Golden Letters, 2

Contents of Part 2 : The Life of dGa>-rab rDo-rje & Guru-Sadhana


Translator's Introduction

pp. 177 to 178


Life of Garab Dorje

pp. 179 to 190



Translator's Introduction

pp. 177 to 178

p. 177 rDzogs-pa Chen-po sN~in-thig

This, "one of the oldest extant hagiographies of Garab Dorje", "is found in the Lo-rgyus chen-mo, (The Great History), by ... Zhang-ston bKra-shis rdo-rje, 1097-1167".



Life of dGa>-rab rDo-rje

pp. 179 to 190

[This account is from the Lo-rgyus Chen-mo.]

p. 179 date & country of dGa>-rab rDo-rje; the temple known to him; hair-styles then in vogue

"When there had passed some three hundred and sixty years from the Parinirvana of the Buddha, in the region of Dhanakosha in the country of Ud[.]d[.]iyana [p. 349 n. 2:2:2 : Uddiyana is "eastern Afghanistan".], which lies in a western direction from Vajrasana [p. 349 n. 2:2:2 : The antient name of Bodh Gaya was Vajra-asana ['thundrebolt seat'] (rDo-rje gdan )], a region surrounded by sandalwood trees, there resided living creatures known as Koshana. Their bodies were human, but they had the faces of bears and their paws had iron claws. [p. 349 n. 2:2:3 : "thus they resembled in their general appearance the Yeti".] Also their entrails were filled with innumerable fine precious jewels. ...

Then there also existed there a great temple called [Mangala S`ankara-kut.a] (bKra-shis bde-byed brtsegs-pa), and this was completely surrounded in all directions by one thousand six hundred and eight smaller shrines, all of the linked together by ropes which were networks of tiny tinkling golden bells.

The men ... had ... Their long hair ... bound up in topknots on the crowns of their heads ... . ...

The women had their long hair tied up in knots in front and back".

pp. 179-80 parentage of dGa>-rab rDo-rje

p. 179

Queen Abhasvara-vati (sNan-ba gSal-ba>i >Od-lDan-ma) was mother of a daughter named Ku-dharma ['Evil Law'].”

{The queen's name would indicate that the setting of all this hagiography is the heaven of the Abha-svara {'Luminosity Musical-note' (evidently the heaven whence cometh the luminous music-current of Radha-svami). Because this heaven is located immediately above Tus.ita, the heaven whence descended S`akya-muni Buddha, it is hereby indicated that Prabhava Hela-vajra is the immediate spiritual superior above S`akya-muni.}

p. 180

"to the west ... one yojana (... from the temple), there was a lake in which there was

an island covered with golden sand. ...

{Because the name of the Yan-tse river meaneth 'Golden Sand', therefore this locality is likely to have orginally been located there. Because the T>an empire included Afghanistan, it would have been easy for a myth of the Yan-tse river valley to have been transferred to Afghanistan.}

One night this princess [Ku-dharma], who resided there on the island ... had a dream.

In it a white man [Vajra-sattva (p. 350 n. 2:2:8)] appeared to her,

holding a long lance made of precious crystal,

{In Sir Lancelot (SL, p. 256), the "crystal lance" is referred to "a lake upon a western Alp", similar to the assertion (supra) that "to the west ... there was a lake".}

and on the crown of his head there was a vase made of precious crystal sealed with the letters {syllables} [OM AS HUM SVAHA] ... .

{The Holy Grail "may be a crystal vase ... (Diu Crone, first visit) ... . It may be a cup or dish, accompanied by a lance ... (Bleheris and Perlesvaus)

Then he touched her three times on the crown of her head with the vase, and

or its place in procession may be taken, as in the Welsh Peredur, by a bleeding head on a dish." ("HG")}

since rays of light emanated from this vase, she dreamed that she could see clearly everything in the three worlds simultaneously.

Then, in the morning, she was greatly astonished by the dream, and at midday she recounted it to her maidservant ... a [D.ak ini] named [Purn.a-upa-s`anti (Pu-rna N~e-bar Z`i-ba)]. ... Finally, after nine months ..., a son without a father was born to this princess".

SL = Frederick William Faber : Sir Lancelot : a legend of the middle ages. 2nd edn. London, 1862. and
"HG" =
Encyclopedia Britannica, article "Holy Grail"

p. 183 names of dGa>-rab rDo-rje

he was named __

by the __



Acarya Prahevajra

(sLob-dpon dGa>-rab rDo-rje)

king [his mother's father]

Maha-acaryaVetala Bhasma-varn.a

(sLob-dpon Chen-po Ro-lans Thal-mdog)

'Great Teacher Vampire Cinericolor')

mother [the king's daughter]

Acarya Vetala-ks.ema

(sLob-dpon Ro-lans bDe-ba)


pp. 183-4 feats performed on mountains by dGa>-rab rDo-rje

p. 183

"on the mountain called [Surya-praka`sa-kara] (Ri-bo Nyi-ma rab tu snang-ba byed-pa) ... for thirty-two years, he demonstrated the method of [Samapatti (p. 351 n. 2:2:17)]. Because of that, the earth shook seven times. Also innumerable different sounds came forth from the sky, and the were rainfalls {flowerfalls} of different kinds of flowers. ...

p. 184

But when ... executioners tried to kill him ..., they could not ... .

{It is likewise stated in the Qur>an that when executioners attempted to kill <isay, they were unable.}

Then the [Acarya] rose ... and went off on a path between the clouds of the sky. ...

On a mountain peak ..., a mound of precious jewels located on the Malaya mountain, there resided a [D.akini] ... known as [Loka-sukha-rasavati] ... . She had three faces and was attired in the skins of a tiger. Her four hands held parasols of peacock feathers, and she was actively mounted upon a tiger and a lion. And here also resided the [D.akini] ... called [Pita-s`ankara] ... . She was mounted on a dragon and wore a bandolier of lightning bolts. ... For three years they compiled the indices (dkar-chag) ... (of the [r]Dzog[s-]Chen Tantras). ...

And having been given their consent, he prayed that they remain there with him (as custodians of the Teachings)."

pp. 185-6 advent at a cremation-ground by dGa>-rab rDo-rje

p. 185

"in the direction northeast from [Vajra-asana] ... there existed the great cremation ground of [S`ita-vana] (bSil-ba>i tshal), the cool forest ... . In the middle ... there was a stupa which had descended from the glorious Deva realm above. It was made of copper ... . In each of the four directions of the stupa there were images displayed, made from various kinds of precious jewels.

In the northeast ... of that cremation ground there was the image of ... the wish-grnting tree Bhisala. Hosts of scavenger birds descended onto it and dwelt there. Here also was a worldly god called [Ananda-kara-is`vara] (dGa>-byed dbang-phyug), who was mounted on a black lion. In his hand he held a spearlike trident, and he was attired in flowing robes of red silk. ...

Here also resided countless [D.akini-s].

Some [of the D.akini-s] __ .

"__ had the rays of the sun issuing from their eyes."

"__ roared with the sounds of thunder coming from their mouths

and rode mounted on buffalos."

"__ held knives in their hands

and had eyes shaped like grains."

"__ held piles of human skulls in their hands

and rode mounted on tigers."

"__ held human corpses in their hands

and rode mounted on lions."

"__ ate human entrails

and rode mounted on Garud[.] birds."

"__ held human corpses impaled on the tips of their spears

and rode mounted on jackals."

"__ swam in oceans of blood

and had five or ten heads."

"__ held many forms of beings in their innumerable hands."

"__ having cut off their own heads,

held them in their hands.”

"__ having torn out their own hearts,

grasped them in their hands."

p. 186

"__ having disemboweled themselves,

grasped their own intestines and ate them."

"__ rode mounted on horses or on elephants or on bulls."

"Prahevajra decided to go there. Mounted upon a daughter of Vishnu, who was naked except for her loose flowing hair, ... he arrived there. ... Then ..., he proceeded to teach ... countless [D.akini-s], such as [Surya-prabha] (Nyi-ma>i >od-zer) and others.

During that time, in a town called [Dvi-krama {'double step'}] (Rim-pa gnyis-pa) ... there lived the son of the Brahman [Bhaga-vant S`astr.] (Bram-ze Legs-ldan ston-pa) and his wife [Abhasa-dipa {'speech/color lamp'}] (sNang-ba>i sgron-me). ... he was called by the name [Man~ju-s`ri-mitra {'mild revered friend'}] (>Jam-dpal bshes-gnyen). Then one day, as a prophecy of [Man~ju-s`ri {'mild revered thundrebolt sharp'}] came from the sky, proclaiming, "... you should go to the great cremation ground of [S`ita-vana]!" ... Then, having arrived at this cremation ground of [S`ita-vana], [Man~ju-s`ri-mitra] met Prahevajra face to face ... . For seventy-five years he stayed there ... and listened to him".

p. 187 tranfiguration of Prabhava Hela-vajra

At the "headquarters of the Dan-tig river to the northwest of there ..., Prahevajra himself, having caused his physical body ... (to dissolve and) disappear, demonstrated the method for the complete transcending of suffering. At that moment the earth shook six times and there came forth innumerable masses of light and great sounds in the sky. ... Thereupon the [Acarya] extended down his right arm from the man[.]d[.]ala ... in the sky, and there came forth (from his hand) a precious golden casket ... together with some terrifying sounds. This golden casket circumambulated [Man~ju-s`ri-mitra] three times and fell into the palm of his right hand. Having opened it ..., he found therein the text of the Tshig gsum gnad du brdeg-pa, "The Three Statements That Strike the Essential Points" of Prahevajra, written on a surface made of five precious gems in letters of melted [vaid.urya] (lapis lazuli), together with his {Prahevajra's} own seal."

p. 188 concealment of the texts

"With regard to this Thig-le rang gnad du phab-pa, “The Essence Occurring as Its Own Essential Point,” [“the sNying-thig, or the Essence of Mind” (p. 352, p. 2:1:28)] he [Man~ju-s`ri-mitra] divided it into two : the oral transmission (snyan-rgyud, Skt. karn.atantra {'ear-loom'}) and the explanatory transmission ([bs`ad]-rgyud, Skt. vyakhyatantra). Although having made two copies of this sNyan-rgyud ..., he did not find anyone upon whom he could bestow them, and so he concealed them beneath a [vis`vavajra {'crossedthundrebolts'}-shaped boulder which lay in a northeastern direction from [Vajra-asana]. Sealing them with the seals of the [D.akini-s] and of the Dharmapatis, he caused them to become invisible."

pp. 188-9 a stupa, its lake, its tree, its worldly god, and its D.akini-s

p. 188

"some distance to the west of [Vajra-asana] there was the great cremation ground known as ... (dur-khrod chen-po So-sa>i gling) ... . In the middle of that cremation ground was a single self-originated stupa ..., adorned with precious jewels and with silver ... . At its sides were self-originated images of the eight [Matr.ka] goddesses, such as Gauri and the rest. [Gauri, Cauri, Vetali, Ghasmari, Pukkas`i, S`avari, Candali, and D.ombi (p. 353 n. 2:1:31)]

To the northeast of that stupa there was a lake called [Ks.ura-tamasa] {'razor dark'} (sPu-gri mun), and within that lake resided various kinds of noxious creatures such as makaras. ... To the southwest of that lake ... in one huge black nyagrodha tree there were found in its top branches the nests of scavenger birds, and around its trunk ... there were entwined poisonous black snakes, and among its roots were found the dens of grave-digging pigs. Here also was located ... the worldly god [Ananda-kumara] ... . He had the face of a lion and held in his hands a sword resembling a human arm, as well as a human head, a wooden spear, and a spearlike trident with a human corpse impaled on its tip. His body was everywhere adorned with garlands of human skulls, and he was attired in a cloak of black silk. He was surrounded by a retinue of some hundred thousand ... [Matr.ka] goddesses who were mounted on elephants ... .

p. 189

Here also there were innumerable hosts of [D.akini-s].

Some [of the D.akini-s] __ .

"__ were mounted on lions and had loose flowing hair,

and they hoisted aloft victory banners having nine stacked skulls."

"__ had a single body but with eight heads attached to it,

and they were feeding upon human hearts, entrails, and so on."

"__ were black women who shook their long hair

and caused wolves to come forth from their open mouths."

"__ chopped apart human corpses and caused rainfalls and thunderbolts of meteorite iron to descend from beween the ends of the sky;

and in their hands they held aloft victory banners of tigers."

"__ separated the upper and lower parts of their bodies

and tore out their own lungs and hearts."

"__ others, having cut off their own limbs, scattered them about in all directions." ...

"In the vicinity, there were ... many jackals, wolves, and so on, as well as multitudes of terrifying bees. All about there were countless masses of human corpses, both old and new, piles of bone, lakes of blood, houses made of human heads, and huts made from piles of dried skulls. ... In the midst of all this carnage ... many Yogins and Yoginis moved about ... . Here the great [Acarya Man~ju-s`ri-mitra] sat in [vajra-parya-anka] position upon a throne of copulating lions ... . Here he resided in a multistor[ey]ed house ..., being completely surrounded by hosts of [D.akini-s]. For one hundred and nine years he continued in [samadhi]".


John Myrdhin Reynolds ([a.k.a. Vajranatha] translator & commentator) : The Golden Letters : the three statements of Garab Dorje ... together a commentary by Dza Patrul Rinpoche. Snow Lion Publ, Ithaca (NY), 1996.