2. THE INITIATION OF THE DISCOURSE
2. THE INITIATION OF THE DISCOURSE
The purpose of this chapter is to divulge the enlightened intention of Samantabhadra’s pristine cognition, in which all things are ultimately expressed as primordial buddhahood and relatively expressed as great compassionate spirituality. The former is the genuine intention behind the discourse of this text, and the latter is the motivation for its appearance in an externally visible form—the arousal of compassionate energy for the sake of those who have not realized ultimate reality.
Two aspects of buddhahood are therefore discussed in this chapter: the genuine enlightened intention that initiates the discourse and the subsequent arousal of compassionate spirituality for the sake of living beings.
First, the genuine enlightened intention is explored through its three successive modalities: Samantabhadra, who embodies awareness, buddha mind itself, through the penetration of Samantabhadrī, reveals his enlightened intention that all the psychophysical aggregates, sensory elements, sense fields, and elements are integrated in the nature of the five buddha families and their retinue (vv. 1–2). Samantabhadrī, who embodies the abiding nature of reality which is the object of buddha mind, through indivisible union with Samantabhadra, reveals her enlightened intention that all world systems and their sentient contents and afflictive mental states are inherently empty, abiding in the great sameness of primordial buddhahood (vv. 3–4). Their nondual Supreme Identity (bdag nyid chen po), who is the male-female Samantabhadra in union (kun bzang yab yum), then reveals the enlightened intention that the reality of buddhahood exists primordially as pristine cognition. Thus, all things are primordially beyond creation, cessation, abiding, objective reference, and motion, and the awareness that realizes this is identified with pristine cognition or buddha mind (vv. 5–11).
The consequent arousal of compassionate spirituality through which this threefold enlightened intention of Samantabhadra is relatively expressed is then directed in four phases that parallel the four noble truths: for the focus of this spirituality is sentient beings’ lack of realization (vv. 12–13); the nature of their bewilderment (vv. 14–15); the atemporal presence of ultimate truth beyond bondage and liberation (v. 16); and the actual diffusion of compassionate energy that removes bewilderment (v. 17).
THE SECOND PART [of the inception of the tantra, see p. 38] is the description of the actual text of the second chapter, entitled “The Initiation of the Discourse” (184.108.40.206). This comprises (i) the initiation of the discourse through genuine enlightened intention (220.127.116.11.1) and (ii) a description of the dynamic of compassionate spirituality for the sake of sentient beings who have not realized the former (18.104.22.168.2).
THE INITIATION OF THE DISCOURSE THROUGH GENUINE ENLIGHTENED INTENTION [22.214.171.124.1]
The former itself comprises (i) the initiation of the discourse through the enlightened intention of the male buddha [[[Samantabhadra]]] (126.96.36.199.1.1); (ii) the initiation of the discourse through the enlightened intention of the female buddha [[[Samantabhadrī]]] (188.8.131.52.1.2); and (iii) the initiation of the discourse through the enlightened intention of their nondual union (184.108.40.206.1.3).
First, the initiation of the discourse through the enlightened intention of the male buddha [[[Samantabhadra]]] has two aspects: (i) the cause that induces his enlightened intention to initiate the discourse (220.127.116.11.1.1.1) and (ii) his actual initiation of the discourse (18.104.22.168.1.1.2).
The former, the cause [comments on the verse]:
Root Tantra (Ch. 2:1)
Then the Transcendent Lord, Samantabhadra, the active male subject who represents the indestructible reality of the mental faculty, engaged with his queen Samantabhadrī, the passive female object, who represents all mental phenomena, by means of his vajra, which is the natural modality of all [[[buddhas]]] without exception. Through this engagement, all the tathāgatas of the ten directions and four times without exception became indivisible in the nature of the unique [[[Samantabhadra]]]. So it was that the tathāgata himself uttered these aphorisms to and for the tathāgata himself.
Once the introductory narrative had been revealed, then the Transcendent Lord, the active male subject who represents and objectifies the naturally present pristine cognition, the buddha mind of the principal deity of the enlightened family, who is named Samanta because his indestructible reality of the mental faculty engages with multiple sense objects in a nondual manner, and bhadra because he does not stray from the essential expanse, intellectually engaged with his queen, who is named Samanta because, as the passive female object to be ascertained, she represents all the mental phenomena of cyclic existence and nirvāṇa without exception, and bhadrī because all things are primordially pure. This he did by means of his vajra—the indestructible reality unchanging throughout the three times, which is the natural modality of the three buddha bodies without conjunction or disjunction, gathering the enlightened intentions of all the buddhas of the ten directions and four times without exception, in order that the natural expression of all objects might exhibit primordial buddhahood.267 Through this intellectual engagement, all the tathāgatas of the ten directions and four times without exception became essentially indivisible in the nature of the unique Samantabhadra, the naturally present pristine cognition of buddha mind. So it was that, without perceiving mental phenomena extraneous to his own nature, the tathāgata himself uttered these following aphorisms to and for the tathāgata himself. [See plate 4a.]
HIS ACTUAL INITIATION OF THE DISCOURSE [22.214.171.124.1.1.2]
Root Tantra (Ch. 2:2)
Space is Dhātvīśvarī.
All things that there are without exception
Are not extraneous to the buddhas themselves.
Have not been found by the buddhas themselves.
—When he said this, all the tathāgatas rejoiced.
Emaho! intimates great wonder because all things are originally pure. The term indestructible reality denotes the nature of all buddhas and sentient beings, which is the primordial uncreated buddhahood, and the aggregate of which it is comprised denotes the natural expression combining actual reality or emptiness and apparitional reality or appearances. Its aspects are the five psychophysical aggregates, beginning with consciousness, which [in reality] are known as the five genuinely perfect buddhas, beginning with Akṣobhya. Similarly, all the manifold aspects of the twelve sense fields and the eighteen sensory elements abide primordially as the nature of the maṇḍala of the retinue of male and female bodhisattvas.
The sense fields (āyatana, skye mched) are so called because they cause the six sense objects such as visual forms and the six modes of sensory consciousness such as visual consciousness to arise (skye), while causing the continuity [of their perception] to be sensed (mched) in the subsequent instant. When classified, they comprise the six objective [[[sense fields]]], namely, those of visual forms, sounds, odors, tastes, tangibles, and mental phenomena; and the six corresponding sense organs [i.e., subjective sense fields], namely, those of the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mental faculty; twelve sense fields in all. The eighteen sensory elements comprise the six sense objects such as visual forms, the six sense organs such as the eyes, and the six modes of sensory consciousness, such as visual consciousness.268
The five material elements also represent buddhahood in the essential nature of the five female buddhas. As such, earth and water are respectively Buddhalocanā and Māmakī. Fire and wind are respectively Pāṇḍaravāsinī and Samayatārā, and space is Dhātvīśvarī.
In the same way, the essential nature of the three planes of existence, namely, those of desire, form, and formlessness which are subsumed respectively in the outer elements, the inner elements, and the amalgam of ideation (rtog tshogs), is ostensibly impure, but it too abides in the nature of the primordial or original buddha fields. All things of cyclic existence and the realities of nirvāṇa without exception that appear, that is, all things of phenomenal appearance that there are, are not extraneous to the buddhas themselves. The so-called phenomena of impure cyclic existence, extraneous to the buddhas themselves and endowed with independent characteristics, when searched for have not been found by the buddhas themselves, even to the extent of an atomic particle. They are not found, and there is understood to be actually nothing that the buddhas do not find. Accordingly, it says in the [[[Tantra]] of the] All-Accomplishing King:
The disposition of the All-Accomplishing One,
Where all things are uncreated,
The All-Accomplishing One does not refer objectively
To being or nonbeing;
His disposition of natural sameness
Is the original ground, the baseless actual reality.269
When he said this, all the tathāgatas along with the assembled host of their queens rejoiced.
Second, the initiation of the discourse through the enlightened intention of the female buddha [[[Samantabhadrī]]], which emphasizes the abiding nature of actual reality or emptiness, has two aspects: (i) the cause that induces her enlightened intention to initiate the discourse (126.96.36.199.1.2.1) and (ii) her actual initiation of the discourse (188.8.131.52.1.2.2).
The former, concerning the cause [comments on the verse]:
Root Tantra (Ch. 2:3)
Then the queen Samantabhadrī, who is the passive female object, representing [the inherent purity of] mental phenomena, united indivisibly with the transcendent lord Samantabhadra, representing [the inherent purity of] the mental faculty, and uttered these aphorisms.
Once the abiding nature of the objective polarity had been intellectually expressed [by Samantabhadra], then his queen Samantabhadrī, who is the naturally pure object that appears to his intellect, the passive female object to be ascertained, representing [the inherent purity of] self-manifesting mental phenomena, united indivisibly in terms of the subject-object dichotomy with the transcendent lord Samantabhadra, representing [the inherent purity of] the mental faculty, the subjective pristine cognition that is awareness. And then she uttered this following statement as the essential nature of her aphorisms concerning this abiding nature of actual reality, emptiness. [See plate 4b.]
HER ACTUAL INITIATION OF THE DISCOURSE [184.108.40.206.1.2.2]
Root Tantra (Ch. 2:4)
Apart from the supreme nucleus of all [things],
The conquerors do not seek the doctrine elsewhere.
Doctrines said to be other than that,
Though sought, have not been found by the conquerors.
O! is exclaimed to indicate the wonder of actual reality. It is wondrous in the sense that all the great trichiliocosms of the ten directions, illustrated by this self-manifesting world system, are revealed to be primordially and originally empty and therefore isolated from the senses. This means that the physical environment is emptiness.
Concerning the term trichiliocosm, a world system endowed with four continents comprises a single series of four continents encircling Mount Sumeru. This is surrounded by a barrier range equal in height to Mount Yugandhara and adorned with the divine mansions of the world systems of desire and form. The first chiliocosm (stong dang po’i spyi phud kyi ’jig rten) delimits one thousand of these world systems and is surrounded by a barrier range equal in height to the abode of Trayastriṃśa. The dichiliocosm (stong gnyis pa bar ma’i ’jig rten) delimits one thousand of those and is surrounded by a barrier range equal in height to the abode of Paranirmitavaśavartin, and the great trichiliocosm (stong gsum gyi stong chen po ’jig rten gyi khams) delimits one thousand of the latter and is surrounded by a barrier range equal in height to [[[Brahmakāyika]],] the abode of the first meditative concentration. In this context, all the fields and world systems, illustrated by this one, are identified with emptiness, and as such they are similar to a reflected image.271
All sentient beings inhabiting these [[[world]] systems] are also demonstrated to be empty. For their three planes of existence abide in the nature of the spontaneous Bounteous Array, the fields of the primordially pure buddhas.272
In addition, the five degenerations are themselves essentially nothing other than the naturally present pristine cognition—supremely blissful states. This is because the energy of the five pristine cognitions appears as the five poisons and generates the suffering of cyclic existence when [[[beings]]] are bewildered within the subject-object dichotomy. There are some who have mistakenly explained that this passage refers to the degeneration of time and so forth [and not to the five poisons].273
The five psychophysical aggregates of living beings themselves are the primordially and manifestly [[[Wikipedia:perfect|perfect]]] buddhas, as has been mentioned above. Therefore, the supreme nucleus is the nature of enlightenment or sameness, the abiding nature of all phenomena which is neither positive nor negative, and without acceptance or rejection in all respects. Apart from this, the conquerors do not seek the doctrine elsewhere. Everything is the natural expression of the buddhas, and any erroneous doctrines said to be impure or other than that buddhahood, though sought, have not been found by the conquerors elsewhere. They are not found.274
THE INITIATION OF THE DISCOURSE THROUGH THE ENLIGHTENED INTENTION OF THEIR NONDUAL UNION [220.127.116.11.1.3]
Third, [the initiation of the discourse] through the enlightened intention of their nondual union has two aspects: (i) the cause that induces their enlightened intention to initiate the discourse (18.104.22.168.1.3.1) and (ii) their actual initiation of the discourse (22.214.171.124.1.3.2).
The former, the cause [comments on the verse]:
Is also cultivated as pristine cognition.
Root Tantra (Ch. 2:5)
Once the objective reality [identified with Samantabhadrī] had been purified in the essential nature of the subject [identified with Samantabhadra], who is the pristine cognition that is awareness, then the nondual Supreme Identity of the male buddha or awareness and the female buddha or emptiness spoke as follows concerning the mind that exists primordially as naturally present pristine cognition, facilitating the understanding of the actual reality of buddhahood, and that is cultivated as such in beings who already possess it. This is because cyclic existence and nirvāṇa are both endowed with buddhahood in primordial sameness. Accordingly, it says in the Tantra of the Marvelous King:
Are primordial buddhas.
In the case of beings who know that this is so,
The mind generates supreme enlightenment!275
THEIR ACTUAL INITIATION OF THE DISCOURSE [126.96.36.199.1.3.2]
This [[[reality]]] is without creation, cessation, or abiding.
It is without reference and without movement.
Root Tantra (Ch. 2:6–11)
All is created through the uncreated.
At creation itself, there is no creation.
All ceases through the unceasing.
All abides through the nonabiding.
At abiding itself, there is no abiding.
All is referential through the nonreferential.
At reference itself, there is no reference.
Things move through an absence of movement.
Emaho! is exclaimed because all things are primordially beyond creation, cessation, and objects of conceptual elaboration, and the intellect that realizes this is indeed revealed as the nature of the five pristine cognitions. This reality, which is the wondrous abiding nature of all things, more marvelous than others, is the truth of the profound secret of all the perfect buddhas. What, you may ask, is [this secret]? It is that through the disposition of the uncreated original actual reality, all things subsumed within appearance and emptiness, cyclic existence and nirvāṇa, appear to be created as in a dream or magical display. But at the moment when their creation itself manifests, actually there is no creation. This is the essential nature—the expanse of actual reality, and the intellect that realizes it is the pristine cognition of reality’s expanse.
The first two lines [of this stanza] are similarly combined with the four succeeding stanzas in the following manner: Through the primordially unceasing actual reality in which diverse incandescence is reflected as on the surface of a mirror, all the reflected imagery that appears as the diversity of apparitional reality ostensibly ceases. But at the moment when their cessation itself manifests, there is no cessation. This is the mirrorlike abiding nature, and the intellect that realizes this is the mirrorlike pristine cognition.
Through the sky-like disposition in which all things are primordially nonabiding, all the diversity of phenomena which appears in that manner ostensibly abides. But at the moment when abiding itself becomes manifest, actually there is no abiding. This is sameness, and the intellect that realizes this is the pristine cognition of sameness.
Through the disposition that is similar to space or the mid-reaches of a clear ocean, in which the natural purity of the mind is nonreferential and signless, all that arises as the diversity of thought in the manner of clouds or reflected imagery is ostensibly referential in terms of refutation, proof, and so forth. But at the moment when objective reference to the diversity of thought itself occurs, it is groundless and baseless, and in fact there is no objective reference. This is discernment, naturally devoid of substantialist thoughts, and the intellect that realizes this is called the pristine cognition of discernment.
Through a phantomlike disposition where there is originally an absence of movement with respect to all things, appearances and awareness seem to move diversely. But at the moment when movement itself occurs, the intrinsic essence abides and there is no movement. This is the accomplishment of activity, and the intellect that realizes this is the pristine cognition of accomplishment.276
There are some who claim that the meaning of these [[[stanzas]]] is connected with the pristine cognitions of the four delights (dga’ ba bzhi’i ye shes), but there is evidently no occasion to make this connection here. This is a circumstance in which [not delight but] the abiding nature of all phenomenal appearance, cyclic existence and nirvāṇa, is revealed.277
When they said this concerning the primordially pure modality of all things, all the male tathāgatas, [[[symbolizing]]] appearance, and all the assembled host of their female queens, [[[symbolizing]]] emptiness, too were filled with joy, primordially in sameness.
THE DYNAMIC OF COMPASSIONATE SPIRITUALITY FOR THE SAKE OF SENTIENT BEINGS WHO HAVE NOT REALIZED REALITY [188.8.131.52.2]
The latter part [of the second chapter, see above, p. 98] reveals the dynamic of compassionate spirituality for the sake of sentient beings who have not realized reality. This comprises (i) a teaching on the object in respect of which compassionate spirituality is induced—that is, sentient beings’ lack of realization (184.108.40.206.2.1); (ii) the bewilderment in cyclic existence which occurs through the egotistical apprehension of that unrealized nature (220.127.116.11.2.2); (iii) the truth devoid of bondage and liberation that is not bypassed from the very moment when bewilderment manifests (18.104.22.168.2.3); and (iv) a description of the diffusion of the emanational display of compassionate spirituality in order that this reality might be revealed (22.214.171.124.2.4).
THE OBJECT IN RESPECT OF WHICH COMPASSIONATE SPIRITUALITY IS INDUCED, THAT IS, SENTIENT BEINGS’ LACK OF REALIZATION [126.96.36.199.2.1]
The first of these has two sections: (i) indicating the cause that induces compassionate spirituality (188.8.131.52.2.1.1) and (ii) indicating the object in respect of which it is thereby induced (184.108.40.206.2.1.2).
The former [comments on the verse]:
Root Tantra (Ch. 2:12)
THE OBJECT IN RESPECT OF WHICH COMPASSIONATE SPIRITUALITY IS INDUCED [220.127.116.11.2.1.2]
Root Tantra (Ch. 2:13)
Manifests as diversity, but it is naturally secret.
It is more secret, owing to its essential nature,
And it is most secret, because it is not extraneous.
—In accordance with these words . . .
Emaho! is exclaimed out of distress, lamenting the host of sentient beings who have not realized this [[[reality]]]. As long as the nature of all things is not realized from the very beginning to be the truth of original buddha-hood, this remains a primordially secret reality for all living beings. It manifests as the diversity of phenomenal existence, and these [[[manifestations]]] primordially abide in the actual reality of the three buddha bodies, without conjunction or disjunction, but it is naturally secret because they are perceived as impure bewildering phenomena. This nature of things, unrecognized as the reality where appearance and emptiness are without conjunction or disjunction, is even more secret, owing to its essential nature, unlike [lesser truths] which are extraneously hidden. This reality is not extraneous to the nature of one’s own mind, but most secret because it is not seen to be present in oneself.
There are some who hold that [this reality] is kept secret from an unworthy recipient, but [such comments] are inappropriate because the present context is one in which the secret nature of the ground [and not of the path] is revealed.278
THE BEWILDERMENT IN CYCLIC EXISTENCE THAT OCCURS THROUGH THE EGOTISTICAL APPREHENSION OF THAT UNREALIZED NATURE [18.104.22.168.2.2]
The second section, concerning the condition of bewilderment, has two aspects: (i) indicating the cause of compassionate spirituality (22.214.171.124.2.2.1) and (ii) the actual modality of bewilderment (126.96.36.199.2.2.2).
The former, indicating the cause [comments on the verse]:
Root Tantra (Ch. 2:14)
. . . all the tathāgatas and all things are indivisible because they share one defining characteristic in the essential nature of primordial buddhahood. However, the conceptual thoughts of living beings have ripened through fundamental ignorance into the inconceivable five classes of living beings. Generating great compassionate spirituality in the form of the supreme pristine cognition of the buddhas for their sake, they uttered these aphorisms.
All manifestations of the body of actual reality of the pure tathāgatas, along with their fields, and all things of impure cyclic existence that manifest within the three planes of existence, that is, the [[[inanimate]]] environments and their [[[sentient]]] inhabitants, are indivisible because they share one defining characteristic in the essential nature of primordial buddha-hood. In this way they are pure. However, the conceptual thoughts of living beings have ripened into the inconceivable modes of happiness and suffering experienced by the five classes of living beings, namely, those of the three lower realms along with the gods and human beings.279 These are outcomes that arise through the dualizing fundamental ignorance of the bewildering subject-object dichotomy. Generating great naturally present compassionate spirituality in the form of the supreme spontaneous pristine cognition of the buddhas for their sake, once again they uttered these aphorisms, which follow.
THE ACTUAL MODALITY OF BEWILDERMENT [188.8.131.52.2.2.2]
Root Tantra (Ch. 2:15)
There are diverse corporeal forms, resources,
The possessor and the possessed are differentiated.
Emaho! is here exclaimed as the natural expression of loving-kindness. Bewilderment has emerged from the disposition of the seed of buddha nature, the original abiding state, the luminous nature of mind. The seed of buddha nature is that which abides as the essential nature of the luminous nature of mind, the three buddha bodies without conjunction or disjunction. In this regard, it says in the Sūtra of the King of Meditative Stability:
Undisturbed, and nonconditioned
Is the seed of buddha nature,
When bewilderment occurs through any conditions, the conceptual thoughts of individual sentient beings arise of their own accord. Thus, these great bastions of cyclic existence are emanated in the manner of self-manifesting dreams by causally effective deeds. There are corporeal forms of diverse living beings including the gods, the resources that they desire, their abodes including the celestial realms (svarga), their respective joys and sufferings, and so forth which manifoldly appear, and with regard to which living beings apprehend the concept “I” as a possessor and concepts such as “my things” as being possessed. These are differentiated as a subject-object dichotomy, so that beings are never liberated from cyclic existence.
Root Tantra (Ch. 2:16)
[But] unfettered by any agent, fettering is nonexistent.
Knots in the sky are persistently tied and untied.
Despite such afflictions caused by the many aspects of happiness and suffering in cyclic existence, in the abiding nature, as in space, living beings are unfettered by any agent that would fetter them. Even afflictive mental states that ostensibly appear to be fettering are actually nonexistent because there is not in fact a single living being or even the nature of a living being’s mind that is an object to be fettered. From where, you may ask, however, has this ostensible fettering emerged? Bewilderment is fabricated, without actually occurring, by the egotistical grasping of conceptual thoughts, which suddenly arise. It is as if, for example, someone has persistently imagined a rope in the sky in front, and then tied and untied many knots in it. In the same way, the nature of one’s own mind is originally pure like the sky, but it appears as the bewilderment of cyclic existence because it has contrived many modes of refutation and proof, or of subject and object. Just as a knot in the sky may also seem more veridical the longer this intellectual effort is sustained and yet nothing is actually tied, this bewildering appearance of cyclic existence is more veridical the longer one does not abandon one’s attachment to the subject-object dichotomy, and yet it is actually not veridical at all.
THE DIFFUSION OF THE EMANATIONAL DISPLAY OF COMPASSIONATE SPIRITUALITY IN ORDER THAT THIS REALITY MIGHT BE REVEALED [184.108.40.206.2.4]
To show that there is neither fettering nor liberation,
The diffusion of diverse [[[compassionate]] spirituality] is emanated.
Root Tantra (Ch. 2:17)
And where there is neither fettering nor liberation,
The diffusion of diverse [[[emanations]]] is revealed.
In order to reveal to living beings this profound and secret reality of the buddhas, the nature of which is spontaneous and entirely perfect in the great field of primordial buddha body and pristine cognition, and also the nature of mind where there is neither fettering nor liberation with respect to all things of phenomenal existence, or of cyclic existence and nirvāṇa, the diffusion of diverse [[[emanations]]] is revealed. These comprise an inconceivable display of skillful means and inestimable emanations of great compassionate spirituality.
Root Tantra (Ch. 2:18)
This completes the exegesis of the second chapter from the Secret Nucleus of all buddhas Definitive with Respect to the Real, entitled the generation of both the ultimate [[[enlightened mind]]] of nirvāṇa, which is pure and free from all conceptual elaboration, and the relative enlightened mind of cyclic existence as the pristine cognition of sameness because buddha-hood has been attained from the beginning. These [respectively] reveal the indivisible abiding nature and the reason naturally present compassionate spirituality is diffused from the expanse [of reality] for the sake of living beings who have not realized [that reality].282