Cycle of Day and Night, 1





11 to 41

Cycle of Day and Night

43 to 55

Notes on the Text

57 to 94

Biographical Sketch of the Author

95 to 102


11 to 41

p. 11 upa-des`a

This text …, the gDod-ma>i rnal->byor …, or “The Cycle of Day and Night …,” …

is an upades`a, … a secret oral instruction given in private by a master to his disciples … . Such an upades`a is drawn from the personal experience of an accomplished master”.

p. 37, n. 1 man-nag

p. 12 mula-guru

It was not until he met his own root Guru (rtsa-ba>i bla-ma) that he … received the most important transmissions of the three series”.

p. 37, n. 3 “The Tibetan word … (bla-ma) translates the Sanskrit word Guru”.

p. 38, n. 3 “one's Root Guru … is that master who … has given one the most important initiations and secret instructions … in this lifetime.”

p. 12 scriptural basis of this text

In the … (klong-sde) series of … teaching, there are found instructions on how to practice contemplation continuously both day and night.

In particular, there is the Byang-chub sems bcos thabs mdor bsdus”.

p. 38, n. 5 “Bairo>i rgyud >bum, vol. V, 223-245”.

p. 13 Great Perfection {a pun (SanDHI/SidDHI) is evidently intended}

The Tibetan term … (rdzogs-pa chen-po) corresponds to the Sanskrit Mahasandhi, and is usually translated as “the Great Perfection.””

{/maha-sandhi/ is 'Great Juncture'. 'Great Perfection' would be /maha-siddhi/.}

p. 14 peculiar understanding of implications of terminology in rDzogs-chen

philosophical term



No-bo ('essence')

sTon-pa n~id ('emptiness')

Ka-dag (“primordially pure”)

Ran-bz`in ('nature')

gSal-ba (“luminous clarity”)

lHun-grub (“spontaneously perfected”)

Thugs-rje ('energy')

Ma >Gag-pa (“unobstructedness”)

dByer-med (“inseparably united”)

p. 14 in the Hetu ('Causal')-yana, which is the system of the Vaipulya Sutra-s

the __

is __

gZ`i (“Foundation”)

our inherent Buddha-nature”

Lam (“Path”)

the six perfections” (generosity etc.)

>Bras-bu (“Fruit”)

attaining the Trikaya”

pp. 15-6 nature-of-mind vs. mind; intrinsic awareness

p. 15

In [r]Dzog[s-]chen, a clear and crucial distinction is drawn between the nature of the mind (sems nyid) and the mind (sems) … . …

{The “nature-of-mind” is defined as 'the intrinsic capacity to think', while “mind” is defined as 'the particular content of ongoing thoughts'.}

The Tibetan word rig-pa … we can translate as intrinsic awareness … . …

p. 16

With intrinsic awareness we exist in the condition of Buddhahood”.

{This would be an inculcated metaphysical attitude.}

p. 16 guru & guru-yoga

The function of the Guru or master (bla-ma) is to introduce (ngo-sprod) us to the nature of the mind, to its capacity for … awareness (rig-pa). … Intrinsic awareness is beyond and outside of conditioned existence …; it is beyond the mind … . … The master first introduces us by indicating … what is mind and what is the nature of the mind.

There exist many methods to help us realize this distinction … and these are known as … (>khor >das ru-shan), that is to say, discriminating between Samsara (>khor) and Nirvan.a (>das).

Here Samsara means mind (sems) and

Nirvan.a means the nature of the mind (sems nyid).

These Rushans constitute the actual … (sngo >gro) or preliminary practices for [r]Dzog[s-]chen. … But what is absolutely essential is Guru Yoga (bla-ma>i rnal->byor), for …

the Guru Yoga is the principal means for maintaining all of the transmissions that one has received.”

{The manner whereby this process is able to function is thus : the performance of the Guru-Yoga is observed by deities, who, upon their thus being impressed with the sincerity of the cela, grant to such cela the maintenance of such transmissions from such guru[-s].}

pp. 17-21 the 9 Yana-s of rN~in-ma-pa

p. 17

1st S`ravaka (“listener”) – 1st Turning of Wheel “at the Deer Park”

2nd Prati-eka-buddha – “finds the path on his own and then lives a life of solitary meditation in the wilderness … . For this reason, he is compared to a rhinoceros, an animal known for his

p. 18

solitary and antisocial habits.”

3rd Bodhi-sattva – 2nd Turning of Wheel “at the Vulture Peak”

p. 19

4th Kriya (“ritual”)

5th Carya (“conduct”)

6th Yoga (“union … with the meditation deity”)

7th Maha-yoga – “Generation Process (bskyed-rim)” : “the man[.]d[.]ala is created or generated in successive stages.”

p. 20

8th Anu-yoga – “Perfection Process (rdzogs-rim)” : “extensive use of the yoga of the channels and energies (rtsa-rlung) and … the experience of the inseparability of bliss and emptiness (bde stong zung >jug).”

9th Ati-yoga –

p. 21

Great Perfection” – “the path of self-liberation (rang grol ram).”

p. 21 the 3 sDe (“series”) of rDzogs-chen

__ sDe (“__ Series”)

its characteristics

Sems (Mind)

is rather similar to the Mahamudra system of the Anuttara Tantras and is likewise divided into four yogas or stages.”

kLon (Space)

the stages occur simultaneously rather than sequentially as they do in the Mind series.”

Man-nag (“Secret Instruction”)

Upades`a = “advice on and methods for continuing in the state of contemplation.”

p. 21 “The [r]Dzog[s-]chen Tantras are not … attributed to the historical Buddha”. {That is because they are not of Bauddha, but rather of Bon, provenience – with heavy influences from Taoism apparent.}

p. 22 rDzogs-chen in other stellar systems & planets {This teaching is entirely of Bon origin.}

the S`abda-mahaprasanga Tantra [p. 39, n. 11 : “sGra thal >gyur gyi rgyud : this is the chief among the seventeen Tantras of the [r]Dzog[s-]chen Upades`a series.”], speaks of the thirteen star systems where [r]Dzog[s-]chen is presently preserved and taught. Indeed, according to the same sources, only a small number of the sixty-four myriads of [r]Dzog[s-]chen Tantras which exist are found extant in our world. Many of these Tantras are said to have been brought to this planet from other worlds and other dimensions of existence by human and non-human Vidyadharas.”

p. 23 the 3 modes of transmission of the doctrine

__ brGyud (“__ Transmission”)

its characteristics

dGons (Direct)

directly mind to mind, without any words intervening”

{This is commonly known as “mental telepathy”.}

brDa (Symbolic)

through the visible display of signs and symbols, in silence”

{A use of the “symbolic transmission” would be in the gesticulations used as signs and countresigns by secret societies (including in gan.a-cakra meetings).}

sN~an (Oral)

through explanation in words”

p. 39, n. 13 “On the three types of transmission …, see The Pure Melodious Voice of the Dragon …, translated … by Vajranatha”.

p. 24 “direct transmission” {i.e., mental telepathy}

The communication of the [r]Dzog[s-]chen teachings from the Dharmakaya … to the Sambhogakaya … represents a direct transmission (dgongs brgyud) …, as for example in the Kulaya[-]raja Tantra … .

However, as it is explained in these Tantras, in actual fact the Teacher and His audience are identical”.

{It can be said that “the Teacher and His audience are identical” in the sense that in order to achieve mental telepathy there must be some degree of fusion of minds.}

p. 25 “symbolic transmission”

The communication of [r]Dzog[s-]chen teachings from the Sambhogakaya … to the various Nirmanakayas appearing on various other planes of existence represents the symbolic transmission (brda brgyud). … there have occurred throughout the ages many such transmissions to Vidyadharas belonging to such non-human races as the Devas, the Nagas, the Yakshas, and the Rakshasas”.

{Gwion's father was GuReanG, whose name may be cognate with that of GaRGa, whose disciples (according to the Matsya Puran.a) “remembered what they had been in their earlier lives”; and so onward through several lifetimes they were thus jati-smara-s. . And perhaps GARGA may be aequivalent to GORGOn-slayer Perseus, who liberated princess aNdRoMEDa, much as on the NaRMADa river (NP, p. 28) Garga restored to human form (NP, p. 29) an enchanted woman.}

NP = B. K. Chaturvedi : Narada Purana. DPB, 2006.

pp. 25-9 hagiography of Pra-hevajra {Surely this must be a traditional Bon account, rather shamelessly plagiarized without due acknowledgement of its literary source (– howbeit, many “New Bon” rDzogs-chen practitioners consider themselves simultaneously Bon and N~in-ma).}

p. 25

Prahevajra, otherwise known as as [d]Ga[>-]rab [r]Do[-]rje … was the first the first human teacher of [r]Dzog[s-]chen … . [d]Ga[>-]rab [r]Do[-]rje or Prahevajra was born in the country of Ud[.]d[.]iyana, … to the northwest of India. According to some sources this event occurred 166 years after the Nirvana of the historical Buddha … .

[p. 39, n. 17 : “However, according to the [d]Ka[r-br]gyud[-]pa historian … (dPa>-bo gtsug-lag phreng-ba) in his mKhas-pa>i dga>-ston, [d]Ga[>-]rab [r]Do[-]rje was born some 360 years after the passing of the Buddha.”] …

{“Of more service to thee than three hundred” (HT).}

In … the country of Ud[.]d[.]iyana there existed a … lake called Dhanakos`a, … and on the shore of that lake there was a … temple called S`ankarakut[.]a, which was surrounded by …

sixteen hundred and eight small shrines … . … .

{This would be as though 8 shrines apiece for the 201 Yoruba deities.}

the princess Sudharma {'good custom'}… decided to … take the vows of a bhikshuni or mendicant nun. Together with her maid servant Sukha {'joy'}, she retired to an island of golden sands in the middle of the Dhanakos`a lake, and

living in a humble grass hut, she meditated

{Supposedly, Gwion/Taliesin's “mother, succumbed to the effects of the smoke” (EDDI, p. 303) in her house. [Dried grass can sustain a smoky flame.]}

and practiced the Yoga Tantra. In a dream the bhikshuni beheld an immaculate glorious {entirely luminous?} white

male figure [p. 40, n. 18 : “He is Vajrasattva”.] who came to her from out of the sky and placed

{The meaning of /vajra-sattva/ is 'thundrebolt-being' ('thundrebolt' being stored electrical potential, so that his animal-guise would naturally be the electric eel).}

p. 26

on the crown of her head a crystal vase [p. 40, n. 18 : “the vase initiation (bum dbang)”] marked with … OM AH. HUM SVAHA. After consecrating her thereby, he dissolved into a ray of light and entered into her body, whereupon she was able to see everything in the three worlds clearly. The next morning, the bhikshuni recounted her dream to her maid servant and soon they discovered that the young nun was pregnant. … After some months a son was born to her.

his mother … threw him into a pit filled with ashes outside her hut. … her maid servant … observed that the child was marked with certain auspicious signs and … many wondrous sounds were heard and rainbow rays of light appeared everywhere. … the bhikshuni ... Immediately … recognized that he was an emanation (sprul-pa) …, bringing him back into her hut, she bathed him.

{This is similar to the episode of Gwion/Taliesin's being at birth briefly placed into an eel-weir (where the eels would be considered to have bathed him – cf. to this the Maori eel-god Tuna-roa who was sexually attracted to goddess Hina-uri = Sudharma) until his being retrieved thence.}

At that moment, a voice from the sky exclaimed … .

{“I was instructor to Eli and Enoc” (HT) would refer to the divine voice heard as per instructions of <eli^ (1st S^mu^>el 3).}

The D[.]akinis praised this miraculous child born of a virgin … .

Immediately he spoke and he began to teach … . This first teaching given by this child was called “The Great Sky of Vajrasattva” (rDor-je nsems-dpa> am-mkha> che). [p. 40, n. 20 : “This is the name of a famous [r]Dzog[s-]chen Tantra.”]

{“Asked Gwyddno, "Art thou able to speak, and thou so little?" And Taliesin answered him, "l am better able to speak than thou to question me."” (HT)}

p. 27

When this child reached the age of seven years, he insisted that his mother permit him to go to dispute with the learned Pan[.]d[.]itas regarding the meaning of the Dharma. Finally, … after his mother had relinquished her opposition, the young boy went boldly to the palace of king Uparaja, who was … entertaining … five hundred learned scholars. The upstart young boy … challenged these Pan[.]d[.]itas to debate … and soundly defeated all five hundred … . …

{Because this event occurred at a royal court, it resembleth the bards-challenging advent at a royal court (that of king Maelgwn of Gwynedd) by the boy Gwion/Taliesin; more closely resembling than the temple-de'but of boy Iesous, who moreover did not have permission from his parents, which parents then wondred at his absence and had to seek and find him (Euangelion according to Loukas 2:43-6).}

These elder and venerable Pan[.]d[.]itas were completely astonished by the vast knowledge and penetrating insight possessed by this precocious child … .

{This wide knowledge and insight may well imply ability to remember information and techniques from a praevious lifespan, and thus confirm his being a true sprul-pa. Gwion/Taliesin was able to remembre his praevious lives.}

They came to call him by the name Prajn[~]abhava, “he whose nature is wisdom.” … And because his mother, the princess and bhikshuni Sudharma, at his birth had thrown him into the ash pit, he also became known as [Vetala-sukha] (Ro-langs bde-ba), “the happy vampire” and as [ {instead of “bhasma”!}-varn.a] (Ro-langs thal mdog), “the ash-colored vampire.”

{The meaning of / is “terrible color” : cf. “the colour of the terrible crystal” (Yh.ezqe>l 1:22) – “a crystal ... with various faces, by which rays of light were refracted, assuming ... a variety of prismatic colors” (Clarke's Commentary on the Bible).}

Without ever having studied a book, this young body knew from memory … myriads of verses of [r]Dzog[s-]chen teachings.

{Not having studied during the same lifetime, it may be implied that he studied those verses in praevious lifetimes.}

Shortly after his birth, Vajrasattva appeared to him and conferred upon him the initiation which bestows total awareness (rig-pa>i spyi blugs kyi dbang) … .

{It is implied that this initiation was what revived his memories from praevious lifetimes of understandings which he had during those lifetimes gleaned from his study of the tantra-s.}

p. 28

Thus in an instant he comprehended … the Tantras perfectly.

Later Prahevajra journeyed to the north, into … the mountain solitudes which were haunted by the Pretas and other spirits. Here, in the place where the sun rises, he remained for thirty-two years. During this time,

Vajrasattva … appeared to him in a brilliant sphere of rainbow light

{An apparition of the 'Thundrebolt-Being' in sphairic form might suggest “ball-lightning”, which is often reported as multicolored or of fluctuating color – “surrounded by … iridescent halo” (BLUP, p. 89); “The colors were alternating and ... followed by a flash of iridescent” (“BLR”).}

and bestowed upon him the secret instructions for the sixty-four hundred thousand Tantras of [r]Dzog[s-]chen. …

{Ball-lightning is often associated with sites of governmental secrets : thus, e.g., cases of ball-lightning witnessed by (BLThE, p. 169) “nuclear scientists and engineers at Oak Ridge.”}

While he was living … among the craggy peaks, the earth trembled seven times.

{Taliesin said : “There will be again a trembling terror, And a moving of the earth” (“GGF”).}

A Brahmana priest … accused him of causing these quakes by his magic … . … When the king's men arrived at the mouth of his meditation hut, they heard … the roar of an Asura deep within the earth. Thereupon the young man … appeared … amidst rainbow rays of light, and no one could lay their hands on him. … In addition, Prahevajra manifested many miraculous powers, such as walking upon the waters of a swiftly-running river, walking unimpeded through

rock cliffs and boulders … .

{Gwion/Taliesin's foster-father Elffin's name may be “cognate with two Irish words "Aill Fion" meaning "Bright Cliff" or "Bright Rock".” (“EGw”)}

He appeared before multitudes of people enveloped in a rainbow sphere of light … .

Then, mounting upon a Garud[.]a bird of great and miraculous power, he flew southward over the high Himalayas and

{“I have fled in the semblance of a crow, scarcely finding rest I have fled vehemently, I have fled as a chain” (HT). [The Himalaya-s are a chain (range) of mountains.]}

p. 29

eastward … to the great stupa located at the cremation ground of S`ita[-]vana (bsil-ba>i tshal), “the cool forest,” which is near Vajrasana.” [p. 40, n. 24 : “Vajrasana (Tib. Rdo-rje gdan) … the site of the Buddha's enlightenment beneath the Bodhi tree. … Some miles distant to the east is the cremation ground of Kolashri”.

p. 39, n. 17

The version of the life of [d]Ga[>-]rab [r]Do[-]rje presented here, principally follows the account given in the second chapter of … Bod snga rabs snying-ma>i chos-byung lha-dbang g-yul las rgyal-ba>i rngabo-che>i sgra dbyangs. This version is also found

p. 40, n. 17

in The Tantric Tradition of the Nyingmapa … (Buddhayana, Marion, MA, 1984), pp. 46-52. … There is a rather different version given in Crystal Mirror V … (Dharma Press, Berkeley, 1977)”.

HT = History of Taliesin

EDDI = T. K. Shay : Echoes of Dyma Dal Iesin. 2005.

Clarke's Commentary

BLUP = Mark Stenhoff : Ball Lightning: an Unsolved Problem in Atmospheric Physics. Kluwer Academic Publ, 1999.

BLR” = “Ball Lightning Reports”

BLThE = Paul Snigier : Ball Lightning : Paradox of Physics. iUniverse, Lincoln (NE), 2004.

GGF” = “Oh God, the God of Formation”

EGw” = “Elffin ap Gwyddno”

{The often-innocuous nature (such cases being perhaps of supernatural character?) of ball-lightning is notorious : thus, “Oddly, these “electrocution tents” rarely caught fire. The wood tent poles, which should have shattered from a lightning stroke, went undamaged.” (BLThE, p. 169)}

pp. 29-30 hagiography of Man~jus`ri-mitra

p. 29

Man[~]jus`rimitra … had a vision and in this the great Bodhisattva of wisdom, Man[~]jus`ri,

{The alternative form of /man~ju-s`ri/, to wit /man~ju-ghos.a/, signifieth 'mild (gentle) voice', which would be similar to the “still, small voice” of 1st Meleki^m 19:12.}

advised him prophetically, “... you should go to the cremation ground of S`itavana.” Following this advice, the [acarya] … went to the east and coming to S`itavana, he met Prahevajra. … Man[~]jus`rimitra remained there at S`itavana for some seventy-five years and from his Guru he received … the entire … Atiyoga … . At the end of this period, Prahevajra displayed many wondrous signs, and his body becoming the nature of light, he dissolved into the sky. … Prahevajra had realized the Rainbow Body of Light (>ja> lus). …

p. 30

Instantly, his teacher appeared above him in the sky within a mass of rainbow lights.

With the sound of a thunderclap, a golden casket, the size of a thumbnail, descended from this light in the sky. In the air, the casket circumambulated Man[~]jus`rimitra three times, and then fell into the open palm of his right hand. …

{[Cymry] Gwion is sometimes identified [Irish] Fionn, who similarly “sucked his thumb” (“Gw”), so as to taste salmon (salmon being caught in the hand of lighting-god To`rr, according to the Edda). /FIONN/ is cognate with Skt. /VYANa/, which (Subala 3:2) enableth to see r.s.i-s – which may be how Prahevajra, after having become apotheosized as r.s.i, was viewed by his disciple. By means of vyana, we “attain the sheath of Prana” (“ShB”), viz., the astral body.}

When he opened the casket, he found the last testament (zhal >chems) of the master Prahevajra, written in ink of lapis lazuli on the surface of five precious substances. … Man[~]jus`rimitra then set about to edit and classify the Tantras which he had received from his master into three series of teachings.”

Those teachings which emphasized __

he classified as __ sDe (__ Series).”

the natural condition of the mind”

Sems (Mind)

freedom from any effort”

kLon (Space)

the essential points” (gNad)

Man-nag (Upades`a)

At that time ..., the [acarya] hid the texts beneath a huge rock to the east of Vajrasana. He then retired to the cremation ground of … (so-sa>i gling) to the west, where he remained for a hundred and nine years …, practicing esoteric conduct with the D[.]akinis”.

1st Meleki^m 19:12

Gw” = “Gwion”

Subala =

ShB” = “Sheaths of the Body”

pp. 30-1 hagiography of S`ri Simha

p. 30

It was at this time that S`risimha came from the city of Sokhyam in China and he, together with Buddhajn[~]ana, became

p. 31

disciples of Man[~]jus`rimitra. Previously, while traveling westward on a camel toward the city of Ser-ling in China, S`risimha had beheld a vision in the sky of the Bodhisattva Avalokites`vara, who advised him, saying “... go to the place in India called [So-sa>i gLin].” Later, leaving the holy mountain of Wu Tai Shan in northern China, having by then acquired many siddhis …, we went like the wind to India and at the cremation ground of [So-sa>i gLin] he met … Man[~]jus`rimitra and received teachings from him for twenty-five years. At the end of his life, Man[~]jus`rimitra vanished from the top of the stupa in the middle of the cremation ground. Then suddenly he reappeared in the sky and placed a small bejewelled casket in the palm of S`risimha's hand. Inside this was his master's last testament called the sGom nyams drug-pa, “the six meditation experiences.” … Later the [acarya] returned to China and at the end of his life he similarly vanished as a Rainbow Body.” [p. 41, n. 28 : “A number of Rainbow Bodies have been historically attested in Tibet in recent decades. Over the course of seven days the physical body of the adept actually shrinks away to nothing, leaving behind only nails and hair.”]

{The name /S`ri Simha/ may allude to the image of a lion on the 1st step upward to the royal throne (LB, p. 566) of the king (S^lomoh) who listened to (LB, p. 569) a suggestion by a queen-emmet before his being deposed (LB, p. 573) from his kingship (by >as^moday). This is similar to the listening (according to the Matsya Puran.a, loc. cit.) to the speech of a female sugar-emmet by a king (Brahma-datta [– one of whose minstre's name Suvalaka perhaps resembled of that the the above cited, Subala]) before his resigning his kingship (to Vis`va-ks.en.a).}

LB = Louis Ginzberg : Legends of the Bible. Konecky & Konecky.

p. 35 sensations of meditation while awake

certain experiences may arise during practice, especially experiences … of clarity and luminosity (gsal-ba>i nyams), of emptiness or nondiscursivenss (mi rtog-pa>i nyams). …

We may see beautiful visions, hear sounds, feel strange, and so on.”

p. 36 the meditational practice to be undertaken during sleep

In the moment when we fall asleep, but before the onset of dreaming, we may have an experience of the Clear Light which is the clear luminosity of our primordial state. …

Its proximate effect is to produce lucid dreams, that is, we are aware that we are dreaming while we are in the dream state.”

{Actually, it is easier to achieve lucid dreaming than it is to achieve the Clear-Light-of-Sleep (which may be a sort of memory of dreamless sleep); so that a proximate effect of lucid dreaming may be the Clear Light.}


Namkhai Norbu (transl. & ed. by John Myrdhin Reynolds) : The Cycle of Day and Night where one proceeds along the path of the primordial yoga. 2nd edn (revised & expanded). Station Hill Pr, Barrytown (NY), 1987.