Golden Letters, 3


Contents of Part 3


Historical Existence of dGa>-rab rDo-rje

pp. 205 to 213


Possible Historical Sources of rDzogs-chen

pp. 215 to 227


Early Texts Relating to rDzogs-chen

pp. 229 to 261


rDzogs-chen Authentic Buddhist Teaching

pp. 263 to 286



Historical Existence of dGa>-rab rDo-rje

pp. 205 to 213

pp. 209-10 parampara of transmission of the Anu Yoga, according to the Deb-ther sNon-po ('Blue Annals') by >Gos Lo-tswa-ba gZ`on-nu-dpal (1392-1481 Chr.E.)

p. 209

king Ja








p. 210




(Of these, Vetala-ks.ema = Ro-lans bDe-ba is dGa>-rab rDo-rje.)



Possible Historical Sources of rDzogs-chen

pp. 215 to 227

pp. 225-7 Bon & Saha-jiya

p. 225

"the [r]Nyingmapa and Bonpo systems are very similar with respect to [r]Dzog[s-]chen, and ... they employ a largely identical terminology."

p. 226

"Moreover, many scholars have pointed out the similarities existing between [r]Dzog[s-]chen and the ideas

p. 227

expressed in the Dohas, or songs of practice, composed by various Mahasiddhas, which ... represent the ... [Sahaja-yana]". [Tucci 1956]

Tucci 1956 = Giuseppe Tucci : Minor Buddhist Texts. vol. 1. Rome : IsMEO.



Early Texts Relating to rDzogs-chen

pp. 229 to 261

pp. 231-2 Cuckoo of Awareness

p. 231

"the rDo-rje tshig drug, the Six Vajra Verses ... Tun Huang version is accompanied by a commentary ... the Rig-pa>i khu-byug, "The Cuckoo (khu-byug) of Awareness (rig-pa)," which would be vidyakokila in Sanskrit. ...

p. 232

The cuckoo ... is the sacred bird of ... (sTon-pa gShen-rab mi-bo), ... the founder of the Bonpo tradition. On certain occasions, {there}... even manifested ... in the guise of a cuckoo, the sage ... (Bar-snang khu-byug)."

{Inasmuch as cuckoo couples always adopt out all their progeny to other birds, any reference to a cuckoo may be an allusion to such adoption-practice (a variety whereof is advocated in the Politeia of Platon).}

pp. 236-7 the Kulaya-raja Tantra

p. 236

"The ... kun-byed rgyal-po>i rgyud (Skt. ... kulayaraja tantra) ... contains the Rig-pa>i khu-byug text as its chapter 31 ... . ... . ... the Kun-byed rgyal-po is ... the principal Tantra of the Sems-phyog ... . ... an introduction to this Tantra by [k]Longchenpa (1308-1363) ...

p. 237

has been translated by Kennard Lipman [1987]."

[quoted from Dargyay 1985, p. 293 :] "Examining the Kun-byed rgyal-po will also show the Absolute ... in accord with the fundamental thought of Yogachara, where the mind is the hub of the entire universe. The Kun-byed rgyal-po identifies this Mind with the Absolute and addresses it as 'king'".

"Here we have ... "The One Mind" ... of the [r]Dzog[s-]chen teachings."

{The collective accord, being of "One Mind" concerning doctrine, must naturally result from the communal concord induced through universal telepathy.}

Lipman 1987 = Kennard Lipman : "The Jewel Ship". In :- Kennard Lipman & Merrill Peterson : You Are the Eyes of the World. Novato : Lotsawa.

Dargyay 1985 = Eva Dargyay : "The Kun-byed rgyal-po>i mdo". In :- Barbara Aziz & Matthew Kapstein (edd.) : Soundings in Tibetan Civilization. Delhi : Mahohar.

p. 241 alleged power of the mind to create the material universe

"The Tantra speaks of mind as the king and as a creator (byed-pa-po) because from its inherent energy (rang rtsal) emanates all of the diversity of the perceived phenomenal universe."

{Actually, mortal mind is not capable of producing any aspects of the material universe at all -- certainly not of "emanating" anything material (for the mental body can indeed emanate the causal body, but not anything material whatsoever -- as is experientially known to adepts in astral projection).}

{Only an tyrant of vicious intent would so glorify kingship (a truly oppressive institution) -- whereas all of benevolent intent would instead rather magnify collectivist communality.}

p. 242 the specifically Kaula nature of Bon/rN~in-ma literature

"The Kaulas of Bengal {currently largely restricted to there, but formerly praedominant throughout Bharata -- until demoted by Muslim invaders} have a ninefold system of classification of their levels of teaching that is reminiscent of the nine vehicles (theg-pa dgu) of the [r]Nyingmapas and the Bonpos. It is possible that kulaya was adopted from a Shaiva context".

pp. 242-3 further parallels between general S`aiva/S`akta literature and Bon/rN~in-ma literature

p. 242

"In the canonical [bs]Tan[->]gyur will be found translations of ... Shaiva texts relating to dreams, omens, and so forth, and a large Shaiva text dealing with astrology, the Svarodaya Tantra (dByangs >char)".

pp. 243-4

p. 243 "The view associated ... with Shaktism is known as [S`akti-vada], wherein [Maya], or the world illusion, ... does possess a kind of relative reality in that it represents the energy, or shakti, of ... primordial awareness (Skt. cits`akti). [Maya] is thus ... something active and dynamic, a creative energy, or [Maya-s`akti], which brings diversity into manifestation. ... .

... the Tibetan ... rtsal, "energy, potency, potentiality," is ... shakti ... . The [r]Dzog[s-]chen term rig-pa>i rtsal, "the potency or energy of awareness," could ... be translated as [/Vidya-s`akti/], which is a technical term found in the Shaiva and Shakta systems. It refers to the energy ... which gives rise to [p. 244] the diversity of manifestations.

p. 244

Also, the term for "manifestation" or "appearance" (snang-ba, Skt. abhasa), is found in a similar context in both systems."

pp. 244-5 the Tara Tantra

p. 244

"In Bengal there exists a system of [Kali] worship known as [Cina-acara], a tradition said to be been brought to Bengal {Vanga[la]} by the sage [Vas`is.t.ha] from the country of [Maha-cina]. This name ... in this context ... clearly indicates Tibet. According to the Tara Tantra, ... the goddess [Kali] ... appeared to him in a vision and told him that if he wished to learn this highest form of her worship, he must go to [Maha-cina] and ask this of

the Buddha. ...

{Because goddess Tara is stated in the Puran.a-s to be mother of Budha (planet Mercury), it is evident that any mention of "Buddha" in the Tara Tantra must surely refer to Tara's son Budha : for in the Tripit.aka Sarva-artha-siddha is said to have become S`akya-muni by seeing the planet Mercury.}

Journeying to [Maha-cina], or Tibet, the sage discovers the Buddha residing in a temple ... and engaged in erotic play with his Yogini consorts. [Vas`is.t.ha] ... receives the transmission ...

p. 245

consisting of initiation and instruction, and he returns with this to Bengal. ... [Cina-acara] is classified as [Vama-acara] ... in contrast to [Daks.ina-acara] ... because of the use made in its rituals of the five substances known as [Pan~ca-makara] ... . This procedure is very similar to the [Gan.a-cakra-puja] ... found in [Maha-yoga] Tantra and Anuttara Tantra generally." [p. 261, n. 3:3:32 : on Maha-cina vide John Woodroffe : Shakti and Shakta, pp. 123-30]

{It may well be that this Vas`is.t.ha is to be distinguished from the r.s.i Vasis.t.ha who was a semidivine author of sections of the Veda.} {Kali would be the sister/wife of Kala, correlative to Maha-kala.}

p. 245 varieties of tantra

if a text __

then it may be designated a __-tantra

deal with the 10 essential topics


expand on or clarify these topics


focus on a single one of these topics


praesent the quintessential meaning


p. 246 "The Kun-byed rgyal-po ... Instead of expounding upon the ten topics ..., ... teaches the ten nonexistences [of the very same 10 topics!]."

p. 246 the authorship of the Kun-byed rGyal-po, according to an inscription of the 11th century Chr.E.

"the ... text having the name Kun-byed rgyal-po was ... composed by ... Drang-nga Shag-tshul ... . In the words of this edict, ... "The eighteen Tantras of the Sems-sde written by Drang-nga Shag-tshul at the Copper Glacier in Upper [Myan], such as the Kun-byed rgyal-po, the ten esoteric Sutras (mdo bcu), the Ye-shes gsang-ba, … the Srid-pa>i rgyud … ."”

"According to [Sog-zlog-pa], ... [r]Dzog[s-]chen resembled the eternalist view of the Hindus (mu-stegs rtag lta-ba). The name Drang-nga Shag-tshul ... appears to be Bonpo".

p. 249 the 9 several viewpoints of rDzogs-chen (according to the bSam-gtan mig sGron by bNubs-chen Sans-rgyas Ye-s`es, 9th century Chr.E.)


__ lTa-ba ('The View __')

was held by __


gZa> gTad Dan Bral-ba>i ("Which is Free of All Conceptions")



lHun-grub-pa>i Nan Chen-po>i ("of the Total State of Spontaneous Self-Perfection")

dGa>-rab rDo-rje


bDag-n~id Chen-po>i ("of the Total State")


Ran Byug gi Ye-s`es kyi ("of the Self-Originated Knowledge")

Bhiks.uni Ananda


Bya bTsal Dan Bral-ba>i ("Which Is Free of All Action and Seeking")



bDe-ba Chen-po>i ("of the Great Bliss")

Kuku-raja & S`ri-simha


lHag-pa>i rNal->byor Chen-po Nas gN~is su Med-pa>i ("of Nonduality in accordance with the higher Mahayoga")



Thig-le Chen-po gCig gi ("of the Single Total Sphere")



Chos Thams-cad gZ`i Ji-bz`in-pa>i ("of the Natural Base of All Phenomena ... Just as It Is")

>Da->he-na-ta-lo of Uddiyana

p. 247 According to Sog-zlog-pa, "the thirteen later texts such as rmad byung were (actually) written by [gNubs-chen Sans-rgyas Ye-s`es]".

pp. 250-1 gNubs-chen Sans-rgyas Ye-s`es

p. 250

"In his mGur >bum [p. 362 n. 3:3:45 : translated by Garma Chang 1962], [Mi-la-ras-pa] says that he learned the art of magic spells ... from ... (Lha-rje gnubs chung). According to [r]Nyingmapa tradition, this was actually ... (Lha-rje hum-chung), the great-grandson of [gNubs-chen] ... .

The author of bSam-gtan mig sgron identifies himself as ... (gNubs-ban) and this is most likely [gNubs-chen Sans-rgyas Ye-s`es]. He goes on to state that he had studied ... in particular with the Gilgit (bru-sha) translator ... (lo-tswa-ba Che-bstun-skyes), who was responsible for translating the Anuyoga Tantras into Tibetan. These texts, under the designation rNal->byor grub-pa>i lung, are much quoted in [gNubs-chen]'s work."

p. 251

"According to [r]Nyingmapa tradition, [gNubs-chen] was born into the clan of ... (gNubs) ... . ... Yam[a-]antaka ... became his yi-dam, or personal meditation deity, and [Man~ju-s`ri] himself bestowed upon him a supreme intelligence. ... In the cave of Drag-yang-dzang, his phurpa, or three-bladed magic dagger, pierced the solid rock of the cliff as if it were butter. ... Thus, all the lineages of transmission for [Maha-yoga], Anuyoga, and [r]Dzog[s-]chen Sem[s-s]de converged in him. ... Instantly, in the sky above the tantric sorcerer, the king saw nine scorpions appear, each the size of a yak. ... Then [gNubs-chen] pointed ... and lightning flashed, shattering into pieces a nearby boulder." [p. 362 n. 3:3: 46 : "For the traditional account of gNubs-chen sans-rgyas ye-s`es, see ... Thondup ... (... 1984), pp. 152-3."]

Garma Chang 1962 = Garma C. C. Chang (transl.) : The Hundred-Thousand Songs of Milarepa. New Hyde Park (NY) : University Bks.

Thondup 1984 = Thondup : The Tantric Tradition of the Nyingmapas. Marion : Buddhayana.

pp. 252-3 replacement of Sarva-asti-vada caelibate monasticism with Bon/rN~in-ma married priesthood

p. 252

The king gLan-dar-ma during his reign (836-842 Chr.E.) undertook "dismantling the monastic system, hence the enforced disrobing of monks and the closing of monasteries ... . But ...

p. 253

the tantric tradition of teaching and practice of [s]Ngag[s-]pas like [g]Nub[s-]chen continued to flourish uninterrupted ... . In fact, this so-called Dark Age [842-950 Chr.E.] was a creative and vital period for the later [r]Nyingmapas and Bonpos. ... the government was no longer ... to prevent or restrict the translating of the Tantras, as it had done previously. ... Whereas monastic discipline was completely disrupted ..., in contrast the tantric traditions of [Maha-yoga] and Anuyoga continued to develop ... . This was also true of [r]Dzog[s-]chen."

{The Bon/rN~in-ma married priesthood thus resembled the contemporary Taoist priesthood, which was (and still is) likewise married. The Bon/rN~in-ma philosophical doctrines also resemble Taoist philosophical doctrines.}

pp. 256-8 hagiography of dGa>-rab rDo-rje, according to the >Dra >bag Chen-mo {This is rather different from, and more archaic (and thus mythologically authentic) than, the account (supra pp. 179 sq) in the Lo-rgyus Chen-mo.}

p. 256

"Chapter 4 (21a-24b) presents a history of [r]Dzog[s-]chen, beginning with the legend of [d]Ga[>-]rab [r]Dorje. According to this account, in the country of [Ud.d.iyana] there lived a king named [>Da->he-na-ta-lo] who had ...

a son called called ... [Raja-hasti {'royal elephant'}] (Thu-bo ra-dza-ha-ti)

{perhaps a personification of the elephants tortured to death in immolations promoted by the state of Z`an-z`un}

and a daughter named Bharani.

{the name of one of the naks.atra-s; cognate with the name of Italic goddess Feronia}.

One day, the great Bodhisattva {Dhyani-bodhisattva} [Vajra-pani] transformed himself into the guise of

a golden water bird.

{This may be Aarne-Thompson type 550 "Golden Bird" ("GB"; "TSF"). As in the Bodish myth, the "golden bird" Karaweik of Burmese myth is a water bird (EC, p. 224), the crane (karavika in Pali). It was Vipas`yin who had a karavika's voice (D ii:20, 35 -- DB, vol. 1, pp. 16-17).}

When the princess, who had now become a nun, was walking along the lakeshore, she picked up this bird, which thereupon pecked at her breast.

{Queen A-sandhi-mitta was much devoted to the karavika bird (DA.ii.453; MA.ii.771 -- "A", quoted from DPPN, p. 205).}

Nine months later she gave birth to a miraculous child who

{cf. queen Asandhi-mitta's 'banyan' son Nigrodda ("MV", p. 79).}

began immediately to recite the rDo-rje sems-dpa> nam-mkha>-che Tantra.

{The implication is that all persons hearing this recitation attentively heeded it. Even wild animals "listen only to the karavika's cry." (according to the Buddhavams`a Commentary -- "MB")}

This child was none other than [d]Ga[>-]rab [r]Dorje. ...

[Man~ju-s`ri-mitra] ... came to reside at the great monastic university of Nalanda at the time when [d]Ga[>-]rab [r]Dorje, still in the guise of a young boy, was ... still in [Ud.d.iyana]. ... Rumors had come to the university of a mysterious young boy who was teaching the doctrine of the Primordial State, which was beyond cause and effect. This outraged the scholars ... to contradict the conventional Buddhist teaching on karma and causality as understood from the perspective of the ... [Hetu-yana], the causal vehicle. The assembly of Buddhist scholars declared such a teaching as false, heretical, and dangerous."

p. 257

[quoted from the >Dra >bag Chen-mo, pp. 439-40 :] "At that time (when [d]Ga[>-]rab [r]Dorje was teaching), an emanation (sprul-pa, Skt. nirmita) of Arya [Man~ju-s`ri] was born as an exceedingly intelligent child, the son of the Brahman [S`ri-sukha-pala] (dPal-ldan bde-skyong) and the Brahmani Mokutana. They called their child Sara[-]siddhi (sNying-po grub-pa) and [S`amvara-garbha] {'magic embryo'} (bDe-mchog snying-po). ... He became ... supreme among the five hundred panditas ... . At that time, these Panditas heard that the [Nirman.a-kaya] Prahevajra ([d]Ga[>-]rab [r]Dorje) was expounding the doctrine of the effortless state (rtsol med) of the Great Perfection, the teaching of a state which lies beyond cause and effect, this being the quintessence ... superior to all ... teachings of cause and effect. At that time also, this Brahman youth Sara[-]siddhi received the prophecy of Arya [Man~ju-s`ri], which said, "To the northwest,

in the land of [Ud.d.i-yana],

on the shore of [Dhana-kos`a] Lake,

in the valley of Ha-chen bdal-ba,

in the [Vajra-dvipa] Cave (rDo-rje gling),

belonging to the great cremation ground of [Suvarn.a-dvipa] (gSer gling),

dwells the miraculous emanation of Vajrasattva, who is known as the [Nirman.a-kaya] Prahevajra. ... Through him enlightenment may be effortlessly realized (rtsol med) in an instant by virtue ... of Atiyoga ... . You must go to obtain from him ... the precepts of that [Nirman.a-kaya]."

"[Man~ju-s`ri-mitra] ... journeyed far to meet [d]Ga[>-]rab [r]Dorje, and upon encountring him face to face, ...

p. 258

[d]Ga[>-]rab [r]Dorje gave him the empowerment for complete realization ... . ... [d]Ga[>-]rab [r]Dorje told him that ... he should write a book, and thereafter he composed the rDo la gser zhun, "Gold Refined from Ore." At this time [Man~ju-s`ri-mitra] was ... a scholar belonging to the [Yoga-acarin] school, which adhered to the [Citta-matra], or Mind-Only doctrine. Thus, while [Man~ju-s`ri-mitra] speaks about this Primordial State beyond cause and effect ..., he largely does so from the [Yoga-acarin] standpoint".

"GB" = "Golden Bird"

"TSF" = "Tales Similar to Firebird"

EC = Alexandra Green : Eclectic Collecting: art from Burma in the Denison Museum. National University of Singapore Pr, 2008.

DB = Thomas William Rhys Davids : Dialogues of the Buddha. translated from the Pali of the Dīgha Nikāya, Volume 1. 1910.

"A" =

DPPN = G.P. Malalasekera : Dictionary of Pali Proper Names : Pali-English.

MV = Mahanama-sthavira (comment. by Douglas Bullis) : Mahavamsa : the Great Chronicle of Sri Lanka. Jain Publ Co, 1999.

"MB" = "Maha Buddhavamsa"

pp. 258-9 subdivision by Man~ju-s`ri-mitra of rDzogs-chen traditional literature

p. 258

"It is also said that [Man~ju-s`ri-mitra] divided the sixty-four myriad verses of [r]Dzog[s-]chen into three series of teachings (rdzogs-chen sde gsum) ... :"


__-sde ('__ Series')

concerned with __


Sems (Mind)

"realization of the calm state of mind"


kLon (Space)

"realization of a state free of activities"


Man-nag (Secret Instruction)

"the essential point ... of continuing in contemplation"

p. 259

"It is said that when [S`ri-simha] went to [Vajra-asana] (Bodh [Gaya]), he discovered the texts of the [Upa-des`a] Series which [Man~ju-s`ri-mitra] had concealed there. This final series of teachings, also known as sNying-thig (Skt. citta-tilaka), he divided into four parts :"


__-skor ('__ Cycle')


Phyi (Outer)


Nan (Inner)


gSan (Secret)


gSan-ba bLa-na Med-pa>i ("unsurpassably secret")

p. 259 successors of dGa>-rab rDo-rje, according to the >Dra >bag Chen-mo

"In the following chapter ... are presented ... the ... transmission of the [r]Dzog[s-]chen teachings from [d]Ga[>-]rab [r]Do[-]rje down to Vimalamitra :”


Pra-hevajra (dGa>-rab rDo-rje)


elder Man~ju-s`ri-mitra (>Jam-dpal bS`es-gn~en sNa-ba)


king >Dha->he-na-ta-lo


Raja-hasti (Thu-bo Ra-dza-ha-ti)


bhiks.uni ['nun'] Bharan.i (dGe-slon-ma Ba-ra-na)


Naga-raja {'dragon-king'} (kLu>i rGyal-po)

7 {tree-goddess} Bodhi (gNod-sbyin-ma Byan-chub-ma)


prostitute Bharan.i (sMad->tshon-ma Ba-ra-na)


upadhyaya Prabhasa (mKhan-po Rab-snan) of Kas`mir


upadhyaya maharaja (mKhan-po rGyal-po Chen-po) of U.d.d.iyana


his daughter Goma-devi (sras-mo Go-ma-de-vi) [p. 260 : "The Princess Gomadevi of [Ud.d.i-yana] is also known from the lineage of the [Maha-yoga] teachings."]


A-cintya-aloka {'unthought lamp'} (A-tsan-tra A-lo-ke)


elder Kuku-raja (Ku-ku-ra-dza sNa-ba)


r.s.i Bhas.ita {'speaking'} (dran-sron Bha-s`i-ta)


prostitute Atma {'self'} (sMad->tshon-ma bDag-n~id-ma)


Naga-arjuna (Na-ga-dzu-na)


younger Kuku-raja (Ku-ku-ra-dza Phyi-ma)


younger Man~ju-s`ri-mitra (>Jam-dpal bS`es-gn~en Phyi-ma)


Deva-raja {'god king'} (De-wa-ra-dza)


Buddha-gupta {'awakened guard'} (Bhu-ta-kug-ta) {Bhuta-gupta?}


S`ri-simha-prabha {'revered lion luminosity'} (S`ri sin-ba Pra-pa-ta)


bhiks.uni ['nun'] Ananda {'bliss'} (dGe-slon-ma Kun-dga>-ma)


Vimala-mitra {'stainless friend'}

pp. 260-1 the Me-tog sN~in-po sBran-rtsi>i bCud

p. 260

The same account of the journey of [] to India and his meeting with various masters there is told in the Me-tog snying-po sbrang-rtsi>i bcud, written by … (Myang-ral nyi-ma >od-zer, 1136-1209). …

p. 261

According to the colophon …, the text was edited by Khams-smyong Dharma seng-ge, Dharmasimha, the madman from Kham (nineteenth century [Chr.E.]). … According to Dharmasimha's colophon, originally there were two versions … . One was rediscovered by … (Jo-mo sman-mo, 1248-1283), a famous woman [g]Ter[-s]ton and the wife of another famous [g]Ter[-s]ton, … (Guru Chos-dbang, 1212-1270 [Chr.E.]). … there also existed a bkra>-ma {spelled /bka>-ma/ on p. 308?} version … by … (>Bro-ban bkra-shis >byung-gnas).”



rDzogs-chen Authentic Buddhist Teaching

pp. 263 to 286

p. 266 the only extant writing by Padma-sambhava

in the [bs]Tan[->]gyur there is … the Man-ngag lta-ba>i phreng-ba, which is attributed by its colophon to Padmasambhava himself. It is the only text by Padmasambhava that is bka>-ma; all other texts attributed to this master are gter-ma.”

pp. 268-9 the earliest Bodish catalogue, not shewing texts (such as those recovered from Tun-huan) composed after its date

p. 268

the lDan dkar-ma catalogue of translated Buddhist texts … (eighth century CE)” : “According to … (Bu-ston rin-chen grub, 1290-1364 [Chr.E.]) in his chos->byung, or history, in … (788 [Chr.E.]) … (Lo-tsa-ba dPal-brtsegs), … (>Khon klu>i dbang-po), and others compiled a catalogue of all the translations made to date …, giving the numbers of chapters and verses found in each. … According to Bu[-s]ton, the mChims-phu-ma and the Phang-thang-ma catalogues were compiled sometime after this. … the sDe-dge bstan->gyur catalogue states that the Phang-thang-ma catalogue was compiled … c. 800-815 [Chr.E] … . …

p. 269

The catalogue of the [Aurel] Stein Collection records … the [Sarva-tathagata Tattva-samgraha] Tantra and the [Durgati-paris`odhana] {'distress completely-purifying'} Tantra. These two are both Yoga Tantras, but they are not listed in the lDan dkar-ma catalogue. However, there were also found tantric texts belonging to the [Maha-yoga] cycle : the [Guhya-samaja] {'secret assembly'} Tantra and … texts for the zhi-khro (the Peaceful and Wrathful deities) of the [Maya-jala] {'illusion-net'} Tantra cycle”.

p. 273 ritual sexual intercourse

practice involving two partners, male and female. These methods, known as thabs-lam, are part of rdzogs-rim, the perfection process. … Sex[ual intercourse] is one of the most potent sources of energy, … the tantric processes of [Maha-yoga] …, especially the sbyor sgrol rites associated with the Guhya[-]garbha {'secret embryo'} Tantra. sByor, union, refers to tantric sexual practices with a consort partner, and sbyor, deliverance {from Hell} … by means of magical rites … . sByor sgrol is the subject matter of chapter 11 of the Guhyagarbha Tantra ([gSan-ba sN~in-po]), the principal [Maha-yoga] scripture.”

p. 276 oldest editions of rN~in-ma tantra-s

(>Gro-mgon nam-mkha> dpal, 1170-1236), the son of famous [r]Nyingmapa … discoverer of [g]Terma Texts … (mNga>-bdag Myang-ral nyi-ma >od-zer, 1124-1192), made a collection of old Tantras, rGyud >bum, which he had written out in gold ink. From this, his disciples compiled a rNying-ma>i rgyud >bum in thirty volumes. …

Later, a much-enlarged rNying-ma>i rgyud >bum was compiled by … (sMin-gling gter-chen …, 1646-1714) in a new edition (1686).

An edition was also compiled by … (gCug Chos-dpal bzang-po, 1654-1717).

In the next century, the illustrious … (Kun-mkhyen >Jigs-med gling-pa …, 1729-1798) … compiled a new edition with twenty-five additional volumes. … Based on his work, the … (sDe-dge) xylograph edition was printed.

In Bhutan, in the sixteenth century, … (Kah-thog-pa bSod-nams rgyal-mtshan) also made a collection”.

pp. 284-5 2nd & 3rd turnings of the Dharma-cakra

p. 284

the Mahasanghikas preserved a tradition coming from the master [Su-bhuti], who … as a senior disciple of the Buddha. According to later [Maha-yana] tradition, [Su-bhuti] had a more profound understanding of the real meaning of the teaching of the Buddha than did [S`ari-putra], whose views gave rise to the Abhidharmika philosophy of the later [Hina-yana] schools. This tradition of [Su-bhuti] is found in the [Prajn~a-paramita Sutra-s]. [p. 367, n. 3:4:34 : “See Edward Conze, Prajnaparamita Literature (Tokyo : Reiyukai, 1978).”] … The Second Turning of the Wheel of Dharma, the promulgation of of the [Prajn~a-paramita Sutra-s] … is regarded as ultimate … . …

This trend was counterbalanced by the Third Turning of the Wheel of the Dharma in such [{Vaipulya} Sutra-s] as the [Sandhi-nirmocana Sutra] and the [Lanka-avatara Sutra] … . …

p. 285

Ch[>]an {= Korean So^n = Japanese Zen} … when it first came to China was very much linked to the [Lanka-avatara Sutra]”.

p. 367, n. 3:4:36 “unlike the [r]Nyingmapa school, the Bonpo school has developed an intellectual defense of [r]Dzog[s-]chen linked with logic and debate. … See the Gal-mdo {: texts concerned with the logical establishment of the authenticity of the Rdzogs-chen teachings of Bon.} (Dolanji : Tibetan Bonpo Monastic Center, 1972). Anne Klein and Rinpoche are now preparing a translation of … this”. {Anne C. Klein & Tenzin Wangyal : Unbounded Wholeness. Oxford U Pr, 2006.}

p. 285 [quoted from Conze 1962, pp. 195-6] personhood and universal consciousness in the Sthavira-vada canon & in Maha-sanghika doctrine

Some Polish scholars [Stanislaus Schayer, etc.] have argued … a very old, “pre-Canonical” tradition … for the numerous references to a “person” [Skt. Pudgala] … . …

The [Sat-dhatu Sutra] assumes an eternal consciousness [or awareness], and the Absolute … is identified with

an “invisible infinite consciousness, which shines everywhere.” …

{This is identical with the doctrine of the}

The idea of an absolute thought which is perfectly pure and translucent ([prabha-svara citta]) in its own nature, its own being, its own substance, and remains so forever, {is the original doctrine of the Buddha, and is proclaimed as the teaching of the Buddha even in the Hina-yana sutra-s, but however} does not fit in very well with the dharma-theory of the Sthaviras. They accordingly did not quite know what to do with it, whereas the Mahasanghikas and the [Maha-yana] gave it a central place in their scheme of things. [In the Hina-yana sutra-s,] … there are distinct vestiges … of an unorthodox ontology, which

regards Nirvana as a place (pada) … (and not merely a state),

{When considered as a distinctive place, nirvan.a (the distance whereto Mara's, or the principal Mara's, or first Mara's, authority cannot reach) must be located outside the solar system (because the realm of Mara is regarded as covering only the solar system, with the solar system's mt. Meru; albeit including the portion of subtle, non-material worlds associated with the material solar system).}

identical with the eternal and absolute reality (dharma) and with the translucent thought or consciousness. Deliverance is then conceived as the gradual purification of this consciousness which finally

attains the summit of the “Realm of Dharma” ([Dharma-dhatu]),

{In Jaina cosmology, kaivalya is regarded as attaining to the summit-peak of the solar system.}

from which it will no longer fall back (acyuta).”

{In the Puran.a-s, A-cyuta is a name of incarnate god Kr.s.n.a the son of Devaki.}

Conze 1962 = Edward Conze : Buddhist Thought in India. London : Allen & Unwin.

p. 367, n. 3:4:37 [reference to, or quotation, from Reynolds 1975, pp. 18-19] Gnostic parallels to Bauddha metaphysics

For the [Maha-yana] the innate essence of man's being is 'the celestial nature itself, purest light, bodhicittam prakriti-prabhasvaram.' In salvation the god within has united with the god outside. … The 'self-luminous thought' which is at the centre of our being and has been overlaid with 'adventitious defilements' … . … To see through [such adventitious defilements] to one's own 'Buddha-self' became the chief preoccupation of the Zen sect.

The Manichaeans likewise speak of 'our original luminous nature,' 'those around Basilides are in the habit of calling the passions appendages,' {“appendages” = “adventitious defilements”} and 'in the Poimandres the ascent {of the soul to heaven} is described as a series of progressive subtractions which leaves the naked true self.'”

Reynolds 1975 = John Myrdhin Reynolds : Buddhism and Gnosis”. In :- Edward Conze (ed.) : Further Buddhist Studies. Oxford : Cassirer.


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.