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Kulayarāja Tantra

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The Kulayarāja Tantra (Tibetan phonetically: Kunjed Gyalpo, Tibetan: ཀུན་བྱེད་རྒྱལ་པོའི་རྒྱུད་, Wylie: Kun-byed Rgyal-po'i Rgyud; English translation: "All-Creating King") is a Buddhist Tantra extant in Tibetan which centers upon the direct teachings of the primordial,

ultimate Buddha (Adibuddha), Samantabhadra. Samantabhadra is presented or personified in this tantric Buddhist text as bodhicitta, the Awakened Mind, the "mind of perfect purity".

In the Kunjed Gyalpo, Samantabhadra discourses to Vajrasattva who asks questions in clarification. This tantric work is the principal 'mind-series' (Wylie: sems sde) text of the Dzogchen view of the Nyingma sect of Himalayan Mantrayana. (Mantrayana is commonly known in English discourse as Vajrayana or Tibetan Buddhism).

Importantly, the Kunjed Gyalpo is the first text in the Tsamdrak edition of the Nyingma Gyubum.


The full title of the original work in Sanskrit is the Sarvadharma Mahasandhi Bodhichitta Kulayarāja Tantra; in Tibetan (rendered phonetically) it is Chö Tamched Dzogpa Chenpo Changchub Kyi Sem Kunjed Gyalpo. Summary

In the Kulayarāja Tantra, Samantabhadra tells of how he, the 'All-Creating King', is the essence of all things, beings and all Buddhas and that to know him, the Awakened Mind, is to attain the essence of Reality:

"I am the existential ground (gnas chen) of all Buddhas" and "... the root of all things is nothing else but one Self ... I am the place in which all existing things abide."

For a being to recognise their own Bodhicitta or Samantabhadra Buddha (eternally existent) is to be liberated.

Because sentient beings and all other phenomena arise because of Bodhicitta or the Mind of Perfect Purity, Samantabhadra refers to them in his teaching as his "children". Samantabhadra Buddha states:

"Oh all you sentient beings of this threefold world [i.e. the entire universe, both visible and invisible]! Because I, the All-Creating Sovereign, have created you, you are My children and equal to Me.

Because you are not second to Me, I am present in you ... Oh all you sentient beings of this threefold world, if I were not, you would be non-existent. ... Because all things do not exist outside of Me, I firmly declare that I am all - the All-Creating One."

Samantabhadra also insists: " ... everything is Me, the All-Creating Sovereign, mind of perfect purity ... I am the cause of all things. I am the stem of all things. I am the ground of all things. I am the root of all things ... There is no other Buddha besides Me, the All-Creating One."

It belongs to the nature of the unconditioned primal Awareness of Awakened Mind that it is eternal, indestructible and radiant with light:

"The characteristic of the self-originated pristine awareness is indestructibility, which is known as 'the place where all is light' (kun tu 'od kyi sa)".

Also: "The three aspects of My nature are to be known as follows: (1) unborn, (2), without termination, and (3) the source for the wonder of ceaseless creation ...

My own-being (svabhava, essence) is the sole Reality."

This ultimate basis of reality, Samantabhadra Buddha, also on occasion termed rigpa, is taught to reside in all beings and to be realisable - it is wisdom, the immortal essence, that is beyond thinking and which permeates the nature of mind and all things.

It is the spontaneous, thought-transcending instant presence of all-encompassing awareness.

It might be linked to the notion of Tathagatagarbha, which (e.g. in the Angulimaliya Sutra) is stated to be the pure essence at the very heart of mind.

However, all figures, i.e. Samantabhadra, Vairochana, Vajradhara etc. are traditionally understood to be personifications of emptiness, the true nature of all phenomena (although emptiness is not a major theme of this particular tantra).

This being is the personification of Shunyata or emptiness; that all phenomena lack true existence yet still appear, this basis that is found in all phenomena..

Other Tibetan traditions (notably those of the Jonangpa School of Tibet) envision this tantra in quite a different manner and see not a negative emptiness, but a fullness and all-fulfilling perfection of Buddhic Mind and virtue as constituting the heart of all that is.

Samantabhadra Buddha states:

"From the three aspects [i.e. the Unborn; no ending; source of the wonder of ceaseless creation] of My nature, i.e. that of the All-Creating One, [comes] the fullness which fulfills all needs."

And: "What is known as the revealed Buddha is this evidence of My own being. Because it has the centre, the central vigor, it is the Self of everything.

As it does not need any deeds, it is the Buddha since the beginning. As it is free of striving and achieving, it is since the beginning known as great. The Great Self is known as the Great Buddha. This evidence which is unborn and non-conceptual is the dimension of Reality (dharmadhatu) ...".

This Reality is utterly unconditioned, non-dependent, and full of bliss. It alone knows itself:

"There is not one thing which is dependent on another. This great self-perfected bliss will intuitively be understood by the strength of the Self which is incomparable pristine awareness."

Ultimate Buddhic Reality, described in this scripture as 'pure and total consciousness', is presented as fundamental essential substance, not engendered by causes and conditions - a true essence that is possessed of self-arisen wisdom that governs all things, both animate and inanimate, and which bestows life on all:

"'Consciousness' means that self-arising wisdom, the true essence, dominates and clearly perceives all the phenomena of the animate and inanimate universe. This self-arising fundamental substance, not produced by causes and conditions, governs all things and gives life to all things."

In this recondite realm, all speculation and conceptualization is inadequate, and only direct perception of Samantabhadra Buddha can disclose the ultimate Truth: "All that exists is My own being. The entirety of the animated and inanimated world is My own being. Outside of My own being, nothing is, therefore the root of all things consists in Me. Not one thing exists that does not consist in Me."

Critique of English translation


  • Longchenpa wrote a commentary on this tantra entitled: byang chub kyi sems kun byed rgyal po'i don khrid rin chen sgru bo]]; this is translated into English by Lipman & Peterson (1987)


Wikipedia:Kulayarāja Tantra