◎ 第二自宗。

3.2 the presentation of our own system


If you do not find the definitive view of selflessness, your mind will not be directed toward selflessness in any of your meditations. Therefore, you must find the view of selflessness.


Furthermore, mere understanding is not enough; when sustaining the view, you must remember it and analyze it, and you must meditate on what you have analyzed.


In order to do that, you must have both forms of meditation: non-analytical stabilization on the meaning and analysis with discriminating wisdom. Each by itself is insufficient.


This section has three parts:
3.2.1 1.Why both stabilizing meditation and analytical meditation are necessary
3.2.2 Overcoming objections to that
3.2.3 A summary of the key points for sustaining insight and serenity


3.2.1 1.Why both stabilizing meditation and analytical meditation are necessary


If you are not certain about the view—i.e., you have not reached firm conclusions about the meaning of selflessness—then the knowledge which is insight will not develop. This is because the Buddha said that certainty about the view is the cause of insight


and that failing to study instructions that explain the view is a hindrance to insight. The 《Sūtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning》 says:
Bhagavan, from what causes do serenity and insight arise?
Maitreya, they arise from the cause of pure ethics and from the cause of an authentic view based on study and reflection.


And: Failure to willingly study the instructions of noble beings is a hindrance to insight.


Also, the 《Questions of Nārāyana》 says:
Study gives rise to wisdom and it is wisdom that eliminates the afflictions.
I cited many such statements earlier.


How does the view create insight? When you set out to determine the view, you determine it through analysis using many lines of reasoning and scriptural citations.


When you have determined it, you repeatedly analyze it using discriminating wisdom. Stabilizing meditation alone, without sustaining the view, will not create insight. Therefore, when you meditate after having attained serenity, you must sustain the view through continued analysis.


Opponent: We do not claim that there is no analysis at the beginning. However, once study and reflection have determined the view, if you then practice analytical meditation during a session of meditation, these thoughts are conceptions of signs.

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Reply: It is not tenable to fail to sustain the view in this way, for we have given abundant refutation of the claim that any conceptual thoughts are conceptions of signs and of the claim that ordinary beings meditate on selflessness with a wisdom that is free from conceptual thought.


Furthermore, because you claim that all of those conceptual thoughts are conceptions of true existence, if they had to be stopped during meditation on the view, then they would also have to be stopped when determining the view inasmuch as conceptual thought is needed to make those determinations.


And since you must use conceptual thought for everything, such as teaching students, debating, composing, and thinking about the view, you would also have to stop it at those times because you cannot make even the slightest distinction which allows for a conception of true existence that must be stopped during meditation, but which does not need to be stopped at other times.


Opponent: We do not agree with that. One conducts analysis using many lines of reasoning and scriptural citations in order to know something that one does not yet know—the meaning of selflessness. During meditation, such analysis is unnecessary because the view has already been found.


Reply: If this were so, then since noble beings have perceptual knowledge of selflessness on the path of seeing, it would be pointless for them to meditate on the selflessness that they have already seen.


Opponent: They must meditate on the emptiness already perceived on the path of seeing; by becoming accustomed to it, they eliminate the afflictions to be eliminated on the path of meditation. The path of seeing alone cannot eliminate those afflictions.


Reply: Yes, and this case is similar because here, even though previous study and reflection have already determined the view with certainty, you must become accustomed to what you have determined.


This is because ascertainment of the view becomes strong, long-lasting, clear, and steady to the extent that one becomes accustomed to what one has determined.


Therefore, as Dharmakirti's Commentary on the "Compendium of Valid Cognition" says:
Ascertainment and the reifying mind
Are of the nature of the canceled and that which cancels.


Because those two are the canceled and that which cancels, reification is canceled as your ascertainment takes on qualities such as steadiness and strength.


Therefore, here again you must maximize your ascertainment of the absence of intrinsic existence; you must reflect on many lines of refutations and proof.


Suppose that this were not the case. Someone could arrive at an understanding of something such as impermanence, karma and its effects, the faults of cyclic existence, the spirit of enlightenment, love, or compassion. Then, without analyzing them further, that person would need simply to hold the single thought, "I am going to die," and then sustain it in order to have full knowledge of impermanence.


The reasons why you must continue analysis of the view are entirely similar. In order to bring about genuine ascertainment, it is not enough to have just a pronouncement such as, "I am going to die," or "I will attain buddhahood for the sake of living beings," or "I feel compassion for living beings." You must reflect on those things using many lines of reasoning.


Likewise, for a steady and strong ascertainment of the absence of intrinsic existence, it is not enough to hold onto some pronouncement.


You have to reflect on it using many lines of refutation and proof. I have already explained this at length in the section on the person of small capacity.


Accordingly, all three of Kamalaśīla's 《Stages of Meditation》 say that when you meditate after you have achieved serenity, you must do much analysis in meditation.


And Candrakirti's 《Commentary on the "Middle Way"》 says things like, "Yogis refute the self," meaning that when they meditate they carry out those analyses.

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This is because yogis do this analysis in order to find either serenity or insight; and because it is not the case that there is no search for understanding of the view prior to achieving serenity.


Also, analyses of the view are set forth in the context of the perfection of wisdom, after the perfection of meditative stabilization; the critical point implied by this order is that you still analyze the two selflessnesses after achieving meditative stabilization.


Bhāvaviveka's 《Heart of the Middle Way》 says:
After your mind is set in equipoise,
This is how wisdom investigates
These things, these phenomena
Which are conceived of in conventional terms.


Bhāvaviveka's own commentary on this says that analyses of the view are done after achieving concentration.


Also, in 《Engaging in the Bodhisattva Deeds》, Šantideva says that you achieve serenity in accordance with what appears in the chapter on meditative stabilization. Then, when you cultivate wisdom, you cultivate it via rational analysis.


Therefore, the sequence of the last two perfections and the sequence of the last two trainings are in all cases sequences in which wisdom is cultivated after you have previously achieved concentration.


In discussions of how to cultivate that wisdom, every statement about analysis of the real nature and the diversity gives this same sequence of meditation, so do not imagine that it is the other way around.


Beyond just these sources, there are many great texts that say this, so there is no doubt that you must analyze during meditation.


While this is so, if you perform only analytical meditation when cultivating insight after you have achieved serenity, your earlier serenity will be destroyed. Since it was not refreshed, serenity will be gone; thus, as explained earlier, insight also will not develop. Therefore, you must sustain the serenity that previously set up a condition of mental stability. Since you must also practice analytical meditation, both are necessary. Furthermore, in the practice of insight, at the conclusion of analytical meditation, you practice stabilizing meditation on that meaning. By doing this, you will achieve a union of serenity and insight focused upon selflessness.


The second of Kamalaśīla's 《Stages of Meditation》 says:


This passage states that when you investigate the places where your mind spreads and the mind which spreads there, you realize that they are empty; that when you search for or analyze the knowledge that they are empty, you realize that it is empty; and that those analyses are done during meditation on emptiness.

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It also says that the person who analyzes and realizes that they are empty will enter the yoga of signlessness. Therefore, it clearly shows the impossibility of what Ha-shang claimed—that by merely withdrawing your mind and eliminating bringing anything to mind, you can enter into a signless or nonconceptual state without first using rational analysis to search analytically.


Therefore, as I explained before, the sword of reasoning cuts through phenomena, revealing that they lack even a shred of the two selves, and brings forth certainty about selflessness.


So if a thing possessed of the two selves does not exist, then how could the nonexistence which is its negation be established in reality?


The conception that the nonexistence that is the absence of the son of a barren woman really exists must be based on the observation of a barren woman and her son. If those two are never observed, then no one thinks to construct the expression, "The nonexistence of the son of a barren woman truly exists."


In the same way, when you see no truly existent thing anywhere at all, you also do not give rise to the conception that the nonexistence of that truly existent thing is something truly existent.


Therefore, you stop all thoughts conceiving of signs, because if a thought conceives of true existence, it must be a thought that conceives of the true existence of either an existent or a nonexistent. So if the larger category is negated, then the subcategory is negated. This is what Kamalaśīla's 《Stages of Meditation》 says.


Thus, to achieve the nonconceptual sublime wisdom, you alternate (1) developing certainty, profound certainty, that there is not even a particle of true existence in any thing or non-thing whatsoever, and (2) stabilizing your mind on the conclusion thereby reached.


You cannot achieve such wisdom by simply constricting mental activity without any analysis of an object, because this approach does not make it possible to eliminate the conception of true existence.


This is because it is merely not thinking of true existence; it is not knowledge of the absence of true existence.


In the same way, it is merely not thinking of a self, but is not knowledge of the lack of self, so cultivating it does not stop the conception of self. Therefore, you must distinguish between (1) not thinking about true existence or the existence of the two selves, and (2) knowing the lack of true existence or the nonexistence of the two selves. Remember this critical point.


3.2.2 Overcoming objections to that


Objection: Since analytical discrimination of the meaning of selflessness is conceptual, it is contradictory that it should produce the nonconceptual sublime wisdom. This is because there must be harmony between an effect and its cause.


Reply: The Bhagavan himself spoke about this using an example. The Kãếyapa 《Chapter Sūtra》 says:
Kāśyapa, it is thus. For example, two trees are dragged against each other by the wind and from that a fire starts, burning the two trees. In the same way, Kāśyapa, if you have correct analytical discrimination, the power of a noble being's wisdom will emerge. With its emergence, correct analytical discrimination will itself be burned up.


This means that the wisdom of a noble being emerges from analytical discrimination.

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Kamalaśīla's 《second Stages of Meditation》 says:
Thus, yogis analyze with wisdom and when they definitely do not apprehend the essence of anything ultimately, they enter into the nonconceptual concentration. They know that all phenomena lack essence. There are some whose meditation does not involve the use of wisdom to investigate the essence of things; they only cultivate the sheer and complete elimination of mental activity. Their conceptions never end and they never know the absence of essence because they lack the light of wisdom. Thus, when the fire which is a precise understanding of reality arises from correct analytical discrimination, then—as in the case of the fire from the friction of two sticks rubbed together—the wood of conceptual thought is burned up. This is what the Bhagavan said.


Otherwise, since it would be impossible for an uncontaminated path to arise from a contaminated path, an ordinary being could not attain the state of a noble being because of the dissimilarity between the cause and the effect. In the same way, it is evident that there are limitless cases of dissimilar causes and effects, such as the production of a green seedling from a gray seed, the production of smoke from fire, and the production of a male child from a woman.


A noble being's nonconceptual sublime wisdom is perceptual knowledge of the meaning of selflessness—the emptiness of the object of the conception of the two selves. In order to develop that sort of wisdom at a higher stage, your meditation must now precisely analyze the object of the conception of self and realize that it does not exist.


Therefore, although this is conceptual, it is a cause which is very conducive to the nonconceptual sublime wisdom.


As previously cited, the 《King of Concentrations Sūtra》 says:
If you analytically discriminate the lack of self in phenomena
And if you cultivate that precise analysis in meditation,
This will cause you to reach the goal, the attainment of nirvāna.
There is no peace through any other cause.


Therefore, Kamalaśīla's 《third Stages of Meditation》 says:
Even though it has a conceptual nature,
its nature is one of proper mental activity.
Therefore, because it engenders the nonconceptual sublime wisdom,
those who seek the sublime wisdom should rely upon it.


Objection: The Perfection of Wisdom sutras say that if one is involved in the idea that things such as forms are empty and selfless, then one is involved in signs. Therefore, analytical discrimination of emptiness is not tenable.


Reply: Such statements in sutras refer to holding emptiness to be truly existent; as I have explained frequently above, they do not refer to holding simply, "This is empty."


Otherwise, those sūtras would not speak of analysis when cultivating the perfection of wisdom: A bodhisattva, a great being, who practices the perfection of wisdom and cultivates the perfection of wisdom should carefully investigate and definitely consider the following: What is this perfection of wisdom? Whose is this perfection of wisdom? Is the nonexistence and non-observation of any phenomenon the perfection of wisdom? When one carefully investigates and definitely considers this....


And in answer to the question of how to practice the profound perfection of wisdom, the Heart Sūtra says,


"Correctly regard even those five aggregates as empty of intrinsic nature."

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Also, the 《Verse Summary of the Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines》 says:
When wisdom destroys the conditioned and the unconditioned,
And the positive and negative, and not even a particle is observed,
Then this counts in the world as the perfection of wisdom.


This means that you reach the perfection of wisdom when, having analyzed phenomena with wisdom, you see without regarding even a particle as ultimately real.


How can your assertion that conceptual analysis is a hindrance to insight not contradict these many statements about the need for precise investigation of such reasonings?


Objection: I disagree with this approach. There are scriptural statements that one should not investigate phenomena. How do you account for this?


Reply: If you, like Ha-Shang, claim that all thoughts whatsoever bind you in cyclic existence, then you must accept that you are bound in cyclic existence by all thoughts such as, "I have received personal instructions on the nonconceptual; I will meditate on this." I refuted this at length earlier.


Thus, the meaning of scriptural passages which seem to say that you should not investigate is that you should not conceive of those things as truly existent.


Stopping the thought which conceives of true existence is like this illustration: If suffering arises through mistaking a rope for a snake, you overcome this error when you are certain that the snake does not exist as you had imagined. There is no other way.


Likewise, you must use a correct reason to be certain that the object that you had thought of as truly existent does not truly exist, and you must make yourself intimately familiar with this conclusion. You cannot stop the thought which conceives of true existence by simply withdrawing the mind that conceives of true existence.


Furthermore, you must agree that the conception of true existence is mistaken; if it were not mistaken, there would be no point in stopping it.


If you agree that this awareness is mistaken, then how are you to recognize that it is mistaken unless you recognize that the object held by it does not exist? For one can determine whether an awareness is mistaken only by whether an object exists as it is apprehended by that awareness.


A mere proclamation will not prove that the object does not exist as it is conceived to exist by the conception of true existence. So you rely on defect-free combinations of scripture and reason to prove it.


After you have done that, you arrive at a conclusion about the absence of true existence. You then stabilize your mind without conceiving of true existence; this is our position. Therefore, this meditation must be the kind of nonconceptual state that is preceded by the analysis of discriminating wisdom; simply being a nonconceptual state is not enough.


You should understand this in accordance with what is said in Kamalaśīla's 《third Stages of Meditation》:
Thus, see that in the scriptures of the excellent teaching, correct analytical discrimination precedes the absence of mindfulness and the absence of mental activity because it is only correct analytical discrimination that can create the absence of mindfulness and the absence of mental activity. There is no other way.


Scriptures such as the 《Cloud of Jewels Sūtra》 and the 《Sutra Unravelling the Intended Meaning》 state that insight has the nature of correct analytical discrimination.


The 《Cloud of Jewels Sūtra》 says:
After you have investigated with insight, you know the absence of essence. This is entry into signlessness.


The 《Descent into Lanka Sūtra》 says:
Mahāmati, because specific and general characteristics are not known when mentally investigated, it is said that all phenomena lack essence.

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Failing to perform correct analytical discrimination would contradict the many pronouncements about correct analytical discrimination which the Bhagavan made in these sūtras.


Thus, it is acceptable to say, "I have little wisdom, little effort, and I am not capable of pursuing extensive study." But since the Bhagavan praised extensive study, it is not right to abandon it forever.


Similarly, the statements that the mind should not remain on anything, from form to omniscience, mean that it is not appropriate to hold that those phenomena truly exist as places for the mind to remain.


Otherwise, since even things like the six perfections are spoken of in that way, it would mean that the mind must not remain even on them. As explained earlier, it is not appropriate to remain within the conception of things as truly existent.


There are statements in sutras that by relying on the knowledge that phenomena do not truly exist, you will not remain with and not conceive of such phenomena. Know that all such statements refer only to the preceding correct analytical discrimination which refutes that objects intrinsically or truly exist.


Therefore, scriptural references to things such as the inconceivable, or to what is beyond awareness, are made to prevent the conceit that the profound can be known by mere study or reflection; those are objects of a noble being's individual self-knowledge. Therefore, those statements mean that it is inconceivable, etc. to the minds of others who are not noble beings,


and their purpose is to stop the incorrect idea that the profound truly exists. Recognize that they do not refute proper analysis by discriminating wisdom.


Kamalaśīla's 《third Stages of Meditation》 says:
So wherever you hear words such as "inconceivable," they are for the purpose of stopping the inflated sense of pride of those who think that reality is known only by mere study and reflection. Such expressions indicate that phenomena are to be understood with the individual self-knowledge of a noble being. Understand this as a correct refutation of an incorrect idea; these statements are not refuting correct analytical discrimination. Otherwise, it would contradict a great many reasonings and scriptures.


How would it contradict many scriptures? It would contradict such statements as this from the Kāśyapa Chapter Sutra:
Kāśyapa, what is correct analytical discrimination of phenomena on the middle way? Kāśyapa, where there is analytical discrimination of the nonexistence of a self and analytical discrimination of the nonexistence of a sentient being, a living being, anourished being, a creature, a person, a human being, a human—Kāśyapa, this is called the correct analytical discrimination of phenomena on the middle way.


Kamalaśīla's 《first Stages of Meditation》 says:
The Formula for Entering the Nonconceptual says, "You get rid of the signs of form and such by not applying the mind." What about this? Again, the intended meaning is that when using wisdom to investigate, you do not apply your mind to that which is unobservable. It is not that you strictly have no mental activity. In the meditative absorption of non-discrimination you do simply eliminate mental activity, but this does not get rid of the beginningless attachment to things such as form.


This is also clear in this master's commentary on that formula.

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In brief, in the Mahāyāna there is no view other than the two kinds of view explained extensively in the texts of the noble Nāgārjuna and the noble Asanga.


It is evident that the excellent scholars and adepts of India and Tibet definitely rely on one or the other of the two views as explained by those two masters. So there is no doubt that you must seek the view of one or the other of these two masters, as presented by their respective texts.


I previously explained the procedure for seeking the view based on the texts of the noble father and his spiritual son [Nāgārjuna and Aryadeva].


According to the noble Asanga, objects and subjects are, in reality, completely devoid of being different substantial entities, yet appear as different substantial entities to childish beings. Such appearances are the imaginary objects which childish beings conceive to truly exist just as they appear. Through scripture and reasoning, you find a firm ascertainment of the perfectly real, the nonduality which is the total negation of the imaginary in relation to the contingent.


It is then necessary to perform both stabilizing meditation on that view and meditation that analyzes it with discrimination.


Even with such an understanding of the view, if during meditation you merely enter a nonconceptual state, and do not stabilize your mind on that view, then this does not constitute meditation on emptiness.


You should look at Ratnākaraśānti's Instructions for the Perfection of Wisdom, as it is the clearest on this system's methods for determining the view, its methods for separately sustaining serenity and insight with regard to what you have determined, and its methods for entering the union of serenity and insight.


It is wonderful to know this system well and to meditate in accordance with what is found in its scriptures.


Each Mahāyāna scripture—from summaries to the most extensive texts—gives a great many teachings on the profound meaning, but also leaves many things out. So you must draw points that are not taught in certain texts from other texts that do teach them, and you must draw points that are not taught extensively in certain texts from other texts where they are taught extensively.


You should understand that this is true for the category of the vast bodhisattva deeds as well.


A partial path, in which either the profound or the vast is missing, cannot be considered complete. This is why it is often said that you must be skilled in all vehicles in order to be a guru who is fully qualified to teach the path.


3.2.3 A summary of the key points for sustaining insight and serenity


As I have explained, when you have found the view of what has definitive meaning, you will have determined that the self and that which belongs to the self do not intrinsically exist in the basis in relation to which the conceptions of "I" and "mine" arise.


And just as when you initially made this determination, you continue to use extensive analysis with discriminating wisdom to bring the force of certainty to bear upon that conclusion. You alternate between stabilizing meditation—which stays with that conclusion without Scattering—and analysis with discriminating wisdom.


At that time, if stability decreases due to excessive analytical meditation, do more stabilizing meditation and restore stability.

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As stability increases under the influence of extensive stabilizing meditation, if you lose interest in analysis and thus fail to analyze, then your ascertainment of reality will not become firm and powerful.


In the absence of a firm and powerful ascertainment of reality, you will not do even the slightest damage to the countervailing superimpositions which conceive of the existence of the two selves. Therefore, cultivate a balance of serenity and insight by doing extensive analytical meditation.


Kamalaśīla's 《third Stages of Meditation》 says: When, through cultivating insight, wisdom becomes extremely strong, serenity decreases. Therefore, like a flame placed in the wind, the mind wavers so that it does not see reality very clearly. For that reason, you should then cultivate serenity.


Also, when serenity becomes very strong, you will not see reality very clearly, like a person who is asleep. Therefore, you should then cultivate wisdom.


Understand that the way to prepare for a session, the way to conclude a session, and the way to conduct yourself between sessions are just as I explained them in the section on persons of small capacity.


In the section on serenity, I explained how to identify laxity and excitement, how to use mindfulness and vigilance to eliminate them, and how to relax your efforts after you have attained an equanimity which operates naturally, without being unbalanced by laxity or excitement. Realize that all of this is the same when meditating on selflessness. Ratnākaraśānti's Instructions for the 《Perfection of Wisdom》 says that sustaining serenity with respect to the object of meditation produces pliancy,


and that the analytical meditation of insight into that object also produces pliancy. After you have established those two separately, you then unite them.


According to this text, it is not required that you do analysis and stabilization within one continuous session. Hence, Ratnākaraśānti explains that it is acceptable to do them in separate sessions.


Here the important point is that by eradicating the cognitive process in which ignorance reifies things, you produce a powerful certainty about emptiness—the absence of intrinsic existence, the opposite of this reification—and that you must then meditate on emptiness.


If you fail to refute the conceptions of self and the cognitive processes of ignorance, and you put emptiness off to one corner, then your meditation will do nothing to hinder the two conceptions of self.


Earlier teachers often said, "It is like sending an effigy to the western door to ward off a demon at the eastern door." It is evident that this is quite true.


The things that I have said here are only a rough explanation. To understand the fine points of what is advantageous and disadvantageous when meditating, you must rely on Wise teachers, and you have to use your own meditative experience. Therefore, I will not elaborate.


Regarding these meditations, I have taken the earlier instructions on the stages of the path as a foundation and then enlarged upon them.

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One of those early instructions, Bo-do-wa's 《Little Digest of Instructions》, says:
Some say that you determine the absence of intrinsic existence
Using reason during study and reflection,
But meditate strictly without conceptual thought at the time of meditation.
If this were so, then this would be an emptiness disconnected from that of study and reflection.
And, because of being meditated upon in a separate way, it would not be a remedy.
Therefore, even at the time of meditation
Analytically discriminate by using whatever you are accustomed to—
Such as the lack of being single or plural, or dependentarising—
And then stabilize your mind without even the slightest discursive thought.
If you meditate in that way, it will remedy the afflictions.
For those who wish to follow the Sole Deity [Atisha]
And for those who wish to practice the system of the perfections,
This is the way to cultivate wisdom.
By first becoming accustomed to the selflessness of the person,
You can then proceed in this way.


Also, Atisha [in his Introduction to the Two Truths] said:
Who understood emptiness?
Candrakirti, the disciple of Nāgārjuna–
Who was prophesied by the Tathâgata
And who saw the true reality.
One will learn the true reality
From instructions which derive from him.


This teaching is like what Atisha says in his Madhyamaka Instructions; he says that you alternate between analytical meditation and meditation which stabilizes on the conclusions of such analysis. There is no difference between this and the system of the master Kamalaśīla.


As explained before, the intended meanings of Candrakirti's 《Commentary on the "Middle Way"》, Bhavaviveka's 《Heart of the Middle Way》, and the writings of master Santideva are also the same. This is also explained many times in the teachings of Maitreya and in the texts of the noble Asafiga,


and it is clearly explained in the Instructions for the 《Perfection of Wisdom》 by the scholar Ratnākaraśānti, who considers Asanga's system to be accurate.


Therefore, it is evident that the texts and instructions deriving from Nāgārjuna and Asanga agree about the way to sustain insight.


4 The measure of achieving insight through meditation


When you meditate using discriminating wisdom to analyze in this way, you have an approximation of insight until you develop such pliancy as I explained above; once you develop pliancy, it is genuine insight.


The nature of pliancy and the way to produce it are as I explained them above.


Pliancy is also induced by a previously attained and continuing serenity, so insight is not simply a matter of having pliancy.


What is it? Insight is when the power of analytical meditation itself is able to induce pliancy. In this regard, insight observing the diversity and insight observing the real nature are alike.


Thus, the 《Sutra Unravelling the Intended Meaning》 says:
Bhagavan, when bodhisattvas who have not attained mental and physical pliancy attend internally to an object of concentration which is an image based on how they have understood those conventional phenomena in deep reflection, what is that attention called?


Maitreya, it is not insight; you can say that they have a conviction that is an approximation of insight.

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Also, Ratnākaraśānti's 《Instructions for the Perfection of Wisdom》says:
Thus, the attainment of insight lies in the attainment of physical and mental pliancy. As you have a strong interest in the object of internal concentration, which is an image based upon this same object as you have reflected upon it, you will carry out analytical discrimination. Until you develop physical and mental pliancy, this attention is an approximation of insight; when pliancy does develop, this attention is insight.


This means that in meditation on the diversity of conventional phenomena, serenity, insight, and the way they are united are comparable to what is done in meditation on the real nature.


When analysis itself can induce pliancy, it can also induce one-pointed focus. Therefore, the advantage of having already attained serenity is that the analytical meditation of discrimination can itself induce this one-pointed focus.


So for those who have well-established serenity, even analytical meditation helps serenity. Thus, do not think, "If I carry out the analytical meditation of discrimination, my stability will diminish."


Your meditation will constitute an insight that combines stabilizing meditation and analytical meditation on the real nature only when you meet the standard of having found an authentic, accurate understanding of the philosophical view of either of the two selflessnesses and after having focused and meditated upon this. This is what distinguishes genuine insight; it cannot be distinguished by any other means.


What kinds of things do not distinguish it? Meditation on any object may stop the coarse perception of the dualistic appearance of object and subject, leaving your mind like a stainless sky; your mind may be endowed with qualities of knowledge, clarity, and limpidity. Like a flame undisturbed by wind, the mind may remain steady for a long time;


external and internal objects may appear to your mind like rainbows or wispy smoke, and may continue to appear that way for a long time.


When you focus attention on any object that appears before the mental consciousness, it may not be able to stand even the slightest attention, and then your serenity is restored.


At first, coarse external objects such as forms and sounds do appear, but as you grow accustomed to this meditative state, eventually it seems that understandings and experiences of the sort which you formerly possessed have been expelled; when you focus your mind on them, they disappear without bearing the slightest attention. Such experiences occur, but cannot be considered cases of finding the view which knows the reality beyond the two extremes;


nor can these hazy, indistinct appearances be at all considered as "illusion-like" in the Madhyamaka sense. This is because many such things appear when you sustain stability for a long time, even when your mind is not directed toward the view.


As I explained before, the sense of "illusion-like" requires that an appearance be based on two factors: (1) the certainty of a reasoning consciousness which has concluded that phenomena lack essence, and (2) conventional valid cognition's undeniable establishment of appearances.


Things such as forms may appear to your mind under a sheer and diaphanous aspect, like a rainbow; this is simply the combination of the absence of any tangible object and a glimmering appearance which occurs despite the absence of anything tangible.

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Thus, since this sort of ascertainment lacks even the slightest certainty about the absence of intrinsic existence, it is not right to consider this an illusion-like appearance, because to do so is to call the tangible "intrinsic existence," treating two objects of negation—intrinsic existence and the tangible—as though they were the same.


Otherwise, if you did claim that the Madhyamaka sense of illusion and falsity is something of this sort, then when a rainbow and wispy smoke are taken as the substrata, the idea that they intrinsically exist would never occur, because according to your approach the very ascertainment of the substrata would be an ascertainment that they appear but lack intrinsic existence,


Also when the tangible is itself taken as the substratum, this approach would not lead to the ascertainment that the tangible lacks intrinsic existence, because according to your approach the ascertainment of the substratum is a conception of intrinsic existence.


Therefore, when form and such appear in that way, this is not what it means to appear like an illusion, because there is not even the slightest refutation of the object of the misconception which thinks that this sheer and diaphanous appearance is the mode of being, or ontological status, of those objects.


As I explained, illusion-like appearance refers to what appears to someone who has previously found, and who has not forgotten, the authentic view.


The stages of the path tradition deriving from Geshe Gön-ba-wa describes how to generate that understanding of emptiness as follows:


First, you meditate on the selflessness of the person. You then meditate on the meaning of the selflessness of objects, bringing mindfulness and vigilance to bear. In a long session, failure to use mindfulness will cause you to fluctuate between laxity and excitement, and thus there will be little benefit. Therefore, doing four sessions in each of the four periods— morning, evening, dusk, and dawn—you meditate in sixteen sessions per day. When you think that the object is becoming clear or that you are having some experience, you should stop.


When you meditate in this way, and then, supposing that you have not been meditating long, check the time and see that the night or day have been foreshortened, this means that the mind has linked to its object.


If you check the time supposing that you have been meditating a very long time and see that no time has passed, this means that your mind is not linked to its object.


When the mind is linked to its object, afflictions diminish in your mind, and you wonder whether you will ever need to sleep again. When you are successful in each session of the day and night,


your concentration will develop four characteristics: (1) non-discursiveness—when you are inequipoise, you will not feel the movement of inhalation and exhalation, and your breath and thought will become very subtle;


(2) brightness—it will be just like the brightness of the sky at noontime in autumn;


(3) limpidity—it will be like the clarity you see when you pour water into a clear metal cup and put it in the sun; and


(4) subtlety—watching from within the condition that has the former three characteristics, you see what happens to a fraction of a split hair-tip.


This approximates the creation of nonconceptual wisdom. As compared to actual nonconceptual wisdom, its nature is conceptual; it is therefore said to be mistaken.


This explains what is stated in Maitreya's 《Separation of the Middle from the Extremes》, "The approximation is mistaken."

- p.552 -

According to what is said in the 《Separation of the Middle from the Extremes》, even the most auspicious meditation on emptiness by an ordinary being is an approximation and must be considered mistaken. When you meditate on the meaning of the accurate view as explained above, then even though the other characteristics have not arisen, this is meditation on the meaning of selflessness.


If you do not meditate on the meaning of the view, accurately determined, then even if the four characteristics arise, it cannot be considered meditation on the definitive meaning. Therefore, whether something is a meditation on the meaning of the real nature is determined as I explained above.


The way that things appear as illusions after meditation on that real nature should be understood in accordance with what I explained above.


(iii) How to unite serenity and insight


As I explained in the sections on the standards for achieving serenity and insight, if you do not achieve them, then there will not be anything to unite. Therefore, in order to unite them, you must definitely attain the two.


Also, from the time that you first attain insight, you will have that union. So it is said that the way to attain that union is to perform analytical meditation based upon earlier serenity, sequentially developing the four attentions—such as tight focus—here at the time of insight.


Thus, when you have developed the fourth attention [spontaneous focus] as explained above, this constitutes union. Also, at the end of analytical meditation, you practice and sustain stabilizing meditation; it is union when the serenity thus attained becomes stabilizing meditation of this kind.


Thus, Asanga's 《Sravaka Levels》 says:
How do you combine and balance serenity and insight? And why is it called a path of union?


It is said that it is reached through the nine mental states. Based on having attained the ninth, equipoise, and having fully achieved concentration,


you apply yourself to the higher wisdom—the differentiation of phenomena. At that time, you naturally and effortlessly enter the path of differentiating phenomena.


Because the path of serenity is unencumbered by striving, insight is pure, clean, comes after serenity, and is fully suffused with delight.


Therefore, your serenity and insight combine and are balanced; this is called the path of the union of serenity and insight.


Kamalaśīla's 《third Stages of Meditation》 says:
Through being isolated from laxity and excitement, your mind becomes balanced and operates naturally. When this makes your mind extremely clear about reality, you achieve equanimity by easing your effort. Understand that you have then achieved the path of the union of serenity and insight.


Why is this called "union"?

- p.553 -

Prior to attaining it, the analytical meditation of discrimination cannot by itself bring about the stability of non-discursiveness. Therefore, you must work at cultivating analytical meditation and stabilizing meditation separately. Upon attaining both, the activity of the analytical meditation of discrimination can itself bring about serenity. Therefore, it is called union.


Also, analysis at this point is insight. The stability at the end of analysis is a special serenity observing emptiness.


Ratnākaraśānti's 《Instructions for the Perfection of Wisdom》 says:
Thereafter, the mind observes that discursive image. When that mind experiences both serenity and insight in a continuous and uninterrupted stream of attention, then this is called the path of union of serenity and insight. Serenity and insight are a pair; connection means possessing each other; they operate bound to each other.


"Uninterrupted" means that after you finish the analytical meditation itself, you do not have to stabilize your mind in a non-discursive state, but your analytical meditation itself brings about non-discursiveness.


"Experiences both" means that you experience both serenity which observes a non-discursive image and insight which observes a discursive image. They are not simultaneous, but you experience them within a continuous process, without interruption of your meditative attention.


Question: Is it not contradictory to explain that, after previously achieving serenity, you use the analytical meditation of discrimination to establish stability?


Reply: If, prior to achieving serenity, you repeatedly alternate between analysis and post-analytical stabilization, then it will be impossible to achieve serenity.


Doing such meditation after reaching serenity indicates that you are achieving an enhanced serenity. Therefore, there is no contradiction.


Moreover, there is one special case to consider: The analytical meditation immediately preceding the achievement of insight can induce one-pointed focus.


I did explain above that it is impossible to establish serenity if, prior to achieving insight, you repeatedly alternate between analysis and post-analytical stabilization, and I explained that after you reach serenity, analytical meditation cannot induce non-discursiveness. I made these explanations in terms of the situation prior to the attaining of insight, leaving aside the exceptional case of analysis at the inception of insight.


In brief, prior to achieving serenity, it is impossible to reach serenity by doing stabilizing meditation in alternation, stabilizing your mind at the conclusion of analysis.

- p.554 -

Once serenity is established, but prior to achieving insight, analytical meditation cannot itself induce a solid, one-pointed stability. Therefore, reaching solid stability through analysis—extensive analysis by discriminating wisdom—comes about when insight is achieved; thus the union of insight and serenity is also posited at that point.


So do not mistake the union of serenity and insight for a composite in which wisdom can analytically discriminate the meaning of selflessness from within an essentially unchanging non-discursive state of solid stability, like a small fish moving beneath still water without disturbing it.


Know how to unite serenity and insight according to what appears in the original texts. Do not put confidence in explanations derived from anything else. From the viewpoint of these Indian texts, it would seem that I must distinguish the many features of how you sustain serenity and insight in meditation. But I am wary of being long-winded, so I will write no more.


Summary and Conclusion.


Now I will give a brief summation of the general meaning of the path. At the outset, the root of the path derives from your reliance upon a teacher, so consider this seriously.


Then, once you have developed an uncontrived desire to take advantage of your leisure, this desire will spur you to practice continually. Therefore, in order to develop this, meditate on the topics connected with leisure and opportunity.


Unless you then stop the various sentiments which seek the aims of this life, you will not diligently seek the aims of future lives. So work at meditating on how the body you have is impermanent in the sense that it will not last for long, and on how after death you will wander in the miserable realms.


At that time, by creating a genuine awareness which is mindful of the frights of the miserable realms, build certainty from the depths of your heart about the qualities of the three refuges. Be constant in the common vow of going for refuge and train in its precepts.


Then, from a range of perspectives develop faith, in the sense of conviction, in karma and its effects—this being the great foundation of all positive qualities. Make this faith firm. Strive to cultivate the ten virtues and to turn away from the ten nonvirtues, and always stay within the path of the four powers.


When you have thus trained well in the teachings associated with a person of small capacity and have made this practice firm, you should contemplate often the general and specific faults of cyclic existence, and in general turn your mind away from cyclic existence as much as you can.


Then, having identified the nature of karma and the afflictions—the causes from which cyclic existence arises—create an authentic desire to eliminate them. Develop broad certainty about the path that liberates you from cyclic existence, i.e., the three trainings, and particularly make effort at whichever of the vows of individual liberation you have taken.


When you have thus trained well in the teachings associated with a person of medium capacity and have made this practice firm, consider the fact that just as you yourself have fallen into the ocean of cyclic existence, so have all beings, your mothers. Train in the spirit of enlightenment which is rooted in love and compassion, and strive to develop this as much as you can.


Without it, the practices of the six perfections and the two stages are like stories built on a house with no foundation.


When you develop a little experience of this spirit of enlightenment, confirm it with the rite. By making effort in this training, make the aspiration as solid as you can.

- p.555 -

Then study the great waves of the bodhisattva deeds, learning the boundaries of what to discard and what to adopt, and make a strong wish to train in those bodhisattva deeds.


After you have developed these attitudes, take the vow of the engaged spirit of enlightenment through its rite. Train in the six perfections that mature your own mind and the four ways of gathering disciples which mature the minds of others. In particular, risk your life in making a great effort to avoid the root infractions. Strive not to be tainted by the small and intermediate contaminants and faults,


and even if you are tainted, work to repair it.


Then, because you must train specifically in the final two perfections, become knowledgeable in the way to sustain meditative stabilization and then achieve concentration.


As much as you can, develop the view of the two selflessnesses, a purity free from permanence and annihilation. After you have found the view and stabilized your mind upon it, understand the proper way to sustain the view in meditation, and then do so. Such stabilization and wisdom are called serenity and insight, but they are not something separate from the last two perfections.


Therefore, after you have taken the bodhisattva vows, they come about in the context of the training in its precepts.


You have reached a critical point when, while meditating on the lower levels, you increasingly wish to attain the higher levels, and when studying the higher levels, your wish to practice the lower levels becomes stronger and stronger.


Some say to expend your energy only to stabilize your mind and to understand the view, ignoring all earlier topics, but this makes it very difficult to get the vital points. Therefore, you must develop certainty about the whole course of the path.


When you meditate on these topics, train your understanding and then go back to balance your mind. So if it seems that your faith in the teacher who instructs you on the path is decreasing, since this will cut the root of everything good that has come together, work on the methods for relying on the teacher. Similarly, if your joy in your practice loses strength, make meditation on the topics connected with leisure and opportunity your primary focus; if your attachment to this life increases, make meditation on impermanence and the faults of the miserable realms your primary focus.


If you seem to be lazy about the proscriptions you have accepted, consider that your certainty about karmic cause and effect is meager and make meditation on karma and its effects your primary focus.


If your sense of disenchantment with all of cyclic existence decreases, your desire to seek liberation will become just words. Therefore, contemplate the faults of cyclic existence.


If your intention to benefit living beings in whatever you do is not strong, then you will sever the root of the Mahāyāna. Therefore, frequently cultivate the aspirational spirit of enlightenment together with its causes.


Once you have taken the vows of a conqueror's child and are training in the practices, if the bondage of the reifying conception of signs seems strong, use reasoning consciousnesses to destroy all objects which are apprehended by the mind which conceives of signs, and train your mind in the space-like and illusion-like emptiness.


If your mind is enslaved to distraction and does not remain on a virtuous object, you should primarily sustain one-pointed stability, as former teachers have said.

- p.556 -

From these illustrations, you should understand the cases I have not explained. In brief, without being partial, you have to be able to use the whole spectrum of virtues.


Among the stages of the path of a person of great capacity, I have explained how one who trains in the bodhisattva path practices insight, which is wisdom.


II.2 How to train specifically in the Vajrayāna


After you have trained in this way in the paths common to both sutra and mantra, you must undoubtedly enter the mantra path because it is very much more precious than any other practice and it quickly brings the two collections to completion.


If you are to enter it, then as Atisha's 《Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment》 says, you must first please the guru-even to a greater extent than explained earlier—with deeds such as respect and service and with practice that is in accordance with the guru's words.


And you must do this for a guru who meets at least the minimum qualifications of a teacher explained there.


Then, at the outset, your mind should be matured through the ripening initiation as explained in a source tantra.


You should then listen to the pledges and vows to be taken, understand them, and maintain them.


If you are stricken by root infractions, you may make these commitments again. However, this greatly delays the development of the good qualities of the path in your mind. Make a fierce effort not to be tainted by those root infractions.


Strive not to be tainted by the gross infractions, but in the event that you are tainted, use the methods for restoring your vows. Since these are the basis of the practice of the path, without them you will become like a dilapidated house whose foundation has collapsed.


The Root Tantra of Mañjuśri says, "The Master of the Sages does not say that faulty ethical discipline achieves the tantric path."


meaning that those with faulty ethical discipline have none of the great, intermediate, or low attainments.


And it says in the highest yoga tantra texts that those who do not maintain their vows, those who have inferior initiation, and those who do not understand reality do not achieve anything despite their practice. Therefore someone who talks about practicing the path without maintaining the pledges and vows has completely strayed from the tantric path.


In order to cultivate the mantra path someone who keeps the pledges and vows should at the outset meditate on the stage of generation, the complete divine wheel as explained from a source tantra.


The unique object to be eliminated on the tantric path is the conception of ordinariness which regards the aggregates, constituents, and sensory sources as common. It is the stage of generation itself that eliminates this and transforms the abodes, bodies, and resources so that they appear as special.

- p.557 -

The conquerors and their children continually bless the person who clears away the conception of ordinariness in this way; such a person easily brings to completion the limitless collections of merit, thereby becoming a suitable vessel for the stage of completion.


This person should then meditate on what appears in the source tantras on the stage of completion. Neither the tantras nor the scholars who explain their intended meanings hold that you should discard the first stage and merely classify it within the latter stage, training only in individual portions of the path. Therefore, you must bear in mind the vital points of the two stages of the complete corpus of the path of highest yoga tantra.


Considering only the terms, I have described a mere fraction of what is involved in entering into the mantra path. Therefore, understand this in detail by using works on the stages of the mantra path.


If you train in this way, you will train in the entirely complete corpus of the path, which includes all the vital points of sutra and mantra. As a result, your attainment of leisure in this lifetime will have been worthwhile, and you will be able to extend the Conqueror's precious teaching within both your own and others' minds.

能觀無央佛語目 如實善達一切法 能令智者生歡喜 由親諸修如斯理

To know precisely all scriptural systems with a single eye that sees the Sage's boundless scriptures
Is a way that delights the wise; I rely on a spiritual teacher well-trained in such a way,

知識初佛妙音尊 善歸依故是彼力 故願善擇真實義 彼勝智者恆護持

And as my refuge, I take the Adibuddha Mañjughosa, through whom I discern reality.
May this greatest of all scholars, a master, always protect me.

南洲聰叡頂中嚴 名稱幡幢照諸趣 龍猛無著漸傳來 謂此菩提道次第

The stages of the enlightenment path have been carefully transmitted
Through the generations from Nāgārjuna and Asanga,
The crown-ornaments of the scholars of Jambudvipa,
Banners resplendent among beings.

盡滿眾生希願義 故是教授大寶王 攝納經論千流故 亦名吉祥善說海

Because they fulfill the wishes of humankind,
These instructions are a wish-granting jewel;
Because they gather the rivers of a thousand textual systems,
They are an ocean of glorious eloquence.

此由然燈大智者 光明顯揚雪山中 此方觀視佛道眼 故經多時未瞑閉

It was the great scholar Dipamkara [Atisha]
Who revealed them in the snowy mountain range,
So that in this region, the eye that sees the Conqueror's good path
Did not close for a long time.

次見如實知聖教 宗要聰叡悉滅亡 即此妙道久衰微 為欲增廣聖教故

Then, when there were no more scholars
With accurate knowledge of all the teaching's vital points,
This auspicious path declined for a longtime.
After I saw this situation, in order to spread these teachings,

盡佛所說諸法理 攝為由一善士夫 乘於大乘往佛位 正所當修道次第

I organized everything the Conqueror said
In all his variety of teachings
Into stages of a path for a single fortunate person
Who is riding on the supreme vehicle.

此論文言非太廣 一切要義無不具 雖諸少慧且易解 我以教理正引出

Through a process of proper analysis using scripture and reasoning,
I drew from those teachings a method of practice—
Not too extensive, yet with all the crucial points intact—
That even someone of little intelligence could easily understand.

佛子正行難通達 我乃愚中最為愚 故此所有諸過失 當對如實知前悔

The gateway of the conquerors' children is very difficult to discern.
I am a fool even among fools.
Thus, whatever faults there are here
I confess before those who see things as they are.

- p.558 -

於此策勤有集積 二種資糧廣如空 願成勝王而引導 癡蔽慧目諸眾生

By accumulating through long effort
The two collections as vast as the sky
May I become the chief of the conquerors,
Guide of all beings whose minds are blinded by ignorance.

未至佛位一切生 願為妙音哀攝受 獲得圓滿教次第 正行勝道令佛喜

Also, in all lives until I reach that point
May Mañjughosa look after me with loving-kindness.
After I find the supreme path, complete in the stages of the teaching,
By accomplishing it may I please the conquerors.

如是所解道中要 大悲引動善方便 除遣眾生冥闇意 長時住持佛教法

By skill in means inspired by strong loving-kindness,
May the vital points of the path that I precisely know
Clear away the mental darkness of beings.
May I then uphold the Conqueror's teachings for a long time.

聖教大寶未普及 雖遍遷滅於是方 願由大悲動我意 光顯如是利樂藏

In regions where the supreme, precious teaching has not spread
Or where it has spread but then declined,
May I illumine that treasure of happiness and benefit
With a mind deeply moved by great compassion.

從佛菩薩微妙業 所成菩提道次第 樂解脫意與勝德 令長修持諸佛事

May this treatise on the stages of the path to enlightenment,
Well-founded on the wondrous deeds of the conquerors and their children,
Bring glory to the minds of those who want to be free,
And long preserve the Conqueror's achievements.

願編善道除違緣 辦諸順緣人非人 一切生中不捨離 諸佛所讚真淨道

As for all who provide conditions that support integration of the good path
And clear away conditions that inhibit that integration—
Whether they are human or not, may they never be separated in all their lifetimes
From the pure path praised by the Conquerors.

若時我於最勝乘 如理勤修十法行 爾時大力恆助伴 吉祥德海徧十方

When I strive to properly achieve the supreme vehicle
Through the ten deeds of the teaching,
May I be accompanied always by those who have power,
And may an ocean of good fortune pervade all directions.

- p.559 -


This is The Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, a presentation that fully sets forth all the stages practiced by the persons of the three capacities. It is a compendium of all of the vital points in all of the Conqueror's scriptures, the religious system of the supreme person who proceeds to the state of omniscience, and the path blazed by the two great trailblazers, Nāgārjuna and Asañga.

I have sincerely accepted words of exhortation from the following excellent beings:

Kön-chok-tsäl-trim—the great regent of the great conquerors' child Ngok Lo-den-shay-rap skillfully studied the scriptural collections of Buddhist learning and took them to heart by practicing their meaning. In leading many beings, he served as an excellent friend of the precious teaching.

The great abbot of Zul-pu, Kön-chok-bal-sang-bo —regent of Cha-dul-wa-dzin, the excellent one—was unanimously praised by the ascetics of former times. Adorned with wisdom and compassion, and many other precious qualities of knowledge and scripture, he was a great ascetic who rose above the crowd of ascetics in the Snowy Land of Tibet, like the top of a banner.

Kyap-chok-bal-sang-bo was exhorted by many seekers from earlier times and was well trained and tantras of later times. He thereby be in the boundless sūtras came the chief of those who uphold the textual systems, greatly cherishing the three precious trainings in a variety of ways. He was the consummate teacher and great being, a speaker of two languages, and without any rival in bearing the burden of teaching alone.

From the excellent and venerable person named Nam-ka-gyeltsen I received the lineage descended from Kön-ba-wa to Neu-sur-ba and the stages of the path of the lineage descended from Jen-nga-wa.

From the excellent and venerable person whose name ends in Sang-bo, I received the stages of the path lineage descended from Bo-do-wa to Sha-ra-wa, and the lineage descended from Bo-do-wa to Döl-wa.

As for Atisha's Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment, the basic text on these instructions whose meaning I have studied, I have not cited anything apart from merely indicating the general definitions of the three types of persons, thinking that the rest of the words are easy. Instead, taking as my basis the arrangement of the stages of the path by the father and son, the great translator [Ngok] and Drolung, I have compiled the vital points from many [texts] on the stages of the path. It is complete in all aspects of the path, easily put into practice, and arranges the path without confusing the order. The great trailblazer of the Snowy Range, the superior and venerable Ren-da-wa, is a marvelous mahāsattva (bodhisattva) who pleases the conquerors and their children because he properly practices the meaning of the great textual systems with virtuous confidence, unintimidated by the boundless scriptures. I, the one who puts my head in the dust at his feet and at the feet of my other excellent gurus, the easterner Tsong-khapa Lo-sang-drak-pay-bal, the very learned monk and renunciate, composed this treatise at the monastery of the Conqueror's Hermitage of northern Ra-dreng in the mountain range of Lion's Foot Crag. The scribe was Sö-nam-bal-sang-bo. May this make it possible for the precious teaching to spread in every way in all directions.


- p.560 -

◎2005/03/26 校對