Commentary on Chapter 4 of Longchenpa’s Dzogchen Text – Beru Khyentse Rinpoche

“A Precious Garland of the Four Themes of Gampopa”

Provisional Purification of Confusion into Deep Awareness

Longchenpa’s Precious Garland of the Four Themes of Gampopa has four chapters: 

  1. Having the mind go toward the Dharma
  2. Having the Dharma function as a pathway mind
  3. Having the pathway minds eliminate confusion 
  4. Purifying confusion into deep awareness 

From among these, “having the pathway minds eliminate confusion” has already been spoken of. From here onwards, Longchenpa discusses “purifying confusion into deep awareness.”

(78) Next is purifying your confusion into deep awareness. Out of the provisional and ultimate stages, first is the provisional one at the time of having a pathway of mind of practicing (to achieve enlightenment). By familiarizing yourself with the profound methods, whatever disturbing emotions arise totally purify themselves away into their spheres, making manifest the (underlying) deep awareness, which is reflexive clarity. This is called “purifying conceptual thoughts of deceptive confusion into the sphere of deep awareness.”

Next means after the discussion of “having the pathway minds eliminate confusion.” Now, as for purifying your confusion into deep awareness, it has two stages, provisional and ultimate. Provisional means in the present situation. It refers to the time of having a pathway mind of practicing (to achieve enlightenment). By having familiarized yourself with the profound methods refers to having familiarized yourself through the profound methods of the outer three classes of tantra – kriya, upa and yoga

In more detail, “by familiarizing yourself by means of profound methods” refers to the occasion when you have a pathway mind of a generation stage and a complete stage as a unified pair (zung-‘jug). From relying on having familiarized yourself with the profound methods of the pathway minds of the generation stage and complete stage, then whatever disturbing emotions arise – longing desire, hostility, naivety, arrogance, or envy – they totally purify themselves away into their spheres. 

For example, if it is naivety, that naivety purifies itself away into the sphere (dbyings) of the deep awareness of the sphere of reality (chos-dbyings, Skt. dharmadhatu). Similarly, any instance of the disturbing emotion of hostility that arises purifies itself away into the sphere of mirror-like deep awareness. As for the disturbing emotion of longing desire, on occasions when longing desire arises, it purifies itself away into the sphere of individualizing deep awareness. In short, no matter what disturbing emotion arises, it purifies itself away into the sphere, meaning that it purifies itself away into its own respective sphere. 

Reflexive clarity (rang-gsal) is the reflexive appearance-making of itself of reflexive pure awareness (rang-rig). Making manifest the (underlying) deep awareness means making manifest that specific deep awareness itself, which is reflexive clarity. Relying on this is called “purifying conceptual thoughts of deceptive confusion into the sphere of deep awareness.”

Conceptual thoughts of deceptive confusion (‘khrul-rtog) refer to conceptual thoughts of deceptive confusion that arise because of being under the influence of unawareness (ignorance). In other words, all distorted conceptual thoughts purify themselves away into the sphere of deep awareness.  

Now, for a more extensive explanation:

(79) In accord with the method you have entrusted yourself to, that can be divided into individual (methods) – shared, distinct and unsurpassable – cleansing away (disturbing emotions) with antidotes, transforming them with methods, and letting them automatically release themselves into their own grounds, not having abandoned them, but letting them purify themselves away into their spheres. Regardless of how you train with whichever one you like, ceasing them and letting the disturbing emotions purify themselves away are one in their goal.

Suppose you ask, “When that provisional method is divided into individual methods – shared, distinct and unsurpassable, what are these methods like?” Out of these, the shared one is the vehicle of mind of dialectics (mtshan-nyid theg-pa), within which are included [the methods of] the shravakas (listeners), pratyekabuddhas (solitary realizers), and bodhisattvas. 

With a causal vehicle of dialectics, there is the cleansing away of disturbing emotions through antidotes. The antidote for longing desire is meditation on unattractiveness. The antidote for hostility is meditation on love. The antidote for naivety is meditation on dependent arising. Through the gateway of opponents such as these and so on, you cleanse them away. 

Transforming them with methods refers to [the distinct methods of] the three outer classes of tantra – kriya, upa and yoga – with which you cleanse them away through method and discriminating awareness. Kriya, upa and yoga tantras are also ones that have generation stages. With them, by transforming everything with methods, you transform with methods your five aggregates into the Triumphant Ones of the five Buddha-families and, likewise, your five disturbing emotions into the five types of deep awareness. This is called “transforming with methods.” 

This is similar to the transformation with methods found with the three inner classes of tantra: for longing desire, there is tummo inner heat, which mixes (bsre-ba) longing desire with great bliss; illusory body, which mixes hostility with realization of the lack of truly established existence; and clear light, which mixes naivety with sleep. There are all these kinds of transformations with methods. 

Suppose you ask, “Which methods are they?” They are the ones on the stages of the vehicles of mind – the causal vehicle of dialectics, the vehicle of the outer three tantras, and the unsurpassable vehicle [of the three inner tantras]. As the vehicles of mind get higher and higher, their methods to entrust yourself to also become more and more special with their distinct special antidotes, such as taking the disturbing emotions as pathways of mind (lam-du khyer-ba) through not abandoning them. 

As explained, in accord with the method you have entrusted yourself to, that can be divided individually. With the lower causal vehicle of dialectics, there is cleansing away the disturbing emotions through antidotes. Then, with the three outer tantras, it is said that there is transforming them through methods. Then, as for the unsurpassable one, there is what is called “letting them automatically release themselves into their own grounds.”

The unsurpassable one refers to dzogchen. In the case of dzogchen, when it says, “letting them automatically release themselves into their own grounds (rang-sar grol; letting them automatically release themselves in their own places),” that means they automatically release themselves into their own grounds through not abandoning them. This is called “dawning and releasing (shar-grol).” As for dawning and releasing, it is like lines drawn on water – that is what is called “dawning and releasing.”

This “letting them automatically release themselves into their own grounds and not abandoning them” means not abandoning the disturbing emotions in any way, such as through antidotes or through methods but, rather, letting them purify themselves away into their spheres (dbyings) – this is the unsurpassable vehicle of mind. 

Having entrusted yourself to that [method], then when it says, “not having abandoned them, but letting them purify themselves away into their spheres. Regardless of how you train with whichever one you like,” it means whether it is cleansing them away with antidotes, or even like transforming them with methods, or letting them automatically release themselves into their own grounds, not having abandoned them, but letting them purify themselves away into their spheres, whichever one – meaning whichever one of these just explained – regardless of how a person has trained with whichever one of these, 

ceasing them and letting the disturbing emotions purify themselves away are identical on the deepest level.

On the deepest level, all of them – from ceasing the disturbing emotions to letting them purify themselves into the sphere of reality, dharmadhatu – are purifications into the deepest level. That being so, on the deepest level, the purified state they all come to is identical. Whether you call it “ceasing” (‘gog-pa), whether you call it “what is needed” (dgos-pa), what is needed is to reach the deepest level where the disturbing emotions have been purified away. 

In more detail, what is needed means the needed goal to be reached that something is for (dgos-ched). As a method for making the disturbing emotions vanish, if you take as an example like how the shravakas of the causal vehicle of dialectics do it, they abandon all disturbing emotions – longing desire, hostility, and naivety – as being poisons. In the case of bodhisattvas, they abandon them through antidotes. Then, in the case of the three outer tantras, they transform them with methods. Then, in the case of the unsurpassable vehicles, they let them automatically release themselves into their own grounds, not having abandoned them, but letting them purify themselves away into their spheres. On the deepest level of purification, these are all for the sake of ceasing the disturbing emotions. On the deepest level of purification of the disturbing emotions, these all come to the identical purified state on the deepest level. 

As the text says, “ceasing them and letting the disturbing emotions purify themselves away are identical on the deepest level,” on the deepest level what they come to is identical. “Ceasing” means ceasing the disturbing emotions. If you ask, “Into what object do they cease?” What is needed is that they cease into the sphere. This is the identical deepest level as what was said in the previous verse, “Whatever disturbing emotions arise totally purify themselves away into the sphere.” 

The disturbing emotions are the deceptive confusion of distorted conceptual thoughts. Aside from being those, on the deepest level, they do not exist with truly established existence. They are all purified away into the sphere, meaning that they are all ceased into the sphere. Thus, both ceasing the disturbing emotions and letting the disturbing emotions purify themselves away come to the identical purification on the deepest level. Cleansing them away with antidotes, transforming them with methods, and letting them release themselves into their own ground – the purified state of all of them, on the deepest level, is an identical state of the disturbing emotions being purified away. 

(80) When you have recognized the face of their “own grounds” for the arising of longing desire, hostility, naivety, arrogance and envy, they automatically settle themselves, they automatically release themselves, purifying themselves into the five aspects of deep awareness. This is called “provisionally purifying the confusion of the five poisonous emotions into the (five) great deep awarenesses” – cognizing in full, mirror-like, sphere of reality, equalizing and accomplishing.

These lines present the five disturbing emotions: the disturbing emotion of longing desire, the disturbing emotion of hostility, as well as naivety, arrogance and envy. Longing desire follows from finding something attractive; hostility follows from finding something unattractive. Naivety is the bewilderment from unawareness (ignorance) or the bewilderment of not knowing – that is naivety. In general, naivety also pervades longing desire as well as hostility. This naivety of unawareness pervades everything. 

In general, what is called “naivety” is also called “not understanding,” “not knowing,” and “being bewildered.” The state of being asleep is also called a “state of naivety.” Nevertheless, the meaning of “naivety” is the lack of clarity of being unaware, so unawareness is understood to be a state of bewilderment. Longing desire, hostility and naivety are like this.

Arrogance is thinking, “I am better than others in terms of qualities such as family, race and so on.” That is arrogance. As for envy, when others have good resources, when they have abundant food, clothes, conducive circumstances, and so on, envy arises from not being happy about that. That is envy. 

As with its “own ground” giving rise to envy, there are “its own ground” (rang-sa) for each of them. In the case of longing desire, there is its own ground giving rise to longing desire; in the case of hostility, there is its own ground giving rise to hostility; and there are their own grounds as well for naivety and arrogance. You need to recognize the face (ngo-zin) of those “own grounds.”  

“Those own grounds” means the class of things (khongs) that each of them is. In mahamudra, they are called their “essential natures” (ngo-bo). It is the essential nature of what is dawning. In the case of longing desire, there is one. Hostility, envy and so on each have one of what has arisen. You need to examine the essential natures of what has arisen.

When you recognize the face of its own ground, longing desire ceases. That is its automatically settling itself (rang-bzhag). It is when you recognize the face of their essential natures, that “they automatically settle themselves, they automatically release themselves.” This is what it is referring to. Then there is no need to abandon them. By their self-natures, they come to cease.

When you recognize the face of their own grounds – when you understand their essential natures – “they automatically settle themselves, they automatically release themselves.” When they naturally (ngang-gis) settle themselves, what are called “disturbing emotions” are not things that have a ground that they reach as their inner core (phugs gtugs-sa). They do not have what can be called, “This is their inner core. It is from this that the disturbing emotions are produced. It is from this that they are ceased into.” They are things that are parted from an arising, a ceasing and an abiding. That being so, when they have automatically settled by themselves, they have come to automatically release themselves. “Automatically released themselves” (rang-grol; automatically liberate themselves) means that they have now come to cease. They have come to vanish.

In the case of clouds, clouds come in the sky. When the clouds come to cease, there is no such thing as, “This is the ground, or place, into which they have ceased.” They have automatically released themselves. When it says, “they automatically settle themselves; they automatically release themselves,” each one individually automatically settles itself, like waves dissolving into water. When waves settle into the natural state (ngang) of water, there is no ground, or place, into which they have settled and no ground, or place, into which they have set. 

It is like waves and water. Waves are like conceptual thoughts. Mind itself (sems-nyid) is like the ocean. It being like that, then also in the case of all disturbing emotions and all deceptive confusion, “they automatically settle themselves; they automatically release themselves.”

At that time, if it is after having recognized the face of their essential natures that they have then automatically settled themselves and automatically released themselves – it is then that they are in the self-natures of the five deep awarenesses. It is said that they have passed into having totally purified themselves into the five deep awarenesses.

For example, when longing desire settles into its own ground and has automatically released itself, it becomes individualizing deep awareness. That means that individualizing deep awareness becomes manifest. However, when it says that when it automatically settles itself and automatically releases itself, it becomes individualizing deep awareness, it isn’t that there is something that was needed. Rather, it says that when it automatically settles itself and automatically releases itself, individualizing deep awareness becomes manifest. It is not like that happens in the second moment. 

It is in that first moment when they settle into their own grounds and automatically release themselves, or what is called “dawning and releasing,” – meaning, as soon as they dawn, they automatically release themselves – that they go to purifying themselves into the five deep awarenesses. It is not like in the first moment the disturbing emotion ceases and in the second moment the deep awareness becomes manifest. This deep awareness is deep awareness from its facet of when it is purified, but from its facet of when it is unpurified, it is a disturbing emotion. From the facet of when they are not stably realizing as being deceptive confusion, they are the five disturbing emotions. But from their facet of when they are purified, they are the five deep awarenesses. 

That being so, then when it says, “they automatically settle themselves, they automatically release themselves,” it means that when they settle themselves into their own grounds, they have automatically released themselves. Automatically releasing themselves is not like they automatically release themselves in the second moment. In that first moment when they settle themselves, on the face of that, they have automatically released themselves. So automatically settling themselves and automatically releasing themselves are not divided into former and latter moments.

“They automatically settle themselves” means they settle themselves by their self-natures, like totally absorbing into a settled state (mnyam-bzhag). So, when it says, “They settle themselves into their own grounds,” it means that when you have recognized the face of their own grounds, and they then settle themselves into their own grounds, they have come to automatically release themselves. This automatically releasing themselves means they come to purify themselves into the five deep awarenesses. 

This is like what is explained in Mahamudra Eliminating the Darkness of Ignorance by the Ninth Karmapa, that if, when you draw back in a conceptual thought, a clarity and starkness (gsal-stong) has come to dawn, that is not the correct experience. It says that when you recognize the face of the essential nature of what dawns, then it is the correct one. Likewise, whatever disturbing emotion arises – longing desire, hostility, or naivety – if, as soon as it arises, you recognize the face of its essential nature and then it settles itself into its own ground, it has released itself. That releasing itself into its own ground is into deep awareness. If this has come to happen in two consecutive moments, then that deep awareness is useless. 

To give an example, if once darkness has vanished, then daylight dawns, it is of no benefit. It isn’t like daylight has done the work of eliminating the darkness. With the dawning of daylight, darkness has come to cease, in its own place, into its own ground. It vanishes in its own place, into its own ground. Like this, the five deep awarenesses are like daylight. The unawareness of the disturbing emotions is like darkness. With the five deep awarenesses becoming manifest, the darkness is eliminated. Not only is it like that, but also if, in the first moment, darkness vanishes and in the second moment daylight dawns, then there would have been no need for the action of daylight to have eliminated the darkness.  

Why is there no need? Daylight is something that has the action of eliminating darkness. With that being the case, if darkness is something that has the action of eliminating itself, then if when darkness has finished disappearing it is then that daylight dawns, then there was no need for daylight to eliminate darkness. Similarly, five deep awarenesses are also like that. Whatever disturbing emotions have arisen, when they purify themselves away into their spheres, they are the five deep awarenesses. When they have not purified themselves away and have been understood in a distorted manner, they are the five disturbing emotions. These are their purified and unpurified facets.

Now, let’s return to the text:

(80) When you have recognized the face of their “own grounds” for the arising of longing desire, hostility, naivety, arrogance and envy, they automatically settle themselves, they automatically release themselves, purifying themselves into the five aspects of deep awareness. This is called “provisionally purifying the confusion of the five poisonous emotions into the (five) great deep awarenesses” – observing in full, mirror-like, sphere of reality, equalizing and accomplishing.

When the deceptive confusion of the five poisonous emotions purifies itself, they become five great deep awarenesses: 

  1. Longing desire purifies itself into individualizing deep awareness
  2. Hostility purifies itself into mirror-like deep awareness
  3. Naivety purifies itself into sphere of reality (dharmadhatu) deep awareness
  4. Arrogance purifies itself into equalizing deep awareness
  5. Envy purifies itself into accomplishing deep awareness

What is called “individualizing deep awareness” (sor–rtog ye-shes) – literally, “the deep awareness observing individually” – is also called “deep awareness apprehending individually” (sor-rtogs-pa’i ye-shes) without mixing everything together, or also “deep awareness fully observing” (kun-rtog ye-shes). “Observing” (rtog-pa), here, does not mean conceptually cognizing (rnam-rtog) [but rather it means detecting.] So, when it says, “the deep awareness fully observing,” you should understand it to mean “fully apprehending [each phenomenon] individually” (so-sor kun-tu rtogs-pa’i ye-shes). As for apprehending, what it apprehends is not like everything all mixed together into one clump. Rather, the deep awareness that apprehends each individually is what is called “individualizing deep awareness.”

What is called “mirror-like deep awareness” is the deep awareness that has the functional nature (rang-bzhin) of not blocking clarity [appearance-making]. That is mirror-like deep awareness. 

What is called “sphere of reality deep awareness” is [the deep awareness facet] of voidness. From its facet of voidness, it is the sphere of reality (dharmadhatu).

What is called “equalizing deep awareness” is its equalizing [facet,] lacking [any differentiation into] high or low, that is based on the disturbing emotion of arrogance having been abandoned.

Suppose you ask, “What does what is called ‘arrogance’ mean?” Arrogance comes when there is a situation like one person being an ordinary person and one being an important person. What is called “arrogance” is the thought, “I am important.” If there is no object about which to generate arrogance, there is nothing to make you arrogant about. The totally purified facet of arrogance is [the deep awareness of] equality [equalizing deep awareness]. 

As for what is called “equality,” equality is a state without high and low, good and bad, and outer and inner. Like those, there are many equalizations. When explaining the tantric path of secret mantra, there is grasping at the immeasurably magnificent palace as [representing stages of] bhumi-minds and pathway minds, and, similarly, there is grasping for good and bad when there is no good and bad, and grasping for high and low where there is no high and low. All of these are deceptive confusion. When all these dualities of high and low and good and bad are equalized, this is called “equality.” 

As for what is called “accomplishing,” it is spontaneously accomplishing, without impediment and without effort, whatever work or task you need to accomplish. That is [the functional nature of] accomplishing deep awareness. The totally purified facet of envy is accomplishing deep awareness. 

Suppose you ask, “What does envy mean?” It is the wish to obtain for yourself some good resource [that someone else has]; it is the wish to have it. There can also be envy about some good quality. When envy totally purifies itself, it is accomplishing [deep awareness]. It allows for accomplishing tasks spontaneously without effort. 

Suppose you ask, “What is the relation between longing desire and individualizing deep awareness?” As for longing desire, when the mind is attached to attractive, beautiful objects, longing desire for them arises. In Gampopa’s Jewel Ornament of Liberation, it says that longing desire can also arise through hostility as its cause or through naivety. Some people become attached to things out of anger. Some become attached through hostility. Some become attached out of naivety – meaning, unawareness, not knowing. 

In general, what is called “longing desire” is not just for women. Clinging or attachment to any attractive, beautiful object is longing desire. Its own ground, its totally purified state, is the deep awareness fully observing. When you apprehend, individually, the actual essential nature of the object of attachment, without mixing it with any other objec,, and you recognize the face of the essential nature of that individual object as being totally lacking in any truly established existence, such as with grasping for everything to have a defining characteristic (for fitting it into a conceptual category) – when you understand that, that is the totally purified state of longing desire. 

Suppose you ask, “What is the relation between hostility and mirror-like deep awareness?” As for what is called “hostility” – in general, the disturbing emotion that causes hostility is anger. From its facet of being impure, it is hostility. From its facet being one of the five types of deep awareness, it is the non-blocking of clarity (appearance-making). From its facet of being the clarity [the appearance-making] of the essential nature of the mind, it is the totally purified state of hostility. So, there are hostility and mirror-like deep awareness, and there are naivety and sphere of reality (dharmadhatu) deep awareness.    

There are some little differences in the ways that individual masters have spoken about how to present the mind. Sometimes the totally purified states of hostility and naivety are reversed: hostility is sphere of reality deep awareness and naivety is mirror-like deep awareness. But sometimes, when bringing you face to face with your mind, there is bringing you face to face with the five types of deep awareness. On such occasions, it is divided in a special way, as it is here in this text, with hostility as mirror-like deep awareness and naivety as sphere of reality deep awareness.

 This is called “provisionally purifying the confusion of the five poisonous emotions

When you let the five poisonous emotions settle into their own grounds, they automatically release themselves. The totally purified states as the five types of deep awareness are what all the deceptive confusion of the five poisonous emotions become when they purify themselves. 

With the line “This is called ‘provisionally purifying the confusion of the five poisonous emotions,’” this concludes the explanation of the provisional methods at the time of having a pathway mind of practicing (for attaining enlightenment).  Next explains the ultimate, final occasion [Buddhahood]. 

Ultimate Purification

(81) The ultimate is parted from (all) fleeting stains over the source. When you have reached this purified state that is stilled and parted from any speck (of defilement), the self-nature of the sphere becomes manifest just as it is. You have reached the deep awareness of the Three Corpuses of a Buddha as being of one taste in Dharmakaya (a Corpus Encompassing Everything),

The phrase “the ultimate is parted from (all) fleeting stains over the source” refers to [Buddha-nature], the family-trait (rigs), the source (khams), the womb containing a Blissfully Gone One (bde-gshegs snying-po). Its self- nature is its total purity. In terms of that, there is no difference of good or bad between Buddhas and limited beings. If you ask why, it is because deep awareness is [the cognitive facet of] voidness. That voidness is the family-trait, the source, the womb containing a Blissfully Gone One.

Concerning the womb containing a Blissfully Gone, (Buddha-nature), from A Filigree of Realizations (mNgon-rtogs rgyan, Skt.  Abhisamayalamkara) (I.39):

Because the sphere of reality has no distinctions, it is not fit for there to be differences regarding the family-trait. But from the divisions in the phenomena that are supported on it, divisions of it are spoken of.

The sphere of reality is undifferentiable, but in terms of the specific phenomena that are supported on it, it is said that it has the divisions into Buddhas and limited beings. 

In general, as for how limited beings have the family-trait, the source, the womb containing a Blissfully Gone One, there are three points concerning that matter. The Furthest Everlasting Stream (rGyud bla-ma, Uttaratantra) (I.27) explains:

Because the Corpus of a Fully Enlightened Buddha radiates out, because their accordant nature is without distinctions, and because they have the family traits, all beings with limited bodies constantly possess the womb containing a Buddha.

When it says, “Because the Corpus of a Fully Enlightened Buddha radiates out,” the Buddha Corpus [or Body] it is referring to is the Dharmakaya, a Corpus Encompassing Everything. That Dharmakaya pervades everything; it pervades all limited beings. Based on that, all limited beings have the womb containing a Buddha, the source, the womb containing a Blissfully Gone One. 

In saying “because their accordant nature is without distinctions,” it refers to there being no differences of good and bad, or large and small between the accordant nature (de-bzhin-nyid) [voidness] of the Fully Enlightened Buddhas and the accordant nature of limited beings. Based on that, all limited beings have the family-trait, the source, the womb containing a Blissfully Gone One.

As for because they have the family traits, all beings with limited bodies, there are five family-traits for all limited beings: (1) the family-trait of those with a cut-off family-trait, (2) the indefinite family-trait, (3) the shravaka family-trait, (4) the pratyekabuddha family-trait, and (5) the bodhisattva family trait – these five family-traits. There aren’t any limited beings that are not included in these classes of five family-traits. That being so, all these limited beings have a family-trait that is a womb containing a Blissfully Gone One. All of them have a self-nature that is totally pure. 

Buddhas, however, have double purity (dag-pa gnyis-ldan). In addition to their self-natures being totally pure, their (self-natures) are parted from all fleeting stains. The fleeting stains that they are parted from are all the emotional obscurations of the disturbing emotions and the cognitive obscurations concerning all knowables. Limited beings are not yet able to part themselves from these fleeting stains. And so, from their being pervaded by unawareness, ignorance, they roam samsara through the gateway of the three poisonous emotions, the five poisonous emotions, and so on. They have these differences (from the Buddhas). That being so, the line, “the ultimate is parted from (all) fleeting stains over the source,” is speaking now, on this occasion, in terms of it having this double purity.

The ultimate refers to the total purity of the actual, ultimate state of the self-nature of the family-trait, the source, the womb containing a Blissfully Gone One. In terms of that, it is parted from all fleeting stains. From its facet of having double purity, the purified state (byang-chub, Skt. bodhi) is called “stilled.” That purified state refers to the topmost achievement of Buddhahood. Stilled refers to the stilled state of nirvana, [a state of release from all suffering]. Because it is completely quieted down, it is stilled. Being parted from any speck (of defilement) means it is without any flaws. Being parted from all stains is called, here, “being parted from any speck (of defilement).”

When you have reached the purified state that is stilled and parted from any speck (of defilement) – in other words, when you have attained the topmost achievement of Buddhahood, the self-nature of the sphere becomes manifest just as it is, as it says in the text. The topmost achievement of Buddhahood is the purified state that is stilled and parted from any speck which is the topmost achievement of defilement. When you have reached that topmost achievement, when you have attained it, you have attained the state where the self-nature of the sphere – meaning, the self-nature of the five types of deep awareness – becomes manifest just as it is.

There is no difference between this ultimate state of purification and the state of purification from the disturbing emotions automatically settling themselves and automatically releasing themselves. As for what is called “automatically settling themselves and automatically releasing themselves,” [or simply “self-settling, self-releasing,”] when you have reached the totally purified state of the sphere, stilled and parted from any speck of defilement, you have reached the state of self-settling, self-releasing. 

With self-settling, self-releasing, all disturbing emotions purify themselves into their grounds; they are totally purified into the five deep awarenesses. Similarly, from the facet of their ultimate state, their self-natures are totally pure. Based on being parted from the fleeting stains, when you have reached the topmost achievement of Buddhahood – the purified state that is stilled and parted from any speck of defilement – then whatever their self-nature is becomes manifest just as it is. 

Now you have reached the unified pair (zung-‘jug) needing no further training. What is called, for example, “having reached, out of the five pathway minds, the unified pair needing no further training” and what is called, “having reached the purified state that is stilled and parted from any speck of defilement” – these two have the same meaning.

Suppose you then ask, “Aren’t the ultimate and provisional pathway minds the same?” Well, in general two stages are spoken of individually – provisional and ultimate. Within the provisional, various methods of teachings are spoken of, “shared, distinct and unsurpassable.” As for the ultimate, it is said that the self-nature of the sphere becomes manifest through the double purity of all of them.  

Suppose you ask further, “So, is there any difference between the ultimate pathway mind and the provisional pathway minds?” Yes, there is a difference. Aren’t there two stages with the aim [of purification of confusion into deep awareness] – what are called “provisional and ultimate?” The provisional ones refer to now; the actual ultimate one is what becomes manifest at the stage of having double purity, the stage Buddhahood – that is the ultimate one. By relying on the provisional ones, you can attain the ultimate topmost achievement. By relying on the shared, special and unsurpassable pathway minds that are the provisional ones, the ultimate topmost achievement of double purity will become manifest. Whether it is dzogchen, mahamudra or madhyamaka, the ultimate states [they lead to] are the same. 

The ultimate [stage], then, is not a method. It is an attainment, the attainment of what is deepest. What is called “the provisional [stage]” is the purification, now, of confusion into deep awareness, after having [developed] pathway minds that eliminate confusion. The provisional stage, then, refers to when you have pathway minds. Didn’t it say [in verse 78], “First is the provisional one at the time of having a pathway of mind of practicing?” Ultimate, then, refers to the ultimate state that is its result, which is “parted from (all) fleeting stains over the source … the purified state that is stilled.”  

What is called “the self-nature of the sphere,” refers to the self-nature of the sphere of reality (dharmadhatu). As it says, “the self-nature of the sphere becomes manifest just as it is.” As for the self-nature of the sphere of reality, on the face of the sphere of reality, it is not like the five deep awarenesses are incomplete. All five deep awarenesses are included in one class. In the case of the deep awareness of the sphere of reality, in that deep awareness of the sphere of reality, mirror-like deep awareness, individualizing deep awareness, equalizing deep awareness, and accomplishing deep awareness are all included. It is not that there is the deep awareness of the sphere of reality alone without the other four. On the face of the deep awareness of the sphere of reality, all five deep awarenesses are complete in one.

In the case of the six far-reaching attitudes (the six perfections) – for instance, in the case of generosity – all six far-reaching attitudes are present. There is the generosity of generosity, the ethical self-discipline of generosity, the patience of generosity, the perseverance of generosity, the mental stability of generosity, and the discriminating awareness of generosity. Like that, in the case of the sphere of reality, the deep awareness of the sphere of reality [includes] the mirror-like deep awareness of reality [and so on], and, similarly, in mirror-like deep awareness all are also complete.

For example, in the case of the sphere of reality, mirror-like deep awareness, individualizing deep awareness, equalizing deep awareness, and accomplishing deep awareness are all complete. Suppose you ask, “What are they?” from the facet of the voidness of it arising, ceasing and abiding, it is the deep awareness of the sphere of reality. From the facet of its clarity [its appearance-making], it is mirror-like deep awareness. Similarly, from the facet of its not mixing, it is individualizing deep awareness. From its being based on the state of equality where there is no good or bad, it is equalizing deep awareness. From its being based on the state where all is spontaneously accomplished without any effort, it is accomplishing deep awareness. Thus, all five deep awarenesses are complete [in each other.]

If there is one of them – individualizing deep awareness, for instance – by itself alone, it is called “disjointed deep awareness” (ye-shes ya-bral). What is called “deep awareness,” then, is one in which all are present at once. That being the case, when “the self-nature of the sphere becomes manifest just as it is,” that is the top achievement of Buddhahood, possessing double purity. When you have reached that, “the self-nature of the sphere becomes manifest just as it is.”

The root text goes on:

You have reached (the state of deep awareness) where the Three Corpuses of a Buddha are one taste in Dharmakaya (a Corpus Encompassing Everything), also called a Corpus of the Sphere Possessing Double Purity. 

The Three Corpuses of a Buddha [the three Buddha-Bodies] are Dharmakaya (a Corpus Encompassing Everything), Sambhogakaya (a Corpus of Bodies of Full Use) and Nirmanakaya (a Corpus of Emanation Bodies). You have reached (the state of) deep awareness where they are of one taste in Dharmakaya means that subsumed in the essential nature of the Dharmakaya are all the Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya Bodies. They are not separate; they are of one taste (ro-gcig). Dharmakaya is called, here, “the Corpus of the Sphere Possessing Double Purity.” “Possessing Double Purity” means the total purity that is its self-nature and [the purity of] its being parted from all fleeting stains. 

It is a Dharmakaya in terms of its being the voidness of its appearances. It is a Nirmanakaya in terms of its being for the benefit of others. For example, in Dharmakaya, all Nirmanakaya and [other] Rupakaya Bodies (a Corpus of Form Bodies) are complete. What is called “dzogchen,” the great completeness” is called “a completeness” based on the Three Corpuses being spontaneously complete [in Buddhahood.] The completeness of the Three Corpuses and the five deep awarenesses [in Buddhahood] is called “the great completeness, dzogchen.”

The great completeness can also be specified in terms of the Five Corpuses of a Buddha [the Five Buddha-Bodies]. The Five Corpuses are Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, Nirmanakaya, Jnanakaya (a Corpus of Deep Awareness) and Vajrakaya (a Vajra Corpus). It is a Vajrakaya based on its never changing. It is a Jnanakaya based on its self-nature as the five deep awarenesses. Even so, whether it is called “the Three Corpuses,” or “the Five Corpuses,” or it is just specified as the One Corpus, Dharmakaya, they all mean the same thing. As for what is called “one taste,” it means that the essential natures of Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya are of one taste. They are not separate; they are of one taste. 

You have reached (the state of) deep awareness means you have attained the topmost achievement of Buddhahood, which has the self-nature of the five deep awarenesses. “Reached” is to be understood as meaning “attained.” It is called “reaching the Corpuses of the Five Deep Awarenesses” based on the five disturbing emotions having been totally purified into the five deep awarenesses and, from being parted from all obscurations, the topmost attainment of ultimate Buddhahood having become manifest. Whether it is called that or it is called “reaching the state of deep awareness where the Three Corpuses are of one taste in Dharmakaya,” it means the same. So, what is called “Dharmakaya” exists as something appearing as Three Corpuses and thus there are what are called “the Three Corpuses of a Buddha.” 

In short, all of them are incorporated in the Dharmakaya alone. When Dharmakaya is spoken of, then, Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, Nirmanakaya and Jnanakaya are all complete in it. If it is divided more extensively than that, then there are what are called “Dharmakaya,” “Sambhogakaya” and “Nirmanakaya.” If it is divided even more extensively, then there are what are called “the Five Corpuses of a Buddha.” But on the deepest level, if you set them all as Dharmakaya, from subsuming these Five Corpuses under one, there is nothing unsatisfactory about that. All of them, then, are one and not like separate individual things.

In short, whether it is called “making the Three Corpuses manifest” or it is called “reaching the state of deep awareness where they are of one taste,” the meaning is the topmost attainment of Buddhahood becoming manifest, based on the pathway mind of the joined pair needing no further training. Based on that, it is called “reaching that state where the Three Corpuses are all complete in the one taste of Dharmakaya.” That [Dharmakaya] is called “a Corpus of the Sphere Possessing Double Purity.”

In general, concerning “the sphere,” there are the sphere of reality (dharmadhatu), the sphere of deep awareness and, likewise, the sphere of individualizing. In short, however, they are all the sphere of reality. When it is called “(a Corpus of the Sphere) Possessing Double Purity,” it is spoken of as “a Corpus of the Sphere of Reality Possessing Double Purity,” based on the total purity that is its self-nature and [the purity of] its being parted from all fleeting stains. It is, thus, the Corpus of the Sphere of Reality (the Dharmadhatukaya). In it, the five deep awarenesses – individualizing deep awareness, mirror-like deep awareness and so forth – are all included.

Dharmadhatukaya (a Corpus of the Sphere of Reality) and Dharmakaya (literally, a Corpus of Reality) are the same. Even their names are basically the same. They are the same as Dharmakaya (a Corpus Encompassing Everything); there is no difference. It is said, 

Even though the Dharmakaya, like space (or the sky), has no distinctions, yet a Rupakaya (a Corpus of Form Bodies) clearly appears individually like rainbows. 

The Dharmakaya, like space, is without any distinctions, yet there is a Rupakaya (a Corpus of Form Bodies) that clearly appears individually in it like rainbows. The sphere of reality pervades everything. Its self-nature is the five deep awarenesses. It also possesses double purity. There isn’t anything that is not included in the sphere of reality.  

It is not a cognitive object (knowable) by anyone other than the Triumphant Ones themselves.

It is not a cognitive object (knowable) by anyone other than the Triumphant (Buddhas) themselves” refers to the object of experience (spyod-yul) of their individualizing deep awareness of reflexive pure awareness (rang-rig), their Dharmakaya in its deepest truth. As for other than the Triumphant Ones, it is a cognitive object of the Triumphant Ones’, the Buddhas’, own omniscient minds. Except for that, it is not the cognitive object of anyone else. It is saying that ordinary beings are incapable of apprehending it. It is not an object that they can experience with their dualistic intellects (blo). As it says in The Sutra Called “An Array of Synonyms of Dharma Measures That Are Mahayana Realizations” (Theg-pa chen-po mngon-par rtogs-pa chos-kyi rnam-grangs rnam-par bkod-pa zhes-bya-ba’i mdo, Skt. Mahayānābhisamayadharmaparyāyavivyūha-nama-sūtra):

Unborn, unceasing, the accordant nature cannot be put into words, thought or expression. Beyond conceptual thought, it is the object of experience of the individualizing deep awareness of reflexive pure awareness.

The individualizing deep awareness of reflexive pure awareness is an object of experience of only the Buddhas. An object of experience is something understood, something fathomed. Dharmakaya cannot be understood, cannot be fathomed by the dualistic intellect of ordinary people. It cannot be put into words; it cannot be conceived of with conceptual thoughts; it cannot be expressed with speech. It is something only known by the omniscient minds of the Buddhas. 

The text goes on:

(82) The Three Corpuses (of a Buddha), namely Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya (a Corpus of Full Use) and Nirmanakaya (a Corpus of Emanations), together with the deep awarenesses, are integrated together by a Svabhavakaya (a Corpus of Essential Nature), which is static, pervasive, unaffected and without shift or change.

The Three Corpuses or Bodies of a Buddha are Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya (a Corpus of Full Use) and Nirmanakaya (a Corpus of Emanations). The term “together with,” means that what follows is also included – namely, the five types of deep awareness. By means of a Svabhavakaya (a Corpus of Essential Nature), all of them are integrated together and abbreviated into one. 

Suppose you ask, “What kind of phenomenon is a Svabhavakaya?” It is something that is static and all-pervasive. Static means unchanging, unaffected by anything. Pervasive means it pervades everything. It is indestructible and unperishing. When it says, “without shift or change,” shift means to shift or transfer from one place to another. The word “shift” or “transfer” is used for the transference of consciousness to a pure land. Change means to change from one thing into another. 

Both Dharmakaya and Svabhavakaya are spoken of as being static, pervasive, unaffected, and spontaneously accomplishing all, without shift or change. What is called “Svabhavakaya,” then, is set as the integration together of all Three Corpuses. It is said to be static, pervasive, and unaffected, pervading everything.  

(83) It remains in the sphere of Dharmakaya, which is a wish-fulfilling gem, and, from that state of its real nature, its Deep Awareness Corpus of Enlightening Influence,

A wish-fulfilling gem, [fulfilling wishes] effortlessly, without conceptual thought, is set here as an analogy for the sphere of reality (dharmadhatu), which [likewise] is parted from all the stains of conceptual thought. That being so, the sphere of reality, from the state of its real nature (de-nyid-kyi ngang-las), fulfills the aims of wandering beings through its enlightening influence, without conceptual thought. 

Mind itself (sems-nyid) is like a wish-fulfilling gem. Through its being the essential nature of all the universally occurring types of subtle conceptual minds (kun-rtog) and, thus, through its being without conceptual thought, it fulfils the aims of wandering beings through the two types of Rupakaya (Form Bodies) for the sake of taming them. In short, it is said here to be “like a wish-fulfilling gem,” based on it fulfilling the aims of wandering beings through being without any conceptual thought. 

As for it remains in the sphere of Dharmakaya, it remains in the sphere of reality (dharmadhatu), which is a Corpus of the Sphere of Reality Possessing Double Purity. From that state of its real nature means either from that state while remaining in it or without going beyond its real nature. Its Deep Awareness Corpus of Enlightening Influence refers to Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya Bodies.

The root text goes on:

Its Deep Awareness Corpus of Enlightening Influence, as a play of Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya Bodies, 

To recap, the Svabhavakaya is the static, pervasive, unaffected [state], without any shift or change, that is the integration together of all [the Corpuses of a Buddha]. But when these Corpuses are spoken of individually, then it is all right to speak of Dharmakaya as being like a wish-fulfilling gem. If you ask why, it is because, through its enlightening influence, all Nirmanakya and Sambhogakaya Bodies proceed from the sphere of reality (dharmadhatu). 

Calling it “a wish-fulfilling gem” refers to mind itself spontaneously accomplishing all. Mind, in this sense, is the Dharmakaya, which, truly having a self-nature of possessing double purity, is unaffected and spontaneously accomplishes all. That is spoken of as being a wish-fulfilling gem, which is from its facet of being without conceptual thought. 

The integration [and abbreviation into one] of all the Three Corpuses is called “the Svabhavakaya.” When they are spoken of individually, however, the two Rupakaya Bodies emanate from the Dharmakaya. They are like emanations of rays of light and Dharmakaya is like space. Like space, which pervades everything, Dharmakaya is [also] static, pervasive, and unaffected, and spontaneously accomplishes all. 

“Static, pervasive, and unaffected” are qualities of Svabhavakaya. You cannot say that these are not also [qualities] of Dharmakaya, because Dharmakaya is incorporated within Svabhavakaya. “From the state of its real nature” means from the state of the real nature of Dharmakaya or from the state of the real nature of the sphere of reality (dharmadhatu). 

As for the Deep Awareness Corpus of Enlightening Influence, the array of Enlightening Influence Bodies [that appears] to the faces of the individual limited minds of those needing to be tamed are a play of both Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya Bodies. “Play” (rol-pa) means something not blocked and unceasing.  

What is called “the Deep Awareness Corpus of Enlightening Influence,” then, is the same as Rupakaya (a Corpus of Form Bodies). The arising as Enlightening Bodies for the benefit of wandering beings is the Corpus of Enlightening Influence. It has both a play of Sambhogakaya Bodies and a play of Nirmanakaya Bodies. A play is something like [what appears] in a drama or a magic show. As was said,

Even though the Dharmakaya, like space (or the sky), has no distinctions, yet a Rupakaya (a Corpus of Form Bodies) clearly appears individually like rainbows. 

The root text continues:

its Deep Awareness Corpus of Enlightening Influence, as a play of Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya Bodies, appears (respectively) to those with levels of bhumi mind and to other wandering beings.

Sambhogakaya Bodies appear to those abiding with levels of bhumi mind. Suppose you ask, “What kind of persons are these?” These are bodhisattvas abiding with levels of bhumi mind, arya bodhisattvas. From the first level to the tenth level bhumi mind, these are the levels of bodhisattva bhumi minds. Sambhogakaya Bodies appear to bodhisattvas abiding with those levels of bhumi mind.

As for and appears to other wandering beings, other wandering beings refer to other ordinary beings. What appears to them are appearances as a play of Nirmanakaya Bodies. A play of Nirmanakaya Bodies is divided into Emanation Bodies as Personages, Supreme Emanation Bodies and Artisan Emanation Bodies.  

These persons to whom they appear have differences in terms of their faculties being the highest or middling. Persons with the highest faculties can see Supreme Emanation Bodies having a self-nature of being someone bedecked with the 32 excellent signs and 80 exemplary features, like our present, peerless Shakyamuni, who is a Supreme Emanation.

(84) Further, from their appearing like that from the workings of the combination of the enlightening influence of the Triumphant Ones and the strength of the positive karmic force of those to be tamed,

Their appearing is based on, one, the enlightening influence of the Triumphant Ones and, two, the strength of the positive karmic force of the persons to be tamed. From these, there appear Corpuses (of Enlightening Bodies) like those. When it says, “from the workings of the combination,” it means from the workings of the combination of those two. Based on the combination of both the enlightening influence of the Triumphant Ones and the strength of the positive karmic force of those to be tamedfrom the workings of that combination, they appear like that. To bodhisattvas abiding with levels of bhumi mind, they appear as Sambhogakaya Bodies and, similarly, to other wandering beings they appear as Nirmanakaya Bodies. It is saying that this is based on the enlightening influence of the Triumphant Ones and the strength of the positive karmic force of those to be tamed.

When it says, “from the workings of the combination,” it means “based on the combination of the two.” Their appearing like that is based, not on the enlightening influence of the Triumphant Ones alone, but also on the strength of the positive karma force of those to be tamed.  

The purity that is the self-nature of conceptual thoughts and the purity that is the self-nature of appearances [such as those of the Form Bodies of a Buddha] are equally important. The appearances of ripening and liberating (smin-grol) Buddhas are like derivative reflections (gzugs-brnyan). The ripening and liberating Buddhas, of course, are certainly clean. Just as, depending on the purity [of a clean mirror], your own reflection will appear, so too, depending on the total purity of the thoughts and minds of individual beings to be tamed, the enlightening influence of the Buddhas will enter. This will not come about by the enlightening influence of the Buddhas alone if your own mind is not purified. Further, without the enlightening influence of the Buddhas, it will also not happen even if your own mind is purified. Therefore, [seeing the Form Bodies of a Buddha] depends on the force of both.   

To go on with the verse:

Further, from their appearing like that from the workings of the combination of the enlightening influence of the Triumphant Ones and the strength of the positive karmic force of those to be tamed, the enlightening influence fulfills their hopes, (like a wish-fulfilling) gem or wish-granting tree, continuing without any break for as long as the compulsive existence (of samsara) endures. This is called “the (ultimate) purification of confusion into deep awareness.”

Here, it says that for as long as the samsara of the three planes of compulsive existence endures, continuing without any break, for that long the enlightening influence of the Triumphant Ones will also endure, continuing without any break

This is the manner with which the enlightening influence of the Buddhas fulfills the aims of wandering beings through being without conceptual thought. “Gem,” here, is a wish-fulfilling gem. No matter what request you make to it, it fulfills it. It has no thoughts about the appearance of its object, but nevertheless fulfills the aims of wandering beings through being without conceptual thought. Similarly, the enlightening influence of the Buddhas continuing without a break is like a wish-fulfilling gem through its being without any conceptual thought. A wish-granting tree is also like that. No matter what wish you seek of a wish-granting tree, it is said to similarly grant it. This is the (ultimate) purification of confusion into deep awareness

As with all texts, this is followed by a dedication prayer:

(85) May the seven-horse-drawn (sun), which is of profound meaning and the heart (explained) like that, by emanating thousands of light-rays of its assorted words and their meanings on the world of those needing to be tamed through the pathway of the sky of their minds, eliminate the darkness of unawareness from all wandering beings.

The seven-horse-drawn (sun), which is of profound meaning and the heart (explained) like that refers to what has been discussed as the purification of confusion into deep awareness. It is of profound meaning and is the heart. Heart means it is like the innermost heart of all the Dharma teachings. This is set as a poetic embellishment (gzugs-rgyan). The poetic embellishment here is a metaphor. Likewise, the seven-horse-drawn needs to be understood as a metaphor for the sun. The sun dawns in the sky. From coursing through the pathway of the sky, it eliminates all the darkness on the planes of the world of those needing to be tamed. It eliminates the darkness as it passes through the four island-worlds (the four continents). It serves this function and the like.

In more detail, the sky is set as a metaphor for their minds. The seven-horse-drawn is set as a metaphor for [these teachings, which are of] profound meaning and the heart [of the Dharma]. The world is set as a metaphor for those needing to be tamed. As for by emanating thousands of light-rays of its assorted words and their meanings, rays of light, by emanating from the sun, cause darkness to be eliminated and so on. Likewise, by [these teachings] emanating their words and meanings, which are of profound meaning and the heart [of the Dharma], they emanate [them] to the mental continuums of people. So, like the seven-horse-drawn sun coursing through the pathway of the sky, eliminating the darkness of the world, similarly, based on [these teachings] emanating the light of their assorted words and meanings, which are of profound meaning and the heart [of the Dharma], to the minds of people of good fortune, may they clear away all the darkness of unawareness, ignorance, from these wandering beings with limited minds. This is the meaning of this verse.

This (concludes) the fourth chapter of A Precious Garland for the Four Themes (of Gampopa), “Purifying Confusion into Deep Awareness.”
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