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The Great Bundle of Precepts on Severance Outline by Lord Rangjung Dorje[1]

Homage to the Perfection of Wisdom {54}

There are three parts to this Great Bundle of Precepts on Severance of Evil:

I. Introduction

A. The Homage (beginning with "unspeakable")
B. Presentation of the Name (Severance) 
C. Brief Explanation (a few) 

II. The Source Text

A. Brief Presentation (devils)
B. Extensive Explanation 
1. The Particular Four Devils
a. Tangible Devil
i. Identifying That Devils Come from Oneself  (tangible)
ii. Ascertaining Their Essential Emptiness (form) 
b. Intangible Devil
i. Identifying the Sensations (intangible)
ii. Natural Liberation as Realization Dawns (realm of phenomena)
c. Devil of Exaltation
i. Brief Presentation (exaltation)
ii. Extensive Explanation {55}
I) Common
A) If Attached to Qualities It Is a Path Devil (haunted places, demons)
B) Taught to Be Like a Dream (qualities)
II) Supreme
A) The Path as Devil If Not Understood
1) Identifying the Devil
a) Brief Presentation (supreme)
b) Extensive Explanation (free from elaboration)
2) Liberation If Understood as Symbolic
a) No View or Viewed in the Self-Arisen (view and meditation)
b) No Meditation or Meditator (everything)
c) If Spontaneous Occurrence Is Held in One's View, and Held as Conduct, Conduct Is One's Play (one's conduct)
d) Experience Is Beyond Intellect  (experience)
B) Intellectual Fabrication as Devil
1) Having Desire Is the Devil of Result  (supreme)
2) If Realized to Be Oneself, Nothing to Accomplish. (body, speech, and mind)
d. Devil of Inflation
i. Brief Presentation (devils)
ii. Extensive Explanation {56}
I) The Tangible Devil Is Included in Inflation
A) Things Not Held in the View Are Taught as the Devil (objective things)
B) Knowing They Are Rootless, Everything Is Liberated (objective things)
II) The Intangible Devil Is Included in Inflation
A) Identifying Five Devils That Come from the Root Devil of Inflation (intangible)
B) Realization of Five Primordial Awarenesses and Emancipation from Six Classes If Inflation Is Liberated (aggression)
C) Example of Fearlessness (thus) 
D) Even with Realization, It Is Bondage If Not Severed (even with realization)
E) Becoming Buddha Once inflation Is Severed (emaho)
III) The Devil of Exaltation Is Included in Inflation
A) Common
1) If Attached to Spiritual Powers It's a Devil (exaltation)
2) If Not Attached, It's an Ornament (without attachment)
B) Supreme
1) Excitement as a Devil (three kāyas)
2) Not Inflation If Understood (samsara self-)
2. Ascertaining by Example
a. Explanation of Examples
i. Bondage If Not Carried into One's Being (through example)
ii. Benefiting Others If One Realizes It Oneself (fine cow)
b. View
i. Realizing That Devils Are Rootless (great garuḍa)
ii. Cutting Through by Knowing That (rootless)
c. Meditation
i. Examples of Nonthought (method of resting)
ii. Resting Freely Uncontrived (contrive or adulterate)
iii. Transcending Misery through Knowing Thoughts and Memories Are Not Validly Existent (intrinsic awareness)[2]
d. Conduct
i. Yogic Discipline Free of Afflictive Emotion (conduct)
ii. Everything as an Ally through Mastering Conduct (one's conduct)
e. Results
i. Realizing the Meaning, No [Result] to Establish (results) {57}
ii. Oneself Is Buddha for Sure (inflation)
3. Presentation without Example
a. Deluded Cognition
i. Naturally Deluded (noncognizant)
ii. Deluded Regarding Tenets (single inseparability)
b. Ignorance, Primordial Awareness
i. Stupidity Transformed into Primordial Awareness (therefore)
ii. Whatever Arises Is Naturally Occurring (cognition)
c. Unmade Ground
i. Not Made by Buddha (genuine meaning)
ii. Not Realized by Fixation[3] (unmade unconditioned)
d. The Path of No Making
i. Realizing the Four Perception Spheres Are Invalid (unmade)
ii. Liberation from Samsara through Realizing the Meaning (form and feeling)
e. Unreal Results
i. The Expedient Method for the Small-Minded (unreal)
ii. Something Established as Real Is Meaningless (if real)
iii. If Mind Is Not Liberated It Is Meaningless (of dharma)
iv. Realizing Nonfixation Reveals Body, Speech, and Mind (on body)

III. Conclusion

A. The Meaning of the Name (emaho)
B. Experience
1. Experience Free of Intellect (earnestly)
2. Special Instructions (haunted places)
3. If the Load Is Carried It Is the View (appearing conditions)
4. The Importance of Wandering in Haunted Places (haunted places)

The condensed meaning of The Great Bundle is complete.


Complete Explanation of Severance (gCod kyi ṭīkā)

Homage to the Perfection of Wisdom;
total pacification of elaboration, unconditioned peace
transcended to the heart of unimpeded compassion,
flawless and copious like blooming lotuses:
I bow to the Mighty Sage and bodhisattvas who love beings.

A gathering of letters and names from ineffable space,
emanated as the speech treasury of eighty-four thousand, {58}
all essentialized in the perfection of wisdom practice:
I compose the letters of the severance of conceptual thought.

The explanations of whatever treatises and instruction anthologies there are from the Word of the Victor and the bodhisattvas and their immeasurable emanations who came to the world are all included in the Greater or Lesser Vehicles. This text is from the Great Vehicle. Of the two intentions of the sūtras and the tantras, this is the ultimate: the perfection of wisdom. Of the two ways to take that into practice—training thoroughly and ascertaining the lack of the eight extreme conceptual constructs[4] by means of scripture and reasoning and the way to destroy the illusion of valid appearance of form and so on based on interior attention—plus the enhancement of both of those by the nondual mixing of subject and object: this is the instruction of Severance, the perfection of wisdom. It has two parts: the story of how it emerged and the actual instructions. The first, which concerns the three types of lineage transmission and the stories of Machik and others, can be learned elsewhere. The second has three sections: the instructions of the sugata precept lineage, the instructions of the blessing-empowerment lineage, and the instructions of the prophecy lineage. Of those three, the first consists of Machik's own personal experiences that were written down in four [versions]: (1) Outer: the peaceful Great Bundle of Precepts, which is explained extensively; (2) Inner: pointing out instruction found in the Appendices (Le lag); (3) Meaning: teachings culled from The Steps of Crucial Points (gNad them); and (4) Secret: translating to the symbols of the symbol-dharma. All of those are found most exquisitely in this Great Bundle of Precepts, which has three parts: the introduction, the main text, and the conclusion. 


I. Introduction 
A. The Homage 

The [first] two lines present the homage, beginning with "the unspeakable". {59} The meaning that is taught here is freedom from conceptual extremes. What is made manifest by the noble ones, the principle of the total pacification of all elaborations, cannot be expressed. Since ordinary individuals are incapable of figuring it out by thinking, it goes beyond subject and object. This is an homage to the perfection of wisdom itself, the principle that is separate from anything covered over and obscured by a frame of reference. Therefore this is no different than:

Unspeakable, unthinkable, inexpressible perfection of wisdom,
Unborn, unending, the very essence of space,
Realm of engagement of individual awareness's primordial awareness,
Homage to the mother of the buddhas of three times.[5]


B. Presentation of the Name 

"Bundle of Precepts on Severance..." is the first mention of the title. 


C. Brief Explanation 

The five lines beginning with "in hopes of benefiting a few..." represent the promise to explain [the text] and the brief presentation. The root of all phenomena is that they are not truly existent. To come to that realization requires the elimination of the two obscurations. The root that causes obscuration is conceptual thought from the all-base [proliferating] into twice deluded and thrice deluded concepts. The attachment and clinging that comes from cognizing the valid existence of form and other objects becomes the devil that obscures their ultimate invalidity. Mind is empty since forever and inherently lucid clarity. Abiding in that is no different that the primordial awareness of a buddha. Therefore it states in a sūtra:

If mind is realized, it is buddha. Therefore, meditate well with the idea that you won't seek elsewhere for the Buddha.


II. The Source Text
A. Brief Presentation{60}

What are the devils that obscure the mind, which is self-aware, lucid dharmakāya? They are tangible, intangible, exaltation, and inflation, but all four come from the root inflation.


B. Extensive Explanation

There are three parts to the extensive explanation: (1) presenting the four devils to beginners and then practicing, (2) engaging in invalid existence by means of example, and (3) presenting the practice without example. Those will also be connected with the five paths. 


1. The Particular Four Devils
a. Tangible Devil
i. Identifying That Devils Come from Oneself (four lines beginning with "tangible")

This refers to all that appears directly to the sense organs, such as forms and so on, and the negation and affirmation of them that binds us to samsara.


ii. Ascertaining Their Essential Emptiness (sixteen lines beginning with "form")

When appearances of forms and so on are established [as real], apprehending their essential nature as empty and [so] designating them are again establishing [them as real]. Scripture says, "form is emptiness." The Conqueror ascertained the emptiness of everything from form up to omniscience. By meditating on the invalidity of form and such, the fixation on permanent things is abandoned. By not mentally engaging even in that emptiness, one is free of the conventional designations of nihilism. In this kind of lack of valid existence, even though the mere appearances of form and so on cannot be stopped, the realization of form's lack of intrinsic existence is the perfection of wisdom. Meditating like that is the supreme path. It states in the Noble [Perfection of Wisdom]:

As for form, it is free of the very essence of form. Similarly, feeling, perception, formation, and consciousness {61} are free of the very essence of consciousness and so on.[6]

Letting discursive thought stop on its own is the meditation. Discursive thought is the intangible devil; however, the clinging by the deluded mind that becomes obstinate reification is the tangible devil. Therefore, it is said of these: "transform them into the primordial awareness of the realm of phenomena."


b. Intangible Devil
i. Identifying the Sensations (nine lines starting with "intangible") 

This refers to "the good and bad sensations arising from the mentation consciousness." Those, however, will be naturally liberated if they are realized.


ii. Natural Liberation as Realization Dawns (ten lines beginning with "realm of phenomena's great expanse")

Thoughts are like waves [arising] from the basic space of mind itself[7], but it is said that they will be liberated by resting evenly within lucid reflective awareness without accepting or rejecting, as was explained before.  


c. Devil of Exaltation
i. Brief Presentation (three lines beginning with "exaltation")

The devil of exaltation comes of one's own cognition being deluded about the two devils, common and supreme.


ii. The Extensive Explanation has two parts: common and supreme.
I) Common
A) If Attached to Qualities It Is a Path Devil (eight lines beginning with "haunted places")

Having taken into experience the instructions of the guru, an arrogant mind may develop from integrating on the path the uprisings of minor demons. Also, distractions and other obstructions to awakening may occur. These are all taught to be devils.


B) Taught to Be Like a Dream (eleven lines beginning with "qualities") 

This presents the lack of validity of the antidote as well, once the problem of the aforementioned devils is cleared up. {62} Whatever minor common qualities have developed, remain unattached by means of the attitude of wisdom which eradicates the nonduality of object and mind. As in a dream or the water filling the hands of a beautiful girl, all positive aspects and so forth are just one's own discursive thoughts. Do not develop an arrogant mind. In the same way, understand whatever forms of suffering there are and once you understand, sever them directly.

Up to this point the instructions for the enhancement to the practice on the path of accumulation have been presented.


II) Supreme

This has two parts: presenting the path as devil if not understood and presenting mental fabrication as the devil.


A) The Path as Devil If Not Understood
1) Identifying the Devil
a) Brief Presentation in two lines and 
b) Extensive Explanation in six lines:

"Supreme" means the view free from elaboration, the meditation in equipoise, conduct without discursive thought, and holding the experience aspect in practice. If one does not know that object and mind are nondual then there is fixation and it does not become the special path that brings about the realization of nonself.


2) Liberation If Understood as Symbolic
a) No View or Viewed in the Self-Arisen (six lines beginning with "view and meditation")

There are limitless specialized explanations on view and meditation for certain individuals who have sharp faculties. However, ultimately it comes down to mental nonactivity (yid la byar med). Therefore, to abandon obstinate reification and apply the seal of invalidity to appearances of unimpeded energy is the supreme severance. A similar sentiment is stated in the Extensive [Sūtra] from "Do not mentally engage form" up through "knowledge of all aspects."[8] Therefore mental nonengagement (yid la mi byed pa) is taught. {63}


b) No Meditation or Meditator (ten lines from "everything is self-occurring") 

Everything that was mentioned above and so on is all one's own mind, and so there is no meditation involving deliberate antidotes. "Clear, serene" and so on [mean that] although there are particular meditative stabilities, the examples of water and butter and so on demonstrate that the meditation object and the meditator are not two.


c) If Held by Spontaneous View, Conduct Is One's Play (sixteen[9] lines beginning with "one's conduct") 

Conduct that is purposefully engaged for the sake of invalid existence is no conduct and experienced appearances won't be held with antidotes of obstinate reification because if you do not understand self-liberation, it is bondage. Even if the applied antidote does self-liberate—since really there is nothing at all to prevent it—nevertheless do not engage in conduct without realization. According to this approach, directly severing afflictive emotions and other thoughts by powerful antidotes and applying the seal of invalid existence to the severing consciousness is taught as the supreme conduct. 


d) Experience Is Beyond Intellect (ten lines beginning with "experience") 

This gives the instructions for severing deviations of the path. Since the root of devilry is to have a frame of reference, referential meditation is not the meditation of the perfection of wisdom. But how can that be? To be free of a meditation object and a meditator is the epitome of isolation from all fixation. Resting without fixation [on perceived] appearances and [perceiving] mind a range of experiences occur but they are annihilated as fictitious. If one were to meditate with subject and object for a million eons or whatever, it would not be the path of suchness. But one split second of realizing invalid existence brings all devils liberation on their own ground. It is for this reason that one relies on an excellent guru. {64}


B) Mental Fabrication as Devil
1) Having Desire Is the Devil of Result (five lines beginning with "supreme") 

The signs of warmth on the path of the three vehicles and the desire for results and all fixations are devils.


2) If It Is Oneself, Nothing to Accomplish (eleven lines beginning with "body, speech, and mind") 

To be liberated from having hopes and fears regarding the above-mentioned causes and results and so forth one must realize that one's own body, speech, and mind are the three kāyas. Therefore, buddhahood is not accomplished from anything else. As Master Nāropa explained, "It is taught that all phenomena abide in mind; that mind itself is the root of phenomena." If one does not come to the realization of mind itself as such, practicing for eons and will not bring attainment. Buddhahood will not be accomplished anywhere apart from cutting through all fixation on the selfhood of phenomena and persons, without any hopes for the path and results.


d. Devil of Inflation
i. Brief Presentation

The two lines beginning with "devils are divided into four" are easy to understand.


ii. Extensive Explanation

This has three parts: the tangible devil is included in inflation, the intangible devil is included in inflation, and the devil of exaltation is included in inflation.


I) The Tangible Devil Is Included in Inflation A) Things Not Held in the View Are Taught as the Devil (two lines beginning with "objective fixation"[10]

Attachment to the objects of deluded sensory consciousness, such as white-red, object-subject, is said to become the tangible devil. 


B) Knowing They are Rootless (fifteen lines beginning with "objective things") 

As mentioned above, when one realizes any concepts composed of dualistic fixation as inflation, one realizes coarse apprehended objects without fixation. {65} Severing that inflation cuts off the four devils. For example, by extinguishing the fire inside, the smoke in the crevices of the wall naturally subsides. Furthermore, like cessation or the nirvanic peace of the śrāvakas, mere objective appearances are not stopped. The objects of form and so on continue to appear, but their essence remains the empty nature of phenomena. Like a rainbow in the sky, the appearance has no nature of its own. Just so, the noble ones see this as totally obvious, while ordinary individuals know it is so if they examine and investigate by means of scripture and reason. In the Heart Sūtra it is explained, "form is empty, emptiness is form." For example, it is like a skilled illusionist in whom thoughts of attachment to the created illusions do not occur. Therefore, other than realizing that the four devils that come from inner inflation are not truly existent, it is not that the dualistic intellect has something to sever. The realization that things and fixations are rootless means that form and so on are liberated in their own ground. That is the perfection of wisdom. Therefore it is said, "rest within the state free of dualistic fixation."


II) The Intangible Devil Is Included in Inflation
A) Identifying Five Devils That Come from the Root Devil of Inflation (six lines beginning with "intangible")

The five poisons and so forth that become hopes and fears are devils of inflation.


B) Realization of Five Primordial Awarenesses and Emancipation from Six Classes If Inflation Is Liberated (twenty-two lines beginning with "aggression is liberated on its own ground") 

Again, as with the explanation in the section on the inclusion of tangible in inflation, knowing that conceptual thought is without basis liberates the five afflictions in their own ground. Once the sufferings of the six types of beings are purified in their own ground, the five afflictions become the five primordial awarenesses. {66} To expand upon that: taking the afflictive emotion of aggression as the cause, the suffering of hell will be experienced. Since that is inflation, based on the realization that it is without basis, the mirrorlike primordial awareness will be obtained. The same can be applied to the other triads: desire, hungry ghosts, and discriminating primordial awareness; stupidity, animals, and the primordial awareness of the realm of phenomena; jealousy, gods and humans, and primordial awareness of accomplishing action; pride, demi-gods, and the primordial awareness of equality. Therefore it is said, "inflation liberated on its own ground is the perfection of wisdom."


C) Example of Fearlessness (thirteen lines beginning with "thus")[11]

This is a special instruction. Since all conceptual thought is a devil, one severs it. For example, just as a lion that lives in the snow mountain ranges has no hesitation or apprehension, annihilate inflation and rest evenly within the state of the absence of valid existence. No outer or inner obstacles whatsoever will arise. But in case they do, they will certainly become a training exercise, because they are your own apparitions. Now you may wonder whether the cutting off of thoughts and concepts is not meditation. It is not like that. By cutting off whatever arises as not validly existent, even the lesser vehicle and so forth are eclipsed; what need to mention disease and spirits and so forth? Therefore, this severance that is free of root is especially elevated.


D) Even with Realization, It Is Bondage If Not Severed (seven lines beginning with "even with realization") 

So for individuals who may have the realization of the meaning of the lack of valid existence as explained above, yet have not taken the unity of view and meditation into their experience, {67} then it is no different than having fixation on objects. For example it is like an untempered sword. Evils are vanquished by taking into experience the unity of view and conduct. For example, it is like a great being who knows the skills of a warrior that vanquishes hosts of enemies. This is taught in the Verse Summary: in the part starting with "For example, like a great man who is skilled and endowed with qualities" up through "gets away safely and again comes back home." That provides the example, and the explanation is "similarly, at that time the skilled bodhisattva generates great compassion for the sentient being realm and goes totally beyond the four devils and the two grounds."[12]


E) Becoming Buddha Once Inflation Is Severed (four[13] lines beginning with "emaho") 

If one realizes freedom from absolutely all fixations, one becomes a buddha. As it explains in the Verse Summary on the Perfection of Wisdom:

Those past lords and those present in the ten directions of the world
became supreme physicians by training in this knowledge mantra.[14]

Rest in the lack of true existence of everything.


III) The Devil of Exaltation Is Included in Inflation

This has two parts: common and supreme.


A) Common 
1) If Attached to Spiritual Powers It's a Devil (five lines beginning with "exaltation") 

So attachment to the signs of warmth and temporary results is itself a devil.


2) If Not Attached, It's an Ornament (two lines beginning with "without attachment")

The unimpeded energy arising in the very self that is separated from dualistic fixation is an ornament. In the Verse Summary, there is the simile of the miracle and: 

Similarly, a skilled bodhisattva abiding in emptiness,

gone beyond to the miracle of primordial awareness, nonabiding, {68}
displays limitless deeds for migrators

for millions of eons without regret or fatigue.[15]


B) Supreme
1) Excitement as a Devil (two lines beginning with "three kāyas")

The three kāyas abide as an aspect of oneself. Harboring hopes and fears over any other thing is a devil.


2) Not Inflation If Understood (eight lines beginning with "samsara is self-liberated")[16]

Knowing that samsara and nirvana are liberated on their own grounds and understanding that thoughts and memories are not validly existent, there is no other antidote to meditate on. Therefore, it is taught to "cut off inflation!" Furthermore, one can learn in detail about the devils' aspects in the chapter on devils from the perfection of wisdom sūtras. Since their root is also conceptual thought, cut through that very thing and meditate.

The above concerns the path of application. Below is presented the enhancement practices of conduct in practice.


2. Ascertaining by Example
a. Explanation of Examples
i. Bondage If Not Carried into One's Being (six lines beginning with "through example")

People who receive this instruction and neither liberate themselves nor help others are like the example of the birds and autumn delivery. This demonstrates the attitude that "it's hard to liberate myself and others!"


ii. Benefiting Others If One Realizes It Oneself (six lines beginning with "fine cow") 

If the person him- or herself realizes the lack of valid existence, it automatically benefits sentient beings. Like the simile of the cow, one should realize nonself by oneself. It explains in the Verse Summary: {69}

In case the notion of sentient beings and the notion of suffering are produced,

thinking to help migrators and eliminate suffering,
a bodhisattva will have fully considered self and beings.

This is to not engage in the sublime perfection of wisdom.[17]

To achieve the authentic welfare of migrators one must know that one is not truly existent and by the same token know that of sentient beings as well. As with sentient beings, the dharma that is the antidote for the afflictive emotions must also be understood in that way. Therefore it is also explained in the Verse Summary:

However it is for the self, know it is also so for all sentient beings.

However it is for all sentient beings, know it is also so for all dharmas.
No thought of either nonproduction or production:

This is to engage in the sublime perfection of wisdom.[18]


b. View
i. Realizing That Devils Are Rootless (eleven lines beginning with "great garuḍa")

In developing the meaning of nonself, the realization of both kinds of nonself and the liberation of inflation on its own ground bring about the realization that the four devils are rootless. One attains the sign of a nonreturner and becomes victorious over all devils, as in the simile of the great garuḍa. Without that kind of realization, one's conduct will have little meaning, as in the simile of the tree trunk.


ii. Cutting through by Knowing That (six lines beginning with "rootless")

If one knows that the discursive thoughts that come up are incidental and without true existence, there is liberation in the inseparability of the problem and its antidote. Then body, speech, and mind are liberated as Body, Speech, and Mind.


c. Meditation
i. Examples of Nonthought (fifteen lines beginning with "method of resting")

To evenly rest in the meaning of nonself, fully pacify all conceptual elaborations and be without thought, like a shrine-room statue. {70} Thoughts about sensations subside in the realm of the nature of phenomena like lightning. Though discursive thoughts occur, they do not move beyond the nature of phenomena, like waves in water. Rest freely without contrivance in the realm where everything is the play of primordial awareness. These methods teach the method of evenly resting.


ii. Resting Freely Uncontrived (nine lines beginning with "contrive [or] adulterate")

Other than just resting evenly without mental engagement, to create contrivances by discursive thought is a devil. Therefore, one should rest freely without contrivance. In that sense, the similes of freely resting the six groups of consciousness are to rest like a person gripped by disease, like someone maintaining peace of mind, and like an immature child who sees its mother appear but is powerless to act.


iii. Transcending Misery through Knowing Thoughts and Memories Are Not Validly Existent (eleven lines beginning with "awareness")

One's own cognition with its dualistic conceptual thinking is precisely the haunted place. Cutting through this in itself will result in cutting off all haunted places. In the case of beginners who are somewhat timid, they should do practices such as casting out the body as food without attachment, and dwell in the meaning of the perfection of wisdom. Rest without getting involved in concepts of good and bad, as in the simile of the simpleton with a full belly. Then without being afraid of memories, having been liberated from cyclic existence (samsara), transcendence of misery (nirvana) will be attained. Understand that the meaning of all this is to be without deliberate action. It says in the Perfection of Wisdom: "The perfection of wisdom is to be without thought, without mental activity," and:

Form is not wisdom, for form has no wisdom.

Consciousness, perception, feeling, and volition--
these are not wisdom, for these also have no wisdom.

It is equivalent to the realm of space, indivisible.[19]


d. Conduct
i. Yogic Discipline Free of Afflictive Emotion (twelve lines beginning with "conduct")

Individuals who have realized nonself, for the sake of sentient beings, display blessing conduct and the conduct on the path of severing discursive thought.  Whichever of those two it is, the special characteristic of all conduct is that though there is great yogic discipline, the person's stream of being is without afflictions, like a wrathful mask. There is no fixation or attachment to the conduct, like a fish swimming in water. It is conduct without a trace of afflictive emotions, like the wind wending its way through mountain ravines. Subduing the obstacles of yogic discipline, since it is without anger or passion, is the perfection of wisdom. It says as much in the Verse Summary

At that time the devil becomes afflicted with agony,

weary of misery, unhappy in suffering, and humbled.
"How can I make this bodhisattva mentally despondent (yid nur ba)?"

In order to terrify he ignites fire in all directions and hurls meteors.
When those wise ones possess resolute intent,[20]

day and night viewing the meaning of sublime perfection of wisdom,
then their bodies, minds, and speech move like a bird in the sky.

How then could the kinsmen of darkness gain purchase?[21]


ii. Everything as an Ally through Mastering Conduct (eleven lines beginning with "one's conduct")

As explained before, the conduct of realized nonself must be naturally occurring conduct without the obstacle of inflation. It is not achieved by those with dualistic fixation. That is, designating with fixation is no different than delusion. In a dream, one may experience suffering but it is one's own deluded thought. Gods and so forth also depend on one's own attachment to their actuality. {72} Therefore, all things good and bad are one's own fixation. One's own perceptions harm oneself because they are the designations of dualistic reification. If one realized their lack of validity, then unrelated objective appearances would have no ability to cause harm, like the poisonous snakes of India that can do no harm in Tibet.


e. Results
i. Realizing the Meaning, No Result to Establish (nine lines beginning with "results")

Seeing nonself in actuality, inflation is liberated on its own ground. There is no other meaning of buddha that could be established. That's because the subject (or perceiver) is realized to be the primordial awareness of the naturally-occurring nature of phenomena. Thus, "Mind is no-mind; the inherent nature of mind is lucid clarity."[22] "No-mind" means unchanging and without conceptual thought according to the Noble [Sūtra]. Mind is not truly existent; it is the nature of lucid clarity. Buddhahood is attained by realizing that. Other than the very one who is isolated from dualistic fixation, there is no buddha that could be established. For example, if one says "butter" to a person who has already seen excellent butter extract, there is no need to establish white[23] and other aspects externally because they already have it confirmed in their mind. Similarly, an individual who has realized the two nonselves in actuality does not create the kāyas and primordial awareness or seek enlightened activity elsewhere.


ii. Oneself Is Buddha for Sure (four lines beginning with "inflation-free"[24])

As explained above, the four devils and the eighty-four thousand afflictive emotions are conquered through realization and naturally pacified.

Up to here, the conduct of the path of seeing along with its enhancement has been explained.


3. Presentation without Example
a. Deluded Cognition {73)
i. Naturally Deluded (two lines beginning with "noncognizant")

There is no object of dualistic clinging established in the nature of phenomena. The intellect that definitely clings to mere appearance imagines various things such as being aware, that of which one is aware, and so on. Since that becomes dualistic it is said to be deluded.


ii. Deluded Regarding Tenets (twenty-two lines beginning with "single inseparability")

Although the meaning of nonself is not divisible, buddhas and sentient beings occur based on awareness or lack of awareness (i.e., ignorance) of it. Thus, the delusion of ignorant dualistic fixation is said to be like water and gold and the sky.[25] Coemergent ignorance creates the condition for delusion as sentient beings. Thus, [delusion] is said to arise from oneself not realizing that very thing and [from] external [sources] of erroneous ideas. There are endless wrong views, but to mention some in brief: nihilistic extremists hold that there is no cause and effect before and after and also that there is no after[life] and are thus deluded. There are those with the view of a permanent self, singular and self-contained, which is unchanging and so forth. The śrāvakas (hearers) believe that the partless atoms of the object (or percept) and indivisible moments of the subject (or perceiver) are absolute. Pratyekabuddhas (self-realizers) state that the object does not exist but the subject is absolute reality. Cittamātrins (mind-only) think that both object and subject are non-existent and that reflective awareness is absolute reality. True-image cittamātrins[26] believe that the appearing aspects, such as white, red, etc., are true to the consciousness itself. False-image cittamātrins[27] believe that although those images are false, they are true to the consciousness of nonexistent images. However, aside from the difference in the density of delusion, it is said that these different views do not go beyond the net of conceptual thinking. Furthermore, it is said, "the mādhyamikas (centrists) are free of the eight extremes of elaboration." {74} These are the terms in use. Proponents of the father tantras of secret mantra believe in great bliss that arises [as] experiences of bliss-clarity based on the channels and energy currents. The mother tantrikas believe in method and wisdom, the primordial awareness of bliss-emptiness. Of the proponents of so-called mahāmudrā, the ultimate of both [those tantras], some believe it is beyond intellect, and some great completion proponents believe in even the relative truth as the nature of phenomena. There are those and other beliefs in the tenet systems. None of them will see the meaning of nonself, because they are fixated on tenets. In that vein, Telopa said: 

Through Mantravada and Pāramitā,

Vinaya, Sūtra, Abhidharma, and so forth,
or your own scriptures and tenets,
you will not behold the lucid clarity of mahāmudrā:

anger and passion obscure the sight of lucid clarity.[28]

As explained there, it is not about cognizing object and subject. Since object and subject are not valid, that which is cognized and the cognizer are not two. It is the suchness of the nature of phenomena. 


b. Ignorance, Primordial Awareness
i. Stupidity Transformed into Primordial Awareness (six lines beginning with "therefore, noncognizant")

If lucid clarity, the primordial awareness of the realm of phenomena, manifests seamlessly during sleep and [waking] appearances, then inflation is liberated on its own ground and the deluded appearances arise as primordial awareness. That's the real buddha.


ii. Whatever Arises Is Naturally Occurring (five lines beginning with "cognition")

By understanding that the cognizer and that which is cognized are not validly existent, fixation on subject-object is inherently pure. Deeds and beneficial activities are not enacted deliberately but happen as natural occurrences. Therefore, when such meaning as that is actualized, it is not ever manifested as reified conduct.


c. Unmade Ground {75}
i. Not Made by Buddha (four lines beginning with "genuine meaning")

The perfection of wisdom itself is also the ground of samsara and nirvana. Because it is empty since forever and nonself, it abides changelessly. Thus it is taught in the Verse Summary:

Those past lords and those present in the ten directions of the world

became supreme physicians by training in this knowledge mantra.
Whoever benefits and engages in the conduct with compassion,
having trained in this knowledge mantra, will become wise and touch enlightenment.
Those with conditioned happiness and those with unconditioned happiness, whichever, 

all their happiness should be known as coming from this.[29]


ii. Not Realized by Fixation (four lines beginning with "unmade"[30])

The unconditioned, as was mentioned before, is called "ground" (gzhi) because it is free of the three extremes of birth, ceasing, and abiding. Therefore sever all other errors.


d. The Path of No Making
i. Realizing the Four Perception Spheres Are Invalid (seven lines beginning with "unmade")

In any case, people who see the truth of the unconditioned proceed on the path of no making. All appearances are annihilated in the lack of valid existence, so the intellect that fixates on emptiness is purified on its own ground. Since eternalism and nihilism are liberated in the lack of validity, it becomes the path of emptiness and compassion in union. Without mentally engaging in appearance and nonappearance, the obscurations of the absorptions of the higher realms[31] and so on are purified on their own grounds. Then the cognitive obscuration of the path of meditation becomes pure.


ii. Liberation from Samsara through Realizing the Meaning (thirteen lines beginning with "form and")[32]

The aggregates such as form and so on, {76} and the elements and sense fields and so forth are liberated as invalid and thus one is liberated from the three realms. By not making anything in the mind, the two obscurations are naturally pure. This is buddhahood itself—levels and paths are completed. Mental nonengagement becomes the path. That is because it is the experimental practice of wisdom. As it states in the Noble [Sūtra]:

As all phenomena are mental nonengagement itself, the perfection of wisdom is that very mental nonengagement.[33]

Moreover, when mental movement or activity is liberated as invalid, there is no need to stop it because it is free of effort.  

This above section explains just a little of the path of meditation.


e. Results 
i. The Expedient Method for the Small-Minded (five lines beginning with "unreal")

Existence and nonexistence, birth and cessation, coming and going, eternalism and nihilism and so forth are not truly established as real at all. The svābhāvikakāya that is taught as the result and also the presentations of the three kāyas and so forth are indeed appearing for those to be tamed due to the power of aspirations. In actuality, the thirty-two excellent marks and the eighty excellent minor signs and so forth do not have even an atom of valid existence as definite appearance in addition to their abiding nature. Thus, from the Highest Continuum

Just as colors in their variety

appear but are not the real gem,
so appearance caused by various conditions of beings

are not the real pervasive self.[34]


ii. Something Established as Real Is Meaningless (eight lines beginning with "if real")

In the absolute sense, if kāyas and primordial awareness were separately established as real, there would be no ability to pass over samsara because the perfection of wisdom is not an action item of the intellect. Even if it could be established as the intellect or its object, since the intellect is deluded, all the effort to establish that belief {77} would not lead to the attainment of nirvana. Thus it says in the Verse Summary: 

The wisdom of worldly knowledge also has no outer limit.
Whatever is the inherent nature of sentient beings also has no outer limit.

And, 

The guides have completely proclaimed, "perceptions are on this side."
Once perception is totally annihilated, renunciation goes to the other side.[35]


iii. If Mind Is Not Liberated It Is Meaningless (eight lines beginning with "the mind craving dharma")

To attain the special results that were explained above one must be free of a craving attitude. Engaging in dharma under the power of craving is exactly the thing that binds one. Since buddhahood is unconditioned, annihilate all fixation to effortful enterprise.


iv. Realizing Nonfixation Reveals Body, Speech, and Mind (five lines beginning with "not fixating on body")

For the yogin, once the self has relied on the path of the six perfections, then self-fixation is purified on its own ground. When perceived objects develop as kāyas and primordial awareness, it is no different than the Body, Speech, and Mind of all buddhas. So all paths are also lucid clarity without fixation. Except for the perfection of wisdom itself, there is no other place to seek the victors' enlightened intent because there is realization of being inseparable from the three kāyas.

At this point the explanation of the enhancement of the path of the perfections in connection with the five paths is finished. 


III. Conclusion
A. The Meaning of the Name (three lines beginning with "emaho")

The presentation that this is a bundle of explanations on unchangeability and severance of conceptual thought is easy to understand.


B. The Method to Earnestly Take Up Experiential Practice
1. Free of Intellect (three lines beginning with "earnest") {78}

At all times rest evenly within this very state of freedom from extremes of an objective frame of reference.


2. Special Instructions (five lines beginning with "haunted places")

When beginners practice Severance in haunted places and so on, the superior ones respond to fear and anxiety with emptiness, the average with being free of body-mind, and the inferior with casting out the body as food, and such. They should engage without fixation inwardly and then again "out there" [those spirits] will become severed.


3. If the Load Is Carried It Is the View (four lines beginning with "appearing conditions")

If phenomena are not carried directly onto one's stream of being, one cannot be liberated by just peace and happiness. Therefore understand that the vital point of this instruction is to carry it over and apply it to whatever conditions appear. 


4. The Importance of Wandering in Mountain Retreats (four lines beginning with "haunted places")

Those individuals who receive instructions should wander to haunted places and mountain retreats and so on without attachment to the corpse of materialistic desirables. However, once they have arrived in those places, if they fail to set aside the texts and words and neglect meditation, the blessing will not enter and the words will turn them into brutes. Rather, take up practice in isolation. 

The instructions that have thus been explained are the enhancement of the unity of view and conduct. To carry this unity of view and conduct from the time of being a beginner until the attainment of unsurpassable enlightenment is the profound instruction. Thus also Machik affirmed:

Trample on the conceptual thoughts 
with the confidence of the guru's esoteric instruction.

This itself becomes the path when one can display various conducts of the realization of nonself yet be without fixation. Therefore, to take into experience the unity of emptiness and compassion is crucial. 

The instructions on the perfection of wisdom, the complete explanation of the Great Bundle of Precepts on Severance of Evil Object, was created by Rangjung Dorje with a critical intellect by applying the mahāyāna sūtras that are preeminent for meditators in the degenerate times.


  • Footnotes
  1. 1. gCod bka' tshoms chen mo'i sa bcad, DNZ, vol. 14, pp. 53-79 (including commentary). Second source: Collected Works of Karmapa Rangjung Dorje, vol. 11, pp. 265-298.
  2. 2 Although the outline in both of my editions has rig pa rang lugs ("intrinsic awareness's own style"), in all copies of the root text this line begins with rig pas rang lus, so I believe it is a mistake.
  3. 3 The outline here has 'jig rten mi rtogs ("not realized by the world"), but the outline given within the commentary is 'dzin pas mi rtogs, which I have used here.
  4. spros pa'i mtha' brgyad. These are views concerning birth, cessation, eternalism, nihilism, going, coming, singularity, and differentiation.
  5. 5 Attributed to Nāgārjuna's (or Rāhulabhadra's) Eulogy to the Perfection of Wisdom (Sher phyin bstod pa, Skt. Prajñāpāramitāstotra, Toh. 1127). Although Tibetan scholars attribute this famous verse to Rāhulabhadra, it does not appear in the three versions of the Prajñāpāramitāstotra, commonly said to be by Rāhulabhadra, but which the Tibetan tengyur attributes to Nāgārjuna. (Phuntsho, Mipham's Dialectics and Debates on Emptiness, 229 n.28). It does, however, appear in Ratnakīrti's Eulogy to the Deities of the Four Yogas (sByor ba bzhi'i lha la bstod pa. Yogacaturdevastotra, Toh. 1170), fol. 247b.
  6. 6 Called simply 'Phags pa ("Noble") when cited, this seems to refer to any of the longer perfection of wisdom sūtras. In this case, the closest quotation may be found in the Perfection of Wisdom in Eighteen Thousand Lines (Āryāṣṭadaśasāhasrikāprajñāpāramitā, 'Phags pa shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa khrid brgyad stong pa) Toh. 10, kha, f. 175b7, with the one difference of "empty of the essence of form" rather than "free of the essence of form."
  7. 7 Note that the Longchenpa edition of the bKa' tshoms chen mo actually has sems nyid ("mind itself" or "nature of mind") here instead of chos dbyings ("realm of phenomena"), in line with this commentary.
  8. rGyas pa, the Perfection of Wisdom in One Hundred Thousand Lines (sTong phrags brgya pa), found in ACIP, vol. THA, (bam po 254), 532b-538a, although due to the repetitive nature of the sūtra the ending of rnam pa thams cad mkhyen pa nyid could be almost anywhere. In other words, a large section of this huge sūtra is devoted to the idea of mental nonengagement. 
  9. 9 The text says "six lines."
  10. 10 dngos 'dzin, but actually the root text in both copies begins with dngos po yul ("objective things"), which is also indicated by Rangjung Dorje's outline above.
  11. 11 de yang, but actually it is des na in both editions.
  12. 12 Āryaprajñāpāramitāsañcayagāthā. 'Phags pa shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa sdud pa tshigs su bcad pa, ch. 20, v. 2 (Toh. 13), f. 11b2-4 (p.22). Translated in Conze, The Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines and its Verse Summary, p. 45.
  13. 13 Although the text here says "three lines," there are in fact four in all copies of the root text.
  14. 14 Āryaprajñāpāramitāsañcayagāthā. 'Phags pa shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa sdud pa tshigs su bcad pa, ch. 3, v. 5 (Toh. 13), f. 4b2-3 (p. 8); Conze, p.15.
  15. 15 Āryaprajñāpāramitāsañcayagāthā. 'Phags pa shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa sdud pa tshigs su bcad pa, (Toh. 13), f. 12a2-4 (p. 23); Conze, p.46. The simile of the miracle that precedes this verse reads: "For example, a monk who has excellent powers of miraculous emanation stays in the sky and simultaneously emanates apparitions that display coming and going, lying down and sitting, yet does not regret them nor feel fatigue."
  16. 16 'khor ba rang grol. However, the line in the root text begins with 'khor ba rang sar grol ba ("samsara is liberated on its own ground").
  17. 17 Āryaprajñāpāramitāsañcayagāthā. 'Phags pa shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa sdud pa tshigs su bcad pa, ch. 1, v. 25 (Toh. 13), f. 3a6 (p. 5); Conze, p. 12.
  18. 18 Āryaprajñāpāramitāsañcayagāthā. 'Phags pa shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa sdud pa tshigs su bcad pa, ch. 1, v. 26 (Toh. 13), f. 3a6-7 (p. 5); Conze, p. 12.
  19. 19 Verse Summary of the Perfection of Wisdom. Āryaprajñāpāramitāsañcayagāthā. 'Phags pa shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa sdud pa tshigs su bcad pa, ch. 2, v. 9 (Toh. 13), f.4a2 (p. 7); Conze, p. 14. There are variances in the second line of this quotation as it appears in both editions of the commentary. The translation here is based on the Tibetan as it appears in the Derge edition of the tengyur: gzugs ni shes rab ma yin gzugs la shes rab med/ rnam shes 'du shes tshor dang sems pa 'di dag ni/ shes rab ma yin 'di dag la yang shes rab med/ 'di ni nam mkha'i khams dang mtshungs te tha dad med.
  20. 20 bsam pa dran ldan should be bsam pa drag ldan, as  in the Kangyur.
  21. 21 Āryaprajñāpāramitāsañcayagāthā. 'Phags pa shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa sdud pa tshigs su bcad pa, ch. 24, vv. 1-2 (Toh. 13), f. 14b1-2 (p. 28); Conze, p. 54.
  22. 22 Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines, Āryāṣṭasāhasrikāprajñāpāramitā. Shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa brgyad stong pa, (Toh. 12), f. 3a3. Conze 1973, 84
  23. 23 Butter that is not dyed yellow is white, as everyone used to know.
  24. 24 The two editions of this commentary both say here that the verse begins with snyems grol, while in fact it begins in both my editions with snyems sangs. The meaning is very similar.
  25. 25 References to examples of the essential pure nature temporarily obscured, as found in Highest Continuum (rGyud bla ma) (ATG).
  26. 26 sems tsam rnam bden pa. Skt. satyākāravādin. Also called true-aspectarians.
  27. 27 sems tsam rnam rdzun pa. Skt. alīkākāravādin. Also called false-aspectarians.
  28. 28 Mahāmudrā Esoteric Instructions, Mahāmudropadeśa. Phyag rgya chen po'i man ngag, (Toh. 2303), f. 243b7. This instruction is better known as The Ganges Mahāmudra (Phyag chen ganga ma), as it was said to be Telopa's instructions to Nāropa while on the banks of the Ganges River. The version in the Derge Tengyur is slightly different, the second line there reads: 'dul ba'i sde snod la sogs chos rnams dang ("the vinayapiṭaka and all such dharmas"). Also the last line here is not present in the tengyur at all. Another version is in the Collected Works of Marpa (who originally translated it from the Sanskrit). There the 2nd line is 'dul ba'i sde snod mdo sde'i sde snod la sogs dang ("the vinayapiṭaka, sūtrapiṭaka, and so on"), and again the fifth line is missing. (vol. 1, p. 369.) Finally, this instruction is also found in vol. 7 (33-36) of the present work. In this edition, the verse quoted here has the same second line as in the tengyur, however it does include the missing fifth line (zhe 'dod byung bas 'od gsal ma mthong bsgribs), f. 17b3-4 (p. 34), which is also attested in Rangjung Dorje's commentary (vol. 7, p. 41).  Many English translations of this famous instruction can be found on [[1]] (accessed 9/11/11).
  29. 29 Āryaprajñāpāramitāsañcayagāthā. 'Phags pa shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa sdud pa tshigs su bcad pa, ch. 3, vv. 5-6 (Toh. 13), f. 4b2-4 (p. 8); Conze, p. 15.
  30. 30 The root text in DNZ begins with sangs rgyas 'dus ma byas yin pas ("since buddha is unconditioned"), although in the Longchenpa edition it is ma byas 'dus ma byas pa yin ("the unmade is unconditioned").
  31. 31 This refers to "four perception spheres" (skye mched mu bzhi) in the root text, which are four kinds of absorption of the formless realms. These are called the perception sphere of infinite space, of infinite consciousness, of nothing whatsoever, and of neither presence nor absence [of perception].
  32. 32 There are actually fifteen lines in this section, but an interlinear note in the root text explains that two of the lines are not found in most editions.
  33. 33 Noble Sūtra: partially found in The Perfection of Wisdom in Eighteen Thousand Lines, Āryāṣṭādaśasāhasrikāprajñāpāramitā, 'Phags pa shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa khri brgyad stong pa (Toh. 10), f. 177a.
  34. 34 Mahāyānottaratantraśāstra. Theg pa chen po rgyud bla ma'i bstan bcos, ch. 5, v. 219, (Toh. 4024), f. 61b2 (p.128).
  35. 35 Āryaprajñāpāramitāsañcayagāthā. 'Phags pa shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa sdud pa tshigs su bcad pa, ch. 2, two lines of v. 10 and two lines of v. 11 (Toh. 13), f. 4a2 (p. 7); Conze, p. 14. In the right order, the verses read: "This [inherent nature] is indivisible like space. That inherent nature of all reference has no outer limit. Whatever is the inherent nature of sentient beings has no outer limit. The inherent nature of the space of the sky has no outer limit. The wisdom of worldly knowledge also has no outer limit. The guides have completely proclaimed 'perceptions are on this side.' Once perception is totally annihilated, renunciation goes to the other side."