The Bodhisattva’s Way of Life
Translated by Stephen Batchelor
A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life
Tibetan : Byang. chub. sems. dpai’. spyod. pa. la. jug. pa
Translated into English by Stephen Batchelor
The Benefit of the Awakening Mind
Respectfully I prostrate myself to the Sugatas
Who are endowed with the Dharmakaya,
As well as to their Noble Sons
And to all who are worthy of veneration.
Here I shall explain how to engage in the vows of the Buddhas’ Sons,
The meaning of which I have condensed in accordance with the scriptures.
There is nothing here that has not been explained before
And I have no skill in the art of rhetoric;
Therefore, lacking any intention to benefit others,
I write this in order to acquaint it to my mind.
For due to acquaintance with what is wholesome,
The force of my faith may for a short while increase because of these (words).
If, however, these (words) are seen by others
Equal in fortune to myself, it may be meaningful (for them).
Leisure and endowment are very hard to find;
And, since they accomplish what is meaningful for man,
If I do not take advantage of them now,
How will such a perfect opportunity come about again?
Just as a flash of lightning on a dark, cloudy night
For an instant brightly illuminates all,
Likewise in this world, through the might of Buddha,
A wholesome thought rarely and briefly appears.
Hence virtue is perpetually feeble,
The great strength of evil being extremely intense.
And except for a Fully Awakening Mind
By what other virtue will it be overcome?
All the Buddhas who have contemplated for many aeons
Have seen it to be beneficial;
For by it the limitless masses of beings
Will quickly attain the supreme state of bliss.
Those who wish to destroy the many sorrows of (their) conditioned existence,
Those who wish (all beings) to experience a multitude of joys,
And those who wish to experience much happiness,
Should never forsake the Awakening Mind.
The moment an Awakening Mind arises
In those fettered and weak in the jail of cyclic existence,
They will be named ‘a Son of the Sugatas’,
And will be revered by both men and gods of the world.
It is like the supreme gold‐making elixir,
For it transforms the unclean body we have taken
Into the priceless jewel of a Buddha‐Form
Therefore firmly seize this Awakening Mind.
Since the limitless mind of the Sole Guide of the World
Has upon thorough investigation seen its preciousness,
All beings wishing to be free from worldly abodes
Should firmly take hold of this precious Awakening Mind.
All other virtues are like the plantain tree;
For after bearing fruit they simply perish.
But the perennial tree of the Awakening Mind
Unceasingly bears fruit and thereby flourishes without end.
Like entrusting myself to a brave man when greatly afraid
By entrusting myself to this (Awakening Mind) I shall be swiftly liberated
Even if I have committed extremely unbearable evils.
Why then do the conscientious not devote themselves to this?
Just like the fire at the end of an age,
It instantly consumes all great evil.
Its unfathomable advantages were taught
To the disciple Sudhana by the wise Lord Maitreya.
In brief, the Awakening Mind
Should be understood to be of two types;
The mind that aspires to awaken
And the mind that ventures to do so.
As is understood by the distinction
Between aspiring to go and (actually) going.
So the wise understand in turn
The distinction between these two.
Although great fruits occur in cyclic existence
From the mind that aspires to awaken,
An uninterrupted flow of merit does not ensue
As it does with the venturing mind.
And for him who has perfectly seized this mind
With the thought never to turn away
From totally liberating
The infinite forms of life.
From that time hence,
Even while asleep or unconcerned
A force of merit equal to the sky
Will perpetually ensue.
For the sake of those inclined towards the lesser (vehicle),
This was logically asserted
By the Tathagata himself
In The Sutra Requested by Subahu
If even the thought to relieve
Living creatures of merely a headache
Is a beneficial intention
Endowed with infinite goodness,
Then what need is there to mention
The wish to dispel their inconceivable misery,
Wishing every single one of them
To realise boundless good qualities?
Do even fathers and mothers
Have such a benevolent intention as this?
Do the gods and sages?
Does even Brahma have it?
If those beings have never before
Even dreamt of such an attitude
For their own sake,
How would it ever arise for the sake of others?
This intention to benefit all beings,
Which does not arise in others even for their own
Is an extraordinary jewel of the mind,
And its birth is an unprecedented wonder.
How can I fathom the depths
Of the goodness of this jewel of the mind,
The panacea that relieves the world of pain
And is the source of all its joy?
If merely a benevolent intention
Excels venerating the Buddhas,
Then what need to mention striving to make
All beings without exception happy?
Although wishing to be rid of misery,
They run towards misery itself.
Although wishing to have happiness,
Like an enemy they ignorantly destroy it.
For those who are deprived of happiness
And burdened with many sorrows
It satisfies them with all joys,
Dispels all suffering,
And clears away confusion.
Where is there a comparable virtue?
Where is there even such a friend?
Where is there merit similar to this?
If whoever repays a kind deed
Is worthy of some praise,
Then what need to mention the Bodhisattva
Who does good without its being asked of him?
The world honours as virtuous
A man who sometimes gives a little, plain food
Disrespectfully to a few beings,
That satisfies them for only half a day.
What need be said then of one
Who eternally bestows the peerless bliss of the Sugatas
Upon limitless numbers of beings,
Thereby fulfilling all their hopes?
The Buddha has said that whoever bears an evil thought
Against a benefactor such as that Bodhisattva
Will remain in hell for as many aeons
As there were evil thoughts.
But if a virtuous attitude should arise (in that regard).
Its fruits will multiply far more than that.
When Bodhisattvas greatly suffer they generate no negativity,
Instead their virtues naturally increase.
I bow down to the body of him
In whom the sacred precious mind is born.
I seek refuge in that source of joy
Who brings to happiness even those who harm him.
Disclosure of Evil
In order to seize that precious mind
I offer now to the Tathagatas,
To the sacred Dharma, the stainless jewel,
And to the Sons of Buddha, the oceans of excellence,
Whatever flowers and fruits there are
And whatever kinds of medicine,
Whatever jewels exist in this world
And whatever clean refreshing waters;
Likewise gem‐encrusted mountains,
Forest groves, quiet and joyful places,
Heavenly trees bedecked with flowers
And trees with fruit‐laden branches;
Fragrances of the celestial realms,
Incense, wishing trees and jewel trees,
Uncultivated harvests, and all ornaments
That are worthy to be offered;
Lakes and pools adorned with lotuses
And the beautiful cry of wild geese,
Within the limitless spheres of space.
Creating these things in my mind I offer them
To the supreme beings, the Buddhas, as well as their Sons;
Compassionate Ones, think kindly of me
And accept these offerings of mine.
Having no merit I am destitute
And I have no other gifts to offer.
Protectors, you who think of helping others.
By your power accept these for my sake.
Eternally shall I offer all my bodies
To the Conquerors and their Sons.
Please accept me, you Supreme Heroes,
Respectfully shall I be your subject.
Through being completely under your care
1 shall benefit all with no fears of conditioned existence;
I shall perfectly transcend my previous evils
And in the future shall commit no more.
To very sweetly scented bathing chambers
With brilliantly sparkling crystal floors
And exquisite pillars ablaze with gems,
Having canopies above aglow with pearls.
I beseech the Tathagatas and their Sons
To come and bathe their bodies
From many jewelled vases filled with waters scented and
To the accompaniment of music and song.
Let me dry their bodies with incomparable cloths
Clean and well‐anointed with scent,
And then may I present these Holy Beings
With fragrant garments of suitable colours.
I adorn with manifold ornaments
And various raiments fine and smooth,
The Aryas Samantabhadra, Manjughosha
Avalokiteshvara and all the others.
Just like polishing pure, refined gold
Do I anoint the Buddhas’ forms that blaze with light
With the choicest perfumes whose fragrance permeates
A thousand million worlds.
And to the highest objects of giving I offer
Beautiful, well‐arranged garlands,
As well as enchanting, sweet smelling flowers,
Such as lily, jasmine and lotus blooms.
Also I send forth clouds of incense
Whose sweet aroma steals away the mind,
As well as celestial delicacies
Including a variety of foods and drinks.
I offer them jewelled lamps
Arranged on golden lotus buds;
Upon land sprinkled with scented water
Do I scatter delicate flower petals.
To those who have the nature of compassion
I offer palaces resounding with melodious hymns,
Exquisitely illuminated by hanging pearls and gems
That adorn the infinities of space.
Eternally shall I offer to all the Buddhas
Jewelled umbrellas with golden handles
And exquisite ornaments embelishing the rims,
Standing erect, their shapes beautiful to behold.
And in addition may a mass of offerings
Resounding with sweet and pleasing music,
(Like) clouds that appease the misery of all,
Each remain (for as long as necessary).
And may a continuous rain
Of flowers and precious gems descend
Upon the reliquaries and the statues,
And upon all the jewels of Dharma.
In the same way as Manjughosha and others
Have made offerings to the Conquerors,
Similarly do I bestow gifts upon the Tathagatas,
The Protectors, their Sons and all.
I glorify the Oceans of Excellence
With limitless verses of harmonious praise;
May these clouds of gentle eulogy
Constantly ascend to their presence.
With bodies as numerous
As all the atoms within the universe,
I prostrate to all Buddhas of the three times,
The Dharma and the supreme community.
Likewise I prostrate to all reliquaries,
To the bases of an Awakening Mind,
To all learned abbots and masters
And to all the noble practitioners.
I seek refuge in all Buddhas
Until I possess the essence of Awakening,
Likewise I seek refuge in Dharma
And in the assembly of Bodhisattvas.
With folded hands I beseech
The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas
Who possess the great compassion
And reside in all directions.
Throughout beginningless cyclic existence
In this life and in others,
Unknowingly I committed evil deeds
And ordered them to be done (by others).
Overwhelmed by the deceptions of ignorance
I rejoiced in what was done,
But now seeing these mistakes
From my heart I declare them to the Buddhas.
Whatever harmful acts of body, speech and mind
I have done in a disturbed mental state,
Towards the three jewels of refuge,
My parents, my spiritual masters and others;
And all the grave wrongs done by me,
So thoroughly evil and polluted
But an abundance of faults,
I openly declare to the Guides of the World.
But I may well perish
Before all my evils have been purified;
So please protect me in such a way
As will swiftly and surely free me from them.
The untrustworthy lord of death
Waits not for things to be done or undone;
Whether I am sick or healthy.
This fleeting lifespan is unstable.
Leaving all I must depart alone.
But through not having understood this
I committed various kinds of evil
For the sake of my friends and foes.
My foes will become nothing.
My friends will become nothing.
I too will become nothing.
Likewise all will become nothing.
Just like a dream experience,
Whatever things I enjoy
Will become a memory.
Whatever has passed will not be seen again.
Even within this brief life
Many friends and foes have passed,
But whatever unbearable evil I committed for them
Remains ahead of me.
Thereby, through not having realised
That I shall suddenly vanish,
I committed so much evil
Out of ignorance, lust and hate.
Remaining neither day nor night,
Life is always slipping by
And never getting any longer,
Why will death not come to one like me?
While I am lying in bed,
Although surrounded by my friends and relatives,
The feeling of life being severed
Will not experienced by me alone.
When seized by the messengers of death,
What benefit will friends and relatives afford?
My merit alone shall protect me then,
But upon that I have never relied.
0 Protectors! I, so unconcerned,
Unaware of such terror as this,
Accumulated a great deal of evil
For the sake of this transient life.
Petrified is the person
Today being led to a torture chamber.
With dry mouth and dreadful sunken eyes.
His entire appearance is transfigured.
What need to mention the tremendous despair
When stricken with the disease of great panic,
Being clasped by the physical forms,
Of the frightful messengers of death?
ʺWho can afford me real protection
From this great horror?ʺ
With terrified, bulging eyes agape
I shall search the four quarters for refuge.
But seeing no refuge there
I shall become enveloped in gloom.
If there should be no protection there,
Then what shall I be able to do?
Therefore I now seek refuge
In the Buddhas who protect the world,
Who strive to shelter all that lives
And with great strength eradicate all fear.
Likewise I purely seek refuge
In the Dharma they have realised
That clears away the fears of cyclic existence,
And also in the assembly of Bodhisattvas.
I, trembling with fear,
Offer myself to Samantabhadra;
To Manjughosha also
I make a gift of my body.
To the Protector Avalokiteshvara
Who infallibly acts with compassion,
I utter a mournful cry,
ʺPlease protect this evil‐doer!ʺ
In my search for refuge
I cry from my heart
For Akashagarbha, Ksitigarbha
And all the Compassionate Protectors.
And I seek refuge in Vajrapani,
Upon the sight of whom all harmful beings
Such as the messengers of death
Flee in terror to the four quarters.
Previously I transgressed your advice,
But now upon seeing this great fear
I go to you for refuge.
By doing so may this fear be swiftly cleared away.
If I need to comply with a doctor’s advice
When frightened by a common illness,
Then how much more so when perpetually diseased
By the manifold evils of desire and so forth.
And if all people dwelling on this earth
Can be overcome by just one of these,
And if no other medicine to cure them
Is to be found elsewhere in the universe,
Then the intention not to act in accordance
With the advice of the All‐Knowing Physicians
That can uproot every misery,
Is extremely bewildered and worthy of scorn.
If I need to be careful
Near a small, ordinary precipice,
Then how much more so near the one of long duration
That drops for a thousand miles.
It is inappropriate to enjoy myself
Thinking that today alone I shall not die,
For inevitably the time will come
When I shall become nothing.
Who can grant me fearlessness?
How can I be surely freed from this?
If I shall inevitably become nothing,
How can I relax and enjoy myself?
What remains with me now
From the terminated experiences of the past?
But through my great attachment to them
I have been going against my spiritual masters’ advice.
Having departed from this life
And from all my friends and relatives,
If all alone I must go elsewhere
What is the use of making friends and enemies?
ʺHow can I be surely freed
From unwholesomeness, the source of misery?ʺ
Continually night and day
Should I only consider this.
Whatever has been done by me
Through ignorance and unknowing,
Be it the breaking of a vow
Or a deed by nature wrong,
I humbly confess it all
In the presence of the Protectors,
With folded hands, prostrating myself again and again,
My mind terrified by the misery (to come).
I beseech all the Guides of the World
To please accept my evils and wrongs.
Since these are not good,
In future I shall do them no more.
Full Acceptance of the Awakening Mind
Gladly do I rejoice
In the virtue that relieves the misery
Of all those in unfortunate states
And that places those with suffering in happiness.
I rejoice in that gathering of virtue
That is the cause for (the Arhat’s) Awakening,
I rejoice in the definite freedom of embodied creatures
From the miseries of cyclic existence.
I rejoice in the Awakening of the Buddhas
And also in the spiritual levels of their Sons.
And with gladness I rejoice
In the ocean of virtue from developing an Awakening Mind
That wishes all beings to be happy,
As well as in the deeds that bring them benefit.
With folded hands I beseech
The Buddhas of all directions,
To shine the lamp of Dharma
For all bewildered in misery’s gloom.
With folded hands I beseech
The Conquerors who wish to pass away,
To please remain for countless aeons
And not to leave the world in darkness.
Thus by the virtue collected
Through all that I have done,
May the pain of every living creature
Be completely cleared away.
May I be the doctor and the medicine
And may I be the nurse
For all sick beings in the world
Until everyone is healed.
May a rain of food and drink descend
To clear away the pain of thirst and hunger
And during the aeon of famine
May I myself change into food and drink.
May I become an inexhaustible treasure
For those who are poor and destitute;
May I turn into all things they could need
And may these be placed close beside them.
Without any sense of loss
I shall give up my body and enjoyments
As well as all my virtues of the three times
For the sake of benefitting all.
By giving up all, sorrow is transcended
And my mind will realise the sorrowless state.
It is best that I (now) give everything to all beings
In the same way as I shall (at death).6
Having given this body up
For the pleasure of all living beings,
By killing, abusing and beating it
May they always do as they please.
Although they may play with my body
And make it a source of jest and blame,
Because I have given it up to them
What is the use of holding it dear?
Therefore I shall let them do anything to it
That does not cause them any harm,
And when anyone encounters me
May it never be meaningless for him.
If in those who encounter me
A faithful or an angry thought arises,
May that eternally become the source
For fulfilling all their wishes.
May all who say bad things to me
Or cause me any other harm,
And those who mock and insult me
Have the fortune to fully awaken.
May I be protector for those without one,
A guide for all travellers on the way;
May I be a bridge, a boat and a ship
For all who wish to cross (the water).
May I be an island for those who seek one
And a lamp for those desiring light,
May I be a bed for all who wish to rest
And a slave for all who want a slave.
May I be a wishing jewel, a magic vase,
Powerful mantras and great medicine,
May I become a wish‐fulfilling tree
And a cow of plenty for the world.
Just like space
And the great elements such as earth,
May I always support the life
Of all the boundless creatures.
And until they pass away from pain
May I also be the source of life •
For all the realms of varied beings
That reach unto the ends of space.
Just as the previous Sugatas
Gave birth to an Awakening Mind,
And just as they successively dwelt
In the Bodhisattva practices;
Likewise for the sake of all that lives
Do I give birth to an Awakening Mind,
And likewise shall I too
Successively follow the practices.
In order to further increase it from now on,
Those with discernment who have lucidly seized
An Awakening Mind in this way,
Should highly praise it in the following manner:
Today my life has (borne) fruit;
(Having) well obtained this human existence,
I’ve been born in the family of Buddha
And now am one of Buddha’s Sons.
Thus whatever actions I do from now on
Must be in accord with the family.
Never shall I disgrace or pollute
This noble and unsullied race.
Just like a blindman
Discovering a jewel in a heap of rubbish,
Likewise by some coincidence
An Awakening Mind has been born within me.
It is the supreme ambrosia
That overcomes the sovereignty of death,
It is the inexhaustable treasure
That eliminates all poverty in the world.
It is the supreme medicine
That quells the world’s disease,
It is the tree that shelters all beings
Wandering and tired on the path of conditioned existence.
It is the universal bridge
That leads to freedom from unhappy states of birth,
It is the dawning moon of the mind
That dispells the torment of disturbing conceptions.7
It is the great sun that finally removes
The misty ignorance of the world,
It is the quintessential butter
From the churning of the milk of Dharma.
For all those guests travelling on the path of conditioned
Who wish to experience the bounties of happiness,
This will satisfy them with joy
And actually place them in supreme bliss.
Today in the presence of all the Protectors
I invite the world to be guests
At (a festival of) temporary and ultimate delight,
May gods, anti‐gods and all be joyful.
Having firmly seized the Awakening Mind in this way,
A Conqueror’s son must never waver;
Always should he exert himself
To never stray from his practice.
In the case of reckless actions
Or of deeds not well considered,
Although a promise may have been made
It is fit to reconsider whether I should do them or not.
But how can I ever withdraw
From what has been examined by the great wisdom
Of the Buddhas and their Sons,
And even many times by me myself?
If having made such a promise
I do not put it into action,
Then by deceiving every living being
What kind of rebirth shall I take?
If it has been taught (by the Buddha)
That he who does not give away
The smallest thing he once intended to give
Will take rebirth as a hungry ghost;8
Then if I should deceive all beings
After having sincerely invited them
To the unsurpassable bliss,
Shall I take a happy rebirth?
Only the Omniscient can discern
The manner of the action of those
Who give up the Awakening Mind but are freed;
It is beyond the scope of (ordinary) thought.
This, for a Bodhisattva,
Is the heaviest of downfalls,
For should it ever happen,
The welfare of all will be weakened.
And should others for even a single moment
Hinder or obstruct his wholesome (deeds),
By weakening the welfare of all
There will be no end to their rebirth in lower states.
For if my being is impaired
By destroying the joy of even one creature,
Then what need is there to mention
Destroying the joy of creatures vast as space.
Thus those who have the force of an Awakening Mind
As well as the force of falling (from it)
Stay revolving within cyclicʺ existence
And for a long time are hindered in reaching the Bodhisattva
Therefore just as I have promised
Shall I respectfully accord my actions.
If from now on I make no effort
I shall descend from lower to lower states.
Although for the benefit of every creature
Countless Buddhas have passed by,
Yet I was not an object of their care
Because of my own mistakes.
And if I continue to act like this,
Again and again shall I undergo
(suffering) in unhappy realms, sickness, bondage,
Laceration and the shedding of blood.
If the arising of a Tathagata,
Faith, the attainment of a human body
And my being fit to cultivate virtue are scarce,
When will they be won again?
Although today I am healthy,
Well‐nourished and unafflicted,
Life is momentary and deceptive:
The body is like an object on loan for but a minute.
And with behaviour such as this
I shall not win a human body again,
And if this human form is not attained
There will be solely evil and no virtue.
If when I have the chance to live a wholesome life
My actions are not wholesome,
Then what shall I be able to do
When confused by the misery of the lower realms?
And if I commit no wholesome deeds (there),
But readily amass much evil,
Then for a hundred million aeons
I shall not even hear the words ʺa happy lifeʺ.
For these very reasons, the Buddha has said
That like for a turtle to insert its neck
Into a yoke adrift upon the vast ocean,
It is extremely hard to attain the human state.10
If even by the evil of one instant
An aeon may be spent in the deepest hell,
Then because of the evil I have gathered since beginningless
What need to mention my not going to a happy realm.
But having experienced merely that (rebirth in hell)
I shall still not be liberated;
For while it is being experienced
Other evil will be extensively produced.
So if, when having found leisure such as this,
I do not attune myself to what is wholesome,
There could be no greater deception
And there could be no greater folly.
And if, having understood this,
I still foolishly continue to be slothful,
When the hour of death arrives
Tremendous grief will rear its head.
Then if my body blazes for a long time
In the unbearable flames of hell,
Inevitably my mind will be tormented
By the fires of unendurable remorse.
Having found by some coincidence
This beneficial state that is so hard to find,
If now while able to discriminate
I once again am led into the hells,
Then as though I were hypnotised by a spell
I shall reduce this mind to nothing.
Even I do not know what is causing me confusion,
What is there dwelling inside me?
Although enemies such as hatred and craving
Have neither any arms nor legs,
And are neither courageous nor wise,
How have I been used like a slave by them?
For while they dwell within my mind
At their pleasure they cause me harm,
Yet I patiently endure them without any anger;
But this is an inappropriate and shameful time for patience.
Should even all the gods and anti‐gods
Rise up against me as my enemies,
They could not lead nor place me in
The roaring fires of deepest hell.
But the mighty foe, these disturbing conceptions,
In a moment can cast me amidst (those flames)
Which when met will cause not even the ashes
Of the king of mountains to remain.
All other enemies are incapable
Of remaining for such a length of time
As can my disturbing conceptions,
The long‐time enemy with neither beginning nor end.
If I agreeably honour and entrust myself (to others)
They will bring me benefit and happiness,
But if I entrust myself to these disturbing conceptions
In future they will bring only misery and harm.
While in cyclic existence how can I be joyful and unafraid
If in my heart I readily prepare a place
For this incessant enemy of long duration,
The sole cause for the increase of all that harms me?
And how shall I ever have happiness
If in a net of attachment within my mind
There dwell the guardians of the prison of cyclic existence,
There (disturbing conceptions) that become my butchers
and tormentors in hell?
Therefore as long as this enemy is not slain with certainty
before my very eyes.
I shall never give up exerting myself (towards that end).
Having become angry at someone who caused only slight
and short‐lived harm.
Self‐important people will not sleep until their (enemy) is
And if while engaged in a violent battle,
Vigorously desiring to conquer those whose disturbing
Conceptions will naturally bring them suffering at death,
Men disregard the pain of being pierced by spears and
And will not withdraw until the day is won;
Then what need to mention that I should not be
faint‐hearted and slothful,
Even if I am caused many hundreds of sufferings
When now I strive to definitely overcome my natural
(These disturbing conceptions) which are the constant
source of my misery?
If even scars inflicted by meaningless enemies
Are worn upon the body like ornaments,
Then why is suffering a cause of harm to me
Who impeccably strives to fulfil the great purpose?
If fishermen, hunters and farmers,
Thinking merely of their own livelihood,
Endure the sufferings of heat and cold,
Why am I not patient for the sake of the world’s joy?
When I promised to liberate all those beings
Dwelling in the ten directions as far as the ends of space
From their disturbing conceptions,’
I myself was not yet freed from mine.
Thus unaware of even my own capacity,
Was it not somewhat crazy to have spoken like that?
But as this is so I must never withdraw
From vanquishing my disturbing conceptions.
And to do this will be my sole obsession:
Holding a strong grudge I shall meet them in battle!
But disturbing cenceptions such as these
Destroy disturbing conceptions and (for the time being)
are not to be (abandoned).
It would be better for me to be burned,
To have my head cut off and to be killed,
Rather than ever bowing down
To those everpresent disturbing conceptions.
Common enemies when expelled from one country
Simply retire and settle down in another,
Though when their strength is recovered they then return.
But the way of this enemy, my disturbing conceptions, is
not similar in this respect.
Deluded disturbing conceptions! When forsaken by the eye
of wisdom ‘
And dispelled from my mind, where will you go?
Where will you dwell in order to be able to injure me
But, weak‐minded, I have been reduced to making no
If these disturbing conceptions do not exist within the
objects, the sense organs, between the two nor elsewhere,
Then where do they exist and how do they harm the world?
They are like an illusion—thus I should dispel the fear
within my heart and strive resolutely for wisdom.
For no real reason, why should I suffer so much in hell?
Therefore having thought about this well,
I should try to put these precepts into practice just as they
have been explained.
If the doctor’s instructions are ignored,
How will a patient in need of cure be healed by his
Those who wish to guard their practice
Should very attentively guard their minds
For those who do not guard their minds
Will be unable to guard their practice.
In this (world) unsubdued and crazed elephants
Are incapable of causing such harms
As the miseries of the deepest hell
Which can be caused by the unleashed elephant of mind.
But if the elephant of my mind is firmly bound
On all sides by the rope of mindfulness,
All fears will cease to exist
And all virtues will come into my hand.
Tigers, lions, elephants, bears,
Snakes and all forms of enemies,
The guardians of the hell worlds,
Evil spirits and cannibals,
Will all be bound
By binding my mind alone,
And will all be subdued
By subduing my mind alone
The Perfect Teacher himself has shown
That in this way all fears
As well as all boundless miseries
Originate from the mind.
Who intentionally created
All the weapons for those in hell?
Who created the burning iron ground?
From where did all the women (in hell) ensure?
The mighty One has said that all such things
Are (the workings of) an evil mind,
Hence within the three world spheres
There is nothing to fear other than my mind.
If the perfection of generosity
Were the alleviation of the world’s poverty,
Then since beings are still starving now ‘
In what manner did the previous Buddhas perfect it?
The perfection of generosity is said to be
The thought to give all beings everything,
Together with the fruit of such a thought
Hence it is simply a state of mind.
Nowhere has the killing
Of fish and other creatures been eradicated;
For the attainment of (merely) the thought to forsake (such things)
Is explained as the perfection of moral discipline.
Unruly beings are as (unlimited) as space:
They cannot possibly all be overcome,
But if I overcome thoughts of anger alone
This will be equivalent to vanquishing all foes.
Where would I possibly find enough leather
With which to cover the surface of the earth?
But (wearing) leather just on the soles of my shoes .
Is equivalent to covering the earth with it.
Likewise it is not possible for me
To restrain the external course of things;
But should I restrain this mind of mine
What would be the need to restrain all else?
Although the development of merely a clear state of concentration
Can result in (taking birth in) Brahma’s realm,
Physical and vocal actions cannot so result
When (accompanied) by weak (mental) conduct.
The knower of reality has said
That even if recitation and physical hardships
Are practised for long periods of time,
They will be meaningless if the mind is distracted
Even those who wish to find happiness and overcome misery
Will wander with no aim nor meaning
If they do not comprehend the secret of the mind—
The paramount significance of Dharma.
This being so,
I shall hold and guard my mind well.
Without the discipline of guarding the mind,
What use are many other disciplines?
Just as I would be attentive and careful of a wound
When amidst a bustling uncontrolled crowd,
So I should always guard the wound of my mind
When dwelling among harmful people.
And if I am careful of a wound
Through fear of it being slightly hurt,
Then why do I not guard the wound of my mind
Through fear of being crushed by the mountains of hell?
Should I behave in such a way as this,
Then whether among harmful people
Or even in the midst of women,
The steady effort to control myself will not decline.
It is better to be without wealth,
Honour, body and livelihood;
And it is better to let other virtues deteriorate,
Rather than ever to let (the virtues of) the mind decline.
O you who wish to guard your minds,
I beseech you with folded hands;
Always exert yourselves to guard
Mindfulness and alertness!
People who are disturbed by sickness
Have no strength to do anything (useful),
Likewise those whose minds are disturbed by confusion
Have no strength to do anything (wholesome).
Whatever has been learnt, contemplated and meditated upon
By those whose minds lack alertness,
Just like water in a leaking vase,
Will not be retained in their memory.
Even those who have much learning,
Faith and willing perseverance
Will become defiled by a (moral) fall
Due to the mistake of lacking alertness.
The thieves of unalertness,
In following upon the decline of mindfulness,
Will steal even the merits I have firmly gathered
(So that) I shall then proceed to lower realms.
This host of thieves who are my own disturbing conceptions
Will search for a good opportunity,
Having found it they will steal my virtue
And destroy (the attainment of) life in a happy realm.
Therefore I shall never let mindfulness depart
From the doorway of my mind.
If it goes, I should recall the misery of the lower realms
And firmly re‐establish it there.
Through staying in the company of spiritual masters,
Through the instructions of abbots and through fear,
Mindfulness will easily be generated
In fortunate people who practise with respect.
ʺI am ever dwelling in the presence
Of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas
Who are always endowed
With unobstructed vision.ʺ
By thinking in this way
I shall mindfully develop a sense of shame, respect and fear.
Also through doing this,
Recollection of the Buddha will repeatedly occur.
When mindfulness is set with the purpose
Of guarding the doorway of the mind,
Then alertness will come about
And even that which had gone will return.
When, just as I am about (to act).
I see that my mind is tainted (with defilement),
AI such a time I should remain
Unmoveable, like a piece of wood.
Never should I look around
Distractedly for no purpose:
With a resolute mind
I should always keep my eyes cast downwards.
But in order to relax the gaze
For a short while I should look around,
And if someone appears in my field of vision
I should look at him and say, ʺWelcome.ʺ
To check if there is any danger on the path
I should look again and again in the four directions.
To rest, I should turn my head around
And then look behind me.
Having examined both ahead and behind
I should proceed to either come or go.
Being aware of the necessity (for such mindful alertness)
I should behave like this in all situations.
(Once) having prepared for an action with the thought,
ʺMy body will remain in such a way,ʺ
Then periodically I should look to see
How the body is being maintained.
With the utmost effort I should check
To see that the crazed elephant of my mind
Is not wandering off but is bound
To the great pillar of thinking about Dharma.
Those who strive by all means for concentration
Should not wander off even a moment;
By thinking, ʺHow is my mind behaving?ʺ—
They should closely analyse their mind.
But if I am unable to do this
When afraid or involved in celebrations, then I should relax.
Likewise it has been taught that at times of giving
One may be indifferent to (certain aspects of) moral discipline.
I should undertake whatever deed I have intended to do
And think of doing other than it.
With my mind applied to that task,
I should set about for the time being to accomplish it.
By acting in this way all will be done well,
But (by acting) otherwise neither (action) will be done.
Likewise there will be no increase in the proximate disturbing conceptions
That come from a lack of alertness.
If I happen to be present
While a senseless conversation is taking place
Or if I happen to see some kind of spectacular show,
I should abandon attachment towards it.
If for no reason I start digging the earth,
Picking at the grass or drawing patterns on the ground,
Then by recalling the advice of the Buddhas,
I should immediately step out of fear.
Whenever I have the desire
To move my body or to say something,
First of all I should examine my mind
And then, with steadiness, act in the proper way.
Whenever there is attachment in my mind
And whenever there is the desire to be angry,
I should not do anything nor say anything,
But remain like a piece of wood.
Whenever I have distracted thoughts, the wish to verbally belittle others,
Feelings of self‐importance or self‐satisfaction;
When I have the intention to describe the faults of others,
Pretension and the thought to deceive others;
Whenever I am eager for praise
Or have the desire to blame others;
Whenever I have the wish to speak harshly and cause dispute;
At (all) such times I should remain like a piece of wood.
Whenever I desire material gain, honour or fame;
Whenever I seek attendants or a circle of friends,
And when in my mind I wish to be served;
At (all) these times I should remain like a picece of wood.
Whenever I have the wish to decrease or to stop working for others
And the desire to pursue my welfare alone,
If (motivated by such thoughts), a wish to say something occurs,
At these times I should remain like a piece of wood.
Whenever I have impatience, laziness, cowardice,
Shamelessness or the desire to talk nonsense;
If thoughts of partiality arise,
At these times too I should remain like a piece of wood.
Having in this way examined his mind for disturbing conceptions
And for thoughts that strive for meaningless things,
The courageous (Bodhisattva) should hold his mind steady
Through (the application of) remedial forces.
Being very resolute and faithful,
Steady, respectful, polite,
With a sense of shame, apprehensive and peaceful,
I should strive to make others happy.
I should not be disheartened by all the whims
Of the childish who are in discord with one another
I should know them to arise in their minds due to disturbing conceptions
And therefore be kind (towards them).
In doing that which by nature is not unwholesome
Both for the sake of myself and other sentient beings
I should always hold my mind fast,
(Acting) like an apparition, with no sense of self.
By thinking again and again
That after a long time I have won the greatest leisure,
Likewise I should hold my mind
As utterly unshakeable as the king of mountains.
If, mind, you are not made unhappy
When this body is dragged and tossed about
By vultures greedy for flesh,
Then why are you so concerned about it now
Holding this body as ʺmineʺ,
Why, mind, do you guard it so?
Since you and it are separate,
What use can it be to you?
Why, confused mind,
Do you not hold onto a clean, wooden form?
Just what is the point of guarding
This putrid, dirt‐filled machine?
First of all, mentally separate
The layers of skin (from the flesh)
And then with the scalpel of discrimination
Separate the flesh from the skeletal frame;
And having split open even the bones
Look right down into the marrow.
While examining this ask yourself,
ʺWhere is its essence?ʺ
If, even when searching with such effort’
You can apprehend no essence,
Then why with so much attachment
Are you still guarding this body now.
What use is this body to you
If its dirty insides are unfit for you to eat,
If its blood is not fit to drink
And if its intestines are not fit to be sucked?
At second best it is only fit to be guarded
In order to feed the vultures and jackals.
(Truly) this body of a human being
Should only be employed (in the practice of virtue).
But should you instead guard it ( with attachment),
Then what will you be able to do
When it is stolen by the unsympathetic lord of death
And given to the dogs and birds?
If servants are not given clothing and so forth
When they are unable to be employed,
Then why do you exhaust yourself looking after the flesh alone
When even though caring for the body, it goes elsewhere
Now having paid my body its wages,
I shall engage it in making my life meaningful.
But if my body is of no benefit.
Then I shall not give it anything.
I should conceive of my body as a boat,
A mere support for coming and going.
And in order to benefit all others
Transform it into a wish‐fulfilling body.
Now, while there is freedom to act,
I should always present a smiling face
And cease to frown and look angry:
I should be a friend and counsel of the world.
I should desist from inconsiderately and noisily
Moving around chairs and so forth,
As well as from violently opening doors:
I should always delight in humility.
The stork, the cat and the thief,
By moving silently and carefully,
Accomplish what they desire to do;
A Bodhisattva too should always behave in this way.
With respect I should gratefully accept
Unsought‐after words that are of benefit
And that wisely advise and admonish me:
At all times I should be the pupil of everyone.
I should say, ʺWell said,ʺ to all those
Who speak (Dharma) well,
And if I see someone doing good
I should praise him and be well pleased.
I should discreetly talk about the good qualities (of others)
And repeat those (that others) recount.
If my own good qualities are spoken about
I should just know and be aware that I have them.
All deeds (of others) are the source of a joy
That would be rare even if it could be bought with money.
Therefore I should be happy in finding this joy
In the good things that are done by others.
(Through doing this) I shall suffer no losses in this life
And in future lives shall find great happiness.
But the fault (of disliking their good qualities) will make
me unhappy and miserable
And in future lives I shall find great suffering.
When talking I should speak from my heart and on what is relevant.
Making the meaning clear and the speech pleasing.
I should not speak out of desire or hatred
But in gentle tones and in moderation.
When beholding someone with my eyes,
Thinking, ʺI shall fully awaken
Through depending upon this being,ʺ
I should look at him with an open heart and love.
Always being motivated by great aspiration
Or being motivated by the remedial forces,
If I work in the fields of excellence, benefit and misery16
Great virtues will come about.
Endowed with wisdom and joy17
I should undertake all that I do.
I (need) not depend upon anyone else
In any actions that I undertake.
The perfections such as generosity
Are progressively more exalted
But for a little (morality) I should not forsake a great (gift).
Principally I should conisder what will be of the most benefit for others.
When this is well understood,
I should always strive for the welfare of others.
The Far‐Seeing Merciful Ones have allowed (a Bodhisattva)
To do some actions that (for others) were forbidden.
I should divide my food amongst those who have fallen to lower realms,
Those without protection, and practitioners,
And eat merely what is sufficient for myself.
Except for the three robes I may give away all.
This body which is being used for the sacred Dharma
Should not be harmed for only slight benefit.
By my behaving in this way
The wishes of all beings will be quickly fulfilled.
Those who lack the pure intention of compassion
Should not give their body away.
Instead, both in this and future lives,
They should give it to the cause of fulfilling the great purpose.
The Dharma should not be explained to those who lack respect,
To those who, like sick men, wear cloth around their heads,
To those holding umbrellas, sticks or weapons,
To those with covered heads,
Nor to a woman unaccompanied by a man.
The vast and profound should not be taught to lesser beings,
(Although)! should always pay equal respect
To the Dharmas of the lesser and higher beings.
I should not communicate the Dharma of a lesser being
To one who is a vessel for the vast Dharma.
I must not forsake the (Bodhisattva) way of life,
Nor mislead others by means of sutras or mantras.
When I spit or throw away the stick for (cleaning) my teeth,
I should cover it up (with earth).
Also it is shameful to urinate and so forth
In water or on land used by others.
When eating I should not fill my mouth,
Eat noisily or with my mouth wide open.
I should not sit with my legs outstretched
Nor rub my hands together.
I should not sit alone in vehicles, upon beds
Nor in the same room with the women of others.
(In brief), having observed or inquired about what is proper,
I should not do anything that would be disliked by the people of the world.
I should not give directions with one finger,
But instead indicate the way
Respectfully with my right arm
With all my fingers fully outstretched.
Nor should I wildly wave my arms about,
But should make my point
With slight gestures and a snap of the fingers‐
Otherwise I shall lose control.
Just as the Buddha lay down to pass away
So should I lie in the desired direction (when going to sleep),
And first of all with alertness
Make the firm decision to quickly rise again.
(Although I am unable to practise all)
The limitless varieties of Bodhisattva conduct,
I should certainly practise as much as (has been mentioned here)
Of this conduct that trains the mind.
Three times by day and three times by night
I should recite The Sutra of the Three Heaps;
For by relying upon the Buddhas and the Awakening Mind
My remaining downfalls will be purified.
Whatever I am doing in any situation,
Whether for myself or for the benefit of others,
I should strive to put into practice
Whatever has been taught for that situation.
There is no such thing as something
That is not learned by a Conqueror’s Son,
Thus if I am skilled in living in this way
Nothing will be non‐meritorious.
Whether directly or indirectly, I should not do anything
That is not for the benefit of others.
And solely for the sake of sentient beings
I should dedicate everything towards Awakening.
Never, even at the cost of my life,
Should I forsake a spiritual friend
Who is wise in the meaning of the great vehicle
And who is a great Bodhisattva practitioner.
I should practise entrusting myself to my spiritual master
In the manner taught in The Biography of Shrisambhava.19
This and other advice spoken by the Buddha
I can understand through reading the sutras.
I should read the sutras
Because it is from them that the practices appear.
To begin with, I should look at
The Sutra of Akashagarba.
In addition I should definitely read
The Compendium of all Practices20 again and again,
Because what is to be constantly practised
Is very well and extensively shown there.
Also I should sometimes look at
The condensed Compendium of All Sutras.
And I should make an effort to study
The works by the same two (titles) composed by the
I should do whatever is not forbidden in those (works),
And when I see a practice there,
I should impeccably put it into action
In order to guard the minds of worldly people.
The defining characteristic of guarding alertness
In brief is only this:
To examine again and again
The condition of my body and mind.
Therefore I shall put this way of life into actual practice,
For what can be achieved by merely talking about it?
Will a sick man be benefitted
Merely by reading the medical texts?
Whatever wholesome deeds.
Such as venerating the Buddhas, and generosity,
That have been amassed over a thousand aeons
Will all be destroyed in one moment of anger.
There is no evil like hatred,
And no fortitude like patience.
Thus I should strive in various ways
To meditate on patience.
My mind will not experience peace
If it fosters painful thoughts of hatred.
I shall find no joy or happiness,
Unable to sleep, I shall feel unsettled.
A master who has hatred
Is in danger of being killed
Even by those who for their wealth and happiness
Depend upon his kindness.
By it, friends and relatives are disheartened;
Though drawn by my generosity they will not trust me,
In brief there is nobody
Who lives happily with anger.
Hence the enemy, anger,
Creates sufferings such as these,
But whoever assiduously overcomes it
Finds happiness now and hereafter.
Having found its fuel of mental unhappiness
In the prevention of what I wish for
And in the doing of what I do not want,
Hatred increases and then destroys me.
Therefore I should totally eradicate
The fuel of this enemy;
For this enemy has no other function
Than that of causing me harm.
Whatever befalls me
I shall not disturb my mental joy;
For having been made unhappy, I shall not accomplish what I wish
And my virtues will decline.
Why be unhappy about something
If it can be remedied?
And what is the use of being unhappy about something
If it cannot be remedied?
For myself and for my friends
I want no suffering, no disrespect,
No harsh words and nothing unpleasant;
But for my enemies is it the opposite.
The causes of happiness sometimes occur
But the causes for suffering are very many.
Without suffering there is no renunciation.
Therefore, mind, you should stand firm.
If some ascetics and the people of Karnapa
Endure the pain of cuts and burns for no reason,
Then for the sake of liberation
Why have I no courage?
There is nothing whatsoever
That is not made easier through acquaintance.
So through becoming acquainted with small harms
I should learn to patiently accept greater harms.
Who has not seen this to be so with trifling sufferings
Such as the bites of snakes and insects,
Feelings of hunger and thirst
And with such minor things as rashes?
I should not be impatient
With heat and cold, wind and rain,
Sickness, bondage and beatings;
For if I am, the harm they cause me will increase.
Some when they see their own blood
Become especially brave and steady,
But some when they see the blood of others.
Faint and fall unconscious.
These (reactions) come from the mind
Being either steady or timid.
Therefore I should disregard harms caused to me
and not be affected by suffering.
Even when the wise are suffering
Their minds remain very lucid and undefiled;
For when war is being waged against the disturbing conceptions
Much harm is caused at the times of battle.
The victorious warriors are those
Who, having disregarded all suffering,
Vanquish the foes of hatred and so forth;
(Common warriors) slay only corpses.
Furthermore, suffering has good qualities:
Through being disheartened with it, arrogance is dispelled,
Compassion arises for those in cyclic existence,
Evil is shunned and joy is found in virtue.
As I do not become angry
With great sources of suffering such as jaundice,
Then why be angry with animate creatures?
They too are provoked by conditions.
Although they are not wished for,
These sicknesses arise;
And likewise although they are not wished for,
These disturbing conceptions forcibly arise.
Without thinking, ʺI shall be angry,ʺ
People become angry with no resistance,
And without thinking, ʺI shall produce myself,ʺ
Likewise anger itself is produced.
All mistakes that are
And all the various kinds of evil
Arise through the force of conditions:
They do not govern themselves.
These conditions that assemble together
Have no intention to produce anything,
And neither does their product
Have the intention to be produced.
That which is asserted as Primal Substance
And that which is imputed as a Self,
(Since they are unproduced) do not arise after having
ʺI shall arise (in order to cause harm.ʺ)
If they are unproduced and non‐existent
Then whatever wish they have to produce (harm will also not exist).
Since (this Self) would permanently apprehend its objects,
It follows that it would never cease to do so.
Furthermore if the Self were permanent
It would clearly be devoid of action, just like space.
So even if it met with other conditions
How could its unchanging (nature) be affected?
Even if when acted upon (by other conditions) it remains as before,
Then what could actions do to it?
Thus if I say that this (condition) acts upon (a permanent Self),
How could the two ever be (causally) related?
Hence everything is governed by other factors (which in turn) are governed by
And in this way nothing governs itself.
Having understood this, I should not become angry
With phenomena that are like apparitions.
—(If everything is unreal like an apparition) then who is there to restrain’what
Surely (in this case) restraint would be inappropriate—
It would not be inappropriate, because (conventionally)
I must maintain
That in dependence upon restraining (anger) the steam of suffering is severed.
So when seeing an enemy or even a friend
Committing an improper action,
By thinking that such things arise from conditions
I shall remain in a happy frame of mind.
If things were brought into being by choice,
Then since no one wishes to suffer,
Suffering would not occur
To any embodied creature.
Through not being careful
People even harm themselves with thorns and other things,
And for the sake of obtaining women andʺ the like
They become obsessed and deprive themselves of food.
And there are some who injure themselves
Through the unmeritorious deeds
Of hanging themselves, leaping from cliffs,
Eating poison and unhealthy foods.
If, when under the influence of disturbing conceptions,
People will even kill their treasured selves,
How can they be expected not to cause harm
To the bodies of other living beings?
Even if I cannot develop compassion for all such people
Who through the arisal of disturbing conceptions,
Set out to try and kill me and so forth,
The last thing I should do is to become angry with them.
Even if it were the nature of the childish
To cause harm to other beings,
It would still be incorrect to be angry with them.
For this would be like begrudging fire for having the nature to burn.
And even if the fault were temporary
In they who are by nature reliable,
It would still be incorrect to be angry.
For this would be like begrudging space for allowing smoke to arise in it.
If I become angry with the yielder
Although I am actually harmed by his stick,
Then since he too is secondary, being in turn incited by hatred,
I should really be angry with his hatred.
Previously I must have caused similar harm
To other sentient beings.
Therefore it is right for this harm to be returned
To me who is the cause of injury to others.
Both the weapon and my body
Are the causes of my suffering.
Since he gave rise to the weapon and I to the body,
With whom should I be angry?
If in blind attachment I cling
To this suffering abscess of a human form
Which cannot bear to be touched,
With whom should I be angry when it is hurt?
It is the fault of the childish that they are hurt,
For although they do not wish to suffer
They are greatly attached to its causes.
So why should they be angry with others?
Just like the guardians of the hell worlds
And the forest of razor‐sharp leaves,
So is this (suffering) produced by my actions;
With whom therefore should I be angry?
Having been instigated by my own actions,
Those who cause me harm come into being.
If by these (actions) they should fall into hell
Surely isn’t it I who am destroying them?
In dependence upon them I purify many evils
By patiently accepting the harms that they cause,
But in dependence upon me they will fall
Into hellish pain for a very long time.
So since I am causing harm to them
And they are benefitting me,
Why, unruly mind, do you become angry
In such a mistaken manner?
If my mind has the noble quality (of patience)
I shall not go to hell,
But although I am protecting myself (in this way)
How will it be so for them?
Nevertheless, should I return the harm
It will not protect them either.
By doing so my conduct will deteriorate
And hence this fortitude will be destroyed.
Since my mind is not physical
In no way can anyone destroy it,
But through its being greatly attached to my body
It is caused harm by (physical) suffering.
Since disrespect, harsh speech
And unpleasant words
Do not cause any harm to my body,
Why, mind, do you become so angry?
—Because others will dislike me—
But since it will not devour me
Either in this or in another life
Why do I not want this (dislike)?
—Because it will hinder my worldly gain—
Even if I do not want this
I shall have to leave my worldly gains behind
And my evil alone will remain unmoved.
Thus it is better that I die today
Than live a long but wicked life;
For even if people like me should live a long time,
There will always be the suffering of death.
Suppose someone should awaken from a dream
In which he experienced one hundred years of happiness,
And suppose another should awaken from a dream
In which he experienced just one moment of happiness;
For both of these people who have awoken
That happiness will never return.
Similarly, whether my life has been long or short,
At the time of death it will be finished like this.
Although I may live happily for a long time
Through obtaining a great deal of material wealth,
I shall go forth empty‐handed and destitute
Just like having been robbed by a thief.
—Surely material wealth will enable me to live,
And then shall be able to consume evil and do good—
But if I am angry on account of it
Will not my merit be consumed and evil increase?
And what use will be the life
Of one who only commits evil,
If for the sake of material gain
He causes (the merits needed for) life to degenerate
—Surely I should be angry with those
Who say unpleasant things that weaken other beings’ (confidence in me)—
But in the same way why am I not angry ‐
With people who say unpleasant things about others?
If I can patiently accept this lack of confidence
Because it is related to someone else,
Then why am I not patient with unpleasant words (about myself)
Since they are related to the arisal of disturbing conceptions?
Should others talk badly of or even destroy
Holy images, reliquaries and the sacred Dharma.
It is improper for me to resent it
For the Buddhas can never be injured.
I should prevent anger arising towards those
Who injure my spiritual masters, relatives and friends.
Instead I should see, as in the manner shown before,
That such things arise from conditions.
Since embodied creatures are injured
By both animate beings and inanimate objects,
Why only bear malice to the animate?
It follows that I should patiently accept all harm.
Should one person ignorantly do wrong
And another ignorantly become angry (with him),
Who would be at fault?
And who would be without fault?
Why did I previously commit those actions
Because of which others now cause me harm?
Since everything is related to my actions
Why should I bear malice towards these (enemies)?
When I have seen this to be so,
I should strive for what is meritorious
(In order to) certainly bring about
Loving thoughts between all.
For example, when a fire in one house
Has moved into another house,
It is right to get rid of straw and such things
That will cause the fire to spread.
Likewise when the fire of hatred spreads
To whatever my mind is attached,
I should immediately get rid of it
For fear of my merit being burned.
Why is a man condemned to death not fortunate
If he is released after having his hand cut off?
Why am I who am experiencing human misery not fortunate
If by that I am spared from (the agonies of) hell?
If I am unable to endure
Even the mere sufferings of the present,
Then why do I not restrain myself from being angry,
Which will be the source of hellish misery?
For the sake of satisfying my desires
I have suffered numerous burnings in hell,
But by those actions I fulfilled the purpose
Of neither myself nor others.
But now since great meaning will accrue
From harm which is not even (a fraction) of that,
I should indeed be solely joyful
Towards such suffering that dispels the harms of all.
Should someone else find joyous happiness
Upon praising (my enemy) as an excellent person,
Why, mind, do you not praise him too
And likewise make yourself happy?
That joyous happiness of yours
Would be a source of joy, not something prohibited,
A precept given by the Excellent Ones
And a supreme (means) for assembling others.
It is said that others are made happy through (being praised) in this way.
But if, in this way, you do not want (them to have) this happiness,
Then, (since it makes them happy), you should cease giving wages and the like (to
But you would be adversely affected both in this and future lives.
When people describe my own good qualities
I want others to be happy too,
But when they describe the good qualities of others
I do not wish to be happy myself.
Having generated the Awakening Mind
Through wishing all beings to be happy,
Why should I become angry
If they find some happiness themselves?
If I wish for all sentient beings to become
Buddhas worshipped throughout the three realms,
Then why am I tormented
When I see them receiving mere mundane respect?
If a relative for whom I am caring
And to whom I must give many things
Should be able to find his own livelihood,
Wouldn’t I be happy, rather than angry?
If I do not wish for beings to have even this,
How can I wish for them to awaken?
And where is there an Awakening Mind
In him who becomes angry when others receive things?
What does it matter if (my enemy) is given something not?
Whether he obtains it
Or whether it remains in the benefactor’s house,
In either case I shall get nothing.
So why, by becoming angry, do I throw away my merits,
The faith (others have in me) and my good qualities?
Tell me, why am I not angry (with myself)
For not having the causes for gain?
Let alone not having any remorse
About the evils that you committed, (O mind),
Why do you wish to compete with others
Who have committed meritorious deeds?
Even if your enemy is made unhappy
What is there for you to be joyful about?
Your merely wishing (for him to be hurt)
Did not cause him to be injured.
And even if he does suffer as you had wished,
What is there for you to be joyful about?
If you say, ʺFor I shall be satisfied,ʺ
How could there be anything more wretched than that?
This hook cast by the fishermen of disturbing conceptions
Is unbearably sharp: Having been caught on it,
It is certain that I shall be cooked
In cauldrons by the guardians of hell.
The honour of praise and fame
Will not turn into merit nor life;
It will give me neither strength nor freedom from sickness,
And will not provide any physical happiness.
If I were aware of what held meaning for me,
What value would I find in these things?
If all I want is (a little) mental happiness,
I should devote myself to gambling, drinking and so forth.
If for the sake of fame
I give away my wealth or get myself killed,
What can the mere words (of fame) do then?
Once I have died, to whom will they give pleasure?
When their sandcastles collapse,
Children howl in despair;
Likewise when my praise and reputation decline
My mind becomes like a little child.
Since short‐lived sounds are inanimate
They cannot possibly think of praising me.
—But as it makes (the bestower of praise) happy,
(My) reputation is a source of pleasure (for me)—
But whether this praise is directed at myself or someone else
How shall I be benefitted by the joy (of he who bestows it)?
Since that joy and happiness is his alone
I shall not obtain even a part of it.
But if I do find happiness in his happiness
Then surely I should feel the same way towards all?
And if this were so then why am I unhappy
When others find pleasure in that which brings them joy?
Therefore the happiness that arises
From thinking, ʺI am being praisedʺ, is invalid.
It is only the behaviour of a child.
Praise and so forth distract me
And also undermine my disillusion (with cyclic existence);
I start to envy those who have good qualities
And all the very best is destroyed.
Therefore, are not those who are closely involved
In destroying my praise and the like
Also involved in protecting me
From falling into the unfortunate realms?
I who am striving for freedom
Do not need to be bound by material gain and honour.
So why should I be angry
With those who free me from this bondage?
Those who wish to cause me suffering
Are like Buddhas bestowing waves of blessing.
As they open the door for my not going to an unfortunate
Why should I be angry with them?
—But what if someone should obstruct my gaining merit
With him too it is incorrect to be angry;
For since there is no fortitude similar to patience
Surely I should put it into practice.
If due to my own failings
I am not patient with this (enemy),
Then it is only I who am preventing myself
From practising this cause for gaining merit.
If without it something does not occur
And if with it, it does come to be,
Then since this (enemy) would be the cause of (patience)
How can I say that he prevents it?
A beggar is not an obstacle to generosity
When I am giving something away,
And I cannot say that those who give ordination
Are an obstacle to becoming ordained.
There are indeed many beggars in this world,
But scarce are those who inflict harm;
For if I have not injured others
Few beings will cause me harm.
Therefore, just like treasure appearing in my house
Without any effort on my behalf to obtain it,
I should be happy to have an enemy
For he assists me in my conduct of Awakening.
And because I am able to practise (patience) with him,
He is worthy of being given
The very first fruits of my patience,
For in this way he is the cause of it.
—But why should my enemy be venerated,
He has no intention for me to practise patience?—
Then why venerate the sacred Dharma?
(It too has no intention) but is a fit cause for practice.
—But surely my enemy is not to be venerated
For he intends to cause me harm—
But how could patience be practised
If, like doctors, people always strove to do me good?
Thus since patient acceptance is produced
In dependence upon (one with) a very hateful mind,
That person should be worthy of veneration just like
the sacred Dharma,
Because he is a cause of patience.
Therefore the Mighty One has said
That the field of sentient beings is (similar to) a Buddha‐field,
For many who have pleased them
Have thereby reached perfection.
A Buddha’s qualities are gained
From the sentient beings and the Conquerors alike,
So why do I not respect them
In the same way as I respect the Conquerors?
(Of course) they are not similar in the quality of their intentions
But only in the fruits (that they produce);
So it is in this respect that they have excellent qualities
And are therefore (said to be) equal.
Whatever (merit comes from) venerating one with a loving mind
Is due to the eminence of sentient beings.
And in the same way the merit of having faith in Buddha
Is due to the eminence of Buddha.
Therefore they are asserted to be equal
In the share they have in establishing Buddha‐qualities.
But none of them are equal (in good qualities)
With the Buddhas who are boundless oceans of excellence.
Even if the three realms were offered,
It would be insufficient in paying veneration
To those few beings in whom a mere share of the good qualities
Of the Unique Assemblage of Excellence appears.
Thus since sentient beings have a share
In giving rise to the supreme Buddha‐qualities,
Surely it is correct to venerate them
As they are similar in merely this respect?
Furthermore, what way is there to repay (the Buddhas)
Who grant immeasurable benefit
And who befriend the world without pretension,
Other than by pleasing sentient beings?
Therefore since benefitting these beings will repay
Those who give their bodies and enter the deepest hell for their sake,
I shall behave impeccably in all (that I do)
Even if they cause me a great deal of harm.
When for their sake, those who are my Lords
Have no regard even for their own bodies,
Then why am I the fool so full of self‐importance?
Why do I not act like a servant towards them?
Because of their happiness the Conquerors are delighted,
But if they are harmed they are displeased.
Hence by pleasing them I shall delight the Conquerors
And by harming them I shall hurt the Conquerors.
Just as desirable sense‐objects would give my mind no pleasure
If my body was ablaze with fire,
Likewise when living creatures are in pain
There is no way for the Compassionate Ones to be pleased.
Therefore as I have caused harm to living beings,
Today I openly declare all my unwholesome acts
That have brought displeasure to the Compassionate Ones.
Please bear with me, O Lords, for this displeasure I have caused you.
From now on, in order to delight the Tathagatas
I shall serve the universe and definitely cease (to cause harm).
Although many beings may kick and stamp upon the head,
Even at the risk of dying may I delight the Protectors of the World (by not retaliating).
There is no doubt that those with the nature of compassion
Regard all these beings (to be the same) as themselves.
Furthermore, those who see (this Buddha‐nature) as the nature of sentient beings see
the Buddhas themselves;
Why then do I not respect (sentient beings)?
(Pleasing living beings) delights the Tathagatas
And perfectly accomplishes my own purpose as well.
In addition it dispels the pain and misery of the universe,
Therefore I should always practise it.
For example, should some of the king’s men
Cause harm to many people,
Farsighted men would not return the harm
Even if they were able (to do so).
For they see that (these men) are not alone
But are supported by the might of the king.
Likewise I should not underestimate
Weak beings who cause me a little harm;
For they are supported by the guardians of hell
And by all the Compassionate Ones.
So (behaving) like the subjects of that firey king
I should please all sentient beings
Even if such a king were to become angry,
Could he cause the pain of hell,
Which is the fruit I would have to experience
By displeasing sentient beings?
And even if such a king were to be kind,
He could not possibly grant me Buddhahood,
Which is the fruit I would obtain
By pleasing sentient beings.
Why do I not see
That my future attainment of Buddhahood
As well as glory, renown and happiness in this very life
All come from pleasing sentient beings?
While in cyclic existence patience causes
Beauty, health and renown.
Because of these I shall live for a very long time
And win the extensive pleasures of the universal Chakra Kings.
Having patience I should develop enthusiasm;
For Awakening will dwell only in those who exert themselves.
Just as there is no movement without wind,
So merit does not occur without enthusiasm.
What is enthusiasm? It is finding joy in what is wholesome.
Its opposing factors are explained
As laziness, attraction to what is bad
And despising oneself out of despondency.
Because of attachment to the pleasurable taste of idleness.
Because of craving for sleep
And because of having no disillusion with the misery of cyclic existence,
Laziness grows very strong.
Enmeshed in the snare of disturbing conceptions,
I have entered the snare of birth.
Why am I still not aware
That I live in the mouth of the lord of death?
Do I not see
That he is systematically slaughtering my species?
Whoever remains soundly asleep
(Surely behaves) like a buffalo with a butcher.
When having blocked off every (escape) route
The lord of death is looking (for someone to kill),
How can I enjoy eating?
And likewise how can I enjoy sleep?
—For as long as death is actually approaching
Then I shall accumulate merits
Even if I then put a stop to laziness,
What will be the use? That is not the time!
When this has not been done, when this is being done
And when this is only half finished,
Suddenly the lord of death will come.
And the thought will occur, ʺOh no, I am done for!ʺ
Their faces flowing with tears
And their eyes red and swollen with sorrow,
My relatives will finally lose hope
And I shall behold the vision of the messengers of death.
Tormented by the memory of my evils
And hearing the sounds of hell,
In terror I shall clothe my body in excrement.
What virture can I do in such a delirious state?
If even in this life I shall be gripped with fear
Like that of a five fish being rolled (in hot sand),
Why even mention the unbearable agonies of hell
That will result from my unwholesome deeds?
Now can I remain at ease like this
When I have committed the actions (that will bear fruit)
In my delicate infant’s body encountering boiling acids
In the hell of tremendous heat?
Much harm befalls those with little forbearance
And those who want results without making any effort.
While clasped by death they shall cry like the gods,
ʺOh no, I am overcome by misery!ʺ
Relying upon the boat of a human (body),
Free yourself from the great river of pain!
As it is hard to find this boat again,
This is no time for sleep, you fool.
Having rejected the supreme joy of the sacred Dharma
This is a boundless source of delight,
Why am I distracted by the causes for pain?
Why do I enjoy frivolous amusements and the like?
Without indulging in despondency, I should gather the supports (for enthusiasm)
And earnestly take control of myself.
(Then by seeing) the equality between self and others
I should practise exchanging self for others.
I should never indulge in despondency by entertaining such thoughts as,
ʺHow shall I ever awaken?ʺ
ʺHow the Tathagatas who speak what is true
Have uttered this truth:
ʺIf they develop the strength of their exertion,
Even those who are flies, mosquitoes, bees and insects
Will win the unsurpassable Awakening
Which is so hard to find.ʺ
So, if I do not forsake the Bodhisattvas’ way of life.
Why should someone like myself who has been born in the human race
Not attain Awakening, since I am able to recognise
What is beneficial and what is of harm?
—But nevertheless it frightens me to think
That I may have to give away my arms and legs—
Without discriminating between what is heavy and what is light,
I am reduced to fear through confusion.
For over countless myriads of aeons
I have been cut, stabbed, burned,
And flayed alive innumerable times
But I have not awakened.
Yet the suffering
Involved in my awakening will have a limit;
It is like the suffering of having an incision made
In order to remove and destroy greater pain.
Even doctors eliminate illness
With unpleasant medical treatments,
So in order to overcome manifold sufferings
I should be able to put up with some discomfort.
But the Supreme Physician does not employ
Common medical treatments such as these,
With an extremely gentle technique
He remedies all the greatest ills.
At the beginning, the Guide of the World encourages
The giving of such things as food.
Later, when accustomed to this,
One may progressively start to give away even one’s flesh.
At such a time when my mind is developed
To the point of regarding my body like food,
Then what hardship would there be
When it came to giving away my flesh?
Having forsaken all evil there would be no suffering
And due to wisdom there would be no lack of joy;
But now my mind is afflicted by mistaken conceptions
And my body is caused harm by unwholesome deeds.
As their bodies are happy due to their merits
And their minds are happy due to their wisdom,
Even if they remained in cyclic existence for the sake of others
Why would the Compassionate Ones ever be upset?
Due to the strength of his Awakening Mind,
The Bodhisattva consumes his previous evils
And harvests oceans of merit:
Hence he is said to excel the Shravakas.
So, having mounted the horse of an Awakening Mind
That dispels all discouragement and weariness,
Who, when they know of this mind that proceeds from joy to joy,
Would ever lapse into despondency?
The supports when working for the sake of living beings
Are aspiration, steadfastness, joy and rest
Aspiration is developed through fear of misery
And by contemplating the benefits of (aspiration) itself.
Thus in order to increase my enthusiasm
I should strive to abandon its opposing forces,
To (amass the supports of) aspiration, self‐confidence, joy and rest,
To practise in earnest and to become strong in self‐control.
I shall have to overcome
The boundless faults of myself and others,
And (in order to destroy) each of these faults (alone)
(I may have to strive until) an ocean of aeons is exhausted.
But if within myself I do not perceive
Even a fraction of the perseverance (required) to exhaust these faults,
Then why do I not have a heart attack?
For now I have become an abode for infinite misery.
Likewise I shall have to realise
Many excellent qualities for myself and others,
And (in order to attain) each of these qualities (alone)
I may have to acquaint myself with its cause until an ocean
of aeons is exhausted.
But I have never developed acquaintance
With even a fraction of these excellences!
How strange it is to squander
This birth I have found by some coincidence.
I have not made offerings to the Lord Buddhas,
I have not given the pleasure of great festivals,
I have not performed actions for the teachings,
I have not fulfilled the wishes of the poor,
I have not granted fearlessness to the frightened
And I have not given happiness to the weak.
All I have given rise to is
The agonies in the mother’s womb, and to suffering.
Both now and in previous lives
Such deprivation has arisen
Because of my lack of aspiring for the Dharma:
Who would ever reject this aspiring for Dharma?
The Mighty One himself has said
That aspiration is the root of every facet of virtue;
Its root is constant acquaintance
With the ripening‐effects (of actions).
(Physical) pain, mental unhappiness,
All the various kinds of fear,
As well as separation from what is desired
All arise from an unwholesome way of life.
(However) by committing wholesome actions
Which are (motivated by aspiration) in the mind,
Whenever I go I shall be presented with
Tokens of the fruit of that merit.
But by committing evil (actions),
Although I may wish for happiness,
Whenever I go I shall be completely overcome
By weapons of pain (caused) by my evil life.
As a resut of virtue I shall dwell in the spacious,
fragrant and cool heart of a lotus flower,
My radiance will be nourished by the food of the Conqueror’s sweet speech,
My glorious form will spring from a lotus unfolded by the Mighty One’s light,
And as a Bodhisatttva I shall abide in the presence of the Conquerors.
But as a result of non‐virtue my skin will be ripped off by the henchmen of Yama,
In this feeble state liquid copper melted by tremendous heat will be poured into my
Pierced by flaming swords and daggers, my flesh will be cut into a hundred pieces
And I shall tumble upon the fiercely blazing iron ground.
Therefore I should aspire for virtue
And with great respect acquaint myself with it.
Having undertaken the wholesome in the manner of Vajradhvaja.
I should then proceed to acquaint myself with self‐confidence.
First of all I should examine well what is to be done
To see whether I can pursue it or cannot undertake it.
(If I am unable) is best to leave it,
But once I have started I must now withdraw.
(If I do), then this habit will continue in other lives
And evil and misery will increase,
Also other actions done at the time of its fruition
Will be weak and will not be accomplished.
Self‐confidence should be applied to (wholesome) actions,
The (overcoming) of disturbing conceptions and my ability (to do this).
Thinking, ʺI alone shall do it,ʺ
Is the self‐confidence of action.
Powerless, their minds disturbed,
People in this world are unable to benefit themselves.
Therefore I shall do it (for them)
Since unlike me these beings are incapable.
(Even) if others are doing inferior tasks
Why should I sit here (doing nothing)?
I do not do those tasks because of self‐importance;
It would be best for me to have no such pride.
When crows encounter a dying snake,
They will act as though they were eagles.
(Likewise) if (my self‐confidence) is weak
I shall be injured by the slightest downfall.
How can those who out of faint‐heartedness have given up trying
Find liberation because of this deficiency?
But even the greatest (obstacle) will find it hard to overcome
One with self‐confidence who is developing exertion,
Therefore with a steady mind
I shall overcome all falls,
For if I am defeated by a fall
My wish to vanquish the three realms will become a joke.
I will conquer everything
And nothing at all shall conquer me!
I, a son of the Lion‐like Conqueror,
Should remain self‐confident in this way.
Whoever has self‐importance is destroyed by it:
He is disturbed and has no self‐confidence.
For those with self‐confidence do not succumb to the power of the enemy,
Whereas the former are under the sway of the enemy of self‐importance.
Inflated by the disturbing conception of my self‐importance,
I shall be led by it to the lower realms.
It destroys the joyous festival of being human.
I shall become a slave, eating the food of others,
Stupid, ugly, feeble and everywhere disrespected.
Tough people bloated by conceit
Are also counted among the self‐important;
Tell me, what is more pathetic than this?
Whoever seizes self‐confidence in order to conquer
the enemy of self‐importance,
He is the self‐confident one, the victorious hero.
And in addition, whoever definitely conquers the spread of this enemy,
Completely (wins) the fruit of a Conqueror, fulfilling the wishes of the world.
If I find myself amidst a crowd of disturbing conceptions
I shall endure them in a thousand ways;
Like a lion among foxes
I will not be affected by this disturbing host.
Just as men will guard their eyes
When great danger and turmoil occur,
Likewise I shall never be swayed by the disturbances within my mind,
Even at times of great strife.
It would be better for me to be burned,
To have my head cut off and to be killed,
Rather then ever bowing down
To those ever‐present disturbing conceptions.
(So likewise in all situations I should do nothing other than what is fit)
Just like those who yearn for the fruits of play,
(A Bodhisattva) is attracted
To whatever task he may do:
He never has enough, it only brings him joy.
Although people work in order to be happy,
It is uncertain whether or not they will find it;
But how can those whose work itself is joy
Find happiness unless they do it?
If I feel that I never have enough sensual objects,
Which are like honey smeared upon a razor’s edge,
Then why should I ever feel that I have enough
Merit which ripens in happiness and peace?
Thus in order to complete this task,
I shall venture into it
Just as an elephant tormented by the midday sun
Plunges into a (cool, refreshing) lake.
When my strength declines, I should leave whatever I am doing
In order to be able to continue with it later.
Having done something well, I should put it aside
With the wish (to accomplish) what will follow.
Just as an old warrior approaches
The swords of an enemy upon the battlefront,
So shall I avoid the weapons of the disturbing conceptions
And skillfully bind this enemy
If someone dropped his sword during a battle.
He would immediately pick it up out of fear,
likewise if I lose the weapon of mindfulness
I should quickly retrieve it, being afraid of hell.
Just as poison spreads throughout the body
In dependence upon the (circulation of) blood,
Likewise if (a disturbing conception) finds an opportunity
Unwholesomeness will permeate my mind.
Those who practise should be as attentive
As a frightened man carrying a jar full of mustard oil
Who is being threatened by someone with a sword
That he will be killed if he spills just one drop.
Just as I would swiftly stand up
If a snake came into my lap,
Likewise if any sleep or laziness occur
I shall quickly turn them back.
Each time something unwholesome occurs
I should criticise myself,
And then contemplate for a long time
That I shall never let this happen again.
ʺLikewise in all these situations
I shall acquaint myself with mindfulness.ʺ
With this (motivation) as a cause I shall aspire
To meet (with teachers) or accomplish the tasks (they
In order to have strength for everything
I should recall before undertaking any action
The advice in (the chapter on) conscientiousness,
And then joyfully rise (to the task).
Just as the wind blowing back and forth
Controls (the movement of) a piece of cotton,
So shall I be controlled by joy,
And in this way accomplish everything.
Having developed enthusiasm in this way,
I should place my mind in concentration;
For the man whose mind is distracted
Dwells between the fangs of disturbing conceptions.
But through solitude of body and mind
No distractions will occur;
Therefore 1 should forsake the worldly life
And completely discard distorted conceptions.
Worldly life is not forsaken because of attachment (to people)
And due to craving for material gain and the like;
Therefore I should entirely forsake these things,
For this is the way in which the wise behave.
Having understood that disturbing conceptions are completely overcome
By superior insight endowed with calm abiding,
First of all I should search for calm abiding.
This is achieved through the genuine joy of these unattached to worldly life.
Because of the obsession one transient being
Has for other transient beings.
He will not see his beloved ones again
For many thousands of lives.
Not seeing them I am unhappy
And my mind cannot be settled in equipoise;
Even if I see them there is no satisfaction
And, as before, I am tormented by craving.
Through being, attached to living beings
I am completely obscured from the perfect reality,
My disillusion (with, cyclic existence) perishes
And in the end I am tortured by sorrow.
By thinking only of them,
This life will pass without any meaning.
(Furthermore) impermanent friends and relatives
Will even destroy the Dharma (which leads to) permanent (liberation).
If I behave in the same way as the childish
I shall certainly proceed to lower realms,
And if I am led there by those unequal (to the Noble Ones),
What is the use of entrusting myself to the childish?
One moment they are friends
And in the next instant they become enemies.
Since they become angry even in joyful situations,
It is difficult to please ordinary people.
They are angry when something of benefit is said
And they also turn me away from what is beneficial.
If I do not listen to what they say,
They become angry and hence proceed to lower realms.
They are envious of superiors, competitive with equals,
Arrogant towards inferiors, conceited when praised,
And if anything unpleasant is said they become angry:
Never is any benefit derived from the childish.
Through associating with the childish,
There will certainly ensure unwholesomeness
Such as praising myself and belittling others
And discussing the joys of cyclic existence.
Developing myself to others in this way
Will bring about nothing but misfortune,
Because they will not benefit me
And I shall not benefit them.
I should flee far away from childish people.
When they are encountered, though, I should please them by being happy,
I should behave well merely out of courtesy.
But not become greatly familiar.
In the same way as a bee takes honey from a flower,
I should take merely (what is necessary) for the practice of Dharma
But remain unfamiliar
As though I had never seen them before.
ʺI have much material wealth as well as honour,
And many people like me,ʺ
Nurturing self‐importance in this way
I shall be made terrified after death.
So, you thoroughly confused mind,
By the piling up of whatever objects
You are attached to,
Misery a thousandfold will ensue.
Hence the wise should not be attached,
(Because) fear is born from attachment.
With a firm mind understand well
That it is the nature of these things to be discarded!
Although I may have much material wealth,
Be famous and well spoken of,
Whatever fame and renown I have amassed
Has no power to accompany me (after death).
If there is someone who despises me
What pleasure can I have in being praised?
And if there is another who praises me
What displeasure can I have in being despised?
If even the Conqueror was unable to please
The various inclinations of different beings,
Then what need to mention an evil person such as I?
Therefore I should give up the intention (to associate with) the worldly.
They scorn those who have no material gain
And say bad things about those who do;
How can they who are by nature so hard to get along with
Ever derive any pleasure (from me)?
It has been said by the Tathagatas
That one should not befriend the childish,
Because unless they get their own way
These children are never happy.
When shall I come to dwell in forests
Amongst the deer, the birds and the trees,
That say nothing unpleasant
And are delightful to associate with?
When dwelling in caves,
In empty shrines and at the feet of trees,
Never look back—
When shall I some to dwell
In places not clung to as ʺmineʺ
Which are by nature wide and open
And where I may behave as I wish without attachment?
When shall I come to live without fear
Having just a begging bowl and a few odd things,
Wearing clothes not wanted by anyone
And not even having to hide this body?
Having departed to the cemeteries,
When shall I come to understand
That this body of mine and the skeletons of others
Are equal in being subject to decay?
Then, because of its odour,
Not even the foxes
Will come dose to this body of mine;
For this is what will become of it.
Although this body arose as one thing,
The bones and flesh with which it was created
Will break up and separate.
How much more so will friends and others?
At birth I was born alone
And at death too I shall die alone;
As this pain cannot be shared by others,
What use are obstacle‐making friends?
In the same way as travellers on a highway
(Leave one place) and reach, (another),
Likewise those travelling on the path of conditioned existence
(Leave.) one birth and reach (another).
Until the time comes for this body
To be supported by four pall‐bearers
While the worldly (stand around) stricken with grief,
Until then I shall retire to the forest.
Befriending no one and begrudging no one,
My body will dwell alone in solitude.
If I am already counted as a dead man,
When I die there will be no mourners.
And as there will be no one around
To disturb me with their mourning,
Thus there will be no one to distract me
From my recollection of the Buddha.
Therefore I shall dwell alone,
Happy and contented with few difficulties,
In very joyful and beautiful forests,
Pacifying all distractions.
Having given up all other intentions,
Being motivated by only one thought,
I shall strive to settle my mind in equipoise (by means of calm abiding)
And to subdue it (with superior insight).
Both in this world and the next
Desires give rise to great misfortune:
In this life killing, bondage and flaying,
And in the next the existence of the hells.
For the sake of (women) many requests
Are first of all made through go‐betweens,
All forms of evil and even notoriety
Are not avoided for their sake.
I engage in fearful deeds for them
And will even consume my wealth.
But these (very bodies of theirs)
That I greatly enjoy in the sexual embrace
Are nothing other than skeletons,
They are not autonomous and are identity less.
Rather than being so desirous and completely obsessed,
Why do I not go to the state beyond sorrow (instead)?
In the first place I made efforts to lift (her veil)
And when it was raised she bashfully looked down.
Previously whether anyone looked or not,
Her face was covered with a cloth.
But now why do I run away
Upon directly beholding
This face that disturbs the mind
As it is being revealed to me by the vultures?
(Previously) I completely protected (her body)
When others cast their eyes upon it.
Why, miser, do you not protect it now
While it is being devoured by these birds?
Since vultures and others are eating
This pile of meat that I behold,
Why did I offer flower garlands, sandalwood and ornaments
To that which is now the food of others?
If I am frightened by the skeletons I see,
Even though they do not move,
Why am I not frightened by walking corpses
Which are moved around by a few (impulses)?
Although I am attached to it when it is covered (with skin)
Why do I not desire it when it is uncovered?
Since I have no need for it then,
Why copulate with it when it is covered?
Since both excrement and saliva
Arise solely from food,
Why do I dislike excrement
And find joy in saliva?
Cotton too is soft to the touch,
But while I find no (sexual) delight in a pillow
I think that (a woman’s body) does not emit a putrid odour,
Lustful One, you are confused as to what is unclean!
Thinking that they cannot sleep with this cotton
Although it is soft to the touch,
Confused, negative and lustful people
Become angry towards it (instead).
If I am not attached to what is unclean,
Then why do I copulate with the lower parts of others’ bodies
Which are merely cages of bones tied together with muscles,
Plastered over with the mud of flesh?
I myself contain many unclean things
Which I constantly have to experience;
So why, because of an obsession for uncleanliness,
Do I desire other bags of filth?
—But it is the flesh that I enjoy—
If this is what I wish to touch and behold.
Why do I not desire it in its natural state
Devoid of any mind?
Furthermore, any mind that I may desire
Is unable to be touched or behold,
And whatever I am able to touch will not be mental;
So why indulge in this meaningless copulation?
It is not so strange that I do not understand
The bodies of others to be of an unclean nature,
But it is indeed strange that I do not understand
My very own body to be by nature unclean.
Having forsaken the young lotus flower
Unfolded by beams of sunlight free from cloud,
Why, with a mind craving for what is unclean,
Do I revel in a cage of filth?
Since I do not wish to touch
A place that is smeared with excrement,
Then why do I wish to touch the body
From which that (excrement) arose?
If I am not attached to what is unclean,
Why do I copulate with the lower parts of other’ bodies
Which arise from the unclean field (of a womb)
And are produced by the seeds within it?
I have no wish for a small dirty maggot
Which has come from a pile of filth,
So why do I desire this body which by nature is grossly unclean,
For it too was produced by filth?
Not only do I not disparage
The uncleanliness of my own body,
But because of an obsession for what is unclean
I desire other bags of filth as well.
Even attractive things such as savoury foods,
Cooked rice and vegetables,
Make the ground dirty and unclean
Should they be spat out after being in the mouth.
Although such uncleanliness is obvious,
If I still have doubts I should go to the cemeteries
And look at the unclean bodies (of others)
That have been thrown away there.
Having realised that when their skin is rent open
They give rise to a great deal of fear,
How will such things as these
Ever again give rise to joy?
The scents with which someone’s body is anointed
Are sandalwood and the like, but not that of the other’s body.
So why am I attached to others’ (bodies)
Because of scents that are other (than theirs)?
Since the body has a naturally foul odour,
Isn’t it good to be unattached to it?
Why do those who crave for the meaningless things of the world
Anoint this body with pleasant scents?
And furthermore, if it is the pleasant scent of sandalwood,
How can it come from the body?
So why am I attached to others’ (bodies)
Because of scents that are other (than theirs)?
Since the naked body (left) in its natural state
Is very frightening due to its long hair and nails,
Its yellowish foul‐smelling teeth
And its being coated with the odour of dirt,
Why do I make such an effort to polish it
Like (cleaning) a weapon that will cause me harm?
Hence this entire world is disturbed with insanity
Due to the exertions of those who are confused about themselves.
When my mind rises (above worldly concerns),
Through having beheld nothing but skeletons in the cemetery,
Will there be any joy in graveyard cities
Which are rilled with moving skeletons?
Furthermore, these unclean (female bodies)
Are not found without paying a price:
In order to obtain them I exhaust myself
And (in future) will be injured in the hells.
As a child I am unable to increase my wealth,
And as a youth what can I do (being unable to afford a wife)?
At the end of my life when I have the wealth.
Being an old man, what good will sex be then?
Some evil and lustful people
Wear themselves out by working all day
And when they return home (in the evening)
Their exhausted bodies lie prostrate like corpses.
Some have the suffering of being disturbed with travel.
And having to go a long way from home.
Although they long for their spouses,
They do not see them for years at a time.
And some who wish for benefit
Due to confusion, even sell themselves for the sake of (women and the like);
But not attaining what they wish,
They are aimlessly driven by the winds of others’ actions.
Some sell their own bodies
And without any power are employed by others.
Even when their wives give birth
Their children fall at the feet of trees and in lonely places.
Some fools who are deceived by desire,
Wishing for a livelihood think, ʺI shall earn my living (as a soldier);ʺ
Then, although afraid of losing their lives, they go to war
Others become slaves for the sake of profit.
Some lustful people even cut their bodies,
Others impale themselves on the points of sticks,
Some stab themselves with daggers,
And others burn themselves—such things as these are quite apparent.
Due to the torment involved in collecting it, protecting and finally losing it,
I should realise wealth to be fraught with infinite problems.
Those who are distracted by their attachment to it
Have no opportunity to gain freedom from the misery of conditioned existence.
In the same way as animals drawing carriages
Are only able to eat a few mouthfuls of grass,
Likewise desirous people
Have many disadvantages such as these and little (profit).
And since even animals can obtain this (little profit),
Those who are pained by their (previous) actions
Waste these leisures and endowments so difficult to find
For the sake of something trivial that is not so scarce.
The objects of desire will certainly perish
And then I shall fall into hellish states.
But Buddhahood itself is attained
With just one million of the difficulty
Involved in continually exhausting myself
For the sake of what is not very great.
(Hence) the desirous experience greater misery than (those following) the Awakening
way of life—
But (for them) there is no Awakening.
When having contemplated the miseries of hell,
(It will be clear that) there is nothing comparable
To the harm caused to desirous beings
By weapons, poison, fire, ravines and foes.
Having in this way developed disillusion with desire,
I should generate joy for solitude.
The fortunate ones stroll in peaceful forests,
Devoid of disputes and disturbing conceptions
(They live) in joyful houses of vast flat stones,
Cooled by the sandal‐scented moonlight,
Fanned by the peaceful, silent forest breeze,
Thinking of what is of benefit for others.
They dwell for as long as they wish
In empty houses, at the feet of trees and in caves,
Having abandoned the pain of clinging to and guarding (possessions),
They abide independent, free of care,
Living as they choose, desireless,
Having no ties with anyone—
Even the powerful have difficulty finding
A life as happy and content as this.
Having in such ways as these
Thought about the excellences of solitude,
I should completely pacify distorted conceptions
And meditate on the Awakening Mind.
First of all I should make an effort
To meditate upon the equality between self and others:
I should protect all beings as I do myself
Because we are all equal in (wanting) pleasure and (not wanting) pain.
Although there are many different parts and aspects such as the hands;
As a body that is to be protected they are one.
Likewise all the different sentient beings in their pleasure and their pain
Have a wish to be happy that is the same as mine.
The suffering that I experience
Does not cause any harm to others.
But that suffering (is mine) because of my conceiving of (myself as) ʺIʺ;
Thereby it becomes unbearable
Likewise the misery of others
Does not befall me.
Nevertheless, by conceiving of (others as) ʺIʺ their suffering becomes mine;
Therefore it too should be hard to bear.
Hence I should dispel the misery of others
Because it is suffering, just like my own,
And I should benefit others
Because they are sentient beings, just like myself.
When both myself and others
Are similar in that we wish to be happy,
What is so special about me?
Why do I strive for my happiness alone?
And when both myself and others
Are similar in that we do not wish to suffer,
What is so special about me?
Why do I protect myself and not others?
—But why should I protect them
If their suffering does not cause me any harm?—
Then why protect myself against future suffering
If it causes me no harm now?
It is a mistaken conception to think ‐
That I shall experience (the sufferingʺ of my next life),
For it is another person who dies
And another that will be reborn.
—Surely whenever there is suffering
The (sufferer) must protect himself from it—
But the suffering of the foot is not that of the hand,
Why then does it protect it?
—Although this may not be justified,
It is done because of grasping at a self—
But surely whatever is not justified for myself or others
Should at all costs be rejected.
Such things as a continuum and an aggregation
Are false in the same way as a rosary and an army,
There is no (real) owner of suffering,
Therefore who has control over it?
Being no (inherent) owner of suffering,
There can be no distinction at all between (that of myself and others).
Thus I shall dispel it because it hurts:
Why am I so certain (that I shouldn’t eliminate the suffering of others)?
—But, (since neither the suffering nor the sufferer truly exist,) why should I turn
away the misery of all?—
This is no ground for argument,
For if I prevent my own (sufferings), surely I should prevent the (sufferings) of all.
If not, since I am just like (other) sentient beings,
(I should not prevent my own suffering either).
—But since this compassion will bring me much misery,
Why should I exert myself to develop it?—
Should I contemplate the suffering of living creatures,
How could the misery of compassion be more?
If by one person’ suffering
The suffering of many would be destroyed,
Surely kind‐hearted people would accept it
For the sake of themselves and others?
Thus the Bodhisattva Supusha‐chandra,
Although aware of the harm the king would cause him,
Accepted his own suffering
In order to eradicate the miseries of many.
Thus, because he loves to pacify the pains of others,
He whose mind is attuned in this way
Would enter even the deepest hell
Just as a wild goose plunges into a lotus pool.
Will not the ocean of joy
That shall exist when all beings are free
Be sufficient for me?
What am I doing wishing for my liberation alone?
Therefore, although working for the benefit of others,
I should not be conceited or (consider myself) wonderful.
And because of the joy there is in solely doing this,
I should have no hope for any ripening‐effect.
Therefore just as I protect myself
From unpleasant things however small,
In the same way I should act towards others
With a compassionate and caring mind.
Although the basis is quite impersonal,
Through (constant) familiarity
I have come to regard ‐
The drops of sperm and blood of others as ʺI.ʺ
So in the same way, why should I be unable
To regard the bodies of others as ʺIʺ?
Hence it is not difficult to see
That my body is also that of others.
Having seen the mistakes in (cherishing) myself
And the ocean of good in (cherishing) others,
I shall completely reject all selfishness
And accustom myself to accepting others.
In the same way as the hands and so forth
Are regarded as limbs of the body,
Likewise why are embodied creatures
Not regarded as limbs of life?
Through acquaintance has the thought of ʺIʺ arisen
Towards this impersonal body;
So in a similar way, why should it not arise
Towards other living beings?
When I work in this way for the sake of others,
I should not let conceit or (the feeling that I am) wonderful arise.
It is just like feeding myself—
I hope for nothing in return.
Therefore, just as I protect myself
From unpleasant things however slight,
In the same way I should habituate myself
To have a compassionate and caring mind for others.
It is out of his great compassion
That the Lord Avalokiteshvara has (even) blessed his name
To dispel the nervousness
Of being among other people.
I should not turn away from what is difficult;
For by the power of familiarity
I may be made unhappy even when someone
Whose name once frightened me is not around.
Thus whoever wishes to quickly afford protection
To both himself and other beings
Should practise that holy secret:
The exchanging of self for others.
Because of attachment to my body,
Even a small object of fear frightens me.
So who would not revile as an enemy
This body that gives rise to fear?
By wishing for a means to remedy
The hunger, thirst and sickness of the body,
I might kill birds, fish and deer
And loiter by the sides of roads (to rob others).
If for the sake of its profit and comfort
I would kill even my father and mother
And steel the property of the Triple Gem,
Then I would undoubtedly proceed to burn in the flames
of the deepest hell.
Therefore what wise man would desire,
Protect and venerate this body?
Who would not scorn it
And regard it as an enemy?
ʺIf I give this, what shall I (have left to) enjoy?ʺ—
Such selfish thinking is the way of ghosts;
ʺIf I enjoy this, what shall I (have left to) give?ʺ—
Such selfless thinking is a quality of the gods.
If, for my own sake, I cause harm to others,
I shall be tormented in hellish realms;
But if for the sake of others I cause harm to myself,
I shall acquire all that is magnificent.
By holding myself in high esteem
I shall find myself in unpleasant realms, ugly and stupid;
But should this (attitude) be shifted to others
I shall acquire honours in a joyful realm.
If I employ others for my own purposes
I myself shall experience servitude,
But if I use myself for the sake of others
I shall experience only lordliness.
Whatever joy there is in this world
All comes from desiring others to be happy,
And whatever suffering there is in this world
All comes from desiring myself to be happy.
But what need is there to say much more?
The childish work for their own benefit,
The Buddhas work for the benefit of others.
Just look at the difference between them!
If I do not actually exchange my happiness
For the, sufferings of others,
I shall not attain the state of Buddhahood
And even in cyclic existence shall have no joy.
Let alone what is beyond this world—
Because of my servants doing no work
And because of my masters giving me no pay,
Even the needs of this life will not be fulfilled.
(By rejecting the method that) establishes both foreseeable and unforeseeable joy,
I cast magnificent delight completely aside
And then, because of inflicting misery on others,
In confusion I seize hold of unbearable pain.
If all the injury,
Fear and pain in this world
Arise from grasping at a self,
Then what use is that great ghost to me?
If I do not completely forsake it
I shall be unable to put an end to suffering,
Just as I cannot avoid being burnt
If I do not cast aside the fire (I hold).
Therefore, in order to allay the harms inflicted upon me
And in order to pacify the sufferings of others,
I shall give myself up to others
And cherish them as I do my very self.
ʺI am under the control of others,ʺ
Of this, mind, you must be certain;
Now, except for benefitting every creature,
You must not think of anything else.
For my own sake, I should not do anything
With these eyes and so forth that I have left at the disposal of others.
It is quite incorrect to do anything with them
Which is contrary to the benefit (of others).
Thus sentient beings should be my main (concern).
Whatever I behold upon my body
I should rob and use
For the benefit of others.
Considering lesser beings and so forth as myself,
And considering myself as the other,
(In the following way) I should meditate upon envy, competitiveness and self
With a mind free of distorted concepts:
ʺHe is honoured, but I am not;
I have not found wealth such as he.
He is praised, but I am despised;
He is happy, but I suffer.
ʺI have to do all the work
While he remains comfortably at rest.
He is renowned as great in this world, but I as inferior
With no good qualities at all.
ʺBut what do you mean I have no good qualities?—
I have all good qualities:
Compared to many he is inferior,
And compared to many I am high.
ʺThe deteriorated state of my morals and views
Is not due to me but due to my disturbing conceptions;
In whatever way he is able he should heal me,
Willingly I shall accept any discomfort involved.
ʺBut I am not being healed by him,
So why does he belittle me?
What use are his good qualities to me?
(Although) he has good qualities, (he does not benefit me).
ʺWith no compassion for the beings
Who dwell in the poisonous mouth of evil realms,
Externally he is proud of his good qualities
And wishes to put down the wise.
ʺIn order that I may excel
He who is regarded as equal with me,
I shall definitely strive to attain material gain and honour myself,
Even (by such means as) verbal dispute.
ʺBy all means I shall make clear to the entire world
All the good qualities I have,
But I shall not let anyone hear
Of any good qualities he may have.
ʺAlso I shall hide all my faults,
I will be venerated, but not he;
I will find a great deal of material gain;
I will be honoured, but he shall not.
ʺFor a long time I shall look with pleasure
At his being made inferior,
He will become the laughing stock of all,
Regarded among everyone as an object of scorn and derision.
ʺIt is said that this deluded one
Is trying to compete with me,
But how can he be equal with me
In learning, intelligence, form, class or wealth?
ʺThus, upon hearing of my good qualities
That have been made well‐known to all,
I shall thoroughly enjoy the satisfaction
Of the pleasant tingling‐sensation that occurs.
ʺEven though he has some possessions,
If he is working for me,
I shall give him just enough to live on
And by force I’ll take (the rest).
ʺHis happiness and comfort will decline
And I shall always cause him harm,
For hundreds of times in this cycle of rebirth
He has caused harm to me.ʺ
Because of desiring to benefit yourself, O mind,
All the weariness you have gone through
Over countless past aeons
Has only succeeded in achieving misery.
Therefore I shall definitely engage myself
In working for the benefit of others:
For since the words of the Mighty One are infallible,
I shall behold its advantages in the future.
If in the past I had practised
This act (of exchanging self for others),
A situation such as this, devoid of the magnificence and bliss of a Buddha,
Could not possibly have come about.
Therefore, just as I have come to hold as ʺIʺ
These drops of sperm and blood of others,
Likewise through acquaintance
I should also come to regard all others.
Having thoroughly examined myself (to see
Whether I am really working for) others (or not),
I shall steal whatever appears on my body
and use it for the benefit of others.
ʺI am happy but others are sad,
I am high though others are low.
I benefit myself but not othersʺ
Why am I not envious of myself?
I must separate myself from happiness
And take upon myself the sufferings of others.
ʺWhy am I doing this now?ʺ
In this way I should examine myself for faults.
Although others may do something wrong,
I should transform it into a fault of my own;
But should I do something even slightly wrong,
I shall openly admit it to many people.
By further describing the renown of others,
I should make it outshine my own.
Just like the lowest kind of servant,
I should employ myself for the benefit of all.
I should not praise my naturally fault‐ridden self
For some temporary good quality it may have,
I shall never let even a few people know
Of any good qualities I may possess.
In brief, for the sake of living creatures,
May all the harms
I have selfishly caused to others
Descend upon me myself.
I should not be dominating and aggressive,
Acting in a self‐righteous, arrogant way;
Instead, like a newly married bride,
I should be bashful, timid and restrained.
Thus, O mind, you should (think) and abide in this way
And not act (selfishly) as (before).
If, under the control (of self‐cherishing), you transgress (this code),
Your (selfishness) will be your end.
However, mind, although you have been advised,
If you do not act in a like manner,
Then since all misfortunes will entrust themselves to you,
You will only be destined to destruction.
That previous time when you could overcome me
Is now past;
Now I see (your nature and your faults)
And wherever you go I shall destroy your arrogance.
I should immediately cast aside all thoughts
To work for my own sake.
By having sold you to others,
I shall not become discouraged, but shall‐offer up all your strength (to others).
If, having become unconscientious,
I do not give you to all living beings,
It is certain that you will deliver me
To the guardians of the hells.
For ages have you dealt with me like this
And I have suffered long;
But now, recalling all my grudges,
I shall overcome your selfish thoughts.
Likewise if I wish to be happy
I should not be happy with myself,
And similarly if I wish to be protected
I should constantly protect all others.
To whatever degree
I take great care of this body,
To that degree I shall fall
Into a state of extreme helplessness.
Having fallen in this way, if my desires
Are unable to be fulfilled
Even by everything upon this earth,
What else will be able to satisfy them?
(Being) unable (to fulfil them, though) desiring (to do so),
Disturbing conceptions and a dissatisfied mind will ensue.
But if I do not depend on any (material) things,
The exhaustion of my good fortune will be unknown.
Therefore, I shall never create an opportunity
For the desires of the body to increase.
For whatever I do not grasp as attractive.
These are the best of all possessions.
In the end (my body) will turn to dust,
Unable to move (by itself), it will be propelled by other (forces).
Why do I grasp this unbearable
And unclean form as ʺIʺ?
Whether it lives or whether it dies,
What use is this machine to me?
How is it different from a clod of earth?
O why do I not dispel this pride (of it being ʺIʺ and ʺmineʺ)!
Having accumulated suffering for no purpose
Because of my honouring and serving this body,
What use is attachment and anger
For this thing that is similar to a piece of wood?
Whether I am caring for my body in this way,
Or whether it is being eaten by vultures,
It has no attachment or hatred towards these things‐
Why then am I so attached to it?
If (my body) knows no anger when derided
And no pleasure when praised,
For what reason
Am I wearing myself out like this?
—But I want this body of mine,
Both it and I are‐ friends—
But since all beings want their bodies,
Why do I not find joy in theirs?
Therefore, in order to benefit all beings
I shall give up this body without an attachment,
But although it may have many faults
I should look after it while experiencing (the results of my previous) actions.
So enough of this childish behaviour!
I shall follow in the steps of the wise,
And having recalled the advice concerning conscientiousness,
I shall turn away sleep and mental dullness.
Just like the compassionate Sons of the Conqueror,
I shall patiently accept what I have to do;
For if I do not make a constant effort day and night,
When will my misery ever come to an end?
Therefore, in order to dispel the obscurations
I shall withdraw my mind from mistaken ways
And constantly place it in equipoise
Upon the perfect object.
(For the sake of clarity the entire ninth chapter—with the exception of the introductory and concluding verses —will be presented in the prose form of a dialogue. The dialogue takes place between the Madhyamaka school, represented by the author Shantideva, and various other Buddhist and non-Buddhist schools. A brief explanation of the tenets of the different schools will be given as they are introduced. The root text of the author is indicated by the passages in italics all the additional material, including the outline, is drawn from the commentary of T’og-me Zang-po. The entire outline in the form of an index can be found appended to this text. The numbers in brackets indicate the individual stanzas of the root text.)
(1) All of these practices were taught
By the Mighty One for the sake of wisdom.
Therefore those who wish to pacify suffering
Should generate this wisdom.
I Recognition of the Nature of Wisdom
A. ASCERTAINING THE TWO TRUTHS
1. Deceptive truths, so called because they are truths established from the point of view of deceived minds that obscure the real meaning, and ultimate truths, so called because they are truths comprehended by a Superior’s wisdom to which no (deceptive truths) appear, are accepted as the two truths. Ultimate truths are not objects experienced by the mind; but here “the mind” is to be understood as the deceptive (mind) that obscures one from seeing ultimate truths.
2. Two types of person are seen to experience these two truths: yogis endowed with the concentraton of superior insight and calm abiding, and common people who are not so endowed. Common people consider the body to be a unit, the mind to be permanent and so forth. Yogis, however, contradict (these views) with reasonings such as: “The body is not a unit because it has many parts”, and, “The mind is not permanent because it changes into something else”.
3. Furthermore, among the yogis, i.e. the Proponents of External Existence, the CTiittamatrins and the Madhyamikas, there are differences in their under‐ standing of the nature of knowable entities. Thereby those with the higher views progressively contradict those with lower views. With examples such as the magician’s illusion, which are accepted as unreal by both yogis and common people, it is proven to the Proponents of External Existence that although something may appear to their minds it does not have to be real. Thus if the minds of (these yogis) can be established as deceptive, it goes without saying that the same can be established about the minds of the common people.
1. Refuting Objections Concerning Deceptive Truths
Question: If all phenomena were not truly existent, there would be no attainment of Awakening from the practices of giving and so forth. Therefore what reason would there be to practise them for that purpose?
Answer: Although phenomena do not exist ultimately (i.e. truly), because, unanalysed, they do exist deceptively, it is not contradictory to engage in the practices of giving and so forth for the sake of obtaining the fruit of Awakening.
Question: Since phenomena appear to both yogis and common people, why should there be any dispute over them?
Answer: (5) Although they are similar in appearance, common people behold forms and other such things and conceive of them to be really existent; they do not understand them to be like an illusion. But since yogis do understand them to exist in such a way, it is here that the yogis and the common people disagree.
Question: Since (6) forms and so forth are established by true perception, isn’t it contradictory to say that they are false?
Answer: There is no contradiction, because such things are merely worldly conventions, but they are not true for a valid cognition (of an ultimate truth). This is just like the unclean body being known deceptively as clean. In fact, such a cognition is false.
Question: If all phenomena have no (true) nature, why did the Buddha say that things have a momentarily impermanent nature?
Answer: Such statements have to be interpreted. Having in mind their mere apparent nature, (7) the Protector Buddha taught things to be impermanent for the sake of progressively guiding ordinary people who conceive of true existence (towards a correct understanding). But in actuality such things are not truly momentary.
Question: But because this momentary nature does not appear to ordinary people, is it not a contradiction to say it even exists deceptively?
Answer: Although it does not appear to the common person, because it appears to those (8) yogis who have merely seen personal identitylessness, there is no mistake in its being a deceptive truth.
Question: But doesn’t this contradict the statement that to see the momentary (nature of things) is to see Truth itself?
Answer: Compared to the worldly view of things as permanent and so forth, the yogi’s vision of momentariness is posited as a vision of Reality itself. Otherwise, if in comparison to the yogis, the common people saw Reality, then the yogis’ definite understanding of the uncleanliness of a woman’s body would be contradicted by the worldly person’s apprehension of it as clean.
Question: If all phenomena were not truly existent, then since the Buddha too would be false, would no merits occur from worshipping him?
Answer: (9) In the same way that, for you, truly existent merits occur from worshipping a truly existent Conqueror, similarly, for us, illusion‐like merits are obtained from worshipping an illusion-like Conqueror.
Question: But if sentient beings were like an illusion, then after they die, how would they be reborn?
Answer: (10) For as long as the necessary conditions are assembled, for that long even illusion will occur. Although they are unreal, they are similar to sentient beings in the fact that they arise from conditions. Why merely by their longer duration, should sentient beings be more real than illusions? Then it would follow that illusions that last a long time are more real than those that last a short time.
Question: Nevertheless, if this were the case, would not the killing of a sentient being by another sentient being and the killing of an illusory person by another illusory person be equivalent evils? And would not charity between sentient beings and charity between illusory people be equivalent virtues?
Answer: (11) Because an illusory person who kills or gives something to another illusory person has no mind, no evil or virtue accrues from his actions. Whereas if such actions are committed by a sentient being endowed with an illusion-like mind, since the agent has a mind which can love and hate, merits and evils do accrue from his actions. (12) Because the mantras and so forth that cause illusions do not have the ability to produce minds, illusory minds are not produced from them, whereas the causes for sentient beings do have the ability to produce mind. Although false, the different (illusions that) result depend upon different causes: in this way the illusions that arise from a variety of different conditions also vary. They are produced from different causes but (13) nowhere is there one condition which has the ability to produce all the effects.
Question: If, ultimately, all sentient beings are by nature in the state beyond, sorrow (i.e. Nirvana) although deceptively they are in cyclic existence, then for the same reason, (14) since, in terms of appearance, the Buddha would be in cyclic existence, what would be the use of the Bodhisattva’s way of life?
Answer: If their conditions are not discontinued even illusions will not cease to be. Likewise, since sentient beings have not discontinued the conditions for cyclic existence, they are in cyclic existence, but (15) since the Buddha has discontinued these conditions, even deceptively he does not exist with the nature of one in cyclic existence.
2. Refuting the Objections of the Chittamatrins Concerning Ultimate Truths
(The Chittamatrins are the followers of the idealist “Mind-Only” school of Mahayana Buddhism who maintain that no external objects exist. For them the mind is not conditioned by an object of a different nature than itself, rather the mind and its object are one in nature and are only nominally distinct. The mind is regarded as truly existent whereas external objects are denied. To establish the true existence of consciousness they posit self-cognition, anon-deceived aspect of mind that has the function of being conscious of only consciousness itself.)
Chittamatrin: If no deceived consciousnesses exist, then what (mind) can refer to the illusion like appearances?
Madhyamika: (16) But if illusion-like (external) objects are not real for you, what can be referred to?
Chittamatrin: Although (external) objects do not really exist, consciousness does truly exist. Therefore since the images (of objects) which appear (to consciousness) are the mind itself, they are suitable to be referred to (by consciousness).
Madhyamika: (17) If the mind itself and the illusion-like objects are one substance, then, since there would be no beholder and no behold, what (object) would be beheld by what (mind)? It has been said by the Protector of the World himself that the mind does not have the ability to behold the mind. (18) Just as the blade of a sword cannot cut itself, likewise the mind cannot behold itself.
Chittamatrin: Just as a light completely illuminates itself, so does the mind know itself.
Miadhyamika: (19) The light does not illuminate itself because something that is to be illuminated has to first of all be unilluminated, but as soon as the light is lit it is never obscured by any darkness, i.e. unilluminated.
Chittamatrin: Take for example two kinds of blueness: blueness that appears in dependence upon another blue coloured object, like the blue reflected in a clear piece of glass, and blueness that does not appear in dependence upon something else, like the natural colour of blue in lapis lazuli. (20) Likewise some objects such as jugs depend upon other things, such as lights that illuminate them and consciousnesses that know them, whereas such things as lights and feelings of pleasure and pain are beheld without any such dependence.
Madhyamika: This is not so because, since the blueness of lapis lazuli is established as blueness as soon as it comes into being, it is not something which previously, having not been blue, makes itself blue. Therefore this example is unsuitable to illustrate self-illumination and self-cognition. Conventionally, (21) upon being perceived by consciousness, it can be said that a light illuminates itself, but ultimately, upon being perceived by what can it be said that the mind illuminates itself? Thus the example and what it illustrates are not comparable. Since ultimately neither self-cognition nor other-cognition are established (as truly existent), (22) no mind at all can behold (a truly existent consciousness). Thus it is meaningless to discuss whether such a mind has the quality of illuminating itself or not. This would be like discussing whether the looks of the daughter of a barren woman are attractive or not.
Chittamatrin: (23) If self-cognition did not exist, how would we be able to have a memory of consciousness? Since we could have no such memory, the existence of self-cognition is established by the reason of (its being a necessary factor in the process of the recollection of consciousness).
Madhyamika: There is no certainty of this; without (the consciousness) experiencing itself, it is remembered from its relationship to the experiencing of other objects such as forms. For example, although the (hibernating) bear does not experience being poisoned (when bitten) by a rat, later, from hearing the sound of thunder (in springtime, he awakens and) experiences pain. From this he indirectly remembers (that he must have been poisoned. The means whereby consciousness is recalled is) similar (to this).
Chittamatrin: (24) If someone with the necessary causal conditions such as concentration can see the consciousnesses of others from afar, therefore it must be possible to clearly behold one’s own consciousness which is so near.
Madhyamika: This is not necessarily so, because although from application of an eye-lotion (consecrated by) powerful attainments, treasure vases can be seen far beneath the earth, the eye-lotion itself, which is much closer, cannot be seen.
Chittamatrin: If self-cognition were non-existent, other-cognitions would also be non-existent. Therefore there would be no such things as seeing, hearing and so forth.
Madhyamika: (25) The mere appearances of seeing, hearing and perceiving are not being negated here. It is the conception of them as truly existent that is to be reversed since this is the cause for suffering.
Chittamatrin: (26) These illusion-like objects are not external objects other than the mind, yet although not other, they cannot be considered as being the mind itself. Thus they are phenomena which are indescribably other than the mind.
Madhyamika: If something is a thing, how can it be neither the mind nor other than it? It has to be one or the other; but if you say that it is neither one nor the other, then it would not be a thing because such a thing could not possibly exist. (27) Just as in the Chittamatra system illusion-like objects are not truly existent but can still be seen, similarly, although the mind is not truly existent, conventionally it can appear as the beholder.
Chittamatrin: Cyclic existence, (the state in which subject and object) appear as two (substantially distinct things), has as the basis of its deceptive appearance something real,
namely a truly existent, non-dual consciousness. Other-wise, if it did not have something real as its basis, it would be just like space and would not (be a state which) could appear as real subjects and objects.
Madhyamika: (28) If the dualistic state of cyclic existence depended upon something real, how could it have the function of appearing as real subjects and objects? It would follow that it could not because real, (truly existent) things do not exist. Thus in your tradition whatever is mind would become a solitary non-dual consciousness unassisted by any object (29) If it were true that in this way the mind existed separately from its objects, then all sentient beings would become Tathagatas. Therefore what advantage is there in considering the basis of cyclic existence to be merely mind?
B. ESTABLISHING AS THE PATH THE KNOWLEDGE THAT DECEPTIVE TRUTHS ARE LIKE ILLUSIONS
Question: (30) Even if one knows that all phenomena are like an illusion, how will disturbing conceptions be turned away? For instance, a magician who creates an illusory woman can still have desire for her.
Answer: (31) The creator of this illusion has not abandoned the tendencies of the disturbing conception of desire towards knowable entities such as women. Therefore when he sees the illusory woman, the tendency (to see her) emptiness is very weak. Although the illusion may be understood to be empty (of being a real woman), through not understanding phenomena to be empty (of true existence), the tendencies of desire are aroused. (32) But through developing the tendency to know all phenomena as empty, the tendency of apprehending things as truly existent will be abandoned. And through familiarizing oneself with the fact that nophenomena—emptinesses as well as (deceptive truths)—are established (as truly existent), in the future the apprehension of emptinesses as well as false phenomena (to be truly existent) will be abandoned. At this time it will be impossible for any disturbing conceptions to occur. (33) When itis said that no things exists, this means that that the thing to be negated (true existence) which is under examination is not to be apprehended. At that time, since (true existence), the basis in dependence upon which no true existence is posited, is removed, how can no-true existence remain before the mind as truly existent? Just as the son of a barren woman does not exist, neither does his dying. (34) Once neither a thing nor a no-thing (its emptiness) remains before the mind, then as there is no other alternative, such as something being both a thing and a nothing, or being neither a thing nor a no-thing, finally the mind that apprehends (truly existent) objects will cease and be totally pacified.
Question: If this were the case, then because he would not reflect, “I shall do this,” how could the Buddha act for the benefit of others?
Answer: (35) Wish-fulfilling trees and wish-granting gems, although they have no conceptual motivations, completely fulfil hopes because of their own power and the merits accumulated by people. Likewise, through the force of both the purity of the disciples’ minds and the prayers a Buddha makes to work for their welfare while he is a Bodhisattva, the physical body of a Conqueror appears and benefit is forthcoming.
Question: Since the prayers of the Bodhisattva cease when he attains Buddhahood, wouldn’t it be impossible for them to have any effect at that time?
Answer: (36) For example, although the Brahmin Sanku passed away a long time ago, the Garuda Reliquary which he consecrated with the force of his mantra is still able to neutralise poisons. (37) Similarly the reliquary of a Conqueror’s body is formed in accordance with his actions and prayers when he was a Bodhisattva. Although the Bodhisattva has now passed beyond sorrow into the non-abiding Nirvana, and his conceptual desire to accomplish the welfare of others has ceased, he still accomplishes all that is of benefit for them.
Shravaka: (38) If the Buddha has no (conceptual) mind, can meritorious fruits occur from worshipping him?
Madhyamika: There is no fault because it lias been explained that the merits from worshipping a Buddha while he is alive and from worshipping his relics when he has passed beyond sorrow are exactly the same. (39) Itis established through scriptural authority that fruits occur both from worshipping a Buddha who has no conceptual mind as well as from a Buddha who (is considered) deceptively to have a conceptual mind and ultimately to be truly existent. For example, just as you accept that a truly existent fruit of merit occurs from worshipping a truly existent Buddha endowed with a mind, we too accept that false, (non-truly existent) merits occur from worshipping a false, (non-truly existent) Buddha.
C. ESTABLISHING AS THE PATH THE KNOWLEDGE THAT ULTIMATE TRUTHS ARE EMPTINESSES
Vaibashika: (40) Through cultivating a direct vision of the aspects of the Four (Noble) Truths, such as impermanence and so forth, one will be liberated from disturbing conceptions: so what is the point of cultivating a vision of an emptiness that is not established as anything?
Madhyamika: It is necessary to behold emptiness, because it is taught in the’Perfection of Wisdom’ scriptures (Prajnaparamita Sutras) that without the path of the wisdom that understands emptiness, there will be no resultant Awakening.
Vaibashika: (41) But since the Mahayana (teachings) are not the word of Buddha, they are not established as a credible scriptural authority for us.
Madhyamika: But then how are your scriptures established as credible?
Vaibashika: They are credible because they are established as the word of Buddha for both of us.
Madhyamika: Then at first, prior to your acceptance of your tenets, your scriptures cannot have been the word of Buddha, because at that time they were not established as the word of Buddha for you.
Vaibashika: Nevertheless they are still credible because we learn about them from a pure unbroken lineage.
Madhyamika: (42) But this reason for which you believe in your scriptures is equally (applicable) in the Mahayana, because we too have an unbroken lineage of teachers. Furthermore if you accept something as true simply because two people accept it, then you should also accept the Vedas and other non-Buddhist scriptures as true, credible scriptures.
Vaibashika: (43) The Mahayana scriptures are not credible because they are disputed.
Madhyamika: But since all your scriptures are disputed by the non‐Buddhist and some of them by other Buddhist schools, you should reject your own scriptures too. (44) You accept any teaching which can be classified into the three scriptural categories (Tripitaka) as the word of the Buddha, according to whether it discuses the higher training of moral discipline, concentration or wisdom. If this is so, since these three trainings are taught in most Mahayana scriptures such as the ‘Samdhinirmocana Sutra’, they are therefore similar to your scriptures. Why then do you not accept them as the word of the Buddha? (45) If, because of your not recognizing one scripture such as a ‘Prajnaparamita Sutra’ as having the complete characteristics of Buddha’s speech, you say that all Mahayana texts are corrupt, then, for the same reason, because one text such as the ‘Samdhinirmocana Sutra’ is similar to your texts in having all the characteristics of Buddha’s speech, why not say that all Mahayana texts were spoken by the Conqueror? Vaibashika: If Mahayana texts such as the ‘Prajnapramita Sutras’ were the word of Buddha, surely the Great Kashyapa and the other Arhats would have understood them. Since they did not, they cannot be the word of the Buddha.
Madhyamika: Since they are extremely profound, (46) even the Great Kashyapa and the other Arhats could not fathom the depths of what was expressed in the teachings of the Mahayana scriptures. Therefore, just because you do not understand them, who would regard this as a reason for not accepting them as the word of the Buddha? You say that (47) the monk Arhat is the root for establishing the presence of the Buddha’s teaching, but it would be hard for those whose minds still apprehend (true existence) and have not understood emptiness to be monk Arhats, because they could not have fully abandoned their disturbing conceptions. Therefore, since they would not have abandoned suffering, it would be hard for them to have attained the state beyond sorrow (Nirvana).
Vaibashika: Although they do not understand such an emptiness, (48) they are freed from suffering because they have abandoned their disturbing conceptions by means of meditating upon such things as impermanence and personal identitylessness.
Madhyamika: ‘However, because of having abandoned their misconceptions, do they become devoid of suffering as soon as they attain the state of an Arhat with residue? Although those Arhats have no disturbing conceptions, it was clearly taught that through the latent force of their previous actions, Arhats such as Maudgalyayana experienced suffering.
Vaibashika: Although they (49) temporarily are not freed from suffering, as soon as they abandon their disturbing conceptions, they will be freed when they leave their bodies because they definitely do not have any craving for the aggregates of body and mind, which is a principal condition for conditioned existence.
Madhyamika: But while they still have a form of craving that is a completely undisturbing state of confusion, why would they not take rebirth with aggregates contaminated by actions and disturbing conceptions? (50) They would, because the causal condition of having feelings associated with the apprehension of true existence definitely produces craving, and these (so-called) Arhats do have such feelings. Since a mind that lacks the understanding of emptiness is a mind that still apprehends (true existence), it will still conceive of some objects (as truly existent). (51) Although its manifest (disturbing conceptions) may temporarily cease, they will nevertheless arise again in the same way that during the equipose of non-discernment (disturbing conceptions) temporarily cease only to arise again later (when the period of equipoise is over). Therefore those who wish to put an end to all suffering should meditate on emptiness. When one understands emptiness, compassion should arise (52) for those who experience suffering as a result of being confused about emptiness. Then, while remaining in cyclic existence, to accomplish inconceivable benefit for others by means of liberating them from the two extremes of desiring the happinesses of cyclic existence and fearing suffering, is the fruit of meditating on emptiness.
(53) The remedy for the darkness of the obscurations of distributing conceptions as well as the obscuration to the knowable, is_ meditation on emptiness. Therefore why do those who wish to quickly obtain omniscience not meditate on emptiness? (54) Since understanding emptiness has such advantages and not understanding it has such disadvantages, itis quite invalid to aim criticism in the direction of emptiness. Therefore without any doubts as to whether it is the path of the Buddha or not, one should meditate on emptiness.
Objection: But I do not want to meditate upon emptiness, because it frightens me.
Reply: (55) It would be correct to be afraid of that which actually produces suffering, the apprehension of true existence, but why be afraid of meditating on emptiness if it pacifies all suffering?
II Introducing The Object Of, Meditation: Identitylessness
A. THE IDENTITYLESSNESS OF THE PERSON
1. General Refutation of Personal Identity
(56). if a (truly existent) self existed, it would be justifiable to be afraid of any object at all, but since such a self does not exist, who is there to become afraid?
(57) Teeth, hair and nails are not the self, the self is not bones nor blood; itis neither mucus nor is it phlegm; nor is it lymph or pus. (58) The self is not fat nor sweat; the lungs and liver also are not the self; neither are any of the other inner organs; nor is the self excrement or urine.
(59) Flesh and skin are not the self; warmth and energy-winds are not the self; neither are bodily cavities the self; and at no time are the six types of consciousness the self. The reason for this is because all six psycho‐physical categories are impermanent, multiple and not autonomous.
2. A Refutation of the self postulated by the Samkhya School
(The Samkhya school is anon-Buddhist tradition of philosophy founded in ancient India by the Rishi Kapila. The followers of this system believe that all phenomena—except the permanent and unchanging self—are created from an all-pervading primal substance (Prakrti). When the self comes into contact with this primal substance a series of manifestations such as the intellect, the sense faculties and the objects of the senses issue forth from it and are then experienced by the self. The primal substance is a permanent, partless and universal material which creates and is the nature of phenomena in the experienced world. The self is the unchanging consciousness principle that becomes bound to the world through its false identification with the manifestations of the primal substance.)
Madhyamika: (60) if the consciousness that apprehends sound were a permanent (self), there would be a conscious apprehension of sound at all times even when sound was absent. But since the consciousness of sound is dependent upon sound, if there were no sound as an object of consciousness, for what reason and through the cognition of what object could it be called a consciousness that apprehends sound? (61) if there can be a consciousness that apprehends sound even though there is no consciousness of sound, it would (absurdly) follow that even a piece of wood could become a consciousness of sound. Therefore without an object of consciousness remaining close by we can definitely say that there is no consciousness that apprehends it.
Samkhya: When there is no sound, it does not mean that there is no apprehender of it because, at a later time when no sounds are present, (62) the previous consciousness of sound, becomes consciousness of visual‐forms and so forth. These two consciousnesses are one thing.
Madhyamika: In this case, at the time of that consciousness of visual-form why is no sound heard?
Samkhya: It is not heard because no sound exists in the proximity.
Madhyamika: Therefore a conscious apprehension of it could not possibly exist. (63) How can something whose nature itis to apprehend sound ever apprehend visual‐forms? It could not because their aspects are mutually exclusive.
Samkhya: Their aspects are mutually exclusive but in; relation to two objects occurring at different times it is not contradictory to say that it is one (consciousness) apprehending them. This is like one person who, in relation to his father and his son respectively, is posited as a son and a father.
Madhyamika: But in your tradition it is not really true to consider a father and a son as one person because (64) in this case the truly existent matter (primal substance) which you accept as anon-appearing, equally balanced state of purity (sattva), activity (rajah) and darkness (tamah) could be neither a father nor a son (because it has true, independent existence.)” The apprehension of a visual-form does not exist as an apprehension of sound because if it existed with that nature it would surely be apparent, whereas it is never seen as such (by a valid cognation).
Samkhya: For example, (65) just as one actor has many different roles, the previous apprehension of sound is later seen in another way, i.e. as an apprehension of sound is seen in another way, i.e. as an apprehension of visual-form.
Madhyamika: But then the consciousness can no longer be permanent because it keeps on changing into something else.
Samkhya: Although (the consciousness) appears in other ways} its nature remains the same as before and is permanent.
Madhyamika: But such a oneness (of nature) is a type of oneness that you have never asserted before.
Samkhya: Consciousness appears (66) in other ways, and although the (different modes) are not true, (their nature) is one and true.
Madhyamika: But please tell us, what is this nature that is one and true? Samkhya: It is the nature of merely being conscious that is one and true.
Madhyamika: In that case it would follow that the minds of all different individuals are one because they too are similar in merely being conscious. Furthermore (67) the self that has intentions and the primal substance that has no intentions would also become one, because they are similar in merely being existent knowable entities. When particular consciousnesses—the apprehensions of sounds, visual-forms and so forth—are mistaken and untrue, how can they have one true general-aspect, namely a similar basis of merely being consciousness? They cannot because it is illogical for the general-aspect of something to be true when all the particular aspects are false.
3. A Refutation of the Self Postulated by the Naiyayika School
(The Naiyayikas accept a permanent, partless, material phenomenon within the being of an individual as the self. This self is claimed to be able to experience objects because it is endowed with a separate mind.)
Madhyamika: (68) Furthermore, anon-mental phenomenon cannot be the self that experiences objects because it lacks the nature of mind, just like a jug.
Naiyayika: Although it itself is not of the nature of the mind, it does experience objects because of being endowed with a separate mind.
Madhyamika: This is illogical, for when a self, by nature not conscious of objects, comes to be conscious of them through being endowed with a mind, it absurdly would follow that (in becomming a conscious self) the non-conscious self would perish and hence no longer be permanent (as you assert). (69) Even if the self were unchanging then how, through being endowed with a mind, could a self that is not conscious of objects come to be conscious of them? This would not be possible. Thus, if you accept as the self something that is not conscious of objects beause it is matter, and separated from the function of producing effects because it is permanent, then space would also be a self.
4. Rejection of Arguments concerning Identitylessness
Question: (70) if the self were not permanent, the relation between the action and its effect, i.e. the doer of the action coming to experience the results of the actions committed, would not be maintained. This is so because the doer would perish as soon as the action was committed and would not exist at the time when it came to experience the effects (of his action). Therefore whose action would that be (to experience)?
Answer: (71) The basis for the causal action—the aggregates of this life—and the basis for the ripening effect—the aggregates of the future life—are distinct states‐ of being. And since in both these states it is established both for you, because you accept a permanent self, and for us, because we accept identitylessness, that the self neither commits the action nor experiences the effect, is it not meaningless to argue on this point?
Objection: But what about actions whose fruits will be experienced in this life? They do not have different bases (aggregates) upon which the causal action is committed and the result is experienced.
Answer: Nevertheless, in the (same) moment (72) itis impossible to see the aggregates of someone committing a causal action being subject to the experience of its result; just as a father and his son cannot be born at the same time.
Objection: But it says in one scripture. ʺHow will someone else experience the results of the actions one commits? O monks, the actions you commit and accumulate will not ripen on such things as the external earth element, but upon (your future) aggregates grasped (by consciousness.) Thus, does not your assertion contradict this statement that the doer of the action must experience its results himself?
Answer: This statement is to be interpreted as follows: while actually considering the same continuity (of the individual, the Buddha) taught that the doer of the action is the experiences of the result in order to prevent people denying the law of karmic cause and effect. Actually this is not so because a permanent self is non‐existent.
Question: But why is there no permanent self? Answer: (73) Neither the mind of the past nor the mind of the future are the self because they are non‐existent; one has ceased and the other has not yet been produced.
Question: But isn’t the mind of the present (moment), which has been produced but has not yet ceased, the self?
Answer: (If this were the case), then in the next moment, when it had perished, it would no longer be the self. With this reasoning all five aggregates are rejected as being the self. (74) For example, when the trunk of a plantain tree is split into parts there is no essence found at all. Likewise, when analytically searched for with reasoning, a truly existent self cannot be found (among the aggregates).
Question: (75) if there were no sentient beings, towards whom could compassion be developed?
Answer: Although sentient beings do not truly exist, deceptively one should develop compassion for those imputed (as sentient beings) by the confused mind which has promised to practise the (Bodhisattva) way of life in order to lead them to the goal of liberation.
Question: (76) But if sentient beings do not exist, who will obtain the results of developing compassion?
Answer: Although ultimately it is true (that there are no truly existent sentient beings, compassion or results), deceptively, from the point of view of a mind confused about phenomena, we accept the existence of merely apparent results arising from merely apparent compassion developed towards merely apparent sentient beings.
Objection: Since compassion is both a subjective state to which things appear in a false way and a mind confused about phenomena, surely it is equally fit to be rejected as is confusion about the self.
Answer: In order to completely pacify suffering one need not and cannot reject compassion. Therefore one should not reject this merely apparent confusion about the results. But (77) the confusion about the self should be rejected because it increases such things as self‐importance which are causes for suffering.
Objection: But there are no means to reject this confusion.
Answer: There are because the supreme remedy for it is meditation upon identitylessness.
B. THE IDENTITYLESSNESS OF PHENOMENA
1. Close Placement of Mindfulness on the Body
(79) The body is neither feet nor calves; thighs and the waist are not the body; the abdomen and back are not the body; and neither are the chest and shoulders the body.
(80) The ribs and the hands are not the body; armpits and the nape of the neck are not the body; all inner organs are not the body; neither the head nor neck are the body. Therefore, what truly existent body is there among these parts?
(81) if the body abided, in all its limbs equally in all directions, indeed I could say that all the parts of the body abide in the parts of its limbs, but where could the partless, truly existent body itself abide? (It would have to exist independent of its parts and unrelated to them). (81) And if the entire, truly existent body abided separately in each of the individual parts such as the hands, then there would ‘have to be as many bodies as there loere parts.
(82) if there is no truly existent body outside or within, how could the hands and so forth have such a body at all? And since it is not something different from the hands and other parts, how could a separate body, unrelated to its parts, exist? Therefore (83) the body is not truly‐ existent, but, through being confused about its hands and other parts, a mind that mistakes them fora (truly existent) body arises.
But the body does not truly exist in the way it is apprehended by that mind. It is like the mind apprehending a pile of stones as a. man because of their being setup in a fort similar to a man’s.
(84) In the same way that a pile of stones will appear to be a man for as long as the causal conditions to mistake them as a man are assembled, so mill the hands and so forth appear as a (truly existent) body for as long as the causal conditions to mistake them for a body are present (85) Just as the body as a whole is not truly existent, how can the hands be truly existent? They are only a composite of fingers. The fingers too are not truly existent because they are a collection of joints, and the joints in turn, by being divided into their parts, are also found to be not truly existent.
(86) Likewise when these parts are divided into atomic particles and the atomic particles into their directional parts, they are revealed as multiples and thus cannot be truly existent units. Even when the directional parts are divided up they are found to be devoid of truly existent parts. Hence they are found to be as empty as space, and so even atomic particles can have no true existence. Thus although the body appears to be truly existent, in fact it is not. (87) Therefore who, having analyzed it, would be attached to this dream‐like form? And when in this way the body is not truly existent, how can the distinction be made into (truly existent) male and female bodies?
2. Close Placement of Mindfulness on the Feelings
Madhyamika: (88) if feelings of pain truly existed, then since they would never end, why would they not affect feelings of great joy and happiness, making it impossible for them to ever arise? Conversely, if happiness had true existence, why do those suffering greatly from grief and sickness not find any joy in delicious foods and the like? They should, if happiness had true independent existence, but they clearly do not.
Answer: Indeed pain really exists, but (89) when a strong feeling of pleasure occurs, the pain is not experienced because it is overidden by the pleasure.
Madhyamika: But, simply because it lacks the defining characteristic of a feeling, namely experience, how can something which is not of the nature of an experience be a feeling?
Answer: It is a feeling because (90) there is an experience of a very subtle pain. Surely only the gross aspect of suffering is dispelled by the strong pleasure. The nature of this subtle pain is a slight, weak feeling of happiness distinct from the gross sensation of pleasure.
Madhyamika: But this subtle experience cannot possibly be a form of pain because you now say it is a form of happiness. (No experience can be simultaneously pleasurable and painful) (91) if pain is not occurring in someone’s mind because its opposite is occurring, then to consider what has not occurred to be a feeling is surely what could only be called a mistaken conception. (92) Therefore, as a remedy for such mistaken conceptions one should cultivate the wisdom which analyses the non-true existence of all phenomena. The state of absorption that arises from the field of what is examined by this mind is the nourishment that sustains the yogi’s understanding of the way things exist. (There now follows a refutation of the non-true existence of contact, the cause of feeling. In the first three stanzas (93-95), the argument is directed against those who assert partless atomic particles).
Madhyamika: (93) if there were space between the sense faculties such as the eyes and the objects such as visual-forms, how could the two ever meet? They would be like a mountain in the east and a mountain in the west. But if there were no space at all, then since they would become one unit, what could meet what? There would be no meeter and nothing to be met with. Furthermore (94) the (partless) atomic particles of the sense faculty and the (partless) atomic particles of the object cannot meet on all sides because they cannot enter into one another, i.e., they cannot merge into one another.
This is so because atomic particles have no space inside and are completely equal in size. Were they to meet, they would have to do so in this way because without one (partless) atomic particle entering into another there could be no mixing of the two and without this mixing there could not possibly be any meeting on all sides. (95) But how would it be logical for those who accept the existence of a partless atomic particle to say that it is met on one particular side by another (partless) atom? If that were the case, the partless atomic particle would have one part which is met with and another part which is not met at all. (Hence it would no longer be partless). But if you ever see an atomic particle that has no parts but can still be met with, please would you show it to us! It also follows that (96) it is illogical to meet consciousness because it is not physical (Something physical cannot possibly meet something non‐physical).
Objection: Although there is no physical meeting, there does exist a mere aggregation (of the sense faculty, the object and consciousness) to produce the effect (of a cognition).
Answer: This is invalid because, just as we analysed before, an aggregation is not found to be a truly existent thing. (97) if in this way contact, the cause for feeling, is not (truly) existent, from what do (truly existent) feelings, the effect, arise? Thus what is the purpose of tiring oneself out for the sake of obtaining pleasurable feelings? And likewise, whose mind could be caused any harm by what painful feelings? Both the pleasure which is obtained and the pain which harms have no true existence. (98) When there is no (truly existent) identity of the person that feels and no (truly existent) feelings either, having seen this situation, why do I not turn away the craving to obtain pleasure and to be separated from pain? Since the sense objects that (99) I see and touch appear to me but have no true existence, their nature is like a dream and an illusion. Therefore the subjective feelings of them can also have no true existence. Feelings are not seen (or experienced) by the mind which arises simultaneously with them because, since they are produced simultaneously with it, they would be (causally) unrelated to it. (100) Likewise previous feelings and later feelings can be remembered and wished for but they cannot actually be experienced by the mind because they have either ceased or are yet to be produced. Because there would be no experiencer and no experienced, they cannot experience themselves, and if (one’s own mind) of the past, present and future (cannot experience them), nothing else can experience them either (101). Therefore no (truly existent) experiencer of feelings exists and thus no truly existent feelings exist either. So how can this identityless collection of aggregates be benefitted by pleasurable feelings and harmed by painful ones? It cannot because beneficial and harmful feelings do not truly exist.
3. Close Placement of Mindfulness on the Mind
(102) A (truly existent) mental consciousness does not abide in the sense faculties such as the eyes, it does not abide in the objects such as visual‐forms, and it does not abide in between the two. Neither does a (truly existent) mind exist either inside or outside the body, and it is not to be found elsewhere. (103) This (mind) is neither the body nor truly other than it; it is not mixed with it nor entirely separate from it; the mind is not in the slightest bit truly existent. Therefore all sentient beings have from the very beginning been in the natural Nirvana (i.e. their minds have always been devoid of true existence).
Question: Although the mental consciousness may exist in that way, don’t the five sense consciousnesses truly apprehend their five objects?
Answer: Well, let us first consider whether they exist prior to, simultaneously with or after their objects. (104) if we said that the five sense consciousnesses existed before the five objects of which they are conscious, then, having referred to what objects, could those consciousnesses arise? At that time there could be no objects because they would still have to be produced. Even if the consciousness and what it is conscious of arose simultaneously, still, having referred to what object, could the consciousness arise? In this case, when the consciousness is yet to be produced so is its object, and once it has been produced there would be no need for it to be produced by an object.
(105) And if the consciousness came into existence after the object of which it is conscious then from what object could it arise? Since the object would have ceased by the time the consciousness arose, the consciousness would have no object.
4. Close Placement of Mindfulness on Phenomena
In this way, by means of the above reasoning, one will come to understand that all phenomena do not truly arise.
5. Rejection of Arguments
Objection: (106) if , in this way, all phenomena do not arise, since there would be no deceptive truths which arise and perish; how could two truths be presented in the Madhyamika tradition? Furthermore, if all phenomena existed in this way and deceptive truths were posited merely through being imputed as arising and perishing entities by beings who have a deceived mind, how could sentient beings pass from sorrow into Nirvana? They could not, because even though some beings have entered (the unchanging state of) Nirvana, it could become a (changing) deceptive truth through others simply imputing it to be an arising and perishing entity.
Reply: In reality it is unchanging, but through not understanding this it can be misconceived of as arising and perishing. But just because it is posited as a deceptive truth with regard to that particular (false) conception, this does not imply that it ceases to exist (as an unchanging state). That (false conception) cannot cause Nirvana to no longer exist because another person cannot make something else a deceptive truth out of his own deception. (107) This deception is a distorted conception in the mind of someone who has not passed into the state beyond sorrow; it is not the deceptive mind of one who has passed beyond sorrow. Later, when the state of Nirvana is attained, if that deceptive conception were ascertained to exist, (Nirvana) would exist (as) a (changing) deceptive truth; but since this (deceptive conception) does not exist (in the mind of one who has atttained Nirvana), Nirvana does not exist (as a changing) deceptive truth.
Objection: (108) Since the examining mind and the examined object are mutually dependent upon one another, if the object is not established the mind too would be nonexistent. Therefore your analysis (of non-true existence) would be invalid.
Reply: Indeed, because the object does not truly exist the mind does not truly exist, but this does not mean that the analysis is invalid, because all analytic minds are spoken of as conventional consciousnesses and are said to be dependent upon reasoning which is accepted in the world. (109) if it were necessary to analyze the analytic mind with another truly existent analytic mind, then that analytic mind too would have to be analyzed by yet another analytic mind. Therefore, since this process would never reach an end, the basic object of analysis would never be ascertained. (110) When the object of analysis has been analysed and established to be empty, the analytic mind is found not to have a (truly existent) object as its basis (or referent). Thus because (it is understood that) there is no truly existent object, even without analysis (it is understood that) a truly existent analytic mind cannot arise from it. This state of peace in which no truly existent objects nor con sciousnesses arise is called Nirvana, the state beyond sorrow.
III Negating The Conception To Be Eliminated: The Apprehension Of True Existence
A. REFUTING THE TRUE EXISTENCE OF SUBJECT AND OBJECT
(111) According to the Realists (54) both the object and the consciousness of it have true existence. But they are in a very difficult position because there is no proof for their assertion, whereas it can be refuted.
Realist: The true existence of the object is established from the truly existent sense faculties of consciousness.
Madhyamika: But what can be established as truly existent in dependence upon a truly existent consciousness?
Realist: (112) On the other hand we can also say that consciousness is established (as truly existent) from the objects itis conscious of.
Madhyamika: But what can depend upon a (truly) existent object of consciousness? if they mutually (truly) existed through the force of one another, then when one is not established (as truly existent) the other will also not be (so) established. And in that case they would both be non‐(truly) existent. For example, (113) if someone has no son he cannot be established as a father and also if there is no one established as the father, where can the child come from? In this way since without a child there is no father and without a father no child, in both cases there can be neither. Likewise the object and the consciousness cannot exist independently of one another.
Realist: On the contrary, through dependence we can establish things as truly existent. For example, (114) since a sprout is produced from a seed we can understand the (true) existence of the seed from the sprout even though the sprout depends upon it. Likewise why can we not understand that there is a (truly) existent object of consciousness from the consciousness which is produced from it?
Madhyamika: This is not the same thing. (115) The existence of the seed can be understood by seeing the sprout (that resulted from it) with a consciousness that is other (than the sprout). But what mind can understand a truly existent consciousness that understands (and has arisen from) a truly existent object of consciousness? It is impossible to cognise a truly existent consciousness (since such a thing does not exist).
B. ESTABLISHING EMPTINESS OF TRUE EXISTENCE FROM THE VIEW POINT OF THE CAUSE
1. Refuting Production from No Cause
The (non‐Buddhist) Charvakas assert that all things are produced because from no cause in one of their scriptures it states, “All things such as the rising of the sun, the flowing of water downhill, the roundness of peas, the sharpness of thorns and the tail feathers of the peacock were not made by anyone; they arise from their own nature.”
Madhyamika: This assertion is unacceptable because (16) sometimes the production of an effect from the collection of all its causes can be seen even by the true perceptions of worldly people. (Furthermore) it is understood through inference that the variety among effects, such as the different stems of lotus flowers, is produced because of their having a variety of causes.
Charvaka: (117) But by what has this variety of causes been made?
Madhyamika: By a variety of previous causes.
Charvaka: But for what reason is a distinct cause able to produce a distinct effect?
Madhyamika: This comes from the force of its previous cause.
2. Refuting Production from a Permanent Cause
The (non‐Buddhist) Naiyayikas and Vaisheshikas believe the cause of everything to be the god Ishvara. He has five qualities, namely: divinity, purity and being worthy of veneration, permanence, oneness and being the creator of everything.
Madhyamika: (118) if you accept Ishvara to be the cause of all beings, then, one moment please who exactly is Ishvara?
Naiyayika: He is the great elements of earth, water, fire air and space.
Madhyamika; Indeed these elements are the cause of whatever is formed from them, but why tire yourselves out over the mere name ‘Ishvara’ that you have given to them? This is not worth arguing about. In any case, with this assertion you contradict your own definition of Ishvara because (119) since earth and the other great elements are multiple, impermanent, withou conscious movement, not divine, something trodden upon and unclean, they cannot be Ishvara. (120) Space too is not Ishvara because it is unmoving, and the self is not him either because it has already been refuted above. Furthermore, if we cannot conceive of the creator Ishvara, what is the point of trying to describe this inconceivable entity? Moreover, exactly (121) what effects is Ishvara asserted to produce?
Naiyayika: He creates the self, the atomic particles of the earth element and so forth, as well as the later continuity of himself.
Madhyamika: But don’t you accept the nature of these things to be permanent? If you do, it is contradictory to say that they are produced. Consciousness (is not produced by Ishvara); its particular states arise from the various objects of consciousness and its mere cognitive nature arises from (122) a beginningless series of previous cognitions. Pleasure and pain too are produced from wholesome and unwholesome actions respectively. Therefore please tell me what effects are produced by Ishvara. if the cause, Ishvara, the permanent producer of effects, has no beginning, how can the effects of pleasure and so forth have a beginning? Similarly, since Ishvara also has no end, (123) why would pleasure and pain not always exist? According to you they should exist in this way, but in reality they are clearly occasional phenomena.
Naiyayika: It is not necessary that Ishvara always produces effects, because although he is permanent, he depends upon other, occasional conditions in order to produce them.
Madhyamika: But it would follow that Ishvara cannot depend upon anything else because there are no phenomena other than those that have been created by him. Therefore upon what does his production of effects depend? (124) if he depended upon a group of other conditions, it would follow that those conditions themselves would become the cause instead of Ishvara. This is so because, once the causes and conditions were assembled, Ishvara would have no power not to produce the effects and without’these (other causes and conditions) he would have no power to produce effects. (125) if effects were produced without the desire of Ishvara, it would follow that they were under the power of something other than him. Even if effects were created according to his desires, their production would be dependent upon his desires. And if his creation were dependent, upon his desires. And if his creation were dependent, what would become of (your permanent, independent) Ishvara? He would be under the power of impermanent desires. (In addition) (126) the Vaisheshikas assert that both the animate and inanimate worlds are produced by permanent atomic particles. This assertion cannot be accepted because we have already refuted permanent atomic particles above. The Samkyas believe that all knowable entities can be classified under the conscious self and the material primal substance (together with its manifestations). Among these two, the self is neither a cause nor an effect whereas the permanent, partless, material, invisible and all-creating primal substance is asserted to be the cause of the world. (127) They speak of a balanced state of the three qualities (triguna) of equanimity, pleasure and pain, called (in their system) ‘purity’ (sattva), ‘activity’ (rajah), and ‘darkness’ (tamah), as being the primal substance. And they speak of imbalanced states of these three qualities,, i.e. all states that manifest from the initial imbalance of the primal sub stance, as being the world.
Madhyamika: (128) This primal substance you accept cannot be existent because it is impossible for something that is truly partless to truly exist with a threefold nature. Likewise the qualities cannot truly exist as three because each of them has three aspects. This latter reason is established because you accept that every truly existent (manifest) phenomenon has the nature of the three qualities. Furthermore (129) if the three qualities the cause—do not (truly) exist, the existence of the phenomena, such as sound, that are manifested from them as effects becomes extremely far-fetched. It is not possible for clothing and the like, (i.e. tactile sensations, visual-forms, sounds, etc.), to have the same nature of pleasure and so forth because they have no conscious quality. (They are manifestations of the primal substance which is matter).
Samkhya: (130) Things such as clothing have (the nature of) pleasure and so forth because they truly are of the nature of their cause, namely (the qualities of) pleasure, pain and equanimity (from which they became manifest).
Madhyamika: But things such as clothing are similar to the body (in being composed of parts), and have we not already refuted (the true existence) of the body with our analysis? Furthermore, in your tradition the cause for clothing and so forth is asserted to be the three qualities of pleasure and so forth. (But how can this be?) Woolen cloth does not arise from pleasure. (On the contrary), even conventionally, it is seen that (131) pleasure arises from woolen cloth. Moreover, upon analysis, the woolen cloth —the cause—(is found to) have no true existence and therefore pleasure, its effect, can also have no true existence. Pleasure and the other feelings can never be (validly) apprehended as permanent because they are occasional phenomena. (132) if pleasure were always manifestly present, then why is it not also experienced at times when pain is produced?
Samkhya :When pain is produced, pleasure is not experienced because it becomes very subtle.
Madhyamika.- But how can something permanent be sometimes gross and sometimes subtle? (133) Since it becomes subtle upon ceasing to be gross, this alternately gross and subtle feeling must be impermanent. For similar reasons, why do you not accept that all manifest things are impermanent?
Samkhya: Although the various gross and subtle states of pleasure are impermanent, the nature of pleasure itself is permanent.
Madhyamika: (134) Since the gross (and subtle) forms of pleasure are nothing other than pleasure itself, and since they are impermanent, pleasure itself clearly must be impermanent as well. You accept that something cannot be produced from nothing because it does not exist (in the nothingness), just as oil can never come from sand. (135) Thus while you do not accept the production of manifest entities that were previously non‐existent, you do claim that (manifest entities) must abide (at the time of their cause) because, although at that previous time they are in an un-manifest state, later (at the time of the effect) they arise in a manifest form. But if the effect abided in the cause, to eat food would be to eat excrement, and (136) you should purchase and wear cotton seeds with the money you pay for clothing.
Samkhya: Although things do exist in this way, the confused people of the world do not wear cotton seeds because they cannot see clothing in them.
Madhyamika: But even Kapila, (the founder of your tradition), whom you accept as a Knower of Truth, wore clothing and not cotton seeds. Thus this must have been true for him as well. Furthermore, because in your tradition (137) a Knower of Truth —the effect — would.exist in a worldly person — the’ cause — why do worldly people not see clothing in cotton seeds? It follows that they should.
Samkhya: Indeed a Knower of Truth does exist in its cause, a worldly person, but at time of being a cause all the states of mind of worldly people are invalid. Therefore they do not understand (that clothing exists in cotton seeds).
Madhyamika: In that case even the effects (such as food, clothing, Knowers of Truth etc.) that they clearly see would be untrue, because they too would be objects of deceived minds.
Samkhya: (138) if , according to you Madhyamikas, even valid cognitions are not valid, i.e. deceived, wouldn’t the emptiness they understand also be false? It must be. Therefore meditation upon the ultimate (truth) of emptiness is surely incorrect.
Madhyamika: (139) Without contacting, i.e. apprehending, the true existence which the mind has imputed, one will not apprehend its non-true existence (its emptiness). In the same way, without having thought of the son of a barren woman, one cannot consider his death. And because non- true existence is dependent upon true existence, the non-true existence that is a negation of the false existence also is clearly false (i.e. it has no true independent existence). Nevertheless it is quite valid to meditate on emptiness because it is the remedy that eliminates the apprehension of true existence. For example, (140) when his child dies in a dream, the dreamer’s thought of the child’s non-existence causes the thought of the child’s existence to cease. But although the thought of his non-existence is false, it still has the ability to abandon the thought of his existence.
(141) Therefore, when such an analysis is made with these reasonings, no impermanent thing (is found to) exist with no cause, and no individual cause or condition or any assembly of conditions (is found to) have existed from the very beginning. (142) Since (truly existent phenomena) do not come anew from (somewhere or something) else, in the beginning they are not produced, in the middle they do not remain, and in the end they do not go elsewhere upon cessation. How, then, are all these things, which under analysis are not established, although they are apprehended as true by confused minds, not different from illusions? They appear to be truly existent, whereas in fact they are not.
4. Establishing that Phenomena Conventionally arise from Causes
(143) Whatever horses and elephants have been made manifest through a (magician’s) illusion and whatever visual forms and so forth have been made manifest by causes and conditions should be examined as to where they first came from, where they abide in the meantime and where they go to in the end. Upon examination they will be found to be similar in not truly coming and going. (144) An effect will only be seen because of its being closely connected with a cause, but without that cause it will not be seen. Since it is a product of causes and conditions, it is similar to a reflection in a mirror; so how can it have true (independent) existence?
C. ESTABLISHING EMPTINESS OF TRUE EXISTENCE FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF THE EFFECT
(145) What would be the need of a cause for a thing that (truly) existed? (If it truly existed), it would already exist. And what would be the need of a cause for it if it didn’t exist at all? (If it didn’t exist), it would not be the effect of anything.
Objection: Although a cause cannot make a non-existent arise into a non-thing, it can change it into a thing.
Reply: This is illogical: (146) Even by means of a hundred million causes a non-thing cannot be transformed into anything else because it is permanent. If it were able to change, it would have to do so either while retaining its non-thingness or through discarding it. In the former instance how could it become a thing as long as its condition remained unseparated, from being a non-thing? And in the second instance what is there that could (first) separate itself from the state of a non-thing and then (proceed) to become a thing? This is an impossibility. (147) Furthermore, if the condition of a non-thing is not discarded, it will be impossible for a thing to exist at the same time. In which case when could a thing ever come to exist? Also (a further consideration should be made) in the case of a non-thing becoming a thing upon having first discarded the condition of a non-thing. Without actually becoming a thing, a non-thing cannot be separated from the state of a non thing, and (148) if it has not become separate from this state, it is impossible for the state of an existent thing to arise. Similarly, a (truly existent) thing does not become a non-thing upon cessation because it would absurdly follow that something with one nature would become twofold, i.e. both a thing and a non-thing. (149) In this way there is no cessation or production of (truly existent) things. Therefore all beings never have a (truly existent) birth nor a (truly existent) cessation. They are pacified (of true existence) from the very beginning, and by nature in the state beyond sorrow (i.e. in a state devoid of true existent). (150) Although sentient beings appear, they are not truly existent, just like a dream. And since they are found to have no essence upon analysis, they are also like a plantain tree. Therefore in their being (empty of true existence) there is no difference between the state beyond sorrow —Nirvana —and the state not beyond sorrow— cyclic existence.
IV The Results Of Wisdom
What is there to gain and what is there to lose
With things that are empty (of true existence) in this way?
Who is there to pay me respect
And who is there to abuse me?
From what are pleasure and pain derived?
What is there to be happy or unhappy about?
When I search for the ultimate nature,
Who is there to crave and what is there to crave for?
Upon analysis this world of living beings (is found to have no true existence).
Therefore who can die here?
What is there to come and what has been?
Who are friends and who are relatives?
O you (who are investigating reality),
Please recognize as I have done that all is just like space!
Those who wish to be happy
Are greatly disturbed by causes for conflict
And overjoyed by the causes for pleasure.
But, not finding happiness, they suffer,
And in order to find it they exert themselves.
They argue with others, cut and stab one another;
With many evil deeds they live in a state of great hardship.
Even though they repeatedly come to happy existences
And experience much pleasure there,
Upon dying they fall for a long time
Into the unbearable sufferings of lower realms.
Within conditioned existence the chasms (of suffering) are many
And the (liberating comprehension of) ultimate truth is absent.
Furthermore (the apprehension of true existence and the understanding of emptiness) mutually contradict one another.
But if, while in conditioned existence, I do not (realize) this ultimate truth
I shall (continue to experience) a limitless ocean of misery,
Unbearable and beyond analogy.
Likewise (through not having realized emptiness) I have little strength (for virtue)
And my human life (of leisure and endowment) is indeed very short.
Also, I strive hard to live long and avoid illness,
I am (concerned with) hunger, rest and sleep;
I am injured by others
And keep meaningless company with the childish.
Therefore this life swiftly passes with no meaning
And it is very hard to find the chance to investigate reality.
In this state, where is there the means to reverse
This beginningless habit of grasping at true existence?
Furthermore devils are exerting themselves
To cast us into vast unfortunate realms,
They show us many mistaken paths
And it is hard to resolve doubts about the perfect way.
It will be hard to find the leisure (of a human life) again,
And extremely difficult to find the presence of the Buddhas.
It is hard to forsake this flood of disturbing conceptions.
Alas, sentient beings will continue to suffer!
O indeed it is worth feeling sorrow
For those adrift in the river of pain, who
Although they experience great misery
Are unaware of the sufferings they go through.
For example, some (ascetics) wash themselves again and again
And others repeatedly enter fires,
But although they thereby suffer greatly
They pride themselves in being content.
Similarly, those (who mistake their suffering for joy)
And live as though there were no ageing or death
Are first of all killed (by the lord of death),
And then experience the unbearable misery of falling into lower realms.
When shall I be able to extinguish
(The pains of) those tormented by the fires of suffering
With the rain of my accumulated happiness
That has sprung from the clouds of my merits?
And by having, in the manner of not referring (to true existence),
Respectfully gathered the accumulation of merit,
When, by referring to others, will I be able to reveal emptiness
To those who are wretched and sad?
Through the virtue of having composed this work,
A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life,
May all living beings come to engage
In the Bodhisattva’s conduct.
May all beings everywhere
Plagued with sufferings of body and mind
Obtain an ocean of happiness and joy
By virtue of my merits.
For as long as they remain in cyclic existence
May their (mundane) happiness never decline,
And may all of them uninterruptedly receive
Waves of joy from Bodhisattvas.
May all embodied creatures,
Who throughout the universe
Experience hellish realms,
Come to enjoy the bliss of Sukhavati.
May those feeble with cold find warmth,
And may those oppressed with heat be cooled
By the boundless waters that pour forth
From the great clouds of the Bodhisattvas’ (merits).
May the forest of razor sharp leaves
Become a beautiful pleasure grove,
And may the trees of knives and swords
Grow into wish‐fulfilling trees.
May the regions of hell become places of joy
With vast and fragrant lotus pools
Beautified with the exquisite calls
Of wild ducks, geese and swans.
May the heaps of burning coals change into heaps of jewels,
May the burning ground become a polished crystal floor,
And may the mountains of the crushing hells
Become celestial palaces of worship filled with Sugatas.
May the rains of lava, blazing stones and weapons
From now on become a rain of flowers,
And may all battling with weapons
From now on be a playful exchange of flowers.
By the force of my virtues, may those caught in the fiery torrents of acid,
Their flesh eaten away, revealing their lily-white bones,
Obtain the bodies of celestials
And dwell with goddesses in gently flowing rivers.
“Why are the henchmen of Yama, the unbearable buzzards and vultures afraid?
Through whose noble strength is joy brought upon us and darkness dispelled?”
Looking up, they behold in the firmament the radiant form of Vajrapani!
Through the force of their joy may they be free from evil and find his company.
When they see the lava fires of hell extinguished
By a rain of falling flowers mixed with scented water,
Immediately satisfied, they wonder whose work this was:
In this way may those in hell behold Padmapani.
“Friends, don’t be afraid but quickly gather here,
What need is there to flee when above us is the youthful Manjughosha to dispel our fears,
The tender Bodhisattva who protects all living things,
Through whose might all suffering is removed and the force of joy abounds.
Behold him in an enchanting palace resounding with hymns sung by a thousand goddesses,
With the tiaras of a hundred gods being offered to his lotus feet.
And a rain of many flowers falling on his head, the eyes of which are moist with kindness.”
Upon seeing Manjughosha in this way, may those in hell cry out loud with joy.
Likewise having seen, due to the roots of my wholesome deeds,
The cool and sweet-smelling rain falling from joyful clouds
Created by the Bodhisattvas Samantabhadra and Sarva-nirvarana-vishkambhi,
May all beings in hell be truly happy.
May all animals be free from the fear
Of being eaten by one another;
May the hungry ghosts be as happy
As the men of the Northern Continent.
May they be satisfied
By a stream of milk pouring from the hand
Of the Noble Lord Avalokiteshvara,
And by bathing in it may they always be cooled.
May the blind see forms,
May the deaf hear sounds
And just as it was with Mayadevi,
May pregnant woman give birth without any pain
May the naked find clothing, The hungry find food;
May the thirsty find water And delicious drinks.
May the poor find wealth,
Those weak with sorrow find joy;
May the forlorn find new hope,
Constant happiness and prosperity.
May all who are sick and ill
Quickly be freed from their illness,
And may every disease in the world
Never occur again.
May the frightened cease to be afraid
And those bound be freed;
May the powerless find power,
And may people think of benefiting one another.
May all travelers find happiness
Everywhere they go,
And without any effort may they accomplish
Whatever they set out to do.
May those who sail in ships and boats
Obtain whatever they wish for,
And having safely returned to the shore
May they joyfully reunite with their relatives.
May troubled wanderers who have lost their way
Meet with fellow travelers,
And without any fear of thieves and tigers
May their going be easy without any fatigue.
May those who find themselves in trackless, fearful wildernesses—
The children, the aged, the unprotected,
Those stupefied and the insane—
Be guarded by beneficent celestials.
May beings be free from all states of no leisure
And be endowed with faith, wisdom and kindness;
With food (obtained in a proper manner) and excellent conduct,
May they be mindful throughout their lives.
May all beings be without want for wealth
Just like the treasury of space,
And without (it being the source of) dispute or harm
May they always enjoy it as they wish.
May those who have little splendor
Come to be endowed with majesty;
And may those whose bodies are worn with toil
Find magnificent and noble forms.
May all lower life‐forms in the universe
Take (rebirth) in higher forms;
May the lowly obtain grandeur
And may the proud be humbled.
By the merits I (have accumulated),
May every single being
Abandon all forms of evil
And perpetually engaged in virtue.
May they never be parted from the Awakening Mind
And may they always engage in the Bodhisattva’s conducts;
May they be cared for by the Buddhas
And relinquish the actions of devils.
May sentient beings have lives
Inconceivably long (when in fortunate realms);
May they always live in contentment,
Unfamiliar with even the word ‘death’.
May there abound in all directions
Gardens of wish fulfilling trees
Filled with the sweet sound of Dharma
Proclaimed by the Buddhas and their Sons.
And may the land everywhere be pure,
Smooth and devoid of any rocks,
Level like the palm of the hand,
And of the nature of lapis lazuli.
For all the circles of disciples,
May many Bodhisattvas
Dwell in every land
Adorning them with their excellent (manifestations).
May all embodied creatures
The sound of Dharma issuing from birds and trees,
Beams of light and even space itself.
May they always meet with Buddhas
And their sons the Bodhisattvas,
Then may these spiritual masters of the world
Be worshipped with endless clouds of offerings.
May celestials bring timely rains
So that harvests may be bountiful.
May kings act in accordance with Dharma
And the people of the world always prosper.
May all medicines be effective
And the repeating of mantras successful;
May dakinis, cannibals and the like
Be endowed with compassionate minds.
May no living creature ever suffer,
Commit evil or ever fall ill.
May no one be afraid or belittled,
Or their minds ever be depressed.
In all temples and monasteries
May reading and recitation flourish and remain;
May the Sangha always be in harmony
And may their purposes be accomplished.
May monks desiring to practise
Find quiet and solitary places,
And through having abandoned all wandering thoughts
May they meditate with flexible minds.
May nuns be materially sufficient,
Abandon quarrelling (with each other) and be unharmed:
Similarly may all ordained ones
Never let their morality weaken.
Having repented any moral falls
May evil always be eradicated,
And thereby obtaining a happy state of birth
May spiritual conduct not decline even there.
May the wise be honored
And may they receive alms;
May their minds be completely pure
And may they be renowned in all directions.
May beings not experience the misery of lower realms
And may they never know any hardships;
With a physical form superior to the gods
May they swiftly attain Buddhahood.
May sentient beings again and again
Make offerings to all the Buddhas,
And may they constantly be joyful
With the inconceivable bliss of the Buddhas.
Just as they have intended
May the Bodhisattvas fulfill the welfare of the world,
And may all sentient beings receive
Whatever the buddhas have intended for them.
Similarly may the Pratyeka‐buddhas
And the Sharvakas find happiness.
And until I reach the level of the Joyous One
Through the kindness of Manjughosha,
May I be mindful throughout my lives
And always obtain ordination
May I live and be sustained
By simple, common foods,
And in all my lives may I find
The ideal solitude (for practicing Dharma).
Whenever I wish to see something
Or even wish to ask the slightest question,
May I behold without any hindrance
The Lord Manjughosha himself.
In order to fulfill the needs
Of beings who reach unto the ends of space,
May my way of life
Be just like that of Manjughosha.
For as long as space endures
And for as long as living beings remain,
Until then may I too abide
To dispel the misery of the world.
May all the pains of living creatures
Ripen (solely) upon myself,
And through the might of the Boddhisattva Sangha
May all beings experience happiness.
May the teachings, which are the sole medicine for Suffering
And the origin of every joy,
Be materially supported and honored
And abide for a very long time.
I prostrate to Manjughosha
Through whose kindness wholesome minds ensue,
And I prostrate to my spiritual masters
Through whose kindness I develop.