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Zentralasiatische Studien

44 (2015)

International Institute for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies ∙

Andiast (Schweiz)
Zentralasiatische Studien

44 (2015)

Herausgegeben von

Peter Schwieger
unter Mitarbeit von
Christoph Cüppers, Franz-Karl Ehrhard , Karl-Heinz Everding,
Dieter Schuh und Ines Stolpe

Begründet von Walther Heissig

IITBS GmbH Andiast (Schweiz) 2015

International Institute for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies
Die Zentralasiatischen Studien wurden von dem bekannten Mongolisten Walther
Heissig in Jahre 1967 begründet. In den Zentralasiatischen Studien legten und legen
Mitarbeiter, Studenten, Gäste und Freunde des ehemaligen Seminars für Sprach- und
Kulturwissenschaft Zentralasiens, welches heute als „Abteilung für Mongolistik und
Tibetstudien“ des Instituts für Orient- und Asienwissenschaften der Rheinischen
Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität zu Bonn firmiert, Arbeiten aus ihren Forschungsberei-
chen vor. Mit der Ausgabe 43 (2014) wurde die bisherige Ausrichtung durch eine inter-
nationale Struktur der wissenschaftlich verantwortlichen Herausgeber erweitert.

Ein besonderes Anliegen dieser Veröffentlichung ist es, unbekannte Texte und Materi-
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Teil 1 Sonderbeiträge

Klaus-Dieter Mathes (Editor)

Toward a History of Tibetan Mahāmudrā Traditions

Klaus-Dieter Mathes, Martina Draszczyk, and David Higgins

Preface 9

Contributors 15

Klaus-Dieter Mathes
Mind and its Co-emergent (sahaja) Nature in Advayavajra´s Commentary
on Saraha´s Dohākoṣa 17

Casey Kemp
Merging Ignorance and Luminosity in Early Bka’ brgyud Bsre ba Literature 35

David Higgins
The Two Faces of Mahāmudrā: Padma dkar po on Yang dgon pa’s
gnas lugs phyag chen and ‘khrul lugs phyag chen 51

Roger R. Jackson
Did Tsongkhapa Teach Mahāmudrā? 79

Martina Draszczyk
A Eulogy of Mind’s Connate Qualities, Zhwa dmar Chos Grags
ye shes on the Hidden Meaning of Luminosity 99

Rolf Scheuermann
The Four Dharmas of Sgam po pa – A Brief Examination of Padma dkar po’s Famous
Dwags poʼi chos bzhiʼi rnam bshad skyes bu gsum gyi lam nyin mor byed pa 121

Teil 2 Reguläre Beiträge

John Bray
A.H. Francke’s last visit to Ladakh: history, archaeology and the First
World War 147
Hartmut Walravens
Siberian Manuscripts and the Tibetan Jäschke Type 179

Hartmut Walravens
A note on early Kalmuck printing in St. Petersburg 193

Michael Knüppel
Zu den „Auslassungszeichen” in uigurischen Āgama-Texten 201

Wolfgang-E. Scharlipp
Die Angst der Nomaden vor der chinesischen Kultur 207

Bettina Zeisler
L’épopée tibétaine de Gesar. Une version inédite par dBang chen nyi ma. Ma-
nuscrit Alexandra David-Néel, Musée Guimet BG54805. Présentée par Anne-
Marie Blondeau et Anne Chayet. (Patrimoine d'Orient.) Suilly-la-Tour: Editions
Findakly. Preface, Introduction, 2 maps, 18 colour, 6 black-and-white illustrati-
ons, 3 colour and 216 black-and-white manuscript reproductions, glossary,
index, appendices. ISBN: 978-2-86805-148-6. Paperback, 256 pages, 35 €. 217

Jeannine Bischoff
Czaja, Olaf, Medieval rule in Tibet: The Rlangs clan and the political and religious
history of the ruling house of Phag mo gru pa. With a study of the monastic art of Gdan
sa mthil (Veröffentlichungen zur Sozialanthropologie, 20). Wien: Verlag der
Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. 221

Volker Caumanns
Helmut Eimer, Sa skya legs bshad: Die Strophen zur Lebensklugheit von Sa skya
Paṇḍita Kun dga’ rgyal mtshan (1182-1251). Wiener Studien zur Tibetologie und
Buddhismuskunde, Heft 83. Arbeitskreis für tibetische und buddhistische Stu-
dien, Universität Wien: 2014. 226

Teil 1


Toward a History of Tibetan Mahāmudrā Traditions

IATS 2013: Tibetan Studies: Proceedings of the Thirteenth Seminar of the In-
ternational Association for Tibetan Studies, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 2013.


ZAS 44 (2015)

Table of Contents

Klaus-Dieter Mathes, David Higgins, and Martina Drszczyk

Mind and its Co-emergent Nature (sahaja) in Advayavajra’s Commentary on

Saraha’s Dohākoṣa
Klaus-Dieter Mathes

Merging Ignorance and Luminosity in Early Bka’ brgyud Bsre ba Literature

Casey Kemp

Two Faces of Mahāmudrā: Padma dkar po on Yang dgon pa’s gnas lugs phyag
chen and ’khrul lugs phyag chen
David Higgins

Did Tsong kha pa Teach Mahāmudrā?

Roger Jackson

A Eulogy of Mind’s Connate Qualities: Zhwa dmar Chos grags ye shes on the
Hidden Meaning of Luminosity
Martina Draszczyk

The Four Dharmas of Sgam po pa – A Brief Examination of Padma dkar po’s

Famous Dwags poʼi chos bzhiʼi rnam bshad skyes bu gsum gyi lam nyin mor byed pa
Rolf Scheuermann

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The papers published in this volume were originally presented on a panel

Toward a History of Tibetan Mahāmudrā Traditions at the Thirteenth Seminar of
the International Association for Tibetan Studies in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, in
July 2013, convened by the Mongolian Academy of Sciences and hosted by the
National University of Mongolia. The panel was organized by Klaus-Dieter Ma-
thes, David Higgins, and Martina Draszczyk of the Department of South Asian,
Tibetan, and Buddhist Studies, University of Vienna. In addition to the
conveners, Roger Jackson, Casey Kemp, and Rolf Scheuermann contributed
their presentations on various aspects of Tibetan Mahāmudrā traditions,
clearly demonstrating that the Indian-Tibetan Mahāmudrā tradition deserves
much more scholarly attention than it has received to date. Despite the
growing world-wide interest in Mahāmudrā in recent decades, both in acade-
mic and popular circles, there have been relatively few scholarly monographs
and articles on the subject. A first anthology presenting a wide range of
scholarly analysis of the multilayered historical, doxographical and
soteriological facets of Mahāmudrā, titled Mahāmudrā and the Bka’ brgyud Tradi-
tion, appeared only as recently as 2011. It was published in “Beiträge zur Zent-
ralasienforschung”, vol. 25, and it is hoped that inquiry into this intriguing
domain of study and ensuing publications will continue.
The core of Mahāmudrā practice is to relate to mind itself directly in
order to experience mind’s true nature in its full dimension beyond
superimposition and deprecation and the correlative extremes of existence
and nonexistence. Mahāmudrā is thus a soteriological system that aims at
actualizing mind’s connate qualities of emptiness and clarity. Its transmission,
methods, and detailed explication can, however, not be treated in isolation
from the complex ontological and epistemological currents that were present
both in India and in Tibet.
Along with tantra-associated Mahāmudrā transmissions, Indian
siddhas and their Indian and Tibetan successors synthesized philosophical
views of the Yogācāra and Madhyamaka tenets as a ground for engaging in a
path of meditation based on direct perception that allowed advanced
practitioners to circumvent the complex methods of the highest Buddhist
tantras. Later this became known as “sūtra Mahāmudrā”. While on a
preparatory level, the common Buddhist meditations of calm abiding and deep
insight practices did integrate analytical methods, advanced practitioners
emphasized a cataphatic approach toward a Mahāmudrā praxis that, along the
lines of Maitrīpa, Sahajavajra, and Saraha, made use of the method of mental
nonengagement (amanasikāra) and the nonanalytical direct path of luminosity.

ZAS 44 (2015)

Because this approach called into question the primacy of analytical investiga-
tion and the absolute dependence of Mahāmudrā realization on the complex
repertoire of tantric rituals and initiations, it eventually provoked
considerable debate in Tibet. Heated controversies arose with Sa skya Paṇḍita’s
(1182-1251) broad-based criticisms of non-tantric and non-gradual mahāmudrā
teachings in his Sdom gsum rab dbye and his Thub pa’i dgongs gsal. The Dge lugs
tradition as well, treating Mahāmudrā in the frameworks of both Sūtrayāna
and the secret Mantrayāna, explicitly rejected the practice of mental
nonengagement and non-analytical methods in the context of the sūtra path.
Such disputes have continued unabated throughout the history of
Tibetan Buddhism down to the present day. They concerned the authenticity,
application and effects of the respective Mahāmudrā practices as well as their
doctrinal support in the second and third dharmacakras. A central issue
concerned the question of whether Mahāmudrā must necessarily be linked
with the highest Buddhist tantras1. The debates also centered on questions of
whether analytical investigation is prerequisite to developing Mahāmudrā
practice, whether mental nonengagement is an appropriate approach, what
mental nonengagement in this context actually means2, and what conditions
are necessary for Mahāmudrā practice to be successful. This set of issues were
interwoven with questions as to whether the conventional and the ultimate
truths as well as their associated modes of cognition and emptiness are to be
regarded in terms of difference or unity and how these two opposing views
could be reconciled by determining the relevant contexts of each. A related
question was whether goal-realization entails merely the disclosure of
inherent enlightened qualities or rather the full development of potential qua-
In the history of Tibetan Buddhism, many outstanding scholars
contributed to discussions and debates concerning the various aspects of
Mahāmudrā and the path to its attainment. A notable characteristic of the
panel conducted at the IATS 2013 in Ulaanbaatar was that the presentations
covered studies on the Indian origin of Mahāmudrā, through investigations in
the context of the early days of pre-polemic Mahāmudrā transmission in Tibet,
through Tsong kha pa’s influential period, up till the highly polemical post-
classical period of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In short, some of the

In “Can sūtra mahāmudrā be justified on the basis of Maitrīpa’s Apratiṣṭhānavāda?”
Mathes has convincingly shown that the blending of the sūtras with the tantras was
not a Tibetan invention, even if the term of a sūtra mahāmudrā may have been coined
in Tibet only. (See Mathes 2007).
The meaning of mental nonengagement in this contemplative tradition has been
investigated in detail in “Maitrīpa’s Amanasikārādhāra”. (See Mathes 2009).

ZAS 44 (2015)

most important features that shaped the transmission of Mahāmudrā up to the

present day were represented, at least in broad contours, in the papers
presented in this volume.
The first contribution, by K.-D. Mathes, investigates a commentary on
Saraha’s Dohākoṣa attributed to Advayavajra who as Mathes points out is not to
be confused with the famous siddha Maitrīpa. This text is considered an
authoritative source for Indian Mahāmudrā teachings. The author analyzes the
relationship between mind and its coemergent nature (sahaja) which in
Saraha’s dohās does not just imply emptiness but is referred to positively as
coemergent joy, wisdom, and great bliss. It reflects the understanding of sahaja
as used in the Ratnagotravibhāga, that buddha nature and its positive qualities
primordially coexist in sentient beings’ minds. Their essential identity of mind
and its sahaja nature is restricted to their emptiness: both are empty of a
conceptually created true reality, just as saṃsāra and nirvāṇa share the identity
of being mere conceptual constructs. Sahaja, on the other hand, is revealed as
the true nature of everything and prevails as an uncreated genuine state.
Next follows the paper by C. Kemp on merging (bsre ba) ignorance (gti
mug) and luminosity (’od gsal ba) in early Bka’ brgyud tantric commentarial
literature These teachings are based on the doctrines of Nāropa (c. 956-1040)
and Mar pa (1002/12-1097). This tradition asserts that luminosity and
ignorance are in fact nondual in that ignorance is not merely an affliction, but
in terms of its very nature nothing but luminosity, the nature of mind being
luminous as such. Kemp investigates in particular Ras chung pa’s (1083-1161),
’Jig rten mgon po’s (1143-1217) and Padma dkar po’s (1527-1592) writings that
detail this view in the context of Nāropa’s six doctrines (Nā ro’i chos drug) and
The paper by D. Higgins ushers us into the world of Mahāmudrā
hermeneutics of the Tibetan ’Brug pa bka’ brgyud tradition, focusing upon
Yang dgon pa’s (1213-1258) famous distinction between Mahāmudra as a mode
of abiding (gnas lugs phyag chen) and Mahāmudrā in the mode of error (’khrul
lugs phyag chen) and Padma dkar po’s (1527-1592) post-classical interpretation
of it. The paper shows how the distinction was originally used by Yang dgon pa
in the context of retreat instructions to clarify how Mahāmudrā remains
discernible as the ground (gzhi) or abiding condition of mind (sems kyi gnas lugs)
even amidst the mind’s habitual state of confusion and error (’khrul lugs) which
is characterized by adventitious thoughts and emotions. It then examines how
Padma dkar po revives the distinction in the more polemically-heated
intellectual climate of the sixteenth century and redeploys it as a powerful
model to explain the fundamental unity or nonduality of the conventional and
ultimate realities, a doctrinal cornerstone of Dwags po Bka’ brgyud

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As mentioned above, Mahāmudrā is not restricted to the Bka’ brgyud

school. R. Jackson’s paper offers a cogent summary of the Dge lugs pa
Mahāmudrā tradition, shedding valuable light on its transmission, lineage and
doctrinal foundations. The tantric transmissions of this tradition are mostly
traced back to Tilopa and Nāropa. Since these in many cases are those which
were brought to Tibet by Mar pa, the Dge lugs pa school shares a common
heritage with the Bka’ brgyud pa tradition in this regard. The Dge lugs also
contains a unique Mahāmudrā transmission traced to Tsong kha pa’s visions of
Mañjughoṣa. Jackson points out that it appears from the available writings of
Tsong kha pa that although the First Pan chen bla ma Blo bzang chos kyi rgyal
mtshan (1570-1662) and later Dge lugs scholars attribute Mahāmudrā teachings
to Tsong kha pa based in the latter’s visions and the teachings he himself
received from various Mahāmudrā teachers, there is no textual evidence to
support the idea that Tsong kha pa actually taught a Mahāmudrā meditation
The paper to follow by M. Draszczyk takes us into the post-classical
period of the fifteenth century, examining Zhwa dmar Chos grags ye shes’s
(1453-1524) views on luminosity. The nature of luminosity is equated with the
wisdom of coemergence, clarity and emptiness, as well as with Mahāmudrā.
The paper investigates how this author establishes doctrinal support for
Mahāmudrā mainly in the third dharmacakra and how by employing the app-
roach of an affirming negation the two extremes of superimposition and of
deprecation are avoided. Given the highly polemical atmosphere of this time
and the influential position of the author—for eleven years he was the
religious and secular ruler of Tibet—his clear positioning of Bka’ brgyud
Mahāmudrā as an affirmative discourse of the third dharmacākra may be taken
to represent the mainstream view within the tradition during this time.
The last section of this volume, presented by R. Scheuermann, forms a
bridge between the early and later periods of Mahāmudrā transmissions in
Tibet by demonstrating how the “four dharmas” of Sgam po pa (1079-1153)
were interpreted within the doctrinal systems of Phag mo gru pa and La yag pa
Byang chub dngos grub in the twelve century and Padma dkar po in the
sixteenth century. The major focus of this analysis is the divergence between
these various teaching modes that all make use of a fourfold structure in
presenting their dharma systems and Padma dkar po’s way of reconciling these
various interpretative models.
By exploring a range of works and views concerning Mahāmudrā by
authors from the eleventh up till the sixteenth century, the papers in this pa-
nel broaden our understanding of the complex evolution of Mahāmudrā tradi-
tions in Tibet through casting light on important indigenous developments
that have hitherto received little attention. One desideratum for future re-

ZAS 44 (2015)

search, the importance of which has been suggested by this collection, is to

consider how Yogācāra and Madhyamaka views influenced, and were in turn
influenced by, various strands of Mahāmudrā transmission in Tibet and how
the Indian Buddhist doxographical categories were integrated into the Tibetan
Mahāmudrā traditions.

Vienna 2014, Klaus-Dieter Mathes, Martina Draszczyk, and David Higgins

ZAS 44 (2015)

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MARTINA DRASZCZYK is a Postdoctoral Research Assistant in the Department of

South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies at the University of Vienna. Her
research at present focuses upon the correlation between Madhyamaka, in
particular other-emptiness (gzhan stong), and Mahāmudrā traditions of the 15th
and 16th centuries in Tibet. Her 2012 dissertation is entitled “The Application of
the Doctrine of tathāgatagarbha in the bKa’ brgyud Tradition in Accordance
with an Instruction on the gzhan stong View Composed by ’Jam mgon Kong
sprul Blo gros mtha’ yas”.

DAVID HIGGINS is a Post-doc Research Fellow in the Department of South Asian,

Tibetan and Buddhist Studies at the University of Vienna where he is exploring
the relationship between Mahāmudrā and Madhyamaka in Bka’ brgyud
scholasticism during the post-classical period (15th to 16th centuries). His re-
search interests include Indo-Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and epistemology
with a particular focus on Bka' brgyud Mahāmudrā and Rnying ma Rdzogs
chen doctrinal systems. His recent book Philosophical Foundations of Classical
Rdzogs chen in Tibet (Vienna, WSTB no. 78, 2013) provides a philosophical analy-
sis of Rnying ma views on the nature of mind that traces their evolution and
complex relationships with Indian Cittamātra, Madhyamaka, Pramāṇavāda,
and Vajrayāna views.

ROGER JACKSON is John W. Nason Professor of Asian Studies and Religion at Car-
leton College (Minnesota, USA). His research focuses upon Indian and Tibetan
Buddhist traditions of religious poetry and meditative praxis, especially as
related to Mahāmudrā. Recent publications include, with Geshe Lhundup So-
pa, The Crystal Mirror of Philosophical Systems: A Tibetan Study of Asian Religious
Thought (Boston 2009) and, with Matthew Kapstein, Mahāmudrā and the Bka’
brgyud Tradition (Andiast 2011). He is currently completing a book-length study
of Dge lugs pa traditions of Mahāmudrā.

CASEY KEMP is a doctoral candidate at the Department of South Asian, Tibetan

and Buddhist Studies at the University of Vienna. She is currently completing
her dissertation, entitled “Merging Doctrines of Luminosity in the Indo-
Tibetan Mahāmudrā Tradition”. Her research interests include tantric practice
systems, the ’Bri gung Bka’ brgyud Tibetan lineage, Mahāmudrā, Buddhist
death studies, cultural transference, and methods for translating Buddhist
canonical literature.

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KLAUS-DIETER MATHES is Professor of Tibetan and Buddhist Studies at the Uni-

versity of Vienna. His current research deals with the Indian origins of Tibetan
Mahāmudrā traditions. Recent publications include A Direct Path to the Buddha
Within: Gö Lotsawa’s Mahāmudrā Interpretation of the Ratnagotravibhāga (Boston
2008), "The Collection of 'Indian Mahāmudrā Works' (phyag chen rgya gzhung)
Compiled by the Seventh Karma pa Chos grags rgya mtsho" (in: Roger Jackson
und Matthew Kapstein (eds.), Mahāmudrā and the Bka'-brgyud Tradition. Andiast
2011), and “The gzhan stong model of reality—Some more material on its ori-
gin, transmission, and interpretation” (in Journal of International Association of
Buddhist Studies vol. 34, 2011(2012)).

ROLF SCHEUERMANN is a research coordinator at the International Consortium

for Research in the Humanities “Fate, Freedom and Prognostication” at the
FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg, and a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of South
Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies at the University of Vienna. Present re-
search focuses on the early Bka’ brgyud tradition, the Jo nang tradition, and
Tibetan strategies for coping with the future. His ongoing dissertation is
entitled “When sūtra meets tantra – Sgam po pa’s Four Dharma doctrine as an
example for his synthesis of the Bka’ gdams- and Mahāmudrā-systems.”

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Klaus-Dieter Mathes

Mind and its Co-emergent (sahaja) Nature in

Advayavajra´s Commentary on Saraha´s Dohākoṣa1
Saraha´s "Treasure of Dohās" (Dohākoṣa), usually referred to in Tibet as "The
People´s Dohā" (dmangs do hā), was edited and translated into French by M.
Shahidullah (1928). There has followed an annotated English translation by R.
Jackson (2004) and a further English translation of it together with bCom ldan
Rig pa´i ral gri´s commentary by C. Schaeffer (2005). Given the difficulty of the
Apabhraṃśa root text and the unusually divergent bsTan ´gyur versions of its
Tibetan translation, it is surprising that the only existent Sanskrit commentary
has not been exploited up to now. Bagchi´s first edition (1935) and revised edi-
tion (1938) of this Sanskrit commentary (the Dohākoṣapañjikā) mention a cer-
tain Advayavajra as the author.2 However, the style, numerous flagrant gram-
matical violations, and, most important, his varying view on the sequence of
the four moments and four joys,3 exclude the possibility that this could be

Many thanks to Nirajan Kafle (Kathmandu) for carefully checking the passages from
the Dohākoṣa and its commentary quoted in this paper.
DKP 14821-22: “This commentary on the Dohākoṣa is completed. The number of granthas
in this [text] is eight hundred. This work is by the venerable Śrī-Advayavajra.”
(samāpteyaṃ dohākoṣasya pañjikā | granthapramāṇam aṣṭaśatam asya | kṛtir iyaṃ śrī-advaya-
vajrapādānām iti |). Unfortunately, this sentence is on the last, now missing folio 121, of
the only available manuscript (NGMPP reel no. A 932/4).
In DK 96, Saraha speaks of co-emergent joy and the fourth moment, but simply says
that they are one´s natural awareness: “In the explanation of the profound there is
neither other nor self. One fully knows that co-emergent joy and the fourth moment
are [one´s] natural awareness.” DKP 1421-2: gambhīraï uāharaṇeṃa ṇaü para ṇaü appāṇa |
sahajāṇandeṃb caüṭhṭhackkhaṇa ṇia samveaṇa jāṇa | )
N –rahale b EB sahajāndeṃ N sahajāṇanda c N caüṭṭha-.
Here, Advayavajra goes against the root text (whose reading is also supported by Vi-
bhūticandra´s Amṛtakaṇikoddyotanibandha, AKUN 6320) in that he puts “co-emergent
joy” in the instrumental and the “fourth joy” in the locative: “That [co-emergent],
which few people, [even] among those who have merit, know, destroys biasedness
immediately the profound is recollected as a result of having analyzed it. In this, the
supremely profound, all [distinctions between] the self and other do not exist at all.
For it (i.e., the profound) lacks them (i.e., self and other) in the first place. Through co-
emergent joy at the fourth moment, in the middle of which is [only] imagined by the
world, you [come to] know such naturally present awareness.” (DKP 1423-6: yat puṇyeṣu
viralā lokā jānanti tat gambhīrasya vicārabalena nirantarasmaraṇatayāa pakṣāpakṣaṃ niru-

ZAS 44 (2015)

Maitrīpa (986-1063), who also goes by the name Advayavajra (i.e., the author of
the Tattvaratnāvalī).4
Bagchi´s edition and revised edition of the Dohākoṣapañjikā5 are based on an old
Newar manuscript in a mid-13th-century bhujimogal script, a text printed by
Haraprasād Śāstrī, and a fragmentary manuscript of the Darbar Library.6 Cor-
rections in the margin show that the Newar manuscript is a copy of an older
one. There is no further information on Śāstrī´s source, but it is very likely that
he used the same Newar manuscript at a time when fewer folios were missing
and less damage had been done to the surviving ones. The colophons of the
Derge and Peking bsTan ´gyur Tibetan editions indicate that the translator was
Śrī-Vairocanavajra from the land of Kośala in South India.7 The colophon in the
commentary of the dPal spungs edition of the Indian mahāmudrā works states
that the Dohākoṣapañjikā was translated by Vairocanarakṣita of Kośala and the
Tibetan translator-monk Ba ri, i.e., Atiśa´s famous translator Bari Lo tsā ba Rin

dhyate | paramagambhīre tatra na paraṃ anātmanaḥb kiṃcid asti | ādāv eva rahitatvāt | īdṛśaṃ
sahajānandena caturthakṣaṇe lokacparikalpitamadhye nijasaṃvedanaṃ jānāsi |)
N -ṇayā b EB nātmanaḥ N anātmana c EB lokaḥ.
First translated in Mathes 2015:33-34.
This interpretation is clearly opposed to Maitrīpa´s presentation of the sequence of the
four moments and joys. Maitrīpa argues that it is possible to list the co-emergent in
the third position, for in treatises such as the Hevajratantra the correct sequence has
not been made explicit in order to confuse outsiders who do not rely on a guru. If
Maitrīpa himself had been the author of the commentary, he would have argued that
Saraha simply states here that the co-emergent joy and the fourth moment are one´s
natural awareness without entering into any technical discussion about the issue of
which moment the co-emergent is realized at. To be sure, like his teacher Ratnākara-
śānti, he clearly follows a tradition which claims that the moment of freedom from
defining characteristics and co-emergent joy are marked or recognized in the third
position (Mathes 2009:99-106). However, the majority of scholars—Kamalanātha, Ab-
hayākaragupta, Raviśrījñāna, Vibhūticandra, and others—put them in the fourth posi-
tion (Kvaerne 1986:34-35).
This finding and a preliminary introduction into Advayavajra´s commentary were
first communicated at the Sahaja Conference at Visva Bharati, Santiniketan, India on
Feb. 12, 2012 (see Mathes 2015:16-38).
NGMPP reel no. A 932/4, fols 17a4-102b5.
Bachi 1935:52.
The colophon in the Derge (2256, rgyud ´grel, vol. wi, fol. 207a7) and Peking bsTan
´gyur (3101, rgyud ´grel, vol. mi, fol. 231a4-5) reads as follows: “The Dohākoṣapañjikā,
composed by the great master Advayavajra, is completed. Translated by the great yo-
gin from the land of Kośala in South India, Śrī-Vairocanavajra.” (do ha mdzod kyi dka´
´grel slob dpon chen po dpal gnyis su med pa´i rdo rjes mdzad pa rdzogs so | rgya gar lho phyogs
yul ko sa lar sku ´khrungs pa´i rnal ´byor pa chen po śrī bai ro tsa na ba dzras bsgyur ba´o ||).

ZAS 44 (2015)

chen grags (1040 - ca. 1110).8 The same colophon mentions that later it was
corrected and finalized by Vairocanavajra.9 Schaeffer (2005:61) takes Vairoca-
navajra and Vairocanarakṣita to be one and the same person, who lived in the
11th/12th centuries. The Tibetan translation of the Dohākoṣapañjikā is unique in
that it deviates often from the Sanskrit—sometimes several sentences appear
not to have been translated at all or only summarized.10 It is hard to see how Ba
ri Lo tsā ba could have been involved in this. In his Phyag chen rgyal ba´i gan
mdzod, Padma dkar po (1527-96) questions the attribution of the commentary
to the famous Indian Advayavajra, i.e., Maitrīpa, and claims that

the [Dohā] commentary of Maitrīpa is not by the “sovereign master”

(mnga´ bdag); rather, it is similar to what we have from the [like-
named] younger brother of a Nepalese venerable (bhadanta). He only
has the same name, and is not important. The commentary by Paṇḍita
Mokṣākaragupta (Derge 2258) is good[, though].11

A similar doubt was raised by bCom ldan Rig pa´i ral gri (1227-1305), a famous
master from Narthang Monastery.12 In his Do ha rgyan gyi me tog (fol. 2b-3a) he

While it appears that [the commentary composed by] the so-called Ad-
vayavajra was translated by Vairocana, there is a writing that says that
[the work] was composed by Kor Nirūpa.13

Schaeffer 2005:61.
The colophon of the commentary in the dPal spungs edition (DKPT (B) 161a4-5) states:
“Translated by the great yogin from the land of Kośala in South India, Mar me mdzad ra
kṣi ta, and the Tibetan translator-monk Ba ri. Later it was corrected a bit and finalized by
Vairocanavajra.” (rgya gar lho phyogs kyi yul ko sa lar sku ´khrungs pa´i rnal ´byor pa
chen mar me mdzad ra kṣi ta dang | bod kyi lo tsā ba dge slong ba ris bsgyur ba | slad
kyi be ro tsa na ba dzras cung zad bcos te gtan la phab pa´o ||).
For example, nearly the entire refutation of the Śaivas (DKP 7810-814), which covers
more than three folios in the Newar manuscript, is not translated. It is possible, of
course, that the refutation is a later interpolation in the Sanskrit text.
Phyag chen rgyal ba´i gan mdzod, 2912-15: mai tri pa´i ´grel pa ni | mnga´ bdag gis
mdzad pa ma yin | de dang mtshan mthun pa bal po bha danta´i gcung po zhig kyang
byung ba lta bus | mtshan tsam snying po mi bya pa ṇḍi ta thar pa ´byung gnas kyis ´grel
pa legs so |.
Schaeffer 2005:10.
Quoted after Schaeffer 2005:66.

ZAS 44 (2015)

Kor Nirūpa travelled in his teens to Nepal after receiving monastic ordination
in Lhasa. In Nepal, where he was called Prajñāśrījñānakīrti (1062-1102), he
received teachings on the seven sections of accomplishment, the six works on
essential meaning, and the Dohākoṣa. Schaeffer thinks that he was the same as
Prajñāśrījñānakīrti mentioned as the translator of Advayavajra´s Mi zad pa´i
gter mdzod yongs su gang ba´i glu zhes bya ba gnyug ma´i de nyid rab tu ston pa´i rgya
cher bshad pa (Derge 2257), and reports that some Tibetan scholars accused
Prajñāśrījñānakīrti of being a forger of commentarial literature.14 Still, the
Seventh Karma pa Chos grags rgya mtsho (1454-1506) included Advayavajra´s
commentary on Saraha´s Dohākoṣa in his collection of Indian mahāmudrā
works.15 The Nepalese (?) Advayavajra probably belonged to the circle of the
Indian Vajrapāṇi, one of Maitrīpa´s four heart disciples, who brought the Trea-
sure of Dohās to Nepal.16 In his Blue Annals ´Gos Lo tsā ba gZhon nu dpal (1392-
1481) informs us that Vajrapāṇi (b. 1017) settled in Pātan in the Kathmandu
Valley in 1066, where he taught, besides the Dohās, the three cycles of
mahāmudrā works.17

The Co-emergent (sahaja)

The term sahaja (“inborn” or “co-emergent”) most of the time refers to the co-
emergence or co-existence of the ultimate in the world of relative truth. It is
usually defined negatively as emptiness, but here in Saraha´s dohās it is also
referred to as co-emergent joy, wisdom and also great bliss. Such positive de-
scriptions of the ultimate can be already found in Yogācāra, whose perfect
nature is taken as the luminous nature of mind. The use of sahaja in the
Ratnagotravibhāga is also of interest, where at the end of the presentation of
nine similes for buddha nature existent in all sentient beings, the inseparable
qualities of purification are called ‘co-emergent’ (sahaja) throughout begin-
ningless time.18 In other words, buddha nature and its qualities co-exist with
the ordinary mind of all sentient beings. Everybody at any time, has the option
to turn away from the conceptually created duality of saṃsāra, and turn to her

Schaeffer 2005:66-67.
Phun tshogs rgyal mtshan (ed.): Phyag rgya chen po´i rgya gzhung, vol. āḥ, fols 121a4-
Schaeffer 2005:62-63.
Roerich 1949-1953:855-57. The three cycles are (1) the seven sections of accomplish-
ment; (2) the six works on essential meaning; and (3) Maitrīpa´s amanasikāra works. For
a description of the three cycles see Mathes 2011:93-98.
RGVV on I.129 (6619 – 671): “It has been shown that the properties of the purity of
mind are inseparable [from it] throughout beginningless time and [thus] co-
emergent.” (anādicittavyavadānadharmasahajāvinirbhāgatā ca paridīpitā |). I thank David-
son (2002:55) for this reference.

ZAS 44 (2015)

or his co-emergent qualities. Practitioners of a sūtra path experience them as

luminosity, and mahāmudrā adepts as great bliss or co-emergent joy.19 In both
cases sahaja is best translated literally as “co-emergent”.20
Given the eminent role sahaja plays in the dohā traditions of the Mahāsiddhas,
Bagchi (1938) even speaks of a Sahajayāna. In fact, in the introduction to his
Dohākoṣapañjikā Advayavajra expresses his intention to write a commentary in
the Sahaja tradition (sahajāmnāya).21 The word āmnāya, “sacred tradition”, sug-
gests an even more distinguished identity than just being a separate vehicle
within Buddhism. Even though the commentary is clearly Buddhist, the author
lists the Buddhist thought as among the six systems of philosophy (ṣaḍ
darśanāni).22 There is no attempt to censor or excuse Saraha´s critique of non-
Buddhist tenets and various forms of traditional Buddhism in the present
commentary. What is refuted in the opinion of Advayavajra are mere concep-
tual approaches to nirvāṇa which are not based on a genuine experience of
sahaja. This is supported by Advayavajra´s commentary on Saraha´s last verse
of criticizing the Buddhists (DK 13), in which Saraha claims that one cannot
cultivate nirvāṇa after having neglected the co-emergent. Advayavajra explains
that once the co-emergent has been neglected, there is no other true defining
characteristic of nirvāṇa to fall back on. Not knowing this, the Buddhists run
after the nirvāṇa of others, confused by what are mere enumerations.23

Depending on the means they employ on the path (oral information from Thrangu
Rinpoche, Kathmandu, April 2008).
As Herbert Guenther (1993:22) explains, emergence (ja) must be understood, howev-
er, as the spontaneous and uncaused manifestation of the principle of complementari-
ty (saha).
DKP 723-4: “As I continuously pay devoted homage to the gurus, the protectors of the
world, [this] commentary on the treasure of songs (dohā) in the Sahaja tradition is
written.” (namaskṛtya jagannāthān gurūn satatam ādarāt | likhyate dohākoṣasya
sahajāmnāyapañjikā ||).
DKP 7213-14: atra tāvat ṣaḍ darśanāny ucyante | brahma-īśvara-arhanta-bauddha-lokāyata-
sāṃkhyāś ca | According to Nirajan Kafle (Kathmandu), ca at the end of the enumeration
is superfluous, and was probably put there on purpose to violate Sanskrit grammar in
order to be provocative.
Bagchi (1938:17 & DKP 858): “They who [try to] cultivate nirvāṇa after having neg-
lected the co-emergent—do not attain the ultimate, none of them.” (sahajaṃ parityajya
yena nirvāṇaṃ bhāvitam | (not available in DKP): ṇau paramattha ekka teṃ sāhiu |). Ad-
vayavajra (DKPT B 128a3-4; D 185a4-5; P 203b4-5; missing in the Sanskrit) comments: “The
co-emergent having been neglected, there is no other defining characteristic of nirvāṇa
[to fall back on]. Not knowing this, they (i.e., the Buddhists) run after the nirvāṇa of
others, confused by what are mere enumerations.” (ces gsungs te | lhan cig skyes pa bora
nas mya ngan las ´das pa´i mtshan nyid gzhan med do | | de (bni mib) shes pas ming gi rnam

ZAS 44 (2015)

While Tibetan commentaries tend to rationalize Saraha´s critical attitude to-

wards more traditional forms of Buddhism such that the critique is only di-
rected against wrong concepts, Advayavajra fully elaborates on this attitude
without restriction. This is most evident by the fact that he lists Buddhism as
among the six systems of philosophy to be criticized and by quoting a sūtra
which warns that all future Buddhist monks will belong to the retinue of
Although Advayavajra expresses a critical attitude towards even Buddhist te-
nets, he stops short of dismissing them altogether. It is clear that he still en-
dorses within a Buddhist context a goal called realization of the co-emergent
nature or simply the co-emergent, while his favored path is the immediate
realization of this goal through the pith instructions of a genuine guru. I would
thus go further than using Bagchi´s Sahajayāna to name this unique system of
instruction, and instead use Advayavajra´s designation, the “Sahaja tradition.”
The crucial means to liberation in this tradition is an immediate access to
one´s co-emergent nature of mind with the help of a genuine guru´s pith in-
structions. This becomes most clear in his commentary to verses 20d-21b,
where the co-emergent is first taken as the ultimate that is beyond existence
and non-existence. For Advayavajra, the common Madhyamaka negation of
these two extremes means that while the multitude of appearances of the
phenomenal world are only imagined (exclusion of existence), there is a ge-
nuine experience of everything´s co-emergent nature (exclusion of non-
existence). In support of that, the famous verse I.154 from the Ratnagotra-
vibhāga is adduced:

There is nothing to be removed from it

And nothing to be added.
The real should be seen as real;
And seeing the real, one becomes liberated.25

Saraha (DK 21ab) then equates the co-emergent with the tantric concept of
great bliss, which can be realized through the natural blissful state of human
existence through the pith instructions of a genuine guru.26 This resembles the

grangs tsam gyi sgo nas ´khrul pa´i phyir gzhan gyi mya ngan las ´das pa la ´jug par ´gyur bas
|). First translated in Mathes 2015:27.
See Mathes 2015:26.
RGVV 761 reads upaneyaṃ instead of prakṣeptavyaṃ (N prakṣeptaṃ), but given the
overall positive description of the ultimate in the Dohākoṣa and its commentary, it
should be understood in line with tathāgatagarbha theory.
See Mathes 2012:200-201.

ZAS 44 (2015)

karmamudrā practice of the Caturmudrānvaya. Here the idea is, however, that
the co-emergent nature can shine through at any moment of one´s life, and
not only during the sequence of four joys experienced during union. The only
prerequisite is to be natural like a small child,27 because then it is possible for a
realized master to point out one´s own ultimate co-emergence which other-
wise cannot be defined or related to in any conceivable way.28

The Relation between Mind and Sahaja

One of the most quoted verses from Saraha´s Dohākoṣa compares the relation
between cyclic existence and nirvāṇa (lit. “calmness”) to that between waves
and water. There is no problem when it comes to equating mind with cyclic
existence in the context of the Dohākoṣa and its commentary by Advayavajra.
As we have seen above, however, the equivalence of sahaja and nirvāṇa (or
“calmness”) can be only accepted if it is taken in terms of an immediate reali-
zation which goes beyond anything conceptual. Saraha says:

Are waves and water different?

Cyclic existence and calmness [share] the nature of being like
space.29 (DK 72cd)

Just as the water in a river [is the river, so too] the very [river] itself is
a wave, and not anything else. Given the equal purity of [all] cyclic ex-
istence, [cyclic existence] has the nature of calmness, the nature of be-
ing like space, and nothing else. What is taught by this? Cyclic exis-
tence is precisely nirvāṇa. This is in accordance with the pith instruc-

See verse 57 (DKP 1183-4): “Having completely abandoned thought and no-thought,
one must abide in the [natural] way of a small child. Be firm in devotion to the teach-
ing of the guru! By it will arise the large wave of the co-emergent.” (cittācitta vi pariha-
rahua tima acchahu jima vālu |guruvaaṇeṃ diḍhabhatti karub hoi jaïc sahaja ulālu ||)
N parihara b N laru c N haï
It should be noted that DK 57 is also quoted in Atiśa´s Bodhipathapradīpa (Eimer
This is most clear from verse 36 (DKP 981-2): “The root of the mind [can]not be
marked [out]. In terms of the co-emergent, the three (i.e., the goal, mark, and marker)
are wrong [notions]. In this [co-emergent,] one lives and dies. Son, you must remain in
it!” (cittaha mūla ṇa lakkhiaü sahajeṃ tiṇṇaa vitattha | tahiṃb jīvaï vilaa jāïc vasiaü tahi phuta
ettha | iti |)
N tiṇṇi b N tahi tahi c N ja
First translated in Mathes 2015:29-30.
DKP 12815: aṇṇa taraṅga ki aṇṇa jalu bhavasama khasama sarūa (DK 72cd).

ZAS 44 (2015)

tions of the genuine guru for those who know. The ignorant ones do
not understand, and reify [the two as different] objects.30

In other words, cyclic existence and nirvāṇa are not ontologically different, any
more than the existence of ocean water is not affected when the flat surface of
the ocean is churned into waves, to use an oft-quoted example from the

In the same way as there is no difference between waves and the

A development (i.e., in the sense of a real distinction)31 of the types of
consciousness from within the mind is not found.32

Advayavajra´s view on the relation between cyclic existence and the co-
emergent differs from that essential identity of cyclic existence and nirvāṇa,
the latter being only a conceptual construct and thus different from the actual
co-emergent. The co-emergent and cyclic existence are best compared with
buddha nature and its adventitious stains, as exemplified by the fourth simile
in the Tathāgatagarbhasūtra, namely a gold nugget that is immersed in excre-
ment.33 However, the two similes are different in that waves are always made
of water, while gold is not found in excrement. Nonetheless, most scholars
have applied Saraha´s simile of water and waves to mind and its co-emergent
nature. Saraha´s verses 102-106, however, shed a slightly different light on this
issue, especially against the backdrop of Advayavajra´s commentary:

What is cyclic existence is also nirvāṇa.

Do not take them as being separate!
They are [also] free from a single nature.
[This] stainless [non-duality] I have realized.34 DK 102

DKP 12816-18: yathā nadyāṃ jalaṃ saiva taraṅgo nānyaḥ tathā bhavasamāvaśuddhitvāt
śāntirūpam eva khasamarūpaṃ nānyaḥ | etena kim uktaṃ syāt | yo bhavaḥ saiva nirvāṇaṃ
samyaggurūpadeśād iti jñāninām | ajñā na jānanti | viṣayaṃ yānti |
For a discussion of pariṇāmayati etc., see Schmithausen 1969:165f.
LAS 4615-16: udadheḥ ca taraṅgāṇāṃ yathā nāsti viśeṣaṇam | vijñānānāṃ tathā cittea
pariṇāmo na labhyate ||
According to all manuscripts. Nanjio suggests citteḥ.
See Takasaki 1966:272.
DKP 14414-15: jo bhava so ṇivvāṇa khalu sa u ṇa maṇṇahu aṇṇa | ekka sahāveṃ virahiaa
ṇimmala maïb paḍivaṇṇa | (DK 102)
N vevirahia b EB maïṃ

ZAS 44 (2015)

In short, for yogins there are no distinctions whatsoever. This is as

stated in Ārya Nāgārjuna[´s Pañcakrama], in the [chapter called] Yuga-
naddhakrama, starting with “cyclic existence and nirvāṇa35” (i.e., PK
V.2a). What is referred to as cyclic existence and nirvāṇa here, for eve-
rybody they are two according to [the conventions of] dualistic speech.
“Indivisible union” and “non-duality” accompanied by objects of
knowledge—this, it should be known, is another distinction. But are
[saṃsāra and nirvāṇa] of a single nature? The final tenet in the treatises
is that [true reality] is without it, that is, the state of the one and the
many. But it is also non-duality, as realized [by me]. The idea is that it
is supreme non-duality.36 In order to make this clear, [Saraha] says:37

Neither remain at home nor go into the forest!

Wherever you are, [simply] look at the mind!
It is entirely and continuously grounded in enlightenment.
Where is [then] cyclic existence and where is nirvāṇa?38 DK 103

In this [verse it is taught] that you should not remain in your house or
go to other [places like a] forest. [This,] however, is certain: It is from
spending time at places [conducive] to duality that thoughts arise.
“How does this happen?” It is explained: Wherever you are, whatever
you do— whether walking or eating—you must look at the mind in
such situations! The mind is false. You must state this39 clearly. It has
been repudiated before because it had not been established. Therefore,
in the entire threefold world [mind] is established as being uninterrup-

PK V.2a: saṃsāro nirvṛtiś ceti
The Tibetan simply reads: “This is as stated in Ārya Nāgārjuna[´s Pañcakrama], in the
[chapter called] Yuganaddhakrama, starting with “saṃsāra and nirvāṇa” (i.e., PK V.2a).
Accordingly, the inseparability of saṃsāra and nirvāṇa is non-duality and thus called
indivisible union.”
DKP 14416-1454: nāsti yogināṃ viśeṣād viśeṣaḥ sa]ṃkṣepataḥa | yathā yuganaddha-
krameṣūktam āryanāgārjunapādena bhavanirvāṇetyādinā ca | iha etad eva yat bhavanirvāṇaṃ
khalu sarveṣāṃ dvayaṃ dvayavacaneṣu | savijñeyayuganaddhābdvayaṃ tac ca bhedam anyaṃ
vijñeyād iti | kiṃ tarhy ekasvabhāvena | (cyad śāstreṣuc) siddhāntaṃ tat tasmād virahitamd
ekānekabhāvam | kiṃ tu advayo ´pi nirmalaḥ pratipannaḥ | paramādvayam iti bhāvaḥ | etad
eva spaṣṭhārtham āha |
EB –kṣepaḥ b EB –a- c EB yad advayaṃ sarvaśāstreṣu N ya ya śāstreṣu d EB avirahitam
DKP 1455-6: gharahi ma thakku ma jāhi vaṇe jahi tahi maṇa pariāṇa | saalu ṇirantara vohi-
ṭhiu kahiṃ bhava kahiṃ ṇivvāṇa |
Taking sa in the sense of tat.

ZAS 44 (2015)

tedly grounded in enlightenment. Being self-arisen [wisdom], it is not

generated by anything. It is [falsely] imagined, in their bewilderment,
by those of low intellect. Cyclic existence and nirvāṇa being non-dual,
this [mind] should not be [created] through anything, because of said
reasoning. There is neither cyclic existence nor nirvāṇa. Why? Because
the manifold [world] has not been produced in the first place. What it
is [can] be seen [in ordinary experience]. It is like an illusion, a mere
appearance caused by delusion. It is like a reflection in a mirror or the
like: upon analysis it is not apprehended [as anything]. It does not tru-
ly occur, with such distinct features as [those of] a disk or a ball of de-
finite extent and so forth. From this does it follow then, that cyclic ex-
istence and nirvāṇa do not truly occur? This is as stated [in Yuktiṣaṣṭikā

Those who think in terms of nirvāṇa and saṃsāra

Do not see reality,
[Whereas] those who think in terms of neither saṃsāra nor
See reality.41 YṢ 5

Nirvāṇa and cyclic existence—

Neither of them exists;
Thorough knowledge of cyclic existence—
This is called nirvāṇa.42 YṢ 6

DKP 1457-17: anena svagṛheṣu sthitiṃ mā kurvantua | vanāntaram api gamanaṃ mā kuru |
kiṃ tarhi niścitaṃ dvayasthāneṣu gamyād vikalpaṃ jāyate | kathaṃ kriyate ity ucyate | yasmin
yasmin sthitvā vā caṃkramaṇabhakṣādiṃ kṛtvā tatra manasya paribhāvanaṃ kuru | alīkaṃ
manaḥ | sa ca vijñaptiṃ kuru | tac ca pūrvaṃb nirākṛtam asiddhatvāt | tasmāt
sakalatraidhātukeṣu nirantarāvyavacchinnapravāhāt bodhisthitaṃ siddham | na kenacid
utpāditaṃ svayambhūtvāt | tad iha kudhībhiḥ mūḍhatvena parikalpitaṃ bhavanirvāṇayor
advayoḥ kenedaṃc na syāt uktanyāyād api | tasmin bhavaṃ tasmin nirvāṇaṃ na bhavati |
kutaḥ | yataḥ ādāv eva viśvasyotpādaṃ nāsti | tat kim iti dṛśyate | māyāvad iti bhrāntyā
pratibhāsamātram eveti | yathā darpaṇādiṣu pratibimbaṃ dṛśyate tadvicārān nopalabhyate |
tat bimbapiṇḍaparimāṇavattvādibhedanā(dsambhavam itid) | kasmād bhavanirvāṇayor asamb-
havam | tathā coktam |
EB kurvanti b EB pūrve c EB keneḍhaṃ d N –sa bhavati
DKP 14518-19: (asaṃsāraṃ caiva nirvāṇaṃa) manyante ´tattvadarśinaḥ | (bna saṃsāraṃb) na
nirvāṇaṃ manyante tattvadarśinaḥ || (YṢ 5)
EB nirvāṇaṃ caiva lokaṃ ca N ||| va lokañ ca b EBN naivaṃ lokaṃ
DKP 14520-21: nirvāṇaṃ ca bhavaś caiva dvayam etan na vidyate | parijñānaṃ bhavasyaiva
nirvāṇam iti kathyate ||

ZAS 44 (2015)

Therefore, it [can] be established that supreme non-duality is the na-

ture of enlightenment.43

Enlightenment depends44 on neither house nor forest;

Thus you understand the distinction.
You [must] become steeped in the stainless nature of mind.
You, too, [can] be non-conceptual!45 DK 104

Here, enlightenment with the above-mentioned defining characteris-

tics46 is [found] in neither a house nor a forest. You [need to] under-
stand the difference of such [words] in terms of intentional language.
The house is [your own] body, and the forest stands for manifold [ob-
jects], such as a vase or cloth. There is no enlightenment [that is] in
[state of dependence on] them. Why? Because none of them truly oc-
curs. Everything, the world and so forth—that which is seen as having
distinctive features—is subject to arising and destruction. Enlighten-
ment is not so, for it [can]not be destroyed. Therefore you [must be-
come] steeped in the stainless nature of mind! In short, whatever you
conceptualize—abandon all of it! You will thereby attain enlighten-
ment. This [Saraha] says [in the following]:47

This is the self, and this the other.

Whoever cultivates [this way of thinking]
Has created a bind [even though] he is without this bondage;

DKP 1461: tasmāt siddhaṃ paramādvayaṃ bodhirūpaṃ sa cāha |
Lit. “is based [on].”
DKP 1462-3: ṇau ghare ṇau vaṇeṃ bohi ṭhiu ehu pariāṇahu bheu | ṇiammalacittasahāvatāb
karahu avikala seu || (DK 104)
N ni- b N -ḍā
The feminine genitive does not fit into the syntax and is translated on the basis of
the Tibetan.
DKP 1464-9: (aiha uktalakṣaṇā yāa) na ghare na vaneṣu bodhiḥb sthitam | evaṃc bhedaṃ
parijānāsi sandhyābhāṣāntare ´pi gṛhaṃ śarīraṃ vanaṃ viśvaṃd ghaṭapaṭādiṣu tatra na
bodhiḥ | kutaḥ | sarve hy asambhavāt | evaṃ bhedaṃ yat dṛśyate lokādi tat sarvam
utpannavināśinaḥ | nedṛśī bodhir avinaṣṭatvāc ca | teneha nirmalacittasvabhavatāṃe kurvati |
yāf vikalpanā vikalpasi samastā saṅgatā tyajasīti vistaraḥ | tair bodhirūpam āyāti tad āha |
EB idam upalakṣaṇāyāṃ N iham uktalakṣaṇāyā b EBN bodhi- c N eva d EB omits e N –tā f
EBN yair

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Even though his [true] nature is free.48 DK 105

Whoever [mistakenly] cultivates [the notion of personhood], saying

“This is the self; it is not this, the other,” is bound and impaired, even
though he [initially may] not have been bound [by this distinction].
Even though you are liberated, you are not so when you have taken re-
course to [the notion of] selfhood. The idea is, not to conceptualize
[two] parts, an own and an other. Likewise,49

Do not confusedly make of self and other [two different

Everybody has always been a Buddha;
This is the stainless supreme level,
The naturally pure mind.50 DK 106

Do not confusedly make of self and other, which have one nature, two
different things! It is rather that the entire realm of sentient beings—
[everybody]—has always been a Buddha by nature.51 Being covered by
the limitless stains caused by concepts throughout beginningless time,
[sentient beings] do not cultivate their Buddha identity.52 Truly, in that
he is free from duality, the Buddha is by nature the stainless supreme
mind. [His] form is bodhicitta, free from an own-being.53

DKP 14610-11: ehu so appā ehu paru joa paribhāvaï kovi | teṃb viṇu vandheṃ veṭhṭhic kiu appa
vimukkaü tovi || (DK 105)
N jā b N te c N veḍhi
DKP 14612-14: idam ātmā nedaṃ paraḥ yena kenacid viparibhāvitaṃ tena vinā ba-ndhanena
ātmānaṃ viṭakitaṃ vikalīkṛtaṃ | mukto ´pi svabhāvayātaṃ tadā no muktaḥ | tasmāt svapara-
vibhāgaṃ na kriyata iti yāvat | tad iha |
DKP 14615-16: para appāṇa ma bhanti karu saala ṇirantara buddha | pahu se ṇimmala
paramapaü citta sahāveṃ suddha |
Bagchi reads śuddhaḥ instead of buddhaḥ (N is not available). The corresponding root
text has buddha, however, which is also supported by the Tibetan. It is interesting to
note here, that in a sūtra from the Anguttara-Nikāya titled Loke the word suddho in an
older or original version was replaced by buddho. See Rhys Davis 1933:910-11.
Lit.: “the Buddha-self.”
DKP 1471-4: paraṃ cātmānaṃa ca ekasvabhāvaṃ na dvayarūpeṇa bhrāntir kuru | kiṃ tarhi
sakalasattvadhāturb nirantarādāv eva svabhāvena buddhaḥc tadādāv eva paribhāvanayā-
anantakamalāvṛttā na buddhātmānaṃ paribhāvayanti | evaṃ dvayarahitena buddhaḥ so
nirmalaṃ paramacittaṃ svabhāvato rūpaṃ bodhicittaṃ svabhāvarahitatayā |
EB ātmadañ b EB -tu c EB śuddhaḥ

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First of all, Advayavajra understands Saraha´s “free from a single nature” in

verse 102c (Apa. ekkasahāveṃ virahia) to mean that cyclic existence and nirvāṇa
do not share a single nature, and are thus beyond one and many. This is similar
to the Sandhinirmocanasūtra III.4, where the conditioned realm and the ultimate
are defined as being free from identity and difference.54 The sūtra explains four
reasons each for their identity (which excludes their difference) and their dif-
ference (which excludes their identity).55 This freedom from identity and dif-
ference (lit. “one and many”) is for Advayavajra supreme non-duality equated
with the nature of enlightenment at the end of his commentary on the follow-
ing verse (DK 103). A similar assertion can be found in the Dharmadharmatā-
vibhāga, in which the equality of phenomena (dharma) with their true nature
(dharmatā) and their difference are both excluded as true. Although dharmas
and their dharmatā are indeed equated respectively with saṃsāra and nirvāṇa in
this text, their mutual identity is ruled out on the grounds that dharmatā ex-
ists, whereas the dharmas do not exist. But, since the dharmatā is the emptiness
of the duality of a perceived and perceiver (i.e., the dharmas), it is no different
from the non-existent dharmas.56
In his commentary on DK 103, Advayavajra explains at length, however, that
neither saṃsāra nor nirvāṇa exists. This must be understood in line with Nāgār-
juna´s Yuktiṣaṣṭika 5-6, where we are encouraged to conceptualize neither
saṃsāra nor nirvāṇa. The latter is taken, rather, as the thorough knowledge of
cyclic existence. For Advayavajra, this is what establishes supreme non-
duality, the nature of enlightenment.
Still, in the commentary on DK 104, a difference between the manifold world
and enlightenment is worked out. The world is subject to arising and destruc-
tion, whereas enlightenment is not. The latter is attained by abandoning what-
ever has been conceptualized. This is then further elaborated in verses 105 and

See Mathes 2007:330-331.
See Powers 2004:35-39.
DhDhVV 135-145: “The two, dharma and dharmatā, are taken to be neither identical
nor different. Why is that? Because there is both a difference and not a difference be-
tween the existent and non-existent.... The dharmatā exists, but the dharmas do not.
How things that differ in terms of existence and non-existence? ... [And] how is it that
they are not different? This is because it (i.e., the dharmatā) is not different from the
perceived object and so forth (i.e., the dharmas), the dharmatā being characterized by
the mere non-existence of [these] dharmas.” (gnyis po dag ces bya ba chos dang chos nyid
dag ni gcig pa nyid dang tha dad pa nyid du mi ´dod do | | de ci´i phyir zhe na | yod pa dang med
pa dag kyang khyad par yod pa dang khyad par med pa´i phyir ro | ... chos nyid yod pa yin la
chos ni med pa yin pas yod pa dang med pa khyad par can dag ci ltar gcig nyid du ´gyur | ... ji
ltar khyad par med ce na | chos nyid ni chos med pa tsam gyis rab tu phye ba yin pa´i phyir |
gzung ba la sogs pa´i khyad par med pa´i phyir ro |).

ZAS 44 (2015)

106. Of particular interest is the notion in the latter of these two verses that
everybody has always been a Buddha. Advayavajra glosses this with the adver-
bial determinant svabhāvena “by nature.” This “buddha nature,” or enlighten-
ment, fits much better our existent dharmatā in the Dharmadharmatāvibhāga,
while the dharmas include not only saṃsāra but also the conceptually con-
structed nirvāṇa. They are the same in their sharing the status of being a mere
mental construction and thus non-existent.
As for the relation between the mind and its co-emergent nature, it has be-
come clear by now that the co-emergent (sahaja) cannot simply be equated
with nirvāṇa, wherefore the relation of mind and sahaja cannot simply be de-
fined along the lines of the simile of the waves and the water in DK 72cd. Based
on DK 103 and YṢ 5-6, mind (or cyclic existence) and nirvāṇa are only identical
insofar as they both are only mental constructs. When looking for a fit candi-
date for sahaja in DK 102-106, our choice clearly falls on enlightenment, or
rather “Buddha by nature,” which defines the whole realm of sentient beings
(sattvadhātu). One could also argue that it is also Advayavajra´s real nirvāṇa
(i.e., sahaja), which is not a mental construct but part of the genuine realization
gained through pith instructions.

It could be shown, that, in the light of Advayavajra´s commentary, Saraha´s
dohās describe the relation between mind and its co-emergent nature along
the lines of the Tathāgatagarbhasūtra, wherein buddha nature and its adventi-
tious stains are illustrated by the simile of the gold nugget that has fallen into
excrement. This goes against the commonly held view that Saraha favours
essential identity suggested by the relation between waves and water (DK
72cd). Essential identity is restricted to their emptiness: both the mind and its
co-emergent nature are empty of a conceptually created true reality, just as
saṃsāra and nirvāṇa share the identity of being mere conceptual constructs.
Sahaja, on the other hand, is revealed as the true nature of everything, once all
mental constructs are overcome. It abides as an uncreated, genuine state.

ZAS 44 (2015)

Abbreviations and Bibliography

Apa. Apabhraṃśa
NGMPP Nepal-German Manuscript Preservation Project
Skt. Sanskrit
Tib. Tibetan

Primary Sources (Indian)

AKUN: Amṛtakaṇikoddyotanibandha
Ed. by Banarsi Lal in: Āryamañjuśrīnāmasaṃgīti with Amṛtakaṇikā-
ṭippaṇī by Bhikṣu Raviśrījñāna and Amṛtakaṇikodyota-nibhandha (sic) of
Vibhūticandra (Bibliotheca Indo-Tibetica 30). Sarnath, Varanasi: Central
Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, 1994.
DK: Dohākośa
Contained as pratīka in the DKP.
DKP: Dohākośapañjikā
— EB: Ed. by Prabodh Chandra Bagchi. Calcutta Sanskrit Series No. 25c
(1938), 72-148.
— N: NGMPP reel no. A 932/4.
DKPT (B): dPal spungs edition of the Phyag chen rgya gzhung, vol. āḥ, fols. 121a4-
161a5 (see Phun tshogs rgyal mtshan).
DKPT (D): Derge bsTan ´gyur (D), no. 2256, rgyud ´grel, vol. wi, fols. 180b3-
DKPT (P): Peking bsTan ´gyur (P), no. 3101, rgyud ´grel, vol. mi, fols. 199a7-
DhDhVV: Dharmadharmatāvibhāgavṛtti
Ed. by Klaus-Dieter Mathes. See Mathes 1996:69-98; Sanskrit fragment
of the DhDhVV: 99-103. [The numbers following the acronym DhDhVV
in the footnote refer to the line numbers of my edition.]
RGV: Ratnagotravibhāga Mahāyānottaratantraśāstra
Ed. by Edward H. Johnston. Patna: The Bihar Research Society, 1950.
(Includes the Ratnagotravibhāgavyākhyā).
RGVV: Ratnagotravibhāgavyākhyā
See RGV.

Primary Sources (Tibetan)

bCom ldan rig pa´i ral gri

Do ha rgyan gyi me tog. CPN 007316(4) (according to Schaeffer 2005:212).
Padma dkar po

ZAS 44 (2015)

Phyag chen rgyal ba´i gan mdzod. Sarnath: Vajra Vidya Institute Library,
Phun tshogs rgyal mtshan (ed.)
——— Phyag rgya chen po´i rgya gzhung. 3 vols (oṃ, āḥ, hūṃ). Dpal spungs block
print. No date.
——— See also Zhwa dmar pa Mi pham chos kyi blo gros.
Zhwa dmar pa Mi pham chos kyi blo gros (ed.)
“Rgya gzhung”: “Phyag rgya chen po´i rgya gzhung.” In: Nges don phyag
rgya chen po´i khrid mdzod, vols. oṃ, āḥ and hūṃ. Tibetan Buddhist Re-
source Center, W 23447.


Bagchi, Prabodh Chandra

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Kvaerne, Per 1986
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Mathes, Klaus-Dieter

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