HH the 14th Dalai Lama on Jonang, Shentong and Kālacakra Six Yogas

HH 14th Dalai Lama’s teachings on the Jonang, Kālacakra Six Yogas and Shentong

Tibetan teachings compiled by the Jonang Well-Being Association, can be seen in Tibetan  here. 

Below is an English translation I completed in June 2018. I received a letter of thanks from the Office of HH Dalai Lama for my work on it, see here.

Teachings at Shimla Monastery, March 2013

Before when I came here once, Jetsun Kalkha Dhampa was here. The Hundred Instructions by Kunga Drolchok were recited. Rinpoche has now passed away. Today in Shimla, when I arrived here, some wanted to meet for a little while. Khalka Rinpoche and I have both been Dharma friends since we were small. This Dharma lineage, Jonang is one of the main Dharma lineages of the land of Snows, Tibet. It is generally an important Dharma lineage, for the most part. Principally, in terms of the six yogas of the glorious Kalacakra, the Jonang is particularly exceptional. I think that the Jonang is probably the only lineage which is uncorrupted in terms of practising the six yogas. They are the ones who have maintained, protected and disseminated the teachings of the Glorious Kalacakra. That is an extremely important point.

When looking at the scriptures of Prajnaparamita, there are many debates about rang tong (empty of self) and shentong (empty of other). The ultimate is shentong, the relative is rangtong, they say. There are various ways of understanding shentong. For example, in the Guhyasamaja, the four emptinesses presented in there became shentong. The innately arisen primordial state is empty of adventitious/temporary phenomena. This is one understanding of Shentong based on that.

Previously, based on the experience of individual scholars, various ways of teaching Shentong came about. I have seen it to be like that. They say that the ultimate truth of reality is not rangtong. This kind of discovered meaning of talking about the ultimate and final truth is the ultimate truth. That is how this way of thinking seems to have come came about. It is the way of thinking of the individual scholars.

At this time you are studying the Jonang explanations. In the Snowy Land of Tibet, many great saints and noble beings were ris med (non-sectarian). Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya, Geden travelled great distances (4.17). Those non-sectarian Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya scholars having reviewed and experienced all the teachings, and having become familiar with them, said they are good. For example, myself, even though I am separate from [do not do] the rituals of Jonang, I have attained the scriptural lineage transmission of Jonang. In the presence of Ling Rinpoche, I have received the lineage transmission of the Jonang. Ling Rinpoche got the lineage transmission from Khyabje Phabongka Rinpoche.

Therefore, I admire and appreciate the works of all these great noble saints of Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya and Gendan. I have come into contact with those scriptures composed by those individual scholars. Actually, there are many eloquent teachings that came out of the skill of theses individual scholar’s critical investigations. If one unifies these teachings, that is of great benefit.

For example, if you have been able to read the scriptures of the monasteries of Jonang (5.17), that is good. There was one tutor out of the four tutors of the Omnisicient Nya Bonpa Je Rinpoche, that Je Rinpoche himself got the oral transmission of the explanations of Prajnaparamita. If you read the Golden Garland and so on, by Je Rinpoche, that is good. Similarly, in terms of Madhyamaka, for example, if you read and familiarise yourselves with Je Rinpoche’s presentation of both the Root [of Wisdom, by Nagarjuna] and the Entrance [to the Middle, by Chandrakirti], that is good.

Are you reading the Commentary [the Pramanavarttika] by Dharmakirti? Even if you haven’t read all of the Commentary, one must read two sections. Those two sections of the Commentary are very helpful at convincing one. After paying homage to the protector teacher, Tathagata, the explanation of the valid cognition in the Compendium [of Manifest Knowledge by Asanga] is extremely important. Those two sections of the Commentary, if you are able to read them that is good. Do you understand? The annotated commentary on the Commentary was composed by the Omniscient Ju Mipham, this word by word explanation is very good. There is not a detailed analysis. The detailed analysis is Khedrub Rinpoche’s The Ocean of Great Reasoning (Tika Chen Rigpai Gyatso) is really good.

If you all can read many texts that is good. Saying ‘I am Jonang’ and not being able to consider the scriptures is not good. For example, saying ‘I am Gelug’, if one has not read the scriptures of the Sakya and Nyingma that is not good. Similarly, saying ‘I am Nyingma or Kagyu’ and not having read the scriptures of the Gelugpa is not good. I explain it like that. The previous scholars gave refutations. One needs to think about how they explained their thinking regarding their debates and contentions when those individual scholars debated (8.04). For example, how was the thinking of those excellent masters, in terms of when they refuted the errors of Master Buddhapalita? One needs to think about what the view of Buddhapalita was. Those excellent spiritual masters’ refutations of the faults of Buddhapalita are clearly explained in Chandrakirti’s Clear Words (Prasana-pada). Those masters discussed, debated and refuted and if the two sides met, then basically one had a particularly, deep and profound understanding of the text. There are many Tibetan scholars who refuted Jonang. What was the reason they refuted Jonang? So, even though there are various types of analysis and ways of explaining the words, what was their way of explaining the innermost, ultimate nature? It is very important to look at the order in which these texts were compiled.

In the teachings of the sacred Dharma there are both the scriptural teachings and the experiential realisation teachings. Within the lineage that holds, protects and disseminates the scriptural teachings one needs to go via listening and learning. For the experiential realisation teachings, it is necessary to practise to accomplish that. These are the ways of apprehending the teachings of Buddha, the essential nature of scripture and realisation. By listening, contemplating and practising there are no other ways than that. The scriptural teachings are accomplished by listening and learning and the experiential realisation teachings are accomplished by practising. Apart from that, there is nothing else, it is said.

For example, we erect beautiful big temples. Generally, I think this is maintaining and protecting the teachings. Generally, I say this, building big statues and that kind of thing is good. One spends money and accumulates merit. If one builds a statue what arises from those material elements. (11.00) For thousands of years it will remain there. However, sound/speech does not come out of a statue. The statue of Buddha at Bodh Gaya is inconceivably great, however, sound does not come out of it. The one who sounds came out of, the Arhat Buddha, produced more than one hundred Kangyur. We must consider that. Normally I say that there are 17 pandit siddhas. The followers of Nagarjuna and the followers of the great Asanga, taught and explained their views on those more than one hundred Kangyur. Those followers of the Vinaya did lots of excellent study. Therefore, for us the necessity of studying is extremely important. Like that, when we are listening, contemplating and putting into practise, putting one’s own lineage that one mainly studies together with the various texts composed by those Indian and Tibetan scholars by reading them is very important.

Then here, you have the dark meditation of the six yogas. That is a special practise of Jonang. Previously, all the monks, after making a list of the order of names, they stay and then a few become part of a specialised class in a small amount of time. It is a very important part of being able to attain realisation and experience in the six yogas. Not only that, in the scriptures, there were very few who were really able to practise well. At the time of the Omniscient Buton Rinpoche, there were those meditating on the six yogas who were bringing the winds into the central channel and dissolving the three.

When I am sitting on my mat, I say that ‘if I build a monastic retreat centre it is good.’ At Drepung there is a retreat centre. There is also one at Sera Monastery. However one arrives at an understanding based on listening and contemplation it is very important to accomplish realisation by practising one-pointed calm abiding and that connected with it. The establishment of the retreat centres is done for that. I normally say this. The Buddha himself said: After listening one practises the essence, one will be able to be liberated from and easily say goodbye to birth. It is necessary to listen and contemplate by studying and learning and to accomplish experiential realisations through one-pointed meditation. You should all definitely hold this firmly in your mind. Do you understand? Thank you.

Jonang Shimla Monastery, March, 2014

(Jonangpa) Do you support the demand in the Tibetan Parliament for two seats.

Dalai Lama: Yes, that is up to the exile Parliament. So I already asked them many years before, I feel as if they have the right. There is the importance of the tradition.

Advice at the Longevity Ceremony for the Jonang, at home and abroad, 2010

Here today, I would like to thank those holders of the teachings of Jonang at home and abroad, those members of the refugee organisation, who have oragnised together this longevity ceremony (16.48). Normally, I say this. The Buddha’s teachings of the Nalanda tradition, the Tripitaka and the four classes of tantra, in summary are all the Hinayana, Mahayana and Secret Mantra vehicles. Furthermore, the teachings of the perfectly complete Buddha, ascertained by the path of reasoning, after spreading throughout the land of snows, Tibet, many accomplished scholars in Tibet itself gave teachings of great power. Similarly, the aspirations of many sacred and powerful beings who hold the teachings, for the vast benefit of others, gave teachings again and again (17.41). Through that, Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya, Jonang and Gelug and so on, the eight chariots of the practise lineages arose. So I am extremely pleased that you, the holders of the lineage of teachings of the Omniscient Jonang gave a longevity ceremony today.

Those sacred scholar-practitioners, possessed of both methods, in Tibet the land of Snows, through their own experience, similarly, through their skilful critical analysis to a more and subtle level, had various ways of teachings. Many ways of understanding the teachings came about. Also, this happened in the Indian scholars’ texts. The fundamental essence and meaning of the Buddhist teachings in Tibet, land of Snows, is like I said before, it is clear that the Dharma lineages of Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu, Jonang and Gelug all are united by the teachings of the glorious holders of the Nalanda tradition. If one unites the essence of practice, in the words of this Feast Offering (HH refers to a pecha text and reads it)…Previously, there was a longevity ceremony given here, and these words really pierced/touched my mind. So I sometimes read these words:

The naked state of illusory, self-manifesting appearances,

is luminous awareness without reference point.

remains the inexpressible sphere;

the flickering Great Bliss.

In brief, the completely perfect Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu, Gelug and Jonang, all centre on this pith core. They are all the same. There are various explanations of rangtong and shentong when one realises with great precision these words. The relative is rangtong, the ultimate is shentong. There are many explanations as to how the ‘imaginary’ and ‘dependent’ establish the truth of the emptiness of the ‘perfectly established’. This essence is necessary to unify the means for taming the mind; the result of meditating on this view.

The arrangement of the outer world are the illusory self appearances of the naked state. It is like seeing the truth of the illusory emptiness. Even though one speaks about the perceiver subject, this is the luminous awareness without reference point. The nature of this clear awareness is unobstructed. However, it remains without reference. Then remains the inexpressible sphere even when expressing it this is apprehended externally and also apprehended internally. Whatever one focuses on as the object it is not easy to make a reference. It leaves one with the inexpressible sphere. If one thinks about it like this, from the past until now, due to the afflictive emotions, the three poisons, improper conceptual beliefs and so on, the intrinsic mind becomes separated from its peaceful state. If one pacifies all the many mental elaborations, then it is said this is the flickering Great Bliss.

Therefore, if one contemplates this verse again and again, this is really a means from the glorious Nalanda tradition of taming one’s own mind. In terms of that which is called ‘taming one’s own mind’ after making aspirations, and after saying the verse, the taming of one’s mind will not happen. It is by extensively analysing and investigating the Dharma, that those whose minds are not tamed, will break out of the dark dungeon. And by seeing the naked ultimate reality, one will attain the direct experience of complete peace of that which has pacified the mental elaborations.

So today, here I want to thank the holders of the lineage of the Omniscient Jonang for giving the Longevity Ceremony. In terms of the view, the view of Jonang, previously in Tibet many scholars sometimes gave a series of many refutations. Afterwards, even though other scholars liked them, there were refutations of them. Like in this ritual text here, starting from Yumo Mikyo Dorje onwards, the disciples of Dolpopa and so on, are the main practitioners of the six yogas of Kalacakra, For example, in terms of the experience of the six yogas of Kalacakra, the Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya and Gelug all highly praise and recommend the Kalacakra, however, in terms of the practise of the six yogas of Kalacakra, the ones that demonstrate great power and focus on that are the Jonang. In terms of Gelug, even though they hold the Kalacakra to be important, the main practises are those of Guhyasamaja, Chakrasamvara and Vairabhavaira. The Kagyupas also consider the Kalacakra to be important but their main practises are Chakrasamvara and Vajrayogini. The Sakyapas also consider Kalacakra to be important, however their main practise is Hevajra.

In the Old Translation tradition of Nyingma for example, they also consider Kalacakra to be important, In temrs of the appearance of the empty form of Kalacakra and the appearance of the thod brgal and that kind of thing, if one thinks about this things extensively in detail, there are sometimes various differences. On the whole they are similar. So however the Old Translation school did it, they also considered Kalacakra to be important. Mostly, the Omniscient Jigme Lingpa, in the auto commentary he composed, talks about the way of realising the stages of the path via the individual secondary subtle channels in the chakras. The the bringing together of the bodhicitta and the red and white drops at the tip of each channel and the time of the arising of the unchanging bliss, is the travelling on the stages of the path. So the Omniscient Jigme Ling pa, for example, considered it to be important. However, in your tradition, your main practise, MahaAnuAti, in the Mahayogas, the eight principal maha yoga yidams (eight classes of Herukas), it is the main one. In particular, out of the turnings of the wheel of Dharma of the glorious Kalacakra, those who are the masters of the practise of the six yogas are the Jonang.

Previously, when the Jonang Khenpo Kunga Sherab came to Lhasa, at Phen Delek Sheling he said there are some amazingly good rituals of Kalacakra. These are mainly established from the liturgical tradition of Buton Rinpoche. In addition, thinking that it would be good if one got the guiding instructions on the six yogas, a Jonang Khenpo, Kunga Sherab when he came there at the monastery he gave the guiding instructions on the six yogas. Now, in the small monastic centre of the Jonang in Shimla, I offered some small facilities and resources do the six yoga practises, exemplified by the dark retreat.

In any case, those who are the holders of the complete teachings of the practice of the six yogas of Kalacakra, are the holders of the Dharma lineage of the Omniscient Jonang. For that reason, you are until now practising diligently. I also requested them to practise diligently. That is one thing.

Then, one should not insist on the view of shentong alone. It is necessary to consider the understanding of the view of rangtong (HH laughs). Do you understand? In Je Rinpoche’s Essence of Excellent Explanations, he sometimes gave a few refutations of Shentong. I don’t consider these to be refutations based on attachment and aversion. Je Rinpoche cleared away the danger of going to a possible place of error. Do you understand? For example, Chandrakirti, the masters of Samkhya, states in the Commentary on the Lamp of Wisdom on the Root of Wisdom, decided those subtle doubts that arose that were not understood. For that reason, you spoke with me about such debates, before I came to Shimla monastery.

You must consider the Essence of Excellent Explanations by Je Rinpoche. After seeing the situation from all the different perspectives, the teachings that the relative is rangtong and the ultimate is shentong, [one should consider] how are these views and thoughts come to be integrated with the six yogas? And how are they integrated with the Unsurpassed Highest Yoga Tantra? In the Five Stages of Guhysamaja, Je Rinpoche gave a presentation on the clear light of the spontaneously arisen ultimate nature. If one integrates [the teachings ] on the clear light of the innate nature, if one thinks that this is empty of those temporary, adventitious phenomena, the understanding of Shentong will be able to arrive.

So for example, in the Guhyasamaja doctrinal expositions, in addition to the understanding of the Shentong view, there is the first emptiness, the second emptiness, the third emptiness, the presentation of the four emptinesses, the understanding of shentong arrives on top of that. Therefore, it is important to contemplate the thinking process of the previous lamas way of teaching with conceptual labels. If one compares these two [differing ways of teachings], what arrives on top of that? Do you understand?

If one only looks at one’s own scriptural teachings and doesn’t see other scriptures, we Tibetans, for example, say there is the danger one becomes like a one-eyed yak eating grass. If one can read all the other scriptures and think ‘Oh that point there is like this point here’, respect and faith will arise. That is an important point. I request that you do this at the same time. In Dharamsala, the general mass of people who stay near my residence there are concerned about the general welfare of Tibet. Similarly, we all have unwavering faith so I would like to say thank to those who gave the longevity ceremony today.

Meeting of the Dharma Lineages, 2011

Now the Dharma lineage of Jonang recently offered a report and I also have a letter. They wrote that it is necessary to decide about the Jonang. Normally I say this about the Jonang, whatever one says or doesn’t say, if one is talking about doing the practise of the six yogas of Kalacakra, up until now, the Jonang are the main holders of the teachings. So one must recollect and remember this really great kindness. It is extremely good. And the views of rangtong and shentong, at the highest levels there is no difference. I normally say this, it arises in my mind. It is of great benefit to the mind, these words in one of the Jonang’s guru sadhana [by Taranatha]:

The naked state of illusory, self-manifesting appearances,

is luminous awareness without reference point.

there remains the inexpressible sphere;

the flickering Great Bliss.

It’s good isn’t it? If one thinks like that, one will see what one apprehends externally is not true; as like an illusion. Also, what one apprehends inwardly one will see is not truly established and like an illusion. Then, when this thought comes, these two the object of external apprehension and the mind that inwardly apprehends it at the time of looking for the reference of the object of observation, leads into the inexpressible sphere. If one abides naturally in that, then the ‘I’ and mental elaborations, far and near, are pacified. The mind will become lucidly clear like that.

If one has, or doesn’t have, previous high realisations in accordance with the Completion Stage. That goes straight to the point. The mind that is fatigued by mental elaborations becomes young, and rest in the inexpressible sphere. That saying is exactly right. It is good. Is really beneficial for one’s mind, if one’s three doors [body, speech and mind] are pacified and tamed by that, it is enough. One American I know told me he did a pilgrimage in Golok. After staying in retreat at Trashi Khyil (monastic university in Amdo), he didn’t understand why the people were staying there for a long time. The area of Golok and Dazmthang are Jonang. And there are a lot of people there staying in retreat. He found it completely enchanting and delightful. It is extremely good. Therefore, within those that are called the ten great pillars, within the eight practice lineages of the chariot, is the Jonang. So that is one point.

Kalacakra empowerment in Ladakh, 2014

So again I am giving the Great Kalacakra empowerment in Ladakh. Recently, the people who requested this empowerment are the general public of laypeople and monastics. So there are the two traditions of transmission, one of Bu (Buton Rinpoche) and the Dro tradition of of Jonang, these two of Buton and Jonang have the transmission of Kalacakra. Previously, the holders, preservers and disseminators of the Kalacakra teachings and practices of Buton Rinpoche were mainly in Central Tibet. However, these days there are not very many of them and thus the holders of the general and uncommon six yoga practises of the Kalacakra, the best ones, are mainly the Jonang.

Then, later a small Jonang monastic centre in Shimla was established. So, these people requested this [empowerment]. They are like the representatives of the many holders of the Jonang teachings who stay mainly in the district of Dzamthang, Tibet. Then, people from the Kongpo district of Tibet who arrived over the border with India. They have been requesting the great empowerment for several years. So, at present, here at the same time are those three groups who requested [the empowerment]. The high official of the empowerment will give it the day after tomorrow. Also, a Jonang Khenpo will recite the longevity ceremony of the 33rd empowerment to the Dalai Lama.

Then the Jonang made the Mandala. If you need the butter of the mandala, wrap it up for me. You over there please arrange that. Having taken it as a souvenir, what must one remember it as a souvenir of? You have the uninterrupted practice of the six branches of the glorious Kalacakra of the Jonang.

Then, in terms of rangtong and shentong, in terms of being naturally truly established, we have these kinds of debates (HH laughs). In any case, honestly speaking, from within the Tibetan Buddhist teachings, actually, those with the unbroken practise of the six branch yogas of Kalacakra, are the Jonangpa. In Tibet, in the Dzamthang region, these teachings have become a tradition that has spread extremely well and that is good isn’t it? So may they immediately bestow that!

Teaching during a Teaching on the commentary of the Stages of the Path, December 2014

One should think about the teachings of the Jonang on Shentong. The teachings on the four emptinesses of the Guhyasmaja, they are actually Shentong. The first empty and second empty are the emptiness of the eighty indicative conceptualisations[1]. So when talking about the two lower empties, that which is empty of the first emptiness, the appearances that are mounted on the winds, came to be understood as shentong. Then, in terms of that which is called ‘naturally established’, if one thinks about the emptiness of the ‘empty form’ then this form is naturally self-created right? So these two, positive and negative [phenomena] were established, weren’t they? These did not arise on account of temporary conditions. Through the power of yoga, the appearances of luminous clear light gradually manifested. There is a very good explanation about this in the General Meaning of Kalacakra of Khedrub Lobsang Gyatso (5th Dalai Lama). Similarly, it is also in the teachings of Tagtsang Lotsawa [a Sakya scholar who disagreed with Tsongkhapa]. S,o that is one understanding of that which is termed ‘naturally established’.

So, if one thinks about these kinds of divisions/categories, after extremely subtle and thorough investigations, then these postulations of these great Mahasiddhas concurred in terms of their experiential realisations. It is very important for you to contemplate their way of thinking on this point. Consequently, Panchen Lobsang Chogyan said, ‘even though there are many individual names and terms for it, the scriptures and reasoning on the ultimate/definitive meaning, if one analyses them, the scholars and those with yogic experiences were of the same ultimate view.’

So the view was the same. Also, those who are bound in the retreat approaching the deity in the Jonang monasteries, I didn’t go there. I contributed some resources and conditions. In any case, whatever one calls it or not, in terms of those who arrived at the experiential realisation of the practise of six yogas of Kalacakra , other than the Jonang, there are no other authentic sources that arrived there. (HH laughs).

When we come to talking about the view. we really enjoy debating about rangtong and shentong. Yet, apart from having arrived [at the view] by the six yogas and then saying ‘it is like that’, there is no other way of doing it ( HH laughs). This is such great kindness that there are still those now who are practising the six yogas.

Sometimes I recite the words of this verse, when I am recalling the view of emptiness. The words are from the Jonang Taranatha’s Feast Offering.

The naked state of illusory, self-manifesting appearances,

is luminous awareness without reference point;

there remains the inexpressible sphere;

the flickering Great Bliss.

This verse is beneficial for the mind. When one understands the meaning. Then one also really understands rangtong. For example, what one apprehends externally, apart from positing merely names, terms and appearances, there is nothing existent. In terms of what one internally apprehends, this is also completely non-existent. So like that:

‘The naked state of illusory self-manifesting appearances,

is the luminous awareness without reference point.’

In terms of what is apprehended externally this cannot be pointed at with one’s finger. Also one cannot point one’s finger at what apprehends internally. Like that ‘left remaining the inexpressible sphere’. It is inexpressible. That which is ‘inexpressible, this is not talking about the speech that is ‘inexpressible’ due to a person’s conceptual thought activity that is merely negated. After searching for the object that is labelled, one cannot find that which is externally apprehended. That which is internally apprehended is also not findable. It is due to that one terms it ‘ineffable’ and one ‘arrives at the inexpressible sphere’.

At the time of this state, when the mind is very vivid, there is the vivid flickering of great bliss. This is posited in the Vajrayana, whatever it is or isn’t. Due to the combination of many conceptual thoughts, the mind becomes a continual chain of hopes and fears. It is like when one pours cold water into boiling water, one becomes smoother and softer. Like in the Aspiration to See the Lovely Visages of the Celestial Yoginis: ‘The young one with a mind fatigued by mental elaborations finds rest and solace free from expressions in a the mountain retreat cabin in a forest. Emaho, now the sphere manifests.’ The teachings posit it so. It is like that. These tiresome conceptual thoughts from the past until now. Physically, we now wear the three Dharma robes of a Bikshu. Verbally, we recite the Tripitaka [Sutra, Abhidharma and Vinaya]. Mentally, we have many conceptual hopes and fears. The sole antidote that destroys such [conceptual thoughts] is the view of ultimate reality. So it is like that. It is of benefit to recite and think about [these words]:

‘remains the inexpressible sphere,

the vividly flickering great bliss.’

Teachings at the pilgrimage place of Tso Pema, July 2016

There is one extremely good Feast Offering Song of Jonang:

The naked state of illusory, self-manifesting appearances,

is luminous awareness without reference point.

remains the inexpressible sphere;

the vividly flickering Great Bliss.

The illusory self-arising appearances are the naked state. External phenomena appear but do not remain are like an illusion. Observing one’s inner mind, ‘the non-referential clear awareness’. If one thinks about the divisions of the mind into what happens in the moment before and after, there is no fundamental place for a fixed reference point of what we grasp onto externally or what we grasp onto internally. When one looks and discovers there is no fundamental basis of these two ways of apprehending [phenomena], ‘remains the inexpressible sphere’. The meaning of ‘inexpressible’ here, when the many combinations of conceptual thoughts which are happy, and unhappy, pleasant and unpleasant that arise in one’s mind, becomes naturally pacified, there is the ‘the vivid flickering of great bliss.

These words of the Jonang are very good and worth thinking about not putting to one side. For me they have been very beneficial and I recite rituals like this always. These words are good, aren’t they? [Says the verse again]. Beautiful aren’t they? [laughs]. Oh yes it is like that.

Teachings in Italy, Europe, October 2016

The foundation on which our Dharma tradition developed all came from the Nalanda tradition. In Kagyu for example, Marpa, Milarepa and Gampopa are all heart sons of Naropa. Naropa is a scholar from Nalanda, a disciple of the glorious Chandrakirti. Did you see this or not? Did this appear to you or not?

This is also in the The Brilliant Lamp of the Five Stages by Je Rinpoche. In some written notes on ascertaining the Dharma there is praise to Naropa and the writer and scholar of the Brilliant Lamp is Chandrakirti. Those khenpo of the Brilliant Lamp that we do not know, Naropa taught about them. Then after Je Rinpoche, they wanted to throw aside the praise to Naropa, and so there are those who do not know there was a praise to Naropa. The meaning here is that in Naropa’s teachings, the writings of the disciples of Chandrakirti are in some of the texts of Naropa. For that reason, Je Rinpoche also taught like that. Therefore, the Kagyupa originated from the Nalanda tradition.

In the Sakyapa there is Birwapa. When Birwapa was staying at Nalanda. The Neyten Chokyong is the Dharmapala (Dharma protector). In the Essence of the Explanation of the Provisional and True Meanings [text by Tsongkhapa] there is one Chinese khenpo Wentsig. It says that Khenpo Wentsig composed it. I read this pecha text. It is in the Tengyur. he is a Korean Scholar. In this he gives many transmissions of the Neten Chokyong. I don’t have a lot of time, the Neten Chokyong, what is in those texts about the view of Mind-Only. If it helps to be able to look at one, remember it mentally. During the earlier life of Neten Chokyong, he was an expounder of the Mind-Only view. In the later part, after getting experiential realisation of the Highest Secret Mantrayana, he arrived at the highest view; the view that samsara and nirvana are indivisible. He arrived at this ultimate view by the view of Madhyamaka. So for that reason, the Sakyapa also originate from the Nalanda tradition.

The Kadamapa , for example, of course they are [Nalanda] as well. Atisha and so on came from Vitramashila. Their root origin is Nalanda.

The Riwo Geden, for example, placed high importance and value on the texts of the great learned scholars of Nalanda. Have a look in the teachings of Tsongkhapa, at those verses on Root of the Middle Way; in the Illumination of the Thought. They are all amazing explanations based on the texts of the great Indian scholars. In the Essence of the Excellent Explanation, for example, the view of Mind-Only; and teachings about the divisions in the Madhyamaka view, of the Madhyamaka Svatantrika and the Madhyamaka Prasangika. These are all examinations and comparisons of the texts by the great Indian scholars.

In the Jonang, for example, there are those who have done the six yogas, in connection with the Kalacakra. These also all originate from Indian scholars. If one explains the root basis of all these, they all came from the Nalanda Tradition.

Translated by Adele Tomlin, June 2018. Thanks to Jonang Kunga Sherab for the transcript of these teachings. Apologies for any errors on my side. May it be of benefit and may the teachings of Kalacakra and Shentong flourish!

[1] Eighty indicative conceptions ( rang bzhin brgyad cu‘i kun rtog) — various emotional and cognitive states. They are divided into three groups:

  • the first group(which are states resulting from anger) has thirty-three,
  • the second(which are states resulting from desire) has forty, and
  • the third(which are states resulting from ignorance) has seven types of conceptualization.

See Buddhist Ethics by Jamgon Kongtrul, Snow Lion Publications 1998, pp.507-9.