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There, people were to "translate during the day and meditate on the nature of mind at night. Kalu Rinpoche passed away in without seeing the ful llment of his wish, just as he had warned on many, many occasions. Now the time frame seemed to stretch in nitely into the future, and most of us had other lives to lead in order to sur- vive. He hesitated to change Kalu Rinpoche's game plan in any way, but the urgency called for practicality.
At a gathering in his monastery in Mirik, on the occasion of con- ferring the Shangpa Kagyu transmissions at the request of the young incarnation of Kalu Rinpoche, Bokar Rinpoche urged the translators to complete this work that had been so dear to his guru. He feared that at this rate it might not even be completed within the lifetimes of the very translators to whom it had been entrusted by Kalu Rinpoche.
With the generous and timely support of the Tsadra Foundation, a new phase of work began, with individual translators working on indi- vidual sections of the Treasury in their own homes and with all the amenities such as electricity. Now with new direction, the remaining sections have been adopted by able translators and are well under way. With Bokar Rinpoche all but insisting, and dear friends at Tsadra Foundation pointedly encouraging, I rejoined the Treasury project after many years of other work.
Of the available sections, I chose the fourth part of Book Eight in the meditation section: For obvious reasons I thought this would be the most interesting and exciting. It serves me right, succumbing to the lure of the mystical. It might as well have been the Buddhist canon. It was too easy to underestimate how much information Jamgon Kongtrul could pack into pages, and to underestimate the depth and breadth of these esoteric practices.
In truth, each of the sections in this current book deserves a separate treatment by a scholar-practitioner specialized in the particular lineage, with years of practice and study behind her. To accurately portray all the practice traditions in a way that does justice to Kongtrul's presentation of them has stretched my abilities to the limit, though being thus stretched, I feel tremendously enriched and further enraptured. In any case, it was with the help and support of many others that I can now o er this e ort, with the hopes that it will at least be a glimpse into the awesome inner world of these ancient traditions.
The multi-layered complex of philosophi- cal and contemplative practice opens up into a distinct spiritual path for everyone.
This vast wealth of eclectic knowledge is the context that supports the profound teachings of tantra, or esoteric Buddhism. These teachings are said to o er a quick and easy way to discover one's own nature through a variety of curiously e ective techniques. The esoteric or secret quality of the tantras, however, is only revealed by direct contact with masters who embody an awakened state of mind.
Then the practi- tioner sees directly the living teaching, and is in turn seen by the guru in his or her unique capacities and needs. It is this relationship that powers the development of spiritual growth. For that reason the direct instruc- tions transmitted within such relationships are the most prized of all the Buddha's doctrines.
Although the immediacy of these directives in the intimate situation of guru and disciple carries the real impact, the most precious of the esoteric instructions from the greatest of the masters have been recorded and passed down through successions of teachers, who have further imbued these enduring teachings with the power of their own realizations. It is the records of such teachings that are described in this volume. According to the opening verse above — the requisite author's resolve to complete the work 2 — Jamgon Kongtrul's intention was to make the range of Buddhist subjects easily accessible to everyone.
Buddhism in Tibet had been developing since at least the eighth century, and by the nineteenth century had grown into a vast and intricate web of philoso- phies and practices, any portion of which required a lifetime of study to master. Kongtrul felt that too much was at stake, too much could be lost, if these were available only to the scholarly elite. However, in creating a simple and intelligible work with the less than modest aim of encompassing all knowledge, he apparently underestimated his own "intellectual capacity.
His humility and devotion for other masters and literally all Buddhist teachings were among his remarkable qualities. It was the vast scope of his knowledge, however, and his truly bound- less intellect the meaning of "Lodro Taye" that must have made The Treasury of Knowledge seem to him a short and clear work for the average person. Some readers may not have such a perspective. It started simply enough as a request from another lama to compose a short treatise Skt.
Ethical behavior is indeed the foundation of all Buddhist practice and has been since the time of the Buddha. This particular threefold configuration standardized in Tibet re ects the threefold development in the Buddhist teachings of the elders Pali, theravada , the great vehicle Skt. Tibetan Buddhists are known for practicing all three approaches together on the spiritual path. A treatise on this subject could conceivably encompass the entire path, and in fact there are many such texts by other great Tibetan mas- ters.
These three categories comprise all Buddhist doctrine, as represented in the earliest canon of teachings, called the Three Baskets tripitakd. Kongtrul stated these intentions in his autobiography: He said that if I did so he would write the commentary. So in between medi- tation sessions I had been writing the root verses to The Encom- passment of All Knowledge, a treatise on the three trainings.
Jamgon Kongtrul kept to this plan, as indicated in the full title of the root verses: The Encompassment of All Knowledge: He first composed the root verses kdrikd in the classical Indian style, making it easy to memorize for pedagogical purposes, but di cult to understand without a commen- tary. These root verses, written in lines of nine syllables each, run for pages in the modern three-volume edition.
One nds him complaining of increasing obscuration in practice during this time. In addition, local war and power politics were threatening all around him. Kongtrul was perhaps still hoping that Lama Ngedon 9 would write the commentary, but when he showed his work to his close associate and guru, the great master Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo , 10 things changed: Later, when I showed this to my lord guru, he gave me great encouragement, saying, "This has certainly come from the gurus' blessings and the power of the dakinis opening up your energy channels.
You absolutely must write your own commentary to it. This prophecy would eventually be more than ful lied as the other treasuries followed in due order: There are several good surveys of the treasuries in English, 16 although The Treasury of Knowledge is the rst to have been considered for transla- tion in its entirety.
Treatises are meant to clarify and explain the direct teachings of the Buddha, not to be one's own creative ideas. In that sense, calling this treasury a treatise was an apt choice in regard to Kongtrul's aspirations for clarity and accessibility. He carefully followed all the requisites for treatise composition, as he documented clearly right at the beginning.
The commentary follows precisely the structure of the verses. An outline is also imposed on it, one that is not necessarily obvious in the original verses. In fact, one often wonders in Tibetan literature of this kind if the structure is premeditated or created afterwards. In the case of The Infinite Ocean of Knowledge, the basic out- line is beautifully symmetrical, with ten "books" Tib.
Thus, although a treatise should not explicitly contain personal opinions, one could say that location is every- thing. Kongtrul mentions that there are ten books to be equal in number to the ten perfections, and lays them out in a logical progression. The term is glossed as "a dwelling place of that which is realized, which is like a vajra," because it is di cult to penetrate and only known through one's own awareness. In any case, much can be learned from the outline of the current text, as with all of Kongtrul's treasuries.
Book I deals with cosmology according to various Buddhist systems and the causes of cyclic existence samsdra. Book II concerns the advent of the Buddha, his life and enlightenment. Book V covers the three levels of ethical dis- cipline. This is the rst of the three higher trainings, and forms the core of the treasury and ful lis its original intention. Book VI focuses on the topics of study that are undertaken at the outset of the spiritual path and includes secular areas of knowledge as well as all of the religious vehicles, culminating in an exposition of tantra.
This leads into the higher trainings of wisdom in Book VII. Wisdom prdjna is normally listed as the third of the three higher trainings after meditation, but here it is presented rst as the means for gaining certainty in the Bud- dhist view so that this may support actual meditation. It is in Book VIII that all the various methods for meditation are presented in due order, beginning with calm abiding s'amatha and higher insight vipasyana in part one, then meditation in the philosophical vehicles in part two, and then the elements of tantric practice as they are presented in the Buddhist tantras in part three.
Book IX concerns the paths and levels that are traversed during these studies and practices, and Book X describes the nal fruition. After the publication of the Treasury of Knowledge, Kongtrul bestowed the reading transmission to a group of about twenty lamas, incarnate masters, and scholars, including his master Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo. This was one of only four times that this transmission occurred.
After the concluding ceremonies, Khyentse Rinpoche praised it and called it "a treatise for the ages. Though encyclopedic in scope, The Treasury of Knowledge is a true trea- tise and not technically an encyclopedia. In the progression of forty parts within ten books, the groundwork for the vast and profound subject of tantric practice is laid in the fourth part of Book VI, which concerns the subjects of study and presents the theoretical bases of practice. A thorough reading of that section, which has been translated as Systems of Buddhist Tantra, or at least a working knowledge of the subject matter, is truly a requirement for appreciat- ing the two parts on actual tantric practice.
All of the teachings pre- sented in The Treasury of Knowledge are of fundamental importance, but the special teachings that developed in Tibet were based in the tantras and became known as the vajrayana in Sanskrit Tib. This is the Tibetan specialty and the sole subject of the current work. Despite his best intentions to simplify the subject matter, Jamgon Kongtrul never- theless assumes a great familiarity on the part of his readers.
Book VIII gets right down to the subject matter of meditation, with the last two parts speci cally concerning tantric meditation. These two parts are divided according to the sources. The rst concerns teachings derived from actual tantras said to have originated with the Buddha in India, and is translated as The Elements of Tantric Practice.
Basically, these are records of personal teachings by masters, either of Indian or Tibetan origin, that simplify tantric or other meditations by providing pertinent examples and helpful hints to the disciples, based on the master's own experience. Although originally oral in nature, they have been codi ed and passed down through speci c lineages from teacher to student, or sometimes directly in visionary experiences.
These have also been called "key" or "pith" instructions.
The Tibetan term is man ngag pronounced "me-ngak" , which was used to translate the Sanskrit word amnaya. Sometimes man ngagwas also used as a trans- lation of upadesa, though this is more properly gdams ngag in Tibetan. This suggests that very often these two terms are interchangeable, and yet it also raises the question of their distinctions, if any, as genres of literature.
In Sanskrit, amnaya is de ned as "sacred tradition, sacred texts handed down by repetition; that which is to be remembered or studied or learnt by heart; received doctrine. It derives from the pre x up a plus the root dis: According to contemporary Tibetan teachers, the two are often con- sidered synonymous. The whole phrase would literally be "uncommon" or "extraor- dinary speech" Tib. This was described as a way of enhancing or "tweaking" the spiritual instructions Tib. Simpli cation is the objective — conveying profound meaning in a few easy-to-understand words.
Here are some examples: Instructions in visualization techniques often state that one should instantly recall the deity Tib. But how does one really suddenly see a deity manifest in emptiness? The esoteric instruction tells us, "like a sh jumping out of water. The word therefore seems to be quite useful here. In the case of this book, the foregoing de nitions are particularly appropriate since the teachings presented here assume a background of basic instruction that could then be individually aug- mented by esoteric instructions.
Thus each chapter of the present book is self-contained and not progressive as are other books within The Treasury. There is no particular hierarchy in the order of pre- sentation, which is solely chronological. This signi cance is inextricable from Kongtrul's acceptance and appreciation of all Buddhist teachings without bias or contention. His treasuries, and those of other contemporary masters such as Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, became the literary basis for what has been termed the nonsectarian movement, or rime Tib.
The text translated in Esoteric Instructions may be Kongtrul's earliest expression of this style; one Tibetologist has mentioned that The Treasury of Knowledge "appears to be the earliest statement of nonsectarian thought. This simple methodology of collection and compilation without judgment is, in my opinion, Jamgon Kongtrul's real contribution to the so-called nonsec- tarian movement. In light of the near-destruction in modern times of the Tibetan culture and its literary heritage, this work has been vital.
It has meant that these vast collections of works have been preserved and are now available for future generations. But rime was not a reactionary alternative set in opposition to other biased factions, as it has often been portrayed in modern scholarship. Why did Kongtrul create these massive collections — even the relatively short selection found in Esoteric Instructions — that no one person could hope to practice in their entirety?
What is the connection with sectarian- ism? How should we approach these practices? These questions will be explored below. I will not attempt to summarize the actual meditation practices presented in each lineage, for that has been masterfully done by Kongtrul himself. The fact that it is already a summary and that Kong- trul only gives enough information for a general sense of each lineage, and certainly not enough to engage in any of the practices, only begs the foregoing questions. Nevertheless, I have tried to help the reader with endnotes as needed, since just being translated into the English language is not necessarily su cient.
A brief historical overview of each lineage based on an earlier section of The Treasury of Knowledge Book IV, Part 3 is presented as an introduction to each of the chapters. This seems to be the rst occurrence of an organizing principle that he would use many times over. To understand his inten- tions we could look at another of his treasuries with the same format: The Treasury of Precious Key Instructions.
It di ers from Esoteric Instructions in that it is a collection of actual instructions gathered impartially from other sources, rather than his own summary of them. Conceivably one could even use Esoteric Instructions as a kind of descriptive index by which to then locate the actual lineage instructions in The Treasury of Precious Key Instructions. Kongtrul created a very extensive record or catalogue of contents Tib. An Ocean of Auspicious Renown? This is the rst occurrence of the term rime Tib.
It is followed by a description of the uni ed state of reality that manifests all variety without restriction. After a summary of the sources of the dharma in India and the great masters and adepts who "mainly approached through the three meth- ods of explication, debate, and composition to maintain the scriptural doctrine," Kongtrul introduces the classi cation of the main sources for those teachings as they were assimilated into Tibet: Here in Tibet, there were the ten great pillars that upheld the lineage of explanation, and their followers, who maintain the explanations, and the lineage holders of the chariots of the great practice lineages, who principally engaged the excellent path of practice and thereby maintained the victorious doctrine.
In tracing this history, Kongtrul indicates his earliest source for the eight-chariot idea in a brief explanation of the way in which this doctrine came from India to Tibet: However, the main ones that can be condensed by type or that have gained a footing are known as the Eight Great Chariots. As was said by the great learned adept Prajnaras'mi: The great editor-translator Bagor Vairocana, The heir of the victors, Upasaka Dromton, The great scholar- adept Khyungpo Naljor, The great bilingual Lama Drokmi, The mighty yogin, honorable lord Marpa, The Indian Dampa who dwells on levels of attainment, The translator Gyijo, and the scholar- adept Orgyenpa Are the eight great pillars that upheld the practice lineages in the North.
Coming perfectly from the glorious Buddha Vajradhara, Eight great pillars of practice lineages in this snowy region Are the legacy of former adepts. Those who desire freedom should follow their paths. It is clear that this framework concerns only the crucial meditation teachings themselves as they were transmitted from India through a long line of practitioners.
It is not at all concerned with sects. That, of course, is why they are called practice lineages. If some of them were successful in being assimilated later in monastic centers and becoming sects in their own right, that is incidental to Kongtrul's approach. Together, the ten pillars and the eight chariots form one way to classify and thereby cope with the amazing array of exegetical and practical instructions that bom- barded Tibet in the formative centuries of Buddhist assimilation.
There were in fact many creative ways in which the Tibetans tried to classify the bounteous dharma that arrived on their snowy ranges. One might easily get the impression that, because the classi cation systems with which we are now familiar are so revered and ubiquitous, they must have been inherited from India. However, textual evidence suggests that there was a "process of creative appropriation.
The two well-known systems for classifying tantric ritual according to "vehicles" ydna or approaches — that is, the nine vehicles of the ancient Nyingma system and the four vehicles used by the other, new schools — were developed in Tibet according to doctrinal and ritualistic categories that made sense to Tibetans.
Studies of early texts reveal that even these were not settled for perhaps centuries, and that there was originally a bewildering variety of systems. Another doxographic decision of considerable import was made by Buton Rinchen Drup as he determined which Bud- dhist texts would be included in the Kangyur translations of Buddha's words and the Tengyur translations of treatises — the so-called Tibetan Canon. A strict but arbitrary standard was imposed based on linguis- tics that excluded those tantras for which no Sanskrit original could be con rmed.
It is evident that the work of compilation was of utmost importance in determining the direction that Buddhism was to take in Tibet. From the second half of the fteenth century through the seventeenth century, changes in Central Tibet created another form of synthesis. The brilliant Tsongkhapa , founder of the Gelukpa lineage and himself an avid eclectic and systematizer, had placed great emphasis on monastic discipline and education.
Giant monasteries, such as Sera, Dre- pung, and Ganden, grew up around Lhasa, where monks could pursue scholarship en masse. It also must have been signi cant that the advent of xylographic printing occurred during this time, with Tsongkhapa overseeing the rst printing.
To facilitate scholarship and streamline the subject matter of study, the great institutions developed manuals Tib. This was followed by a new genre called Collected Topics Tib. On top of this, the Gelukpa monasteries also developed a hierarchical system of monastic degrees to validate scholastic achievement and perhaps to inspire scholarly ambitions.
It has sometimes been suggested that the stylized debate format became somewhat stultifying as a pedagogical tool, fostering memoriza- tion and repetition with little true inquiry. Whether or not that is so, one could perhaps say, along with one modern Gelukpa scholar who has rst- hand knowledge, Georges Dreyfus, that they "put little emphasis on the immediacy of experience, insisting instead on the truth of doctrines.
The work of collecting and commenting on medita- tions and yogic practices continued with masters such as Mikyo Dorje , Padma Karpo , and the great Taranatha , who was a particular inspiration to Jamgon Kongtrul. All this academic commentary on the yogic tradi- tions prepared the way for the nineteenth-century renaissance in Eastern Tibet.
Kongtrul relies heavily on the work of such former masters and quotes or borrows from them extensively. The development of high scholasticism in Central Tibet that culmi- nated around the time of the establishment of Tibet as a country under the Great Fifth Dalai Lama, Ngawang Losang Gyatso , had a far-reaching impact on the rest of Tibet, partly due to political machinations. The Dalai Lama incarnations had a close association with the Gelukpa monasteries. Others who had not supported the rise of the central coalition were targeted and in some cases the monasteries with which they were associated were suppressed.
For example, the Jonangpa sect associated with Taranatha, and so dear to Kongtrul, was banned outright, its monasteries converted to Geluk and its publications taken out of circulation. In this case, it was reportedly because of religious heresy, though it is clear that it was due more to the toxic mixture of politics in religion. Jonang monasteries survived in Eastern Tibet and are currently thriving, partly because the source texts were not actually destroyed and were later recovered. It seems even the most con dent of factions could not bring themselves to defy the precepts against dis- respecting even suspicious dharma; fortunately superstition is stronger than suspicion.
The emphasis on the particular expression of learning coupled with the lack of political support resulted in a decline of the non-Gelukpa schools during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This period is regarded as fraught with sectarian rivalries and elitist scholarship, all of it laced with power politics. It is often suggested by modern scholars that it was this sect-crazed environment that eventually led to the unbiased approach of Kongtrul and his contemporaries, who exempli ed inclu- siveness.
Certainly these developments had an in uence on them, and set an impressive example of how not to be. But in reading Kongtrul's accounts of his own purposes and motivations, there is very little of an antagonistic character, and very much of a genuine devotion for all teachings and a concern to keep the Buddhist vow of tolerance. Such sectarian troubles are barely mentioned.
In any case, it was in the second half of the nineteenth century that Jamgon Kongtrul and many other masters concurrently exhibited an incredibly open attitude to all teachings and shared a concern for their preservation. Shabkar Tsogdruk Rangdrol is an early example. His personal inspiration derived from the inseparable triad of Padmasam- bhava, Atisa, and Tsongkhapa, the sources of the Nyingma, Kadampa, and Gelukpa lineages, respectively, which would seem to indicate that his open-mindedness was more than alternative in nature. In addition to the enormous compilations and compositions of Kongtrul and Khyentse, there were revelations of hidden teachings of earth and mind, construc- tions of stupas and temples, intensive retreats, constant rituals, and vig- orous scholarship.
Zhenga and Mipam Rinpoche especially contributed to a revival of scholarship that could stand equal but distinct from the great monasteries of Central Tibet, which had perhaps inspired them. This was presented as a return to the classical past when Buddhism was being introduced in the thrill of translation and study of original texts. Thus, the "Rime movement.
For one thing, rime is not a synthesis at all. As the anthropologist Geo rey Samuel has observed, the methodology and ideology served di erent purposes: If Rimed [rime] is considered as a synthesis, it is so in a quite di erent manner from the Gelukpa position. Tsongk'apa and his successors sought to narrow down, to de ne, to bring together in a single set of teachings all that was essential within Tibetan Buddhism. Even the various new Tantric traditions were to be reduced as far as possible to a common framework.
The Rimed approach was quite the opposite. All methods were to be gathered together and made available. Any one might contain the liberating potential appropriate to one or another student. Nor, as we have already seen, did the Rimed move- ment have any common philosophical standpoint. This became the job of the great compilers of the rime movement. Learning had been well served, but both learning and prac- tice together had always de ned the ideal Buddhist. In the Catalogue of the Treasury of Precious Key Instructions, Jamgon Kongtrul rea rms the preeminence of the direct experience of meditation practice with a string of quotations, including the following from the Tenth Mandala of Ksitigarbha: Without that realization, nothing else can do it.
Therefore meditation in absorption is the best. The learned ones should pursue that. He then goes on to say, All the profound dharma that is very meaningful is contained in this Treasury, and if those with intelligence ensure its con- tinuation by means of practicing it themselves and proliferat- ing and explaining it to others, it will take on great meaning, both immediately and over the long run.
Kongtrul worried about some of the practice traditions being lost and considered it his main task to preserve them. Those traditions that were well established did not concern him so much. Although I might not have the chance to practice them all, the guru's spiritual instructions should not be wasted. For that reason I felt that even if the more famous traditions were individually widespread, the continuity of some of the very rare [transmis- sions] were in danger of being cut o and should be preserved at least as word lineages. I also think that just hearing once these essential doctrines of sutra and mantra gives meaning to this human existence.
With this altruistic motivation I col- lected the essential root texts of the Eight Chariots and the most profound of their quintessential ripening empowerments and liberating instructions into one treasury. In the Catalogue, he was more speci c about which traditions were threatened: The continuity of the Shangpa teachings, Zhije, Dorje Sum- gyi Nyendrup, and some others are extremely rare and nearly going extinct.
With the noble aspiration of hoping to ben- e t the continuity of the teachings of empowerment, reading transmission, and guidance, and in order to give meaning to my great diligence and exertion of e ort, and so that the frayed rope of those long lineages would at least not break, we must pay some attention to them. Another consideration concerns the basic concept of the skillful nature of Buddhist teachings — that there is a ver- sion of theory and practice that is perfectly suited to each individual according to his or her inclinations and abilities.
This is an important organizing principle in many teachings, such as the "stages of the path" Tib. Illustrating this idea, it is often said that the Bud- dha Sakyamuni taught 84, di erent dharmas for the same number of di erent problems. Since it is not known which one will bene t which being, it is best to collect them all, so that no one will miss her or his unique opportunity.
In seeming contradiction to that, another operating principle is that exposure to the vast array of techniques virtually forces one to accept that they are more or less the same, and therefore are all equally valid Buddhist teachings. The di erences that are ne-tuned to the individual are, after all, very minor and the similarities in being viable techniques on the path to awakening are dominant. Each tradition is profound and brilliant in its own right, once it is glimpsed. It must be seen to be believed. But if a person comprehends only a single philosophical presentation or one esoteric instruction and becomes xated on it as truth, then the rumors of alternatives will seem strange and erroneous.
Prejudice is always a result of ignorance. Jamgon Kongtrul saw this in others and found it in himself, as we see in the following passage from his Autobiography. Most people, high and low, have done few studies and have little familiarity with the dharma. In particu- lar, in these later times there are indeed many who, while they themselves do not live forthrightly and lack a religious out- look, yet with the arrogance of power proclaim which dharma traditions are good and which bad, which lineages are pure and which impure.
To say nothing of other traditions, they even shun their own traditions with unfounded fears, like a blind yak that startles himself. Even I, one who yearns for the dharma from the depths of my heart, did not accomplish my desires because I did not have the courage of my convictions and became ine ectual. My knowledge of the dharma has also ourished. I have not committed the grievous act of rejecting the dharma. This came about from the kindness of my precious lord guru himself.
This is a rare occurrence in his autobiography where Kongtrul criticizes sectarianism in others, and yet even here he turns this criticism on him- self and divulges his own weaknesses. It hints at another bene t of cul- tivating an open-minded approach, namely, that seeking out one's own hidden biases is itself an integral practice of the spiritual path of insight and leads to positive results as he describes.
But the point here is that for someone credited with founding an alternative movement, or worse yet, a "school," this statement hardly su ces as a manifesto of a rime philosophy. It seems strange that nothing more on the subject is to be found in an extensive autobiography of the founder of a movement.
Western scholarship has indulged in a kind of psychological analy- sis of Kongtrul's behavior. Incidents and hardships from his early life are cited as the forces behind his stance. It is particularly mentioned, for example, that he was compelled to retake his monastic vows at the Kagyu monastery of Palpung, though he had already received them from a Nyingma preceptor. Kongtrul refers to this unfortunate incident only once in his autobiography, compared to the hundreds of times he attests to his devotion to the preceptor of his new vows, his guru Situ Pema Nyinje.
And if there were such a thing, a more predictable psychologi- cal response would have been to take a stance against such injustices by opposition, rather than by embracing all those sects and sectarians. Though such di culties certainly a ected him, one must be careful not to impute a foreign and "normal" psychological response to this master who was anything but normal.
This brings us nally to contemplate what rime ris med really meant to Jamgon Kongtrul and how he used the word. He did not seem to de ne it anywhere, and certainly not as a well-formulated political stance. Rather, it seems to be a somewhat ordinary expression that Kongtrul used so much that it became a kind of catchword for his attitude.
Ris means "part," or "region," and med is a negation. It is a contraction of rissu med pa, "not in parts," the opposite of rissu chad pa, "cut in parts," and a synonym of phyogs med, "without directions. Yet the given subject heading was ris-med while the usage was often listed as "sect name. Among the many systems of both practice and philosophy, it also gives a decent short treatment of Tibet's "other" religion, Bon, making it truly pluralistic. Before reading it, I would have translated the title as something like "Beautiful Necklace of Clear Thought: It is clearly not con- cerned with sects.
I believe the hint is in the above statement, "I have not committed the grievous act of rejecting the dharma," and elsewhere, "Rejecting the Buddhist teachings is a heavy burden which I have no wish to carry. In the speci c understanding of the causes and e ects of actions, to reject or denigrate teachings of the Buddha, in particular, is thought to have very serious consequences. It is included in the vows of refuge, the very rst level of discipline adopted when becoming a Buddhist. The late great master Dezhung Rinpoche, who was a paragon of unbiased devotion with deep roots in the Sakya tradition, said in a talk in He impairs the transmission of the Dharma.
The presence of the Dharma is jeopardized by such an attitude, and one becomes cut o from its transmission. This is so because one's refuge vows are based upon reliance on the Enlightened One, his Teachings, and the Holy Community.
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If one rejects Dharma, one breaks one's refuge vow and thereby becomes cut o from the Dharma. By rejecting this Dharma that is the only door to happiness for beings and oneself, one accumulates inexhaustible sin. In the vows of refuge in the dharma, even disrespecting a single syllable of the alphabet impairs the vow. More particularly, harboring such views of disrespect radically opposes the discipline and spirit of vajrayana.
Many of the root downfalls in that approach address it speci cally. Jamgon Kongtrul describes the second root downfall: To disre- spect and reject the teachings, even when due to lack of under- standing of them, quali es as a downfall. And the sixth root downfall: We can understand Kongtrul's great concern for not breaking these sacred pledges when we read his description of what that means: If practitioners transgress pledges and do not restore them, the transgressions become the root cause for their fall into the hell of Unceasing Torture or another hell; thus, they are called root downfalls.
Beyond the question of speci c vows, bias goes against the very idea of vajrayana. This is expressed in the concept of "pure perception" or "sacred outlook" Tib. This reality is only temporarily obscured by a ictive emotions and ignorance. The approach of secret mantra purports to be imple- menting this true state right now.
In other words, in the practice of the spiritual path one integrates the predicted result of that path while one is still practicing it. This is only logical, since that resultant awak- ened state is already present as the ground of being. The methods are to realize oneself and one's surroundings as manifesting this intrinsically pure state; to see with pure perception that all of one's experiences are sacred. This is the rationale for the three stages of vajrayana practice that one nds described in these esoteric instructions: This is directly implied in the sacred pledges of vajrayana, where it applies to one's perceptions of gurus, companions in practice, and women who apparently need to be singled out for special attention in this matter of pure perception.
In terms of the doctrine, when one has access to many teachings it is easy to see that they are all worthy of respect, and certainly all to be included in this sacred outlook. If even the most ordinary or seemingly lthy substances are to be experienced as having "equal avor" Tib. Any other attitude contradicts all levels of discipline and is counterproductive to the intent of Buddhist practice. Dezhung Rinpoche said, One whose Dharma career is tainted by narrow-mindedness and attachment to one's own interests while rejecting those of others will never overcome the many obstacles to the attain- ment of wisdom or insight.
It has been used to suppress criticism, to coerce obedience to dubious gurus and practices, to discour- age inquiry, and generally stands in opposition to the use of discriminat- ing intelligence. This is true particularly in the West, where two factors obfuscate the problem: When the latter is suppressed in the name of faith, we leap to the former, that is, the opposite extreme of blind devotion that relegates discernment to the deep recesses of denial. This, of course, is fundamentalism.
It is the opposite of an unbiased approach, which really requires the eyes to be wide open. It is a tragic irony that the two approaches are so intimately connected that attempts at openness often precipitate prejudice, either as backlash or as an indiscernible mutation of pure perception into poor perception.
The latter occurs when the abstract concept is used to label experiences as a way to disengage from them, like a smiley-face stamp of approval. To have respect where there is an absence of qualities is folly, and arises from nonvirtuous karma. The victorious ones and their heirs, he continues, have emphasized reli- ance on the dharma and not on individuals.
The path of vajrayana, though practiced as the result, attempts to instill this on the experiential — rather than conceptual — level, where such misappropriations are less likely. It is di cult to articulate pure perception in the context of an unbiased approach, which is perhaps exactly why Kongtrul took the route of simply presenting many, many options.
That approach both helps to engender pure perception through knowledge, and displays the pure beauty of diversity to those already possessed of pure perception, such as Kalu Rinpoche: Each of these lineages transmits the peerless word of Buddha by way of lineages of sages and adepts who are like pure gold. They transmit uncorrupted authentic Dharma that can lead beings to liberation from cyclic existence, to ultimate spiritual realization. Kongtrul does not mix them together because they are each complete and internally coherent. It is recognized that rime does not particularly advocate a sort of mix-and- match approach of one's favorites nor a blending of all techniques and doctrines into a new, ultimate dharma.
When asked about the possibility of a new religion of all truths, the fourteenth Dalai Lama said, 74 I think that di erences in faith are useful. There is a rich- ness in the fact that there are so many di erent presentations of the way. Given that there are so many di erent types of people with various predispositions and inclinations, this is helpful. Describing the rime movement as "inclusive" may lead to the wrong impression.
It does not mean a kind of synthetic movement wherein all the teachings and lineages are melded together in a universal approach. Nor should it be viewed as an attempt to absorb all "other" customs into one's own, regarding them as not contradictory but also as not complete without one's own favorite.
Diana Eck, working with the Harvard Plu- ralism Project, describes three kinds of reactions to religious and other kinds of diversity. Exclusivism occurs when other traditions are simply regarded as wrong, or worse, totally dismissed or attacked. Inclusivism is a kind of liberal acceptance into the fold, but still clings to a hierarchical scheme with one's own religion at the top. This is really a more subtle way of denying autonomy and denigrating another's faith. Pluralism, on the other hand, is fully engaging in dialogue with other belief systems and appreciating them through mutual understanding, while not abne- gating one's own tradition.
In de ning pluralism, she says: It does not displace or eliminate deep religious commitments, or secular commitments for that matter. It is, rather, the encoun- ter of commitments. Some critics have persisted in linking pluralism with a kind of valueless relativism, in which all cats are gray, all perspectives equally viable and, as a result, equally uncompelling.
Pluralism, they would contend, undermines commitment to one's own particular faith with its own par- ticular language, watering down particularity in the interests of universality. I consider this view a distortion of the process of pluralism. I would argue that pluralism is the engagement, not the abdication, of di erences and particularities. While the encounter with people of other faiths in a pluralist society may lead one to a less myopic view of one's own faith, pluralism is not premised on a reductive relativism, but on the signi cance and the engagement of real di erences.
The descriptions in Esoteric Instructions and the collections in The Trea- sury of Precious Key Instructions grouped according to the Eight Great Chariots of the Practice Lineages do not suggest either exclusivism or inclusivism. Here the means for enlightenment are simply laid side by side for the reader to discern, an act of deep faith in the notion that all of them would be of great bene t. There was, of course, a reaction as this approach gained popularity and was perceived as a threat to some establishments. In Tibet of the late nineteenth century, where information traveled via rumor and Khampas were regarded mainly as bandits, it must have seemed that Kongtrul and his cohorts were up to no good.
There was a strong and perhaps sin- cere reaction from certain teachers who regarded this apparently eclectic approach as the wrong way to go about practice. Sometimes, also, sloppy eclecticism — which rime was not, but might be perceived as — can incite as much of a religious fundamentalist reaction as secularism does, as we can see in the modern world.
But in Tibet the main culprit was the usual mix of power politics with religion, for never the twain were sepa- rated. It is signi cant that Jamgon Kongtrul's universality itself spawned a sectarian reaction. He must have known that this would happen but could not help but proceed. Gene Smith takes note of this unfortunate consequence: And yet the esteem with which Kong sprul, Mkhyen brtse, and their collaborators continue to be regarded are a testimonial to the tact and judgment they possessed.
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Although the nonsectarian movement did engender reactionary intoler- ance and occasionally the denigration of other traditions of Buddhist practice, even these sectarian responses were couched in the language of eclecticism and unity. These con icts and troubles have left their mark even today in sectar- ian squabbles that constantly bubble up to the surface, even though the surface presents itself as happily nonsectarian.
Far removed from the con ict in time and space, Western scholars and practitioners have insisted on perceiving the sincere devotional approach that has been termed rime as a movement, a philosophy, a school, a sect in itself, a Nyingma-Kagyu alliance, an anti-establishment stance, an anti-Gelukpa plot, or a crazy wisdom lineage. Is this co-opting of a basically straight- forward idea impossible to avoid?
When students in a class on Buddhism in Tibet were presented with the histories and instructions of the eight lineages, it was taken as evidence of Tibet's sectarian tendencies. Invari- ably some tried to assess their relative worth, creating a hierarchy of profundity. Lately, in the Tibetan Buddhist scene in America, there has been an imagined con ict between "pure Buddhism" and "American Buddhism," even though both are meaningless, random designations that are nowhere to be found in any real people.
When trenches are dug, people fall into them. Rime becomes another exclusive club to assure one's own superiority. In my opinion, considerable damage has been done in portraying rime as a school or a sect set in opposition to other factions, however unintentionally. In doing that, we make it into precisely its opposite. This is not to say that many complex and sectarian factors did not exist in Tibet. But at the very least, let us exclude Jamgon Kongtrul from the sides being drawn up in our stubborn penchant to hold categories in highest regard.
These attitudes may be common, but they are not Buddhist. The great Kagyu master and propo- nent of the Nonsectarian Tib. A wise person's mind is vast like the sky, with room for many teachings, many insights, and many meditations. But the mind of an ignorant sectarian is limited, tight, and narrow, like a vase that can only hold so much.
It is di cult for such a mind to grow in Dharma because of its self-imposed limitations. The di erence between the wise Buddhist and the sectarian Buddhist is like that between the vastness of space and the narrowness of a vase. These are the words of Kongtrul Rinpoche. Jamgon Kongtrul has given us many suggestions on why he collected these teachings, but we must still discern how to actually use them.
Despite the many aforementioned bene ts of such grand collections, the stupendous array and seeming divergences of the Buddhist teachings and traditions can be confusing. That is particularly true in the present case, where by de nition the instructions are designed for very personal use in practice. The only advice that Kongtrul left regarding The Treasury of Precious Key Instructions was intended for the preceptors who would be bestowing the collection in a transmission, rather than for the aver- age practitioner.
In the Catalogue, he illustrates the principle of subject- appropriate teachings by means of an example: In general, each of the teaching systems of the Eight Chariots of Practice Lineages includes the complete process for attain- ing enlightenment, so they are exclusively special, exalted, profound approaches.
Therefore, according to the individual's interest and mental capabilities, give the instructions of each chariot as a whole or bit by bit, and so on. Even selecting the ripening empowerments and liberating instructions as one likes can only be e cacious. So perhaps the best use of this book, Esoteric Instructions, would be to bring it to one's teacher and ask for instructions. It can also function as a survey of one's particular lineage in which to nd good ideas, since a practitioner is often unaware of what to request. Those already engaged in a particu- lar Buddhist path could enhance their knowledge of their approach by reading the pertinent chapter, and they will nd much of it familiar from previous experience.
In general, it is suggested that a person will do better by following one particular tradition. There are many popular analogies to illustrate this, such as that mixing too many foods will not be delicious, and that in starting to dig many wells, one will never reach the deep water.
Khyabje Kalu Rinpoche, in many ways the successor of Jamgon Kongtrul, said: In general, to have faith in all the traditions is a sign of pro- found understanding of the teachings. However, it is absolutely necessary to engage in one given tradition, to receive detailed instructions in it, and to be introduced to its essential practices; and then, it is proper to practice mainly those teachings. So, regardless of the school or lama from whom we receive teachings, we should try to adopt an impartial attitude and devote ourselves to practice with total aspiration.
Otherwise, merely remembering some phrases here and there, taking in only certain aspects of the teachings, and playing at being prac- titioners will make it quite di cult for us to gain any signi cant bene t. More speci cally, the esoteric instructions are described as directives to simplify the meditation practices. So in theory it would be very helpful to become familiar with the range of techniques presented here. As mentioned before, they are not su ciently described to put into practice without further instruction, but there is more than enough to develop a tremendous appreciation and even awe at the brilliance of this vehicle in all its manifestations, and in this way to come to an authenti- cally unbiased valuation of all the lineages — pure perception based on knowledge, without regard for categories.
Then, in deeply practicing one's own path, one will nally fully understand all paths, and become a true pluralist, such as Kalu Rinpoche: This understanding of the nature of mind sheds light from within and illuminates the teachings of all traditions.
In every tradition, whoever gains rsthand, experiential understanding of mind and retains that kind of awareness is led to a world view that would not have been possible prior to this direct experience. Knowledge of the nature of mind is the key that yields an understanding of all teachings; it sheds light on what we are, the nature of all our experiences, and reveals the deepest form of love and compas- sion.
The actual realization of the nature of mind opens onto a complete understanding of Dharma and all the traditions. To have a good theoretical knowledge of Dharma or any other spiritual tradition and to e ectively realize the ultimate nature of mind, however, are profoundly di erent. Even a realized being who is not involved in a particular spiritual tradition would have, while living in the ordinary world, an extremely bene cial in uence. I sought help from knowledgeable sources and relied on the former work of other translators for each of the Tibetan Buddhist lineages represented here.
It is important to acknowledge them all in context. Chapter i on the Nyingma tradition had been roughly translated many years ago by Lama Drupgyu and the translation committee. Chapter 2, the Kadampa, had also been translated by the committee years ago. Some general questions were ably answered by Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen, who was helpful throughout, and some details on texts by Tenzin Dorjee at Geshe Gyaltsen's center. For Chapter 3 on the Lamdre lineage I was helped incalculably by Cyrus Stearns, who both shared his early translation of the chapter and o ered detailed help with my endless questions.
Anything accurate in that chapter is due to his knowledge of the teachings in that lineage. Chapter 4, on the Marpa Kagyu, is quite extensive, and fortunately I found help from many quarters. The excellent translation of the six yogas section by Elizabeth Callahan was of immense bene t and could hardly be improved upon. Similarly, the translation of the mahamudra section by Ari Gold eld, also enhanced by the teachings of Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, was generously made available. Answers and helpful notes were kindly provided on the Drigung section by Drupon Thinley Ningpo Rinpoche.
For the Drukpa Kagyu, I took advantage of papers and comments by two monks from Bhutan while they were students at Naropa University: For Chapter 5, on the Shangpa Kagyu, I was fortunate to possess all the texts in that tradition as well as to have personal familiarity with it. An early translation by Matthew Kapstein proved to be very helpful as well. I had translated Chapter 6, on the systems of Zhije and Chod, many years earlier for the translation committee and it had gone through some revision by the group.
During that rst attempt, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche had patiently answered my many questions. Without contem- porary practitioners of Zhije, I revised my old translation based on the available commentaries. In the meantime, I had done considerable work in the Chod tradition and was hopefully able to improve on that section as well.
For Chapter 7, on the Six-Branch Yoga, I had hoped to seek the advice of Bokar Rinpoche, an expert on the Kalacakra tradition, but his untimely death precluded my complacent expectations. Cyrus Stearns again came to the rescue with his earlier translation and citations. Recent publications of important Kalacakra texts were very timely for this di cult and specialized subject.
Transcripts of Khenpo Tsui trim Gyamtso were also helpful. Chapter 8 is on Orgyenpa's instructions called Dorje Sumgyi Nyendrup. If there are experts on this tradition, I did not nd them. Chapter 9 is a brief descrip- tion of Santigupta's six transmissions, which can be found in works by Taranatha. These are just some of the sources on which I have depended.
In many ways, I would like to express gratitude to all translators of Tibetan texts — all of them treasures in special ways. I feel as if I am standing on their shoulders and that our e orts are cumulative. Speci cally, the previous publications of The Treasury of Knowledge that were produced in the most di cult of circumstances have provided a good foundation on which to build. I would like to thank my good friend and Sanskritist L. Summer for her help with that darn language of the gods and with the index, Marcus Perman for his work on the bibliography and research using Phil Stanley's new data-base of ten canons and other high-tech myster- ies, Maya Verjovsky for her precision proo ng, Victoria Mudd for last- minute suggestions, and our Tara group and random students for being subjected to my insecure test runs.
And as ever, my deep gratitude to Eric Colombel and the directors at the Tsadra Foundation who make it all possible, in more ways than we can understand at this point. The Treasury of Knowledge was written in Tibetan, and I have tried to translate that Tibetan for the most part into English. Occasionally I have resorted to translating certain technical terms into Sanskrit, either because that word has come into common usage e. In the former cases, I have dispensed with diacritical notations for any term that now appears in the American Heritage Dictionary fourth edition.
For all other cases, including names of persons, places, or texts of Indian origin, and terms given in Sanskrit by the author himself, I have used the standard system of spelling and diacritics. Unfortunately, there is no standard system for indicating pro- nunciation of Tibetan, so for personal names and occasional technical terms in Tibetan I have simply rendered them into what I think is the easiest way for English-speaking people to pronounce, borrowing the umlaut from German and accent aigu from French perhaps adding to the problem.
The scholarly system for notation of Tibetan developed by Turrell Wylie can be found in the endnotes, bibliography, and index. With the exception of the Introduction, where Sanskrit dominates, all terms and text names have been given rst in Tibetan, and in Sanskrit only if appropriate.
Full text of "The Treasury Of Knowledge book 8 part 4 esoteric tummo instructions"
Jamgon Kongtrul often shortened the names of texts beyond recognition, or used popular alternative names. The use of brackets in the text titles in the endnotes indicates the parts of a title that were not included in Kongtrul's original, so that future scholars can more easily see my assumptions and mistakes. About that, I admit that the opportunity for errors in this book is immense, and I suspect they are more numerous than the stars on a winter night in the Rockies.
I look forward to the academic outrage that will inspire future practitioner- scholars to correct them. At least I have provided the fuel. Finally, the short introductions at the beginning of each chapter are loose synopses of Jamgon Kongtrul's history of the Eight Practice Lin- eages that can be found in the Treasury of Knowledge, Book 4, Part 3. Since a thorough annotated translation of this section is soon to be pub- lished in this series, no attempt was made to elaborate or provide cita- tions for the material.
It was simply added to give the reader some sense of the background for each of the esoteric instruction traditions. From those, the early translation Nyingma Has many meditation sequences in the three yogas, But they are subsumed in two main kinds: The Magical Manifestation tradition has two systems with characteristics: The common technique of the upper door in the path of method uses six chakras.
The special technique involves Samantabhadra and Samantabhadri, And the pure union of melting and controlling of great pervasion. The lower door with four branches re nes all at once. The path of liberation has gradual and instantaneous realizers. In the former, the view goes before. Meditative absorption is devotional meditation and De nitive completion, training until the ultimate ve experiences. Did you know that since , Biblio has used its profits to build 12 public libraries in rural villages of South America?
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