Translated by Jim Scott
Edited by Leon Breaux
There is something, left unknown,
that results in life’s three realms of vicious circling
though beyond all doubt, it dwells in every being.
To the ultimate realm I devoutly bow.
The stages of the path
purify cyclic existence’s cause
precisely the ultimate body.
Butter, inherent in milk,
does not appear.
The ultimate realm remains unseen,
mixed with the afflictions.
Separated milk no longer
Separating out the afflictions
reveals the stainless, ultimate realm.
A butter lamp burning inside
an opaque vase remains invisible.
The ultimate realm remains invisible
inside the dark vase of the afflictions.
If you perforate the vase,
light will shine
through precisely those holes
as is its nature.
At the very moment
when the diamond mind obliterates the vase
the light burning inside
shines throughout space.
The ultimate realm, unborn and unceasing
remains free of afflictions,
stainless at beginning, middle,
forever shines with brilliance.
Confined within a rough stone,
we see no brightness shining.
Obscured behind the afflictions,
the ultimate realm has no flaws.
Cyclic existence blocks its brilliance.
In liberation its light shines freely.
With the fundamental element present,
labor yields the purest gold;
lacking this fundamental element,
labor produces only woe.
As kernels enveloped
in their husks are not rice,
the name Buddha does not apply
to those enveloped in the afflictions.
Loosened from the husk
the rice appears,
and the Dharma body,
loosened from the afflictions, freely shines.
- 2 -
We say in the world
that banana trees have no pith.
Yet the fruit of the tree has pith, and is
sweet upon the tongue when eaten.
Cyclic existence has no pith,
and if beings can remove the peel of the afflictions
the fruit is Buddhahood,
nectar for all sentient beings.
From a given seed
results a fruit resembling its cause.
Who would seek to prove a fruit exists
without its specific seed as cause?
All great qualities support
the ultimate seed.
Through gradual refinement, step by step,
you will attain Buddhahood.
Five veils exist which obscure
the unstained sun and moon:
clouds, fog, smoke,
eclipses, and dust.
Five obscurations eclipse
the mind’s clear light:
desire, laziness, ill intent,
agitation, and doubt.
Fire can clean a soiled
cloth of stains,
burning away the taints
but leaving the cloth,
and the fire of primordial mind
burns away desire and the other afflictions
without burning away
the mind’s luminosity.
- 3 -
In the sutras, all the ways
the Victor describes emptiness
can rectify the afflictions.
None can diminish the potential.
Water deep inside the earth
lies untouched and perfectly clean.
Primordial mind rests within the afflictions
and remains free of flaws.
The Dharma realm is neither
the self, nor man, nor woman;
beyond anything perceivable,
how can you think of it in that way?
Within phenomena, free of passion,
you cannot see male and female.
We teach these terms to tame
those whom desire blinds.
The three designations of
impermanence, suffering, and emptiness purify the mind;
the teaching that nothing has any self-nature
refines the mind to its utmost.
A child in a pregnant woman’s womb,
though not yet born, lives there.
Obscured by afflictions,
the Dharma realm remains unborn.
From thinking I and mine,
and of their names and forms,
and from the elements and composite phenomena,
four conceptual patterns arise.
The Buddhas perceive
no characteristics in their aspiration.
The Buddhas are self-awareness
with their own beginningless, pure being.
- 4 -
Rabbits have no horns
except in the imagination.
Phenomena, mere projections,
possess no inherent existence.
Even the horns of oxen,
made of non-existent atoms, do not exist.
Since atoms do not exist, can you believe
something made from them exists?
Arising is a dependent phenomenon;
cessation is a dependent phenomenon.
Not one single thing exists—
how could the naive believe it does?
With examples like rabbits’ and oxen’s horns,
the One Thus Gone has proven
that all phenomena are nothing
other than the Middle Way.
You see forms
of the sun, moon, and stars
reflected in perfectly clear water;
thus are signs and characteristics.
That virtuous in beginning, middle, and end
is without deception, constant,
and free from self.
Can you truly surmise I or mine?
Water during the summertime
the same water in the winter
All sentient beings, every one ensnared
in the net of the afflictions,
when freed of afflicted states
- 5 -
When eye and form assume their right relation
appearances appear without a blur,
neither arising nor ceasing
in the Dharma realm.
When sound and ear assume their right relation,
a hearing consciousness free of thought occurs.
These three, the Dharma realm once free of characteristics,
become hearing when thought of conceptually.
Dependent upon nose and odor, you smell.
Neither arising nor ceasing exists,
but in the nose-consciousness’s experience,
the Dharma realm becomes smell.
Both the tongue and taste
have an empty nature
in the Dharma realm
and do not cause taste-consciousness.
The body’s emptiness,
and the empty characteristics of the touched object,
the tactile consciousness free of conditions—
these are the Dharma realm.
Sense consciousnesses reporting to the mental consciousness
become conceptualized and then superimposed on phenomena.
Abandon this activity to cognize phenomena’s lack of self-existence,
meditating on the Dharma realm.
When yogis understand everything
seen, heard, smelled, tasted, touched, and imagined
in this manner, all their wonderful qualities
All six of perception’s doors,
eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind
are utterly pure consciousnesses
The mind has two aspects:
conventional, or world-transcending.
Self-clinging produces cyclic existence
and self-awareness leads to suchness.
Desire ceases in liberation,
along with stupidity and anger,
the refuge of ennobled beings.
You either proceed with knowledge or without—
cyclic existence and liberation both live in the body.
Either your own thinking binds you,
or knowing the true nature frees you.
Enlightenment, neither near nor far,
neither goes away nor comes to you.
Within the cage of your afflictions
you either see it, or you do not.
Abiding in the lamp of wisdom
will lead to the most sublime peace.
Abide in examining self,
as taught in sutra.
The ten strengths assist the immature
with the full moon’s blessing force.
But caught in afflictions,
beings fail to see the Thus Gone Ones.
Those in the hungry spirit realms
see the sea as dry,
those in ignorance’s grip
think the Buddhas do not exist.
For lesser beings and lesser merit,
no matter what transcendent conquerors may do,
they but place a precious jewel
in the hands of the blind.
- 7 -
For those amassing sufficient merit
the signs radiate shining light.
All thirty-two blaze with brilliant glory
and these beings dwell in the presence of Buddhas.
The protectors inhabit bodily forms
for many aeons, and many yet to come;
to tame disciples they embody
different activities in the taming expanse.
Consciousness engages its object,
targeting its goal.
In the purity of self-awareness
abide the grounds of the Bodhisattvas.
The mighty Lords abide
in the magnificent Akanistha heaven
and consciousness, the object, and the goal
blend into one, I dare to say.
This renders total knowledge for the immature
and for noble ones affords variety.
To the gods it grants long activity
and causes life to span the long march of aeons
guarding the outer realm of beings,
preserving their lives through countless aeons,
causing the perseverance of life
within all beings,
this endless cause
of endless results.
Realizing the end of perception
dawns liberation in wisdom.
Do not consider enlightenment far off
nor close at hand;
when the six sense objects no longer appear,
you know the genuine.
Milk and water mixed
inhabit the same container
but a crane would drink the milk and not the water.
Transformation functions similarly:
the afflictions cover primordial awareness,
both together in one body.
Yogis choose primordial awareness
and leave ignorance behind.
Believing in the existence
of I, mine and phenomena
obviates the two forms of selflessness
leaving the seeds of existence undestroyed.
The Dharma realm makes the ground
for Buddhahood, liberation, purity, and permanence.
The undeveloped impute two kinds of self
but yogis abide without them.
In generosity you endure hardships,
in ethical discipline you accumulate the benefit of beings,
and through patience you perform the good of all.
These three cause your potential to unfold.
Through diligence in the teachings,
permeating your mind with meditative absorption,
and comprehensive reliance on wisdom,
enlightenment grows and flourishes.
Wisdom endowed with skillful means,
prayers of aspiration that purify,
the mastery of strengths, and thereby wisdom—
these four cause the potential to unfold.
Some say not to commit
your mind to enlightenment,
but without the progress of Bodhisattvas,
the Dharma body remains out of reach.
If you discard the sugarcane’s seeds
wishing to taste the fruit’s sweetness
you will have
no sugar at all.
If you value sugarcane seeds,
store them, cultivate them well,
and you harvest a crop of sweetest sugar.
through fully valuing the mind of enlightenment,
keeping it, and cultivating it well,
the ones liberated from birth and death and the solitary realizers arise
as do the perfectly enlightened Buddhas.
The farmer treats seeds
of rice and plants with great care.
The guides of aspirants to the greatest journey
treat them with supreme beneficence.
On the fourteenth day of waning,
the moon barely shows.
For aspirants to the greatest journey,
the three Buddha bodies hardly exist.
The new moon grows larger bit by bit.
Aspirants reaching the ten stages
the ultimate body.
On the fifteenth day of waxing
the full moon reaches perfection.
For aspirants achieving the final stage
the ultimate body shines clear.
The mind of enlightenment, perfectly arisen
through stable, consistent dedication
to the Buddha, teachings, and spiritual community
increases and develops further.
When you relinquish the four bad actions of killing, stealing,
unlawful sexual indulgence, and falsehood, and embrace the four right efforts of
discarding evil, preventing evil, developing good, and promoting good,
you realize thatness signifying the joyful stage.
Constant desire stains you
with shifting patterns.
Whoever has grown free
A flawless wisdom shines
through the afflictions’ torn net.
The light purifies all darkness,
removes it, and illuminates.
The light shines with the ultimate purity
of primordial mind and eliminates diversion.
It saturates, shining everywhere,
in the stage of radiance.
This stage called difficult-to-overcome
masters awareness, deeds, skills,
and the meditative concentrations
and vanquishes afflictions difficult to purify.
The directly-manifest stage
includes the three enlightenments
and perfects and completes all
with no more birth nor disintegration.
The Bodhisattvas’ webs of brilliant light
reach every point in their surroundings.
The Ones who reach far have crossed
cyclic existence’s swampy ocean
with the Buddhas’ definitive guidance,
become one with the sea of primordial awareness,
now spontaneous and free of effort,
and unshaken by the minions of illusion.
Here in the stage of select-intelligence
yogis have perfected dialectics
used to teach all points
with precise, correct awareness,
their body of primordial awareness
an unpolluted sky.
The Buddhas’ vigilance forms
an omnipresent Dharma cloud.
The Dharma body comprises
the ground of Buddhas’ qualities,
the perfected transformation,
with the fruits of training held in hand.
You may ponder cyclic existence’s tendencies
but freedom from them you cannot know.
Who can have the power
to know your inconceivable nature?
beyond the senses’ grasp,
self-realization requires the mind’s awareness.
I bow in praise of all you embrace.
The Buddhas’ illustrious heirs
follow the path, step by step,
in the primordial awareness of the Dharma cloud
and see emptiness.
With their minds ultimately cleansed
and cyclic existence’s cage destroyed
they assume their rightful place
on a lotus flower seat,
surrounded by many tens of millions
of lotus flowers
endowed with tantalizing anthers,
leaves alight with precious gems.
The Buddhas never fall from simplicity’s domain.
Replete with the ten powers,
their fearlessness sets others’ minds at ease.
Their qualities are inconceivable.
Through excellently practicing all paths,
they gather merit and reap complete wisdom,
like the high harvest moon
surrounded by the clustered stars.
The Buddha holds
a flawless blazing gem in a sun-like hand
and empowers the most senior heirs,
this abhisheka ritual the greatest of them all.
The mighty yogis living on this plane
view worldly beings with god-like eyes—
those frightened and distracted by suffering
and inferior due to their mental blindness,
And seeing them, light shines in rays from their bodies
without the slightest effort
and opens up the gates there for all
wandering in the darkness of their own confusion.
Those reaching liberation in their bodies
believe they reach liberation without remainder,
but the liberation reached in this tradition
frees the mind of any flaw.
On this plane we encounter
sentient beings free of substance
and see the sovereign mind of enlightenment,
the Dharma body free of flaw.
In Praise of the Ultimate Realm Dharmadhatustava
See the Dharma body in its purity
and transform into the sea of wisdom,
where from the depths a wealth of precious jewels
fulfills beings always wished-for needs.
In Praise of the Dharma Realm composed by the great
Acharya Nagarjuna is hereby completed.
Also edited Leon Breaux 2010.