the truth ·from a single direction., They ar·e

3 Manjusrimitra, Primordial EXDer ience .. Trans. .Namkhai·

Norbu anelKennard Lipman, , (Boston: Shambhala.. 1986) ,
introduction by Namkhai Norbu, p.x.

the eight views which go together with·

astrological divination. The mind, holds to

dualistic extremes. They do not speak of the
wisdom of self-awareness. Thus, they are

perverted, for they fail and err in the

meaning. They are views which hold to, an
attitude of a ttachedpostur 1ng . 4
Despite this statement, thePBD does not ignore these

eight vehicles. There isa considerable discussio'nof the

nature, con,tent, and effects of each view along with the
superiority of ·each view over the ones preceding it. A
presentation of these vehicles will not only help to

understandtherNying.-,ma sohool's del inea,tion of the various

versions o,f the Buddhist path, it will provide a ground-work
from- which the explanation of the Grea,t Perfection, will
become more meaningful.
The PBDdevotestenchaptersto an analysis of the nine
vehicles. 5 These chapters are devoted,todiscussions of the
vehicles w,ith referencetospecificpointsabol1·t each one.
In my summary of these statements I have gathered,the
separate statements on each of the vehicles" ino,rderto
provide a concise insight into each vehicle from., every
perspective that thePBD offers. ThePBD does not discuss

4 PBD, p.SO.

S Chapters 39, 40,. 41, 42, 43". 70, 76, 77, 79, and 80 of
thePBD are devoted to discussion of the nine vehicles.

every vehicle with every topic presented, yet there is

enough, information on each vehicle toprov ide an insight
iinto,what it is. 6

The present state.· of scholarship, on the nine vehicles

of the rlfying':'"'ma> schoo.lis very limited. For this reason I
will quote extensively from·thePBD on its discussion. of
these topics, preferring. to let the, PBD speak for itsel£on
this subject. In. place o·f commentary and analysis I ha,ve

,attempted toprovideclar i fying footnotes.

The first of the nine vebiclesis the Audltor vehicle.
These are thePBD's comments upon it:
The Auditor vehicle is so called because
(.its propou,nders) .positsabj-ecta,nd object as
;twotb:ings . I f 7
The Aud-ltor lvehlclel is superior to both
non~intuition·. and perverse intuition.

Further, if you ask how i t is super,ior., the

view is superior because it intuits the

selflessness of individuals. The is
superior because it enacts the ten virtues
for one.'s own, purpose . The· -attainment is
super ior because it is accomplished through,

6 My explication of the nine, vehicles relies entirely on-

the PBD.For a summarized account of the nine vehicles see
Tucci, Religions 2i. Tibet,pp. 7-6-87.
7 .PBD~ p.l8L

the four - [nobl.e,] truths. The resul t is

super-ior because it is the attainment 0 f the

four pairs and, eight units such as


The graspable is clearly the relative

truth ( kun,,-rdzob) . [ They 1 hold the ultimate
truth (don..,.dam) to be the stuff of minate -

atoms. 9
Those who espouse the Audi,tor [vehicle]
meditate in this way:, They generate the
conception toward their own body, the
,material psycho""'physical constituent, that it

is unclean matter.
body] is risky, decaying, rotten, a,nd

decomposed,. They turn away from- . the extreme

of longing for the psycho,""'physical

constituent of form. They possess the twelve

branches of peaceful abiding, (zhi:=anas), and
reject the objects of the six consciousnesses

8 PBD, p.188. The fo-ur pairs are the, same as the eight
units'. They. are the attainments of Stream Winner (Srotl'-
apatti), Once Returner - (saktdagimiQJ, Non-returner
(Anlgl"min), and Arhatship. Eacho~thesefour is subdivided
intotheobta,in,ing,ofthe state and, theen;Joyment of."i ts
fruits, wbichmakes a total of four pairs or eight units.
See Etienne Lamotte, Histoire Wi. Boud4hisme' Indien..
(Louvai,n: InstltutOriental lste, 1976), -.p. 51.

9 PBD,. p.. 80.


. along with conceptual izations .10

The particalarso·f the Auditor practice
are that they give up steal ingand impu,re
sexual practices. Theyg!ve up killing. The

pure. practice of speech is practice without

lying, gossip, slander, and cruel words. The
pure practice of the mind is. free from
avar iciousness,. harmfulness, and·. perverse.

v.lews.The tenvirtuesaree·nacted ··forone' 5

own purpose. 11
The resu1 t for the Audi tors is that when
thee.nd of v,ie,w~ . meditation, and practice has

been . reached the results of the four pairs

and eig-ht units·ripens. 12
This concludes the PBO' 5 remarks on the Auditor
ve,hicle. T·he·.P·BD' 5 statements on the Pratyekabuddha ve,hicle

The de finit.ion, -of the name of the
Pratyekabuddhas is that they are self~Buddbas

because they practise witbthepower·of their

own skill.fulnes.s., without lookingtowar.d any

10 PBO, p.82. The six conse·ious,nesses are the

consciousnesses of the five senses .and the "mind,...
co,nacio'usness" (yid~kyi-'lijnam-.sbes,manoyiinana).
11 PBO, p.84.

12 PBO,p.85.

other teacher. 13
The view o·f the Pratyekabuddhas is so
called because they say " the existence o·f the
subject is absent in theobject.,,14

The Pra·tyekabuddhas are superior· to the

Aud.itors. The . view is superior because it .

intuits selflessness in· the ··s ingle.. direction
of tbe psy.cbo-pbysical constituent of form,
the realm· ofdharmas (chos...,.khams).The
activi ty is superior becau·se it enacts the'
purpose living, 'beings by some
disproportionate miracles on top of the ten

virtues. The attainment··· is supe·rior because

it is accomplished. through the strength of

skillfulness, without relying. on a friend in
virtue. The resul t is especially superior,

because· it is like a parrot or a

rhi-noceros.1 5
Tbe v lew posited by thePratyekabuddhas
certainly realizes the selflessness of
individuals, just a·s the· Auditors, but views
selflessness .in the, realm of dharmas ..ina

13 PBD; p.187.

14 PBD, p.182.

15 PBD, p.188.

single direction. [Pratyekabuddtlas 1 hold

marks ·to be certain, thus they fall f·rom the
"meanlng o·f the non-dual grea tbl iss. 16
Those who espouse the Pratyekabuddtla.

vehicle meditate in,th1s way: They meditate

that from, such. things, as ignora,nce at the
first one finally meets with old, age and·
death. 17 They focus the mind. on their own
forehead, then hold the mind on a .white
skeleton the ·size o,f a thumb ,and rest it
there . The,n they increase i tunti 1 they view
the skeleton in full size. Then they

gradu.allymeditate into cessation. 18

The practice of the Pratyekabuddba enacts
only part of the purpose of living beings by
means of a few incongruous miracles. 19

The result for the Pratyekabuddhas is that

',when the end of view, meditation and, .practice
has been reached ',. the two kinds of desired,
fruition are obtained, . like a parro.t or a

16 PBD, p.81.

17 This refers to the twelve-fold chain of interdependence.

See Richa~d Robinson ans: illill,ardJohnson, .:J1.Wl....,' Buddhi;st. '
ReI i9ion, (California, =, pickeason ,Publ isb'lngCo. ,1977) ,
31 ... 34. '. ''''''f.
pp'.' <;
~,;,-,t ..'\,t
I if..

18 PBD, p.82.

19 PBD, p.8,4.

rhinoceros for example. 20

This concludes the PBD's sta·tements on the
Pratyekabuddhas. The vehicle of the Bodhlsattvas is.

The defi·nit.iop,of the, name· of the

Bodhisattva' is that [Bodhisa.ttvas] pas,
renu,nciation, wisdom." compassion, and sacred·
action in a state, of perfection, and declare,
the meaning of this to others. 21
The Bodhisattva is, so called because they
proclaim "the mind and- the, mind's aspects"
and they proclaim "the ul timatetrut.b, is in! .
the relative t.ruth ... 22

The Bodhisattva is super ior to the

,Pratyekabuddha. The view is super ior because
l.t realizes the' two kinds of selflessness.

The practice is superior because it enacts

the purpose [of others] by the four
immeasurables. 23 The, attainment is superior
because i t is accomplished through the ten

20 PBD, p.8S.
21 PBD, p.l8?
22 PBD, p.l82.

23 The four immeasarables are benevolence, compassion,

delight, and. equanimi·ty., See Sgam...po-pa, Jewel,Qrnament"

perfections.· 24 The result is snperior

because it mounts the level of Total Light
(kun-tu- 1 odJ.25

The view ·of the Bodhisattva is the view

free from the two selves [of individuals and
of dharmas) and es.pouses the two truths in
the.properway. The ultimate truth is viewed
as the mind, and the relative truth is not

belittled, like a dream or i11ns10n for

example. [Th,is v lew 1 errs from the meaning..
of the wisdom of non-dual grea.t bliss. 26

Those who espouse the Bodhi.sattva vehicle·

meditate in this way: They meditate with,

mental desire on mind only (sems-tsam)., mind
itself (sems-nyldl,andself-clarity. They
meditate ·on the undivided truth of the middle
way "(dbu-rna) , like the center 0·£ the sky . 27
The practice of the Bodhisattva is the

24 Herbert Guenther lists the ten perfectlonsas follows:

1) liberality, 2) ethics and manners, 3) pat,ience,4)
strenuousness., 5) meditative concentration, 6)
discrim4natill9: aware·ness, 7) beneficial expediency, 8)
devoted resolution, 9) p.ower, and 10) transcending
awareness. See Sgam....P?-pa, Jewelprnament, p.253 note 3.
";,J,,l~~t' f~,(t;C,:;it;"i~~~'J'
25 PBD, p.189.
26 PBD, p.81-
27 PBD, p.83.

four immeasurables>. [Bodhlsattvas l act mainly

for the purpose of others. 28

The result" for Bodbisattvas 1s that when
the end of view, medltationand practice ha,s

been reached the actual ten stages (bhumil 29

are gradually purified and then they posit
that they come to abide in the Total Light
(kun-tu- 'ad) .30

This completes . . the discussion of . the, three ou-ter, levels·

ofspiritua1 practice from the PBD. These are also known as
the levels of cau-se, because they take the perspective of
the causes of spiritual progress as their .basis. Tbenext
six levels are the vehicles of effect, because they take the
resul,tof the path as ,the basis of thelr perspective. 31
ThePBD's description of the Kriya yoga is as follows:
The definition of the name o-f Kriya is
that (its propounderslmainly teach ablution,

purification" the planets and the

co,nstellations. 32
The view,,·ofthe KrTyais. so called because

28 PBD, p.84.
29 The ten stages of the Bodhisattva path are described in,
Sgam,....po-pa, ··Jewel-- -o.rnament,
30 PBD, p.85.

31 PBD, p.196.

32 PBD, p.187.

[its propounders1 posit that the three

families are in accord. with .the ultimate
truth in its entirety.33

The Kriya is superior to the Bodbisattva.

iIl'7 view is superior because it fUlly intuits
that the ultimate reality is unborn and it
views the self (W;Jsg,);wbich·· is relatively.

real, and the god (lbsJ, which!s wisdolfti, as .

subj.ect and lord. The practice is superior

becaus.e it enacts the three kinds of
purity. 34 ~ atta,inment is superior because

it . is ·.accomplished throug·hthe doors of

skillfalness.,. transformation, and blessings
(bv.iu-::-rlabs). ~ result issupe.riorbecause
it is the attainment of the fru! tion o£ the

33 The, three Buddha families according' to the Kriyasystem

are the Tath~gata famlly, the Padma·family, and the Vaj ra
:family. These arediscussedln detail In,Mkbas Grub Rj,e's
.Introdu.ctiopto t.lulBuddh ist Taptr ic Sys,tems, pp. 1() 1-135 .
34 The "three purities" (dag-pa..,.,gsum) are listed.-inthe-
Kun..,.,byed rGyal..,.,poti ~. rNy-ing""M.' rGyud-' bum, '1973
edition), Vol. I, p.38 as the purities of the outer, inner,
and conceptual. Hkhas·GrubRje, however, lists three methods
of practlce(rather than. purity) used·in<,theKr,iyaTantra.·
His descr ipt:ion, is as £0 110ws: "'l'here·are·threemethodso·f
procedu,re (anusthli'na) in the Kriya Tantra, namely,
meditation (d'hy~nal accompanied by muttering (i..s.Qs),
meditation independent .. of 'mu;tterln~h" and accompl.ishment .. ,o·f .
slddb4 after appropriate servlce( ~}..BuddhistTant.r:ic'
Systems .. ,p. 159.

three families. 35

The Kiri.ya view is tied up with a·ttached,

posturing .. but does not waver from the state
of the non-conceptual emi .."rtgg) ,which is

without birth, or cessation. It views the

[Bodhilsat"tvas in two aspects, as lords and
servants .. It errs fro·m the meaning of the
all~ood great bliss. 36

Those who espouse the Kr iya vehicle

meditate in this···way: Afterthe.·.·gods . ··of· the
empty ( stgng,..pali...,.lha-tshogs) have gone away
they,·meditate that they possessthemudras of

the three . famil ies. 37

The practice of Krlya is pure beha·v lor in

the three: External.. internal, and mater ial

The perfection of· the result of Kriya is

the .reason, for their v iew and medita·tion.
[Its practltionerslhold [this resu,l,tl, to, be

35 PBD,,' p. 189.
36 PBD, p.8l.
37 PBD, p.83. Thewordmqdra in thIs case may refer either
to the' "seaVI signified. ·by thehand-gesture,o·f the':lord of
the Buddha ,family or to . the Mother of the Buddha family , the
lord l s consort and hence his mu4ra. Ei,.t;betL meaning would,
nonetheless have a mystical ...,.- rather than worldly
38 PBD,p.84.

the essence of the three families and,three

doors. They mount the level of rD~rje

tDzin-pa. 39

This conclude,s the PBD-ts comments 0,0 Kr iya-yog'a "The

next level of tantra is known variously as Carya-yoga ·.and
Upa,..,.yoga. The PBD uses the term Upa,..,.yoga, along·,with its
derivative Upaya., for this level in every case. The PBD,is
also relatively silent on tbesubject.ofUpa-yoga, hence the

smaller< numbe,r, of· quotat.ions ...

,c'.'"' ",

The defJ:nition:ofthe· name 0 ftbe ;~~!;').iS;

that the ir practice comes upward· from below
and their view is turned downwards from
above. 40

The view of the Upaya-is so called because,

theyposltthetwo aspects {cha-gnyis:? ).~ 1 ~f''''''

The Upa is superior to the Kriya. ('The

v iew is superior because it v iew·s the god'

along with the master and servants. The
practice is superior because it enacts the of,living beings via the existenGe

39 PBD, p.85.

40 PBD, p.187.
41 PBD,p-.182. This may refer to the two forms of practice
in the Carya Tantra, which· according to Mkhas Grub Rje are
Yoga with images and Yoga wi thout images,. BuddhiSt Taptrig .
System§,pp. 207-215.

and non.,-existence of marks. The- attainment

is superior because it is accomplished

through the four thusnesses (de,-kho,-na-nyid-

tWl1> (42)
,""",,' "I

The Upaya espouses a view which does not

waver from the state of the non..,.conceptual
and, is free from birth and, '
cessation. It views the two types, of

[Bodhilsattvas as brothers and", friends. It

errs from the meaning of the undivided wisdom
of great bliss. 43
This concludes the PBD's discussion of the Upa-yoga

vehicle. The Yoga vehicle follows.

The definition of the name Yoga is that

a,neu,ni tes one 'sbady, speech andmi-nd to the
i' ./t t ,~-tt§, ;:/"~:l >";;'1 ..A~.,~,,_ . /
i' ,f

natural state ' (rnal '-ma), th~' meaning.,',of which

is tlhefaur£amiliesofBuddhas .44

Those who use words to posit the seven

nerve channels (r!&s.) of the mind are
explained tobe,(halders of] the Yoga view. 45

The Yoga, is superior to ,the Upa." The view,

42 PBD;, p18S]
43 PBD, p.• SI.•

44 PBD, p. 187.

45 PBD, p. 182.

is superior because it views the relat!ve

reality. as being. in friendship with the god.
The practice is. superior becallse it enacts
the four kinds of. sacred action (phrin...,1as,--

rnamdmhi ). 46 The attainment .·is super lor

because. it is the accomplishment of the four
kinds of n\Udras. 47 The result is superior
because it is the
. Buddhahood of the five families .48

Those. who posit.. the Yoga vehicle meditate"

in· this way: After the five aspects of
enlightenment (byana--chub""'rnam...,lnga) have
passed away they meditate that the, thirty--
seven possess the four mudras. 49
The, practice of the Yoga.. vehicle is made·
to ena.ct the four kinds of·. sacred, action, and

46 In·the Bod...,rgyaTshig...,m4zgd ·Chep--mo··these are listed in

Vol. 2., p.1771 as: 1) Peace (zhi...,ba), 2.) Productiontrgyas...,
'a), ,3) Power (gpang) , and 4') ,Wrath (drag --po) .
47 The four mudras a·re: 1) The Gpeat,Mudpa .. 2) The, Hudra,gL
Sacped Commitment,; 3) The···.pharma····· Mudra.. and 4) The Karma,
Mudra. These are d iscu'ssed e,xtensivelythrou'ghou,t Herbert·
Guenther's Royal ~ gL Saraha. Also see Mkha,s Grub Rje's
Buddhist Tantric Systems, pp.229--250.
48 PBD, p.1.89.

49 PBD, p.83. The five aspects of enlightenment are

nowhere detailed in the PBD,nor does there appear to be an
available external reference. The "thirty--seven" mentioned
are also mysterious in· this regard.

.tbef0ur.thusnesses (kho~na:-.pyid,..bzhi).50

The result of ·,the Yoga. is that the thirty-

seven are actually perfected by the blessing

(bYip""rlabs) of view, . meditation, and

practice, and the three kayas are

spo.ntaneously realized by their ownnature. 51

This completes. the PRDf s discus,sion of the Yoga
vehicle. The elucidation of· the three inner tantras,

be.ginningwiththe ~Maha-yo9~,i'vebicle follows:

. .
~-< ". ~", ..-".- .. ~.",-"." -,

The definition of the name.·o·f tbe·Mahayoga

is that it chiefly uses the. three:
Meditative absorption, skill·ful means, and

profound knowledge in order to engage in the

meaning. 52

The,tt;hayoga \ is like the wide dominion of

The forty-two (peaceful deities) and.,

fifty-eight [wrathful deitiesJ, etc. are

explained as the view of the Mahayoga. 54

50 PRD, p.84.

5-1 PBD, p.86.

52 PRO, p.187.
53 PBD, p.l8!.

54 PBD, p.182. The peaceful,and wra,thful deitle,s ,are

described in France sea Fremantle and Chogyam 'l'rungpafs
translation of Karma Lingpafs Tibetap ~ 2i ~ Dead,

The Maba ,is super lor to the¥oga, in four···

ways. The view is superior because it views
one's own· 'body as the mandala, oftha
victor ious one. The practice· is superior

because it enacts the purpose of living

beings by both union (. sbyor) and liberation
(sgroI). The attainment· is super iorbecause
it is through both skillful means and

profound knowledge', The result is superior

because it is the mounting of the level of
Total Ligbt .55

Those who posit the Maba hold to marks.

[Its propounders' view} is also unborn..
without. cessation, is non"..concep·tual, and··is
They view. the elements·
(dbatii,,) and. sense bases (aYe tapas) as god,s
and goddesses.. [This view! errs from the
··meaning 0 f the ·unreified .grea t bl iss. 56
The medita·tion .of", the Mabayoga is that
after the three types of meditative

absorption have, gone away they create tbe

meditation of the widely-diffused (.~

55 PBD, pp.189-190.

56 PBD, p.81. On the elements and sense bases see this

thesis, p.81.

'byams) peacefnl·.and .wrathful. [dei-ties].

That which· possesses the ·four mudras·is the

supreme ·.meditation. 57

The practice of the Mahayoga is action

which reaches the limit of the purpose of

living beings through both skillful means and

·profound knowledge. 5 $
The resul t 0 f the Mahayoga is that.· .·. when·-

the view and· so· forth.. have already come up·,

and the Great. Mudra has already been

perfected,: (its practitioners] are actually

realized -on the eleventh level of Total

Light. 59

Tbis concludes; the. description of the; Mahayoga. The··

Mahayoga is known.,as tbe stage of generation ( bskyed.....rimJ .

while the Anuyog8. is known· as the stage of perfe.ction

(rdzogs.,-rimh 60 The.description.ofAnuyoga follows:

The definition of the perfection of Anu is

that it is perfectio.n. without generation and
isappl icationofthe·meaning o·fthis. 61

57 PBD, p.83.
58 PBD, p.84.
59 PBD., p. 86.

60 PBD, p.l89.

61 PBD, p.187.

The Anuyoga is like a man, and woman

performing intercourse. 62
Words expressing. perfection without·
gene,rationandwordswhich speak of the

dimension·of reality and wisdom. refer to the "

view ·of the Anuyoga. 63
The Ana issupe,rior· to the Maba in . . four,
ways. The view is superior because it

intui ts that the dimension o·f reallty and

wisdom are non~dual. The pra<:tice is
superior because it enacts wisdom in the
dimension o,f·enjoyment.• The attainment is
superior because it is the accomplisbment of.
the five psycho-physical: constituents, the
five elements, and the. five Buddha,families
in, Fa·ther.,.,..Motber (yab,.,..yum) .£orm~ ·Tbe,.·re,sult,

i,s sUiper ior because it 1.5 the attainment of

the level oftheUnchanging",Lotus (ma-chags~


Those who meditate by. positing the Anuyoga

claim that after they have left behind

proclamat·lon of the e55ence(snying--:-po-brjod-

62 PBI), p.l8!.

63 PBD, p.l82.

64 PBD, p.l90.

ea.} the; .. psycho""phys,ical ,coDs;ti tuents . are , the'

four· 'mudra,s of the god;, like bubbles in water

or taking a clay reliquaryout,·from, the, mold,
for example. They meditate on clarity fo·ra

mere instant. After they have entered the,

branches of meditative concentration, the,
divisions of
meditated in the same way. They attain the

result whIch reaches the limit of the desired

.purpose. 65
The situation of practice for the Anuyoga
is that li,tspract,i tioner Jactsinthe way of

non~uality. The two aspects 0 £ the'

dimension 0 freal i,ty and wisdomarelenacted J
without duality.66
The result of the, ,Anu· is the need for . pure

views. [Its practltioners,l mount the < level

of the totally perfect name;of·Vajrasattva.

They abide on, the level ·of the Unchanging,
Lotus Possessor (ma ...chags=oad., 67

This concludes the PSD's discussion, of. the Anuyoga. It··

also concludes the discussion of . the eight, vehicles, which

-65 PSD, p.83.

66 PBD, p.84.

67 PBD, p.86.

. the PBD rej ects as representing. only the interpretable

meaning. (drana=4on) of the, Buddha's teaching. The ninth
level is the Atiyoga. or Great Perfection, and it is this
level of .Buddhist teaching that the PBO holds to be

definitive. As the-. PSD-is intiJnate-l·y concerned with the-·

Atiyoga its discussion of· this level receive-smuch' more
attention tbantheother levels. The remainder- ·of this
thesis will be an elucidation of this Great Perfection.

First, in order to properly conclude this chapter, I

will present the statements made in the, _PBD regarding the
Atiyoga in its comparison with the other eight leve-Is. In
the following chapter I will present the PBD r s explanation

of the methods of reaching. spiritual awareness or

recog.nition (Uao..,..sprodl. In, the flnal chapter of· tbis
thematic study . I wlll present a summary of the PBD's
statements regarding-· the ._ ",iew, medl tation,· pr-actice, and

result of the Atiyoga. The final chapter of the thesis will

then contain concluding remarks.

The PBD's statements regarding the Atiyoga in
compariso-nwiththe other eight vehicles areas follows:
The, de·finition -of the . name of the .yoga-of

Great Perfection is engagement by way of·· the

non-dual. All the. phenomenon of appearance
and the world [are non..,..duaI withl the
primordlall:y perfect Buddha, the

- 6..8

The Atiyoga is like a great, garuda soa,r ing

in the sky.69
Words expressing the transcendence .of

deeds and searching,· words which· express the

self-arising wisdom~ the spontaneously
realized Buddha, etc. re·fer to the view of
the Great Perfection. 70
The .At! is superior to theAnu in four
ways. The·· v lew is super ior because it views
all appearance and. the world as the
Dharmaka,ya .. Buddha. The practice is super ior

·because the purpose of living beings is

enacted through the blessing of. the

Dharmakaya. The attainment is super,ior
becau'se it is accomplished without deeds or
· The result is super ior because it

mounts the levels beginning; at the

thirteenth, the Great Collection of the Wheel
('khor..,lo-tshogs-chen), on up to the, twenty-

first. 71

68 PBD, p.187.
69 PBD~ p.18L The,garuda iaa mythlcalbird, like a very
large eagle.
70 PBD, p.182.
71 PBD, p.190. No reference to the thirteenth, level by

These statements on the . Great Per£ectionwillserveto

introduce the reader to the level of· spiritual
understanding offered in the ,PBD.It will be noted that the

Atiyoga is held to be "beyond deeds and searching." This

sta,tement indicates that from the .point of view of the Great
Perfection there is nothing. to. be done in order to attain
realization. Nonetheless, thePBD does provide, in£ormat,ioDr
on how-to realize Buddba,hood. This realization·. is called

"recognition," ·for according to the PBDi t is only the

difference between recognizing all reality as Buddhahood and
failing to recognize this that makes the difference between
delusion and . intuiti,ve realization·., Thus there· is nothing,·'

really to be done in an active sense, but one must recognize

the Buddhahood of oneself, others, and, real.ityas a whole in
order to comprehend the meaning of non"...searching . The
following chapter is devoted to the PBD's elucidation, of

.,recogni tion .

this name nor . to . the higher levels up to thetwenty""'flrs.t·· is


At the beginning, of the forty third chapter of the PBD,

the Lord of Secrets poses a question of fundamental import.

It reads as follows:
0, 0 Blessed One, rDo-rje 'Chang, if the
view, meditation, practice and final fruition
of the eight vehicles are such, what are the

stages of sacred instruction for entering the

meaning of the Ati? All living and sentient
beings have the three kayas and five kinds of
wisdom in themselves as part of themselves
(rapg,-la-rang....cha.s), so how is it that all
those individuals who enter the path do not
Int,uitthls? Nothing but tbe external object
itself obscures reality; so how is it that

they do not perceive this? I beg rDo-rje


'Chang .to explain this. l

This" question strikes right at the heart of the
fundamental problem in Great Perfection philosophy. If
,everything is naturally pure Buddhahood why don't people
realize it? rOo-rje 'Chang then goes on to explain that
beings do not recognize the true state of things and hence
wander on .in del us ion. As a remedy for this the· PBO
. presents ,what it calls "the seven recognitions." It is with

the intuitive realization of these recognitions that the

force ·of delusion can be cut off.
The PBO is generally a very clear text, yet in its
discussion of the recognitions it resorts to cryptic
language. I will not, therefore, present extensive·
quotations from the PBO in this chapter, but will attempt to
express the content of each recognition with only occasional
quotations from the text. 2
The seven recognitions are recognition of: 1) The five
elements, 2) The three kayas, 3) The five wisdoms, 4) The
eight·· consciou·snesses,· 5) The three times, 6) The four
recognitions, and 7) The outer, inner, and secret.

It should be understood right from the; beginning that

the PBO does not recommend; any active measures. for reaching
these recognitions. Each of the recognitions. is., rather, a

1 PBD, pp.86-87.

2 The PBO's discussion on recognition is found on pp.9l ...


description of its topic with the - proviso that when this

topic is intuitively realized there will be release from

delusion. This is in accordance with the PBD' s statements

that the Great Perfection is beyond deeds and searching.

The recognitions are therefore neither goals nor objects of
spiritual practice, but rather indications -of the state of
realization itself. This is expressed clearly in the
follow ingquotation:
There is nothing to do for the sake o·f
that which has been done from the primordial,
dwells in the present, and is unsought.

There is nothing to stop it. 3

II Recognition Q.L :tb!l. UK Elements,

The first of. the seven recognitions is. to recognize
one I s own essential nature in the true state of the five

elements. The five elements are earth, water" fire", wind,

and sky. The PBD divides each of the elements into its-
radiant and defiled aspect. The radiant aspect of the
elements is their nature as light. The defiled aspect o·f
the elements is their concretization under the influence of
delusion -into matercial reality. In the state of delusion
beings perceive the five elements as real entities. W-ith
therecognit.ion of their true nature as light comes release

3 PBD, p.123.

from this delusion. The five elements· as hypostasis. o·f

reality are cut through.
In its description 'of, this . recognition. the,PBD first

points out that real i ty is di ffere·ntia ted between the

objects of the five senses, which are, the external world,

and consciousness and, awareness, which are the internal

world. The true objects of the five. senses are

combinations o·f light. This isreferred,to as the

phenomenal dimension (ch9s~dbyinqs). It is w,hen.d'iscu:rsive.

conceptualizations based on SUbject/object duality are
brought into play that the external world becomes
concretized into real entities. Reality itself is both

external and internal, as this passage states:

In. pure reality there is no dualistic
appearance. It is taught as "both external
and internal." There is no reificatlon

towards the meaning of reality; it is pure. 4

The process whereby this pure reality is obfusc,ated

into deluded appearance is described as follows:
By the spreading forth of discursive·

conceptualizations coarse defilement is

spread forth as the five kinds of elements.

From thesupreme,Mt. Mera at the center [of
the cosmos) down to small rocks,·, bits of

4 'PBD, p. 92 ..

earth and bits of wood it is spread forth as

the entlty of the earth element. Thus it is

coarse. From the ocean and great. rivers on

down to mere, mere wetness, and a

drop of water discurs,lve conceptualization is
spread forth as water. Thus it is coarse.
From the burning-of the great fire at [the
end ofl the aeon on down to the spark of
rUbbing sticks together discursive
conceptualization is spread forth' as fire.
Thus it is coarse. From the great wind of
thecrossed-vaira (rdo-rje-rgva~gram) on down

to the smallest breeze, movements are spread

forth by discursive conceptualization as
wind. Thus it is coarse. The four elements
obscure the empty unreified reality.5

When this process of delusion is recognized for what it

is an intuition. of reality, will come forth as light,. This··
light is none other than the natare of the· five wisdems.. ·
Therefore by intuiting the true reality. of the elements

there is a clear percep-tion of the nature of reality as

wisdom. This is the recognition.of the elements.

I I Recognition·of .tb!t Three layas.

5 PBD, pp.92-93.

The second recognition is that of the three kayas.

This involves a recognition of each of the three k~yas, yet
the PBD also holds that an intuition of the Dharmakaya alone
automatically results in an intuition of all three kayas. 6
The recognition of the Dharmakaya is the intuition that
it is pure awareness (rig.-pa). This is stated . clearly in,
the 'PBD:
In the teaching of instant eni ightenment,,,

awareness and the Dharmakaya are taught as a

single essence. The essence of self-
awareness and the Dharmakaya is empty. This
is the empty reality. This empty essence is

itself clear. It abides in pure self-

clarity . . The force of clarity comes forth as
the flickering wind and. the appearing light.
It arises as experience by the power of the
flickering. The five lights arise as the

force of the arising five wisdoms. These

perfectly comprehe·nd. the three kayas; the
Dharmakaya is clear andnon-conceptual. 7
This statement not only shows the PBD's identification
of awareness with the Dharmakaya, it points out that the
three kayas are spontaneously realized in the Dharmakaya•..

6 PBD, p.lOO.

7 PBD, p.96.

How is the Dharmakaya obscured? The PBD informs us that:

When the phenomenaL. dimension is. obscured

by subtle and· coarse de filements the,
Dharmakaya is not recognized, so co-emergent

ignorance comes forth. [This ig.norance 1 is

spread forth as coarse discursive
conceptualizations by causes and conditions.
By these conditions the meaning. of the three

kayas is not clear . The meaning of reality

is also not clear and becomes spread forth as

coarseness. The external object i tsel f is

obscured, and the particulars of the non-

deluded come forth in this way.8

It is the intuition that pure awareness is Buddhahood

itself that undercuts the process of delusion, and ·from this
a full intuition of all the three kayas will manifest. The

recogni tion of the Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakay.a are

therefore dependent on a recognition of the Dharmakaya.
The Sambhogakaya is recognized to be the five families
of Buddhas, which· are in fact manifestations of the five

wisdoms. These five wisdoms are inherent in the Dharmakaya.

This is explained as follows:
The essence of the Sa.mbhogakaya .is . that it;·

is realized to be the five kinds of wisdom in

8 PBD, p.97.

the meaning of the Dharmakaya which is

without defilement and pure. The five

wisdoms which are the arising o.f the force of

the Dharmakayaarise as luminescence. 9

The PBD also. points out that "self-awareness possesses

the five wisdoms, and .luminescence itself arises as the five

lights, thus it comes forth as the kayas of the five
famil les . ,,10

What obscures the Sambhog.akaya?

Actually, subtle longing. is the subtle

obscurant of the Sambhog.akaya. It is the
ungiving (ma-ster) obscuring defilement

against the perceptiono.f the Sambhogakaya. l1

When luminescence,. the clear aspect of the Dharmakaya,

is perceived as the five lights (azure, white, yellow, red,

and green) and these are intuited to be wisdom itself the

Sambhogakaya will be recognized.

The recognition of the Nirmanakaya depends on· intuition

of the Dharmakayaand Sambhogakaya. ThePBD describes the
recognition of N" -
th e1rmana,k-
aya very br iefl y with these·


The arising. of the spontaneously realized

9 PBD, p.98.
10 PBD, p.98.

11 PBD, p.99.

luminescent light in clear and empty self-

awareness, the Dharmakaya, is the

Sambhogakaya. The arising of the force of

these ·twoto the face of the disciple appears

as the kaya of the force of light and

awareness. An appropr iate appearance ar ises

for the six (classes ofl sentient beings, and
it appears as the Nirmanakayas such as the

six sages. 12

This> passage informs us that the Ni.rmanauya. is a

manifestation ·ofawareness and wisdom, ·in· a fo.rmappropriate
to the beings of samsara. This conform! ty to samsaric

existence is the manifestation of the Buddha's compassion.

Unl ike the information on the Dharmakaya and Sambhogakaya,
where practitioners may find their own awareness to be the
Dharmakaya and,tbeir perception of color to be the wisdom of

the Sambbogakaya, the PBD does not present any direct

indication that a practitioner may discover him or hersel f

to. bea Nirmana, is said,. on the other ·hand, that

with the intuition of. the Dha,rmak.'iya will come a full

reco.gnition of all, three kayas..This may be taken to be an

indication that with the intuition of the Dharmakaya
Buddhahood itself is actually realized. One who realizes
Buddhahood yet continues to remain·· in the .·world of

appearance ma.y be said to be a Nirmanakaya, and it is in

this sense that practitioners may find their status as
N.irmanakaya Buddhas .

Furthermore, the three kayas -- though not recognized --
are actually present in the body, speech. and, mind· of
ordinary living beings. The following stateme·nt clarifies
At the time the Dharmakaya is recognized

·the· three kayas are recognized. If you ask

why, the three kayas are spontaneously
realized, therefore the un-intuited three
kayas are the body (lwi,;), speech (1l92Sl), and

mind (Ud). At the time of intuition the

three kayas arise at one time. All three are
perfected at one time in the Dharmakaya.. If '.
you ask why, it is because it is

spontaneously realized. 13 .

It is in this connection that it will be useful to

present the definitions of the three kayas offered by
Herber t Guenther. Dr. Guenther focuses on the three kayas -
in their interrelationship with persons., and it is therefore
under the present discussion of recognition -- rather than
the previous chapter delineating the three kayas· -- that I·
offer his presentation.

13 PBD,p.lOO.

"Dharmak'aya (chos~sku) is a term for the

experience of Being in one's own existence

(Ull) in the sense that, BeiDgis an absolute

real i ty and val ue (~). The exper lence is

'ineffable' in the sense that any attempt to

conceptual i,ze it would detract from its

validity of absoluteness by reducing it to
some content in mind,' which, is relative to

other contents. 'Ineffable' therefore does

notmeanthat'ineffabillty' is a quaIl tyof
Dharmakaya. The experience of Being operates

through, Sambhogakaya (longs-sku) and

Nirmanakaya (spru1-sku) , both of them

referred to by the- termRUpakaya (gzugs-sku).

Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya are thus images

through which, we understand, our existential

value o,f Being. In par ticu1ar, Sambhogakaya

is an empathetic experience- through which we

take empathetic delight in Dharmakaya or
Being,. Nirmanakaya 'expresses' this

exper lence in-such away as to communicate it
to others. Dharmakaya is also used as a term
for Being-as-such in which a1.1 that is

participates and by virtue of it a,.14

14 Herbert Guenther, The Tantric lliJt Q.t Life, (Berkeley:

Sbambha1a,1972), pp.14&-149, note 13.

Dr. Guenther does not employ such terms used in the PBD·
as "awareness," "light, "luminosity," etc. Yetbisempbasis
on the threekayasas being.. directly related to the ground

of experience of a perso.n is in harmony with the PBD's


II Recogni tion 2L .tWit. [,J.n Wisdoms

The third recognition is that of the five wisdoms. It

has already been pointed out in the chapter on wisdom that

the five wisdoms represent the emptiness, clarity, non-
duality, differentiation, and manifest force of awareness.
It was also pointed out that the five wisdoms a,re in fact

the three kayas.

What obscures the fiv·e wisdoms? The PBD states that
the five poisons of attachment, aversion, ignorance, pride,
and jealousy are the· coarse obscurants of the five wisdoms.

Grasping is the subtle obscurant. Non"","recognition is the

very subtle obscurant. IS
The point of recognizing the five wisdoms, therefore,
is to distinguish them from the five poisons. This

discrimination amounts to recognition.

The PBD holds that both wisdom and the poisons arise
from the same fundamental state, which is called the Sel f-
arising Wisdom. Under the influence of non-recognition or

1S PBD, p.10l.

delusion these proceedings from the basic state of wisdom

are either identified with the five wisdoms or felt as the

poisons which hold one in samsara. 16 When there is

recognition of the Self-arising Wisdom and understanding of

the differentiation between the five wisdoms and the five

poisons delusion is cleared away. This is the recognition.

of wisdom.

ll. Recognitioq2i. .tb!!.·EightCopsgiQusnesses

The fourth recognition is that of the eight

consciousnesses. These are the five consciousnesses o·f the

sense faculties, the mental consciousness (Yid-kvi-rnam-

~), the defiled mind (nyon-mongs.,-kyi-yid), and the Total

,Base which gathers the many things .

In the chapter on the Base, the Total Base which

gathers the many things was identified with all eight of· the

,consciousnesses, while here -- at the point of recognition -

- it is identified only with the eighth consciousness.

The PBD explains the functions of the five

consciou,snesses of the senses in the following passage:

Form is seen as the object of the eye.

Attachment and aversion are .born towards

beautiful and ugly forms. In the same way··

sound is the object of the ear; smell is the

object of the nose; taste is the object of

16 PBD, p.102.

the tongue; touchables are the object of the

body, etc. [The consciousnessesl act 1 ike
servants, for they carry [their contents] to

the mental, like being sent to

a lord. 17
The explanation of how sensory input is then processed
by the remaining three consciousnesses follows:

[Sense datal are carried to the defiled

"mind. They are grasped firmly by such
defilements as attachment and aversion, like
a husband looks after a wife after acquiring
her. By this they turn into tendencies (~

chags) . The Total· Base which gathers these

[tendencies], which is 1 ike a vessel, is the
Total Base which gathers the many things.

In relation to the five senses, the PBD speaks of the

five "doors." The doors referred to are the sensory organs.
The sense consciousnesses seize hold of the data intercepted
by the sense faculties and relay this i·nformation to the
mental consciousness. The. defiled mind·. then interprets the

data in terms o·f the five poisons. The tendencies· this

defiled interpretation harbors are held in the Total Base
which .gathers the many things.
It is clear, therefore, that theobiects of perception

17 PBD, p.103.

do not become interpreted. in. terms of subject and object

until they are received by the mental consciousness, which

interprets its data in terms of internal and external. This

is the fundamental- delusion of subject-object duality. In

the realm of the· defiled mind the poisons come into play,

and it is here that grasping at a true identity or "self"

(~) with reference to the sense data and the receptor of

the sense da ta appears. The consciousness that perpetuates

the tendencies towards this deluded vision of reality is the

Total Base which gathers the many things.
The recognition of the eight consciousnesses in nothing

more or less then an understanding intuition of how this

process takes place. 1S When the workings of the mind are

clearly perceived there will no longer arise the grasping

attitude that delusion is inherent in reality. The delusion

of the mind will dissolve upon recognition of the nature of

the mind. 19

I I Recognition g,t··the Three Times

The fifth recognition is that of the three times. The

PBD holds that "the recognition through dividing the three

times is inconceivable for an ordinary person.,,20

18 PBD, p.l04.

19 PBD, p.l05.

20 PBD, p.l08.

Nonetheless it provides teaching on this subject. The

recogn-ition of the three times is divided between the pure
knowledge of the three times and the timeless knowledge of
intuition. 2l
The two knowledges of the three times are explained as
If the knowledge of the three times is
recognized there are the knowledge that the

past cuts off the future, the knowledge tha,t,

the future meets with the. past, and the
knowledge that the five sensory bases which
issue forth in the present are lost into the

object. This is the knowledge that

recollection and conceptualization are
adventitious. The knowledge that the past
cuts off the future is recollected in. the

mind, which creates the past. The knowledge

that the£uture meets the past is recollected
in the mind of the future. The adventitious
recollection and conceptual-ization of the
present is generated in the objects of the

five senses. These are the phenomena,

of samsara, and by the knowledge that these
three are adventi tious there come forth the

2lpBD,. p.109.

three times which are· selfless, free from

grasping, uncreated, uncontrived,

uncontaminated, self--arising, a-nd abiding

from the primordial. Knowledge· of. just this

is wisdom. 22
This passage represents the teaching on the three times

in full. It is appareat that an intuitive awareness of the

past, present and future leads to the priJn(;)rdJ:al awareness

which is beyond ticme altogether. This is the recognition of

the three times.

2l.RecognitionU .~. E.2Ju:. Recognitions

The sixth recognition is the four recognitions. The

four recognitions are recognition . of the Dharmaka,ya, of the

Sambhogakaya, of the Nirmanakaya, and that thethreekayas

are without joining or separation. Thisrecognitiondiffers

from that of the three kayas only in its presentat.ion. In

this teaching. the PBD uses what it calls "the four signs of
signi·fication" (mtshon-pa .1 i -brda) • These are: 1)

Vajrasattva'smirror, 2) A mask, 3) A house of light, and 4)

The sun. The PBD offers a speech or lecture which should be

given to the student in order to teach each of these

recognitions. The speech on Vajrasattva'smirror follows:
You suitable receptacle [for the

teaching), student, listen to me! This

22 PBD, p.I09.

mirror of the mind, this crystal, is not

truly the Dharmakaya. How must this be
known? Just as there is no exterior or

interior to. a crystal,. the Dharmaki'ya. of

sel f-awareness must be kno·wn to have no
exterior or interior. Just as a crystal has
no front or back the Dharmakaya· also has no
front or back. Jus.t as a crystal has

penetrating clarity the Dharmakaya. is

undefiled; pure, and penetrating. Just as
the unconditioned five lights are inside, so

this which has no interior, the three kayas,

abides in inner clarity inside the

penetrating Dharmakaya. You must know tha·t
this is the empty with the vital essence of
wisdom. A simile is that just as the five
lights arise on the outside from· the inside
of this [crystal), so the two R"iipak'ayas
appear for the two [sorts ofl disciples;from
the Dharmakaya. 23
The presentation on the Sambhogakaya, which uses the
mask as a simile, is as follows:
Son of Noble Family, listen to this ! The
instructions on the Sambhogakayas are that

23 PBD, p.lll.

just as when a mask is shown· in the face· of a

mirror yet the mirror is pure and clear,

reality is pure and clear. Just as the

appearance of an image inside a mirror is

without self nature, so the appearance of the

five kayas in the dimension of reality is

wi·thoutselfnature and abides in clarity. 24

The speech on the Nirma9akaya, which should use the

simile of a house of light yet in fact uses the simile of a

lamp reflected em water, is as follows:
Oh Son of Noble Family, listen to this!

Just as the mirror of speech is pure and

clear at the time the N'irmanak-ayais applied

to signs and speech, just as the dimension of
the lamps which are reflected on water is

clear as the five kayas in the face of a

mirror, the wisdom of sigRs(rtags,-kyi-ye-

is clear as light, as the-

Nirmanakaya. 25

The lecture on the inseparabil i ty of the three kayas

finishes the four speeches.

Kye Ma, Lord of Secrets, take it as

certain! Just as the essential nature of the

24 PBD, p.112.
25 PBD, p.l12.

sun is together with its light rays" the

Dharmakaya is ornamented by the compas.s iona te
Riipakaya. Just as the light. rays of the sun

are free from dual i ty , the three kayas abide

from the primordial without joining or
separation. 26
The PBD goes on to say that "when. this is intuited

there is Buddhahood.. so the Buddha Aware of All Aspects

(rNam-pa Kun-rig) is supreme. This is the, inspiration of

the four recognitions." 27
The fundamental difference between the presentation of

the recognition of the three kayas and the recognition of

the four recognitions is that the latter uses simi·les to

elucidate its subject. It is also apparent. that these four

speeches are actually intended to be delivered to students

by a guru. In this respect these passages are unique in the

PBD. The paD does not provide any directions to the guru
for malting these presentations, yet it is not unlikely that
the guru would use such props as a crystal, a mirror, etc.
in del iver ingthese sermons.

The last- of the . seven recogni.tions is that of the

outer, inner, and secre<t. "The recognition of the outer ..

inner, and secret is the final settlement of the

26 PBD, p.ll2.

27 PBD., p.l14.

recognitions. It is applied to the meaningof,the view,. ,,28

The recognition of these is explained very concisely in the


The recognition of the outer is the

recognition o·f appearance, the phenomenal

dimension. The teaching. on the recognition
of· the inner is the recognition of the two

Riipakayas. The teaching on the recogniti,on·

of the secret is the recognition that

awareness is the Dharmakaya. 29
The PBD then offers a unique passage.. It was said

above that the Atiyoga is beyond all deeds and searching and

that nothing can be done to acco>mplishwhat is complete from·

the primordiaL Nonetheless, in this one instance the PBD
does recommend action as a means to gain recognition. The

passage reads as follows:

Show a crystal to the cloudless rising sun

and set out an icon (br is-sku). Lift up the
crystal to the sun, and set out the icon
where the. 1 ight spreads out. When both the

crystal and the icon hi t the unmoving eye,

look. Look at the picture and look at the

sky. You must look when. it enters the mind

28 PBD, p.lIS.

29 PBD, p.lIS.

that the su,nl ight hits the crystal and the

icon has color and form. Look at the sky
which is empty of both eye and cloud. What

is the icon? The color and shape actually

appear to the eye-sense, but they arise
without self-nature. 30
After this passage the PBD offers various explanations

of the three kayas, all of which conform to thein£ormation

already provided in this thesis. An example is the

Through the aspect of awareness there is

the Dharmakay.a. Thro\lghthe aspect. 0 f the

appearance of light by means of the

unhindered aspect of form, its clarity, there
is the Sambhogakaya. Through the aspect of

flickering recollection and awareness the

five sense organs variously flicker in the
object. These are the Nirmanakayas. 3l

Eacbof the seven recognitions is intended to provide
an insight into the nature of reality as the· Great

Perfection tradition sees it. Upon gaining any or all of

these recognitions the follower is expected to have realized
the definitive. meaning of the Buddha's teaching. In the

30 PBD, p.116.

31 PBD, p.ll?

discussion of the nine vehicles .we have seen that each

Buddhist path is divided· into view,. meditation, practice,

and result. Upon gaining recognition. one has truly entered

the vehicle of the Great. Perfection. This vehicle is also

discussed in terms of its view, meditation, practice, and

result. The following chapter, the last in this thematic

study of the PBD, will devoted to an exposition of these

aspec.ts of the Atiyoga.

The Great Perfection

In the previous chapters I have presented. the

fundamental· .concepts that the' PBD is built upon. In the

chapter on the nine vehicles I have shown the PBD's views on

the different Buddhist paths. In the chapter on recognition.
I have shown the PBD'sanalysis on- the true entrance into
the highest vehicle, the sudden penetration. of real i ty.

This highest vehicle, the ninth, is . the Atiyoga, also known

as the Great Perfection. The PBD is quite clear in its

statements> that recognition constitutes the highest view.
Nonetheless, a large and important part of the PBD is

devoted to a discussion of the view, meditation,. practice,

and results of the Great Perfection vehicle.

The Great Perfection vehicle is held by the PBD to be
the highest Buddhist path. An elucidation of this path is

the fundamental purpose of the PBD. For this reason the

present. chapter is devoted· to a prese.ntation ,··ofthe view,


meditation, practice, and results of the Great Perfection

according to the PBD. The information. provided in the

previous chapters of this thesis will now· serve as a

framework in which the PBDls views an Atiyoga can be
properly understood.
Concerning the relationship between recognition and the
view the PBO states the following:
At the occasion of recognition of the view

there is clarity. Upon recognition, realized

intuition immediately arises. If you ask
why, it is the teaching of sudden
penetration. There·fore recognitio.n is
extremely dear. l
Why is the view 50 important? The PBO explains this as
Concerning the teaching on· the . necessary

purpose of the view: The view is like an

eye; everything is clear. It is impossible
for persons who do not have the view to
obtain Buddhahood. Without the view it is
impossible to remove the darkness of
ignorance. If one practises meditation
wi thout the view it will be to no purpose.
Engaging in practice without the view is

1 PBD, p.135.

devoid of a reason for practice. Withoutthe

view it is impossible to be liberated from

the abode of samsara. Without the view it is

impossible to be liberated from sUffering.,

Without the view it is impossible to obtain

the great bl iss. There fore the requirement

of the view is extremely great. 2

Just what, then, is the view? The PBD I S presentation

of the definition of the view is a follows:

The· definition of the view is self-aware
wisdom (rang-rig.,-ye-shes). "Self" (tsn9,) is

said because it need not ·rely on another.

"Aware"(t.J.g,) is said because it is different

from material things.. Its time is called

"primordial"(m) as it does not come ··forth
adventitiously. This itself is the knowledge

(~) of the meaning and the recognition. 3

This .statement is elucidated by the following remark:

By a lucid intuition of the apparent
reality of the phenomenal dimension and the

self-arising, self-aware Dharmakaya there is

the view. I£ this itself is suddenly

recognized there will arise in this or.dinary

2 PBD, p.130.

3 PBD, p.128

knowledge (shes-pa) startlement, lucidity,

purity, thrill, distinctness, and holiness. 4

To condense several passages relating to the view it
may be said that awareness i tsel f is empty, in tha·t, it can

be in no way defined, and clear, in that perception is its

quality. The empty aspect of awareness and the clear aspect
are non-dual, in that the emptiness is i tsel f clear and the
clarity is itself· empty. . These three aspects, empt·iness,

clarity, and non..,..duality, can be conceived of separately.

The manifest force of this awareness is action. This
explanation represents the discussion of the five wisdoms,
and the five wisdoms -- which are manifestations of the

sel·f-aware wisdom --are the essence of the view.

The five wisdoms are also the three kayas. The empty,
clear, and non-dual aspects of awareness are the Dharmakaya.
The distinction o·f these qualities of awareness is the

Sambhogakaya. The manifes,t force of aw·areness is the

.',Nirmanakaya .

Upon recognition that awareness is the .Dharmakaya there
is instant intuition of the five wisdoms and three }ka'yas.
This in,tuition is exactly the view.
This intuition of the view also amounts to the
abandonment of grasping, for the view is intuited directly

and not in the manner of grasping or searching. With this

4 PBD, p.124.

abandonment of grasping comes the disappearance of subject-

object duality and the five poisons. This is expressed in
the PBD as follows:
When there is no longing for the
externally appear ing object and the inner

self-arislngawareness is clear, this is

called "the Dharmakaya of self-awareness."
The meaning of everything is. known by

possessing the bliss of not conceptualizing

the empty and the clear, and there is no
subsequent grasping. This is called "the

.Dharmakaya of awareness. ,,5

It is possible that the view be misunderstood. Such a

misunderstand is called a "ground for error" (gol-sa) in the
PBD. The PBD presents the ways that such misunderstandings·
are eliminated by the view as follows:

The ground for error of [a belief in}

cause and condition is cut off because [ the
view] is self-arising. The ground fer error
of it being an entity is cut off because it

exists in the empty. The ground for error of

it being empty is cut off because it exists

as clarity. The grou.nd for error of peaceful
abiding ( zhi -gnas ) is cut off because,

5 PBD, p.129.

awareness is penetrating. The ground for·

error of awareness being alone is cut off

because clarity arises as light. The ground
for error of the stage o·f generation is cut

off because [the view) abides as the

uncontr ived and uncontaminated. The ground
for error of meditation is cut off because it
is clear, without joining or separation. The

ground for error of hoping for some th i,ng else

is cut off because it is exactly itself. The
ground for error 0 f card inal and secondary
directions is cut off because it arises

without direction. The ground for error of

the vehicles is cut off because it is the
root of everything. The ground for error of
study and thinking is cut off because it is

intui"ted by the mere teaching. Other errors

are impGssibl.e because one knows one r sown
true essence. 6
These statements indicate that any hypo.stapization or
objectification of the view results in a misconception.
may be thought, then, that these faults must be actively
given up. This would also be ami·stake, however, for i:tis
recognition itself -- and not any overt act -- that removes

6 PBD. pp.130-131.

misconceptions about the view. The PBD states:

The purification of faults is that they
are not purposefully abandoned. Faults are
purified by the intuition of their own-

essence, just as darkness does not abide when

the sun rises, for example. 7
It ma,y also be thought that an individual who intuits
the view, and hence obtains Buddhahood, also departs from·

samsara. The PBD does -not negate this possibility, but

offers another.insight into the situation:
An individual who knows and intuits these
things may exist in the abode of samsara but

the result, the three kayas, is perfected.

[For him] there is no changing from the
meaninCj of the five wisdoms. There is the
actual arising of the meaning of the self-

ar ising awareness. By having not the least

bit of anguish one is like a great garuda

soaring in the sky.S

The ultimate. misconception, of the view, however, is not

in the realm of overt grasping. It is the conceptual

holding of such concepts as Dharmakaya, clarity, emptiness,

etc. to refer to real things. The summation of the view is

7 PBD, p.131.
8 PBD,;: p.137.

that it is totally beyond even, such concepts as Buddbahood.

ThePBD makes t-his very clear:

The essential Dharmakaya o·f awareness,. or
what is called "self-arising wisdom" is, from
the essence of self-awareness, the Dharmakaya
withoutsamsara and without n,!rvana; without
the Base, without the path, without the
result; without vehicles and. without·

i·ncUvlduals; wi thou t any Dharma or non -Dharma

whatever; without the cause and result of
samsara; without any cause, which is taught
to be the two ignorances and such things as

the four condi tlons, .whatever; without the.

result which is attraction, aversion,
ignorance,. pride, and jealousy; without
defilements such as the five poisons; without

the six classes of samsara's sentient beings;

also without the five external elements, i.e.
without earth, without water, without fire
and wind; even the pure sky is mere
designation. Thus there is no vessel {of the
world:] or contents [of sentient beings.]
Whatever. Samsara is merely designated
through delusion. There is nosamsara and no

nirvana. Buddha (sangs~rgyas) is designated

through realiza.t.ion, but in the essence of

meaning, the Dharmakaya, there is no removing

(sangs) and no increa-sing (rayas). There is
no- defeat (~), no possessing. <l.9M), no
transcendence (' das) , [and hence no Blessed
One (bcgm-ldan,...'das)]. There is no purity,
no accomplishment, no being. There is no
Thus (de-bzhin), no- Gone One (asheas-pa).
There is no Arahat who has removed the

There is no abandoning to be abandoned, or
attaining to be attained. There is not even
an atom of the name that is called "Buddha."

There is not the path he preaches or the

vehicles. There are no nine. vehicles, cause
and resul t,· outer and inner. There is no
path of means and. path of liberation. There

is no gradual [enlightenment], nor

instantaneous [enl ightenmentl. There· is no
medi tatton and non-meditation, practice and
non-practice. There is no go.d, mandala,

meditative absorption, expansion or

There is no existence, non,...existence,
appearance, empty, single, plural,
permanence, cessation, like, dislike, fame,

infamy, finding, not finding, . accomplishment,


non,.,.accomplishment, removing" non,.-removing,

expanding, non~xpanding, action, non-action,

and so on whatever. 9

These statements show that the view of the Great

Perfection is ultimately beyond even the three kayas, the

five wisdoms, and the nine vehicles. In the highest view
there is not even a Buddha or Buddhahood. There is also not
the absence of the k~as, the wisdoms, etc. The view of the

Atiyoga is totally beyond any defined reality whatever. As

thePBD states:
Sim.iles, characteristics, conventions,
recognition, view, meditation, practice,

result" delusion, intui tion, and

skillfulness, are mere designations for
infer ior minds as a suitable condition for
the path. lO

Thus the PBO, which set out from the beginning to, speak

of 'the unspeakable, now reasserts the inconceivability of

the highest view. The information provided up to this point
was merely to accommodate inferior intellects, while the

intuition of the view of the Atiyoga is beyond even these

lofty subjects.
If, the view of the Atiyoga, is completely unspeakable,

9 PBD, pp.14S-146.

lOpBO, p.14S.

what can be said of the meditation of Atiyoga? The PBD

presents the situation clearly:
The non-dual great bliss that I [rDo-rje
'Chang] teach is completely pure of all the

conventions of content and lack ·of content in

meditation. For one possessing profound
knowledge who intui ts the meaning of sel f-
awareness there is no joining to or

separation .' from the state of non-dual great

bliss . . • . This is taught for the purpose
of those with very sharp senses. For those
individuals of middling profound knowledge

non-meditation is taught as meditation. For

yogis whose force of profound knowledge is
small non-meditation is taught to be non-
Buddhahood. 11

This passage shows that there are three levels of

teaching meditation. For the superior there. is no
meditation or non~meditation, as they have intuited the
nature of self-awareness. For the middling not meditating

is taught to be the true meditation. For the inferior

meditation is ,taught to be essential.

Therefore the PBD does not concern itself with
providing teachings fo.rsuperior and middling. individuals.

11 PBD, p.148.

It is for the inferior that the PBD speaks of meditation at

all. This teaching. intends to demonstrate that there is no

entering or leaving the state of pure reality, the

Dharmakaya of self-awareness. Meditation, in the view of

the PBD, is awareness of the all-encompassing, state of pure

being. Thus the meditatio.n of the Atiyoga is the
understanding of the view of Atiyoga. The following passage
applies this view of med.itation to the activities of daily

One sits, but one sits simply wi thou·t
wavering from the state of the self-
appearance of reality. One moves, but one

moves simply astbe unhindered self-nature of

the self.,..luminescence of wisdom, just as a

butter lamp and the sun go along wi th the ir
sel f-appearance. One sleeps, but one is

joined to the force of the Base through the

space of the unwavering state of reality, the

state of penetrating awareness, and one
dissolves into the natural Base. A.fter

defining marks are liberated into their own

place tbeybecome the great joining to the
meaning. One gets up, but one gets up in the

unwavering state. Awareness is self-arising.,


and is clear as the naturally unhindered. l2

The PBD is clear in stating that there is no joining to
or separation from reality, yet in one sense one is

constantly within the state of reality. This is exemplified

as follows:

No matter where a bird fl ies there is no

plac~ that transcends the sky. No matter
where a fish swims it does not transcend the

water.·· No>· matter where a man goes he does

not transcend the. earth. Just so, the well-
endowed who possess intuition do not waver
f·rom the state of reality. 13

The inferior, nonetheless, require some idea of what to

do in meditation. The comments on this in the PBD vary, but

the following is an excellent example:
Son of Noble Family, the thing to be

meditated is pure perfected Buddhahood.

There is nothing other than the meaning of

this. Self-awareness is exactly the
Dharmakaya. All arisings are self-a,rising.

Awareness, the Dharmakaya, arises as the

empty, the unhindered, the inseparability of

these two, the unhindered discriminative

12 PBD, p.150.

13 PBD, p.150.

awareness which· knows this, and the

unobstructedness of that, in short, the five

characteristics. These· five ·ar ise as. the.

five·wisdoms. 14

This explanation of meditation is in harmony with the

PBO's contention that the Atiyoga is beyond all deeds and

searching.• Nonetheless,. the PBO does offeranexplana·tion

of meditation for the inferior. This meditation is divided

into outer, inner, and secret. It ma.yappearthat thePBO

is proposing a type of deed for the spiritual path, which

would in turn mean that the practitioner is searching some

unattained goal. This would be a misconce.ption, for it is

the PBD's contention . that the goal is not something to be

attained, but rather something to be recognized in the

immediate present. The following passage makes this


The application of meditation is the

Ohar.makaya ·of sel f-awareness. It is intuited

by the seven, recognitions. It will enter the

disposition as confidence,. and if this

meaning is continually clear it is applied

meditation. If it is realized that awareness

is the Oharmakaya- the three kayas, are

spontaneously realized. The five wisdoms are

14 PBD, p.151.

also spontaneously realized. 15

What are the meditations of the outer, inner, and

secret, then? These teachings are given. at the level of
content in-meditation, ra.ther than contentless med,ita.tion;
though in the . highest medita.tio.n.there is neither. content
nor lack of it.
The outer [meditation) is relaxation of
bod,y, speech, and mind • It is remaining in.
the state ·of giving up deeds. 16
This statement is very clear . The outer meditation is
abandoning a straining attitude towards meditation, and

hence the view. The inner meditation is more complicated.

It involves the nerve channels (~), winds (rlung), and
T,~~17 which are part of thetantric physiology- of a human'
being. The passages -describing this meditation are obscure,
as are the passages relating the secret meditation. It is

likely that these are techniques intended to be learned from

a guru who holds the transmission for this teaching. Such a
native expert not being available, I have attempted to
portray these techniques based only on the text of the PBD

15 PBD, p.157.
16 PBD, p.153.
17 T!!9-le is a technical term
hard tothat is very
translatit:~""" On one level it refers to the semen.
On another
level it represents the unified state of reality. No
adequate translation is therefore available, for which
reason I have used the 'Tibetan term itself.


The inner [meditation] is closing the

doors of the winds in the nerve channels.

From the Thigle of the self-arising dimension

there is first the attraction for the world

of the body. From this both upper and lower
nerve channels arise. From thejoinlng of
the two [kinds of] nerve channels the knot of

the nerve channels (rtsa-mdud) becomes the

navel. From this the secondary nerve
channels generate the splendor ·of the body.

From this the gathered entrails are expanded

in the heart. From·· this there comes the

innards. From these discursive
conceptualizations ar ise. From these the

nerve channels are conceptualized.

Whatever appears is sel f-appearing.

Uncreated .discursive conceptualizations are
nakedly seen. The conceptualization is not
enjoined, so the force of awareness does not

flicker from this. The profound

knowledge which intuits the presence of wind
is completely spread out. It is grasped by

skillful means" so non-conceptualization

. abides in its own place. On the occasion [of

utteringl '''Ha'~ and "Phat" the dead winds are


blownou t. 18
As I have noted above, this passage is obscure. What
is required is not only a thorough understanding of the

tantric physiology but instruction in the technique being

explained. This information must await the release of

fu·r·ther information in this area .
The secret meditation is presented under what are
called three methods. These are: 1) The king. sits on the
throne, 2) The minister is held in prison, and 3) SUbduing
the public. These do not represent three separate
techniques, but are rather combined into a single meditative

process. The ins.tructions found on the secret meditation in

the PBO are cryptic, nonetheless I will present the key

passages so that the reader may gain some insight into this·
o rOo-rje 'Ozin-pa, take it well! The

king is pure self-awareness, the Oharmak'iya.

The throne is this appearance as an object of
the naturally pure sky . This is the Thigl.e
of the l.phenomena 1 ] dimension I s appearance as

an object. The meaning of just this is free

from a self. The· totally pure dimension is
the dwell ing-throne for the wisdom 0 f
awareness. Now the lamp of Bodhicitta is

18 PBD, pp.153-154.

joined to the pure and clear self-nature of


Furthermore, [ the Dharmakaya.] abides by

its existential mode and is diffused by its

modeo.f appearing. It is just as the abode
of a peregrine falcon abides in a rock
mountain and all the [young falcons 1 stay at

the door, for example. Just as in. this

simile the wisdom of awareness abides in the

precious citta (mind). Its true essence is
actually clear in the conception. . . .

Dwelling on the throne, the appearance of

wisdom, is the unhindered self-clarity of the

Thigle of great wisdom. The vital essence of

wisdom abides in awareness, and wisdom is

clear in awareness. Thus the . spontaneously

real ized Tbigle defeats defining marks and

discursive conceptualization. In this way it
abides in the unchanging, and other than
self-appearance there is no other-appearance.

The king abiding on the throne is that

awareness is primordially pure in the state

of the unchanging, unreified dimension, and

is placed in the unwavering state from that

(dimens ion). . . .

Defining marks do not abide [in this

statel, so the eye looks at the center of the
sky. The door of the winds in the nerve
channels is closed.

The meditative absorption of the

Bodhisattva abides in-between the Buddha and
sentient beings. Thus - the eye looks at the
atmosphere. The throat is slightly
contracted. The neck is placed on top of the
shoulder. The three nerve channels squeeze
the-passage way of the winds.

The mental absorption and mind holding of·

gods and men is for the most part a defined
mark. . . . The eye looks at the earth. As
for this, the throat is sl ightly bent and the

neck must nearly touch the chest.

The minister is the mind (~). It does
not arise above awareness, above the wind-
force, thus it does not go together with
conceptualization. It is clear in non-
conceptualization. It is like a minister
held in prison and has no counselor or
enactor of what must be done, for example.
It i-s not free from the body, so there is

breath. Awareness has a horse, so it is like

a minister. l,t is li.kebeing held in prison,.


for it has reason for conceptual ization but

cannot move.

The five sense organs. are like subjects.

They are creators of karma. At this time

they do not conceptual ize clar ity,. This is

like subduing the subjects. 19
These are the PBDt s statements regarding the secret

meditation. The difficulty in interpreting these passages

is clear. It will be observed that thePBD walks a very

fine line between recommending actual practices which will
further the disciple in his or her meditation and refraining

from recommending any deeds or searching as part o·f the

path. The meditation of the king sitting, on the throne

basically represents the conjunction of the Dharmakaya with
the phenomenal dimension, bringing together the apparent

subject and object into a unity. Holding the minister in

prison seems to refer to not allowing the mind to

concep,tualize. Subdui-ng the public seems to refer to
ignoring the data of the sense facul-ties duringmedi tation.

This analysis is at present speculation, and a final

understanding of these meditative techniques must await

further infor-mation.

The meditation of the Great Perfection, then, is

fundamentally the recognition of the view in i tsapplied

19 PBD,pp.155-157.

aspect. The particular taugh.tfor the. sake of

inferior individuals are methods of applying. the intuition
of the view to an actual meditative session.

The practice of the Great Perfection is nothing more or

less than the continual application of the view. It is

beyond deeds and searching. Here follow some of the PBD's
statements of Atiyoga practice:
The practice which is without taking up
and rejecting is without a cause for action,
thusltisthe supreme practice. 20
The practice. of self-aware wisdom is. like

a mirror of precious jewels, for example.

Wisdom is naturally unhindered, and the self-

arising self-appearing acts without
attraction or aversion. 21
The practice of the meaning of the view is
like a greatgaruda soaring in the sky. It
enjoys the spont,aneous perfection free fro·m
deeds. 22

The statements that the practice is totally without

deeds or searching, attraction or aversion,· may lead the

reader to believe that any behavior is appropriate to the

20 PBD, p.162.
21 PBD, p.162"

22 PBD, p.162.

Great Perfection. The PBO speaks out against this

perception in the following phrase:

The practice which is without recollection

( must not be contrived as the way of

yoga. It acts like a mad elephant. Yoga

acts in what is bliss, without desire for a

single thing, just as a bee relishes a

flower. 23

As in the section on Atiyoga meditation, there exists

the tension in thePBO between speaking of no practice ...- as
the Atiyoga is beyond deeds and searching -- and actually

recommending something to do. The PBO divides practice into

two levels, that for the superior and tha-tfor·the middling.

and infer ior • Concerning the super ior the PBO states the


The practice as it is applied to an

individual is intuition through the. highest

view. This is for those with very sharp

senses. Not being separated from- this state

is the perfection of view, meditation and

practice at one time. The -result is not

sought from another, so at that very mome.nt

the instantaneous enl ightenment is

23 PBD-, p.163.

perfected. 24

With regard to middling and inferior individuals the

PBD prescribes what it calls the practice. of the four times
and the practice of the three times. The in·formation on

these practices is cryptic, and undoabtedlyreqaires the

explanation of a qualified native expert. For the present I
will present the important passages relating to these
practices, with hopes. that the insights provided may be

supplemented by the future uncovering of more information.

The four times are the past, present,. future, and

pri-rnordially pure time (ka-dag-Pa' i-dus). The PBO does not,

however, present the practice of the four times in terms of

this division" but focuses on practice as it relates to

sleeping and waking up. The text reads as follows:
Concerning the practice of the four times,
at the time of sl.eep the five ·forces [of the

senses] are condensed into the Base. The

five senses, the force of theBase,tbe clear

aspect of the Base, are unhindered, so the
external object which relies on the five

senses is cut off. The dualistic appearance

of subject and object generates the five
poisons. These, at the time of going to
sleep are gathered upo.n the Base's clear

24 PBD, p.163.

aspect. Ordinary ignorance goes to sleep . .

If the recollection and conceptu'alization,

o·f a dream come forth or the recollection and

conceptualization of· awaking· come forth at

the time the dream is purified or awakened,.
grasping to the recollection of the meaning
is self-liberated. according to the

instructions of sel f-clear awareness. Thus

self-appearing appearance in its own place is
1 iberated grasping; and if appe.arances are
spread forth by skillfulness the dream is cut


The practice which 1 iberates grasping is

self-clear, like a butter lamp.. At the time
of getting up the five objects are widely

dispersed. Even though the five kinds of

[ sense 1 obj ect appear . • . they are taught
to be called "their own selves" (rang-rang).
They are caused to be cut off, so the force

of flickering wind is the object and

appearance • s force o·f form.

If conceptual.izations are bornthemeaning' i

is recollected and non-grasping is born, thus

grasping is liberated.

Conceptualizations are not put into the


object of grasping and liberation. When

there is skillfulness in taking up the
practice conceptualizations decrease.
Self-awareness, the Dharmakaya, is self-

clear without chang1ng in the four time,s.

For example the essential nature of the sun
is not separated from clarity and exists in
accompaniment with it. The Dharmaki'ya of

awareness is like this. 25

It is not entirely clear just what practice this
practice of the fou·r times represents. The practice of the
three times is somewhat less obscure. Traditionally the

three times are said to be the past, present, and future .

In this practice of the three times, however, they, are
different. The description of the practice of the three
times follows:

For the sake of individuals who are

sui table receptacles for the teaching, the

practice of the three times is enacted in
this way: In the three times the Dharmakaya

of self-awareness is like the sun which is

not separated from cIaI' i ty. Sel f-awareness
is not separated from clarity, but the power
o·f .non-recognition and evil tendencies brings

25 PBD, pp.164-165.

fortb obscuration to tbe cIaI.' ity . Therefore

the practice of the three times is dear.

[The three times are:] 1) The time when

sel f-clear sel f-awareness is equanimously

composed, 2) The time which follows upon

agitation fromtbis, and 3) The time of

discursive conceptualization at the rising up
of the five poisons. These three are not

separate from the Dharmakaya. This is

explained to be the final settlement of
At the time agitation.comes forth from

this equanimously composed state in the

clarity of the Dharmakaya, thatwbich comes

forth as the object is the appearance of (the
Dharmakayafs] force. Conceptualizationwhicb

creates grasping. is self~liberated, so the

Dharmakaya of self-awareness is self-

recollecting. Thus conceptualizations which
grasp at a self are emptied out. Tberefore

conceptual ization which creates grasping is

liberated to its own place in the, self-

appearance of appearance. 26
This practice of the three times, then, appears to be a

26 PBD, p.166.

technique for identifying every moment of perception as the

Dharmakaya itself. When the objects of the senses are
intuited to be. the manifest force of the Dharmakaya,. the
phenomenal dimension, all grasping towards them, disappears

naturally. In this way the practice is not a conscious

abandonment of the defilements, but rather a recognition
that the objects of defiled consciousness are pure in their
own na ture. Thus it is apparent tha t the PBD doe s bel ieve
practice without deeds and searching is not only possible
but mandatory.
The result of the Atiyoga is nothing more or less than
the direct intuition of real i ty ,the five wisdoms and the

three kayas. The PBD does not present an extensive

explanation of the resul t of the Great Perfection. A
concise passage sums up the result of the Atiyoga:
The teaching on the way of being [of the

resul t 1 is that real i ty is clear without

interior or exterior. Awareness is pervasive

wi thout interior or exter ior. The non-dual
Oharmakaya is the adamantine body (~).

Self-clarity abides in the state of noo-

grasping. Self-aware wisdom is the
Sambhogakaya.. The true nature.· of the object
is the five vessels of the eye of wisdom. In
appearance they are like the rainbow colors

of the insubstantial sky. Inside of these


the five Nlrmanakayas are clear. There is no

conceptualization of the clarity, like a

butter lamp which is inside a pot. The three

kayas abide in inner clarity without joining

or separation. 27

The result of· the Atiyoga is the intuition of the three

kay-as, and thus is Buddhahood i tsel f. In actuality, the
view, meditation, practice, and result of the Great

Perfection all amount to recognition of true being and

continuing in this recognition. This state of true being,
the Dharmakaya and phenomenal dime,nslon in their
indivis ibill ty , is finally the· Base, the path, and the

result in totality. This is Buddhahood itself, primordial,

present, and all-encompassing. This is the summation of the

Great Perfection.

27 PBD, p .. 179 .

This thesis has been devoted to a study of the history

and content of the Tantra- gL Great Unreified Clear Meaning

(PBO). The PBO claims a very ancient history, asserting its

origi.ns to be with the famed· founder of the Great Perfection

tradition dGa-rab rOo-rie who is thought to have lived in
the first century C. E. The PBO is a "treasure" (gter-ma)

text, which is believed to have been hidden, in Tibet by the

teacher Padmasa,mbhava during the eighth century C. E.. and
discovered by Guru Chos-kyidBang,..,., the thirteenth
century. Guru Chos-dbang taught this text in the year 1257,

and it was WI' i tten down by one of his disciples. The PBO

came to be included in the great collection of Tantrictexts

known· as the Hundred Thousand Tantras g.i. .t.htiL rNying-ma
(rNying~ma rGyud""" bum>, and is found in this collection
today. As such, the PBO represents the teachings of the

rNying-ma.. school of Tibetan Buddhism in general, and their


thirteenth.centurymanifestation in particular.

The essence of the teaching of the PBD is that all

living beings have a pure awareness (rig-paJ which is non.".
conceptual, uncontrived, and the fundamental state of the

mind (~). This awareness is the funda·mental ground on

which both the deluded experience of samsara and the pure

experience of nirvana are based. In this sense awareness is
referred to as the Base, as it is thebasiso·f both samsara

and nirvana. When this awareness is.falsely intuited based

on the primary ignorance of subject-object duality and the

,emotional defilements which arise from this duality there is
the experience of samsara. When this awareness is directly

intuited it is Buddhahood itself.

The fundamental ground of awareness is referred to as '.

the Base abiding wisdom, and from this wisdom all other
..manifestations of wisdom are thought to come forth. The paD

speaks of five wisdoms, in particular, which represent

awareness in its empty, clear, non-dual, and differentiated

aspects as well as its manifest force. As this awareness is
nothing less that Buddhahood, the PBD also identifies pure
awareness with the highest principle of Buddhahood, the

Dharmakaya. This awareness in its manifest form as wisdom
also appears as the manifest forms of Buddha, the
Sambhogakayaand Nirmanakaya .

In keeping with the doctrines of the rNying-maschool

the PBD speaks of nine vehicles, or levels of spiritual


pursuit. The first eight of these are rejected as

representing only the interpretable mean,ing (drang-donl of
the Buddha's teaching, while the ninth, or Great Perfection,
is upheld as the definitive meaning, (nges-don) of Buddha's

teaching. It is only on this ninth level that the teachings

of instant enlightenment are propounded.

This instant enlightenment is called "recognition"
(ngo-sgrod) in the PBO, for it is the recognition that

awareness itself is Buddhahood that liberates from samsara

instantly. It is on the point of recognition that a

practitioner actually enters the vehicle of the Great
Perfection. The Great Perfection vehicle, or Atiyog8,

consists in maintaining this recognition, which is in fact

the view, meditation, practice and result of this path.

That is to say that the view of Atiyoga is an understanding
that awareness is Buddhahood, the meditation and practice of

Atiyoga are methods of abiding in this understanding., and

the result of Atiyoga is the state of Buddhahood itself,

pure awareness.
Thus the PBO teaches that Buddhahood, as pure

awareness, is both the ground of all being and the result of

the spiritual path. The purpose in explaining the path at

all is to overcome the delusion which prevents living beings
from intuiting. the perfect reality that underlies this
The present study of the PBO opens the door for much

further research. A study is needed, first of all, of any

other "treasure" texts revealed by Guru Chos-dbang to

determine whether they contain similar or identical·
teachings to those found in thePBD. This study would also

do much to clarify many o·f the obscure points found in the

-PBD. Such as study would add to the knowledge of the state

of the rNying-ma school's Buddhology in the thirteenth
century, as well as clarify the major themes found in the

PBD. The present study begins this effort in identifying.

and examining one o·f Guru Chos-dbang' s maj or "treasure"

The PBD represents only one text in a vast store of

literature devoted to the Great Perfection tradition.

Almost none of this literature has been explored by Western

scholarship. There remains a great deal of work to be done
on the history and development of ideas in the Great

Perfection tradition in general. Of special interest will

be the determination of the impact of other schools of

Buddhism and historical events in Tibet upon this tradition.
This study depends on first developing specific information

about the Great Perfection as it appears throughout Tibetan

history. The present study is intended to begin this


It remains to be determined whether the concepts

expressed in such texts as the PBD are representations. of

pure Indian Buddhism transplanted into Tibet, whether there


are original Tibetan developments in this teaching, and

whether Chinese influences might not also be present in this


The relationship of Great Perfection thinking to other

schools of Buddhlst philosophy remains to be studied. The

chapter on the nine vehicles in the present thesis begins

this study, yet there is certainly a great deal of research
to be done to clarify this relationship further.

As a treatise representing the esoteric branch of the

Buddhist tradition the teachings in the PBD might also be

compared to mystical traditions from other parts of the
world and periods in history. Such a study will no doubt

require extensive knowledge of languages and history as well

as a methodology that will allow honest interpretation of

the differing and similar ideas found in such mystical
traditions. For the sake of scholars whose comprehension of

Tibetan· is limited studies such as the present one will do

much to make the ideas of the Great Perfection available to

thinkers in comparative religious traditions.
Thus it can be seen that the present study of the PBD

represents a beginning. to major investigation on many

levels. It has been my purpose in presenting this analysis·

of the PBD to begin this investigation with an authentic
text representingthe·Great Perfection school ill general and

the "treasure" tradition in particular. It is my hope that

the information provided in this study will not only stand


as a starting point for my own research in· this area but

will also serve as an encouragement to other scbolarsto

pursue in-depth knowledge of the Great Perfection tradition.
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Appendix A
Names of the PBD

The one hundred twenty second chapter of the PBD

(pp.280-283) lists the PBD's several names along with

reasons for these names. The passage in question is of

interest in identifying the PBD, and is included for this

purpose. The passage in question follows:

"This Tantra g,L Great Unreified Clear Meaning ,(sPros- Don-gsal Chen,.-po' i rGyud) of mine teaches the instant

enlightenment into the root of all dharmas, so it is taken
to be The Great Tantra of Sudden Penetration of the Bs.9.i
(rTsa, Car,...phgg rGyud-chen).

"It teaches the one knowledge [that brings] liberation

to all, so it is taken to be !lut Tantra o.t .t.WtGreat K!tY. o.t

Further Teaching (Xang-tig IDe-mig Chen,' i rGyud).

"It is the unification into equality with Buddhahood

i tsel f in the present, so it is taken to be !lut Tantra o.t

.t.Wt Great Unifficatign !n.t.o.Egual ity !!.ilhBuddhahggd (Sangs-
rgyas mNyamcsbyor Chen~pQ.'i rGyud) ..

"It teaches without reification, the final settlement,

so it is taken to be ~ Great Ta·ntra 2L Unreified Clear


"It teaches the recognition which shows one' 5 true

nature to oneself, so it -is taken to be The Tantra g.f, .~

Great Secret Recognition (gSang=ba'i Ngo-sprod Chen-po'i

rGyud) .

"It perfectly teache·s the existential mode just as it

is, so it is taken to be The· Tantraof the Great Total

Perfection from inside the Great Perfection (rDzogs-chen
. ,Na,pg,.,.na·sYang-rOzogsChen.. . . po' i rGyud).

"It teaches the great undefiled. purity of view and

. med! tattoo, so it is t~Jten to be The· Tantra of Great

Unclefi.led Primordial Purity (Dri,=med·· Ka-dag Chen?'""po'i
,rGyud) .

"It teaohes the spontaneous realization of faultsa·s.

qualit'ies, so it taken to be ~ Great Tantra of

Spontaneous Real iza.t.ion (lHun...,g·rub· Chen-po,' irGyud....chen) .

It teaches the self.. . .a rising Wisdom arising in oneself, so it

is taken be to the The Tantra of .t.Wl Great Sel f . . . ar ising Qi.

Wisdom (Ye ....shes Rang-shar Cben-po' i rGyud).

"It clears away the gl--oom of the darkness of ignorance

from the root, so it is taken to be The Tantra Qi. ~ Great

Clearing Away of the Darkness· of Ignorance (Ma~rig Mun....sel

Cben...,po'i rGyud).


"It leaps forth from. the pit of all samsara, so it is

taken to be called The T.antra gl. the Great Leaping From the
f!.t. {Dong-sorng Chen~p9 t i rGyud).

"It- cuts off all delusion at the root, so it is taken

to be called The T.antra which Cuts Delusion at the Root

(t Khr-ul ~pa rTsad-:gcod rGyud).

"It gives liberation from the river of samsara with a

boat, so it is taken to be called The Tantra g,! ~Great

~ g.f.Llberatlop (Gru-sgrol Chen-po' i rGyud).

"It expels the fever of the obscurations from, its

depths, so it is taken-to be called The Tantra g,! the Great ppctor ( sHan-pa .ehe -,mchogrGyud) .

"It teaches the defeat of the four Karas. from the,ir

roots, so it is taken to __ be .~ Great Tantra of ~Great

Defeat 2.L tW:a (gDud- t toms Chen-Do 'irGyud-chen) .

"It· teache's the unexcelled' greaot .. meaning through,

opening it up". so it is taken to be The Grea,t TaptraWhich

Opeps .. ta!LGreatForce <pTsal-chen. s,Prugs-pa t i rGyud-:ehen). If