Blue Annals (deb-ther sngon-po)

by George N. Roerich | 1949 | 382,646 words | ISBN-10: 8120804716 | ISBN-13: 9788120804715

This page relates ‘Guhyasamaja-tantra system of Jnanapada’ of the Blue Annals (deb-ther sngon-po)—An important historical book from the 15th century dealing with Tibetan Buddhism and details the spiritual doctrine and lineages of religious teachers in Tibet. This chapter belongs to Book 7 (The preaching of the Tantras).

Chapter 3 - Guhyasamāja-tantra system of Jñānapāda

[Full title: Guhyasamājatantra system of Jñānapāda (ye shes zhabs lugs kyi skabs. Chandra 324; Chengdu 446; Roerich 367).]

The Guhyasamāja known as the system of ye shes zhabs (Jñānapāda) also penetrated into Tibet through many doors. Now the ācarya sangs rgyas ye shes[1] who was a paṇḍita learned in all the branches of knowledge. One day he pleased in the city of Takṣaśila, in the country called kha bi, which formed part of Magadha, an ācārya known as Haribliadra (seng ge bzang po), who was a great scholar in the Prajñpārāmitā system and was known to have had a vision of Maitreya. From him he heard the Prajñāpāramitā and many other treatises. He examined them with the help of his wisdom. Again while in Nālandā he composed a commentary[2] on the Prajñāpāramitā-sañcaya-gātha[3] , and taught it to others. He visited the country of Oḍḍīyāna, which was situated 230 yojanas to the north of Magadha, and which was blessed by numerous ḍākiṇīs, and was reputed to be the source of Mantrayāna, in search of Mantrayāna. There in the presence of the ācārya Lalitavajra (sgeg pa rdo rje), who was born in nor bu gling553, he heard many Kriyā and Yoga Tantras, and studied them thoroughly. Again, in a part of that country, he stayed in the presence of a yoginī named gu ne ru, who understood the Essence, and had obtained the precepts which could not (be encompassed by thought) and worshipped her. He heard from her many Anuttara-Tantras.

He also received from her the initiation and the Tantric vows[4] . He then practised meditation, and in his dream he saw gods prophesy to him that: "there was a 16 years old daughter of a caṇḍālī named dza thig dza la, who was the guardian of the northern gate of OḍḍIīyāna. She is a Mahā-Lakṣmi and you must go there." He immediately went there. They lived together and during eight months he worshipped her. She understood that the ācārya was desirous of practising the Mahāmudrā. To enable him to collect victuals, she bestowed on him magic arts and thus he obtained the magic power (siddhi) of gnod gnas[5] .

Later he went to Jālandhara. In a quarter of the town of Kanauj, there lived a man named "Young Child" who was very learned in the Prajñā-Tantra (Yoginī Tantra). From him he heard many instructions and practised meditation. At a distance of about 300 yojanas south of Magadha, there was a thick forest in the region known as kaṃ ko na[6] . In a part of this forest resided the ācārya bsrung ba'i zhabs[7] , a disciple of the ācārya Nāgārjuna, who was very learned in the Upāyatantra (Yoga-Tantra) and was surrounded by disciples proficient in magic powers. He visited him. This teacher had the following disciples possessed of supernatural powers: bram ze tsa tra ra, the brāhmaṇa Guhyaparta, Manju͂ śrī of the Kṣatriya caste, Pūrṇabhadra of the Vaiśya caste, Dīpaṅkara of the Śūdra caste, Karṇaputra of the Śūdra caste, the harlot Ālokī and the harlot Duḥśīlā. In support of' them all, the goddess nor rgyan ma[8] used to provide daily ten masas of gold, half a do shal (necklace) of pearls and 300 kārṣāpaṇas.

He followed him for nine years. He was an Eka-jāti-pratibaddha, that means unhindered by one rebirth only in respect of the utpannakrama degree, and practised to perfection the third yoga[9] . During 18 months he stayed at that place and worshipped in company of yoginīs, and though he showed great diligence in the performance of these practices, he did not perceive the Ultimate Essence. He related his case to the teacher bsrung ba'i zhabs[10] , who told him: "I also did not perceive it!" He felt somewhat disappointed. Then he transformed his Tantric assistant (phyag rgya ma) into a book, and having tied the book (to his waist) proceeded to the forest called Kupaja situated north of Bodhgayā. This forest was a very dangerous place, full of tigers, hyenas (dred) and animals. He used to say: "In general, the forest of Saṃsāra situated behind the Bodhimaṇḍa is filled by carnivorous animals of defilement. I also live in this place in order to be emancipated from it." He propitiated the deities, and spent six months in that place, and then perceived for the first time the Essence of the Elements of Existence.

How did he understand it? Once the ācārya Manju͂ śrīmitra (‘jam dpal bshes gnyen) transformed himself into an immoral monk, opened his petticoat, tied his (garb) as a turban, and began to plough a field in company with his wife of evil character and a white bitch with a spot. The ācārya Budhaśrījñāna (sangs rgyas ye shes) saw it, and thinking "What sort of people are they?" doubt was born in him. The ācārya Manju͂ śrīmitra under stood Buddhaśrījñāna to be of excellent practice in mantras. In order to help him, he transformed himself into a maṇḍala of Manjugho͂ ṣa. This happened at dawn after the transit of the stars Mṛgaśiras (mgo) and Ārdha (lag) on the 8th day of the last half of the first autumn month. (His teacher) asked him: "Do you have faith in the teacher or the maṇḍala?" and he replied: "I have faith in the maṇḍala." (The maṇḍala then vanished), and he found himself and the teacher staying inside a small house.

Then Buddhaśrījñāna in order to grasp the meaning of the Ultimate Essence, (made a request to his teacher), and pronounced the following verses: "Thou art the father and mother of all beings! Thou shalt protect me and others from great dangers. Thou, the Lord of living beings, shalt remove suffering. Thou, the great deliverer of the Three Worlds, protect living beings, etc." Then the Lord of the Maṇḍala ('jam dpal dbyangs) bestowed on him his oral instructions[11] . The ācārya then understood the Ultimate Essence and he became a yoginr possessed of pure wisdom.

MañjughoSa in order to benefit future living beings, permitted the ācārya to compose the bskyed pa'i rim pa'i sgrub thabs kun tu bzang po[12] , the kun tu bzang mo[13] , kun tu bzang po'i don bsdus pa[14] , the sbyin bsreg gnyis kyi cho ga, the gtor ma mi nub pa'i sgron ma, the tshogs kyi 'khor lo'i cho ga, the rin po che 'bar pa, Śrī-Guhyasamājatantrarājaṭīkācandraprabhā-nāma[15] , the dkyil 'khor gyi cho ga shlo ka bzhi brgya lnga bcu pa[16] , the rtsa ba'i ye shes chen po, the tshigs su bcad pa'i mdzod, the Muktitilakanāma[17] , the Ātmasādhana-avatāra nāma[18] , the byang chub sems kyi thig le, the dpal bkra shis kyi rnam par bshad pa chen po, the bzhi pa la 'jug pa thabs dang bcas pa, the chu sbyin dbang po’i sgrub pa'i thabs gsum[19] . He obtained permission to compose the above fourteen treatises in agreement with the Scriptures[20] . The three 'kun tu bzang po should be regarded as one (treatise). The three chu dbang gi sgrub thabs should also be regarded as one (treatise). The rgyud kyi rnam bshad[21] appears not to have been his work. The remaining works, seem to me, to have been called the "Fourteen Treatises" (chos bcu bzhi). Since the dkyil 'khor gyi cho ga had been taken to Kāśmīra, it was not found in Magadha.

It is said that the ācārya Buddhaśrījnana͂ was able to realize the manifestation of the Ultimate Essence on the Higher Stage (lam mthon po), but could not transform his physical body[22] into that of Vajrakāya.

This ācārya used to reside at a place 50 leagues distant from Vajrāsana, in a cave on Mount Mahendragiri[23] . Besides the rgyud kyi rnam bshad[24] , he composed (other) treatises and taught them to his disciples.

He had 18 excellent disciples. Among them Dīpaṅkara-bhadra (mar me mdzad bzang po), Praśāntamitra (rab tu zhi ba'i bshes gnyen), Rāhulabhadra (sgra gcan zin bzang po) and Mahāsukhatāvajra (rdo rje bde ba chen po). These four attained the degree of Great Vajradharas[25] in this very life.

The names of the remaining fourteen disciples cannot be ascertained with certitude. The ācārya Vitapāda (sman zhabs) had also been a direct disciple of the ācārya. Vitapāda composed many treatises (śāstras), including a commentary on the zhal lung[26] and other texts. Moreover scholars belonging to the Spiritual Lineage of his disciples, have composed commentaries on the Tantra (i.e. Guhyasamāja) and many treatises on the 'Two Stages' (rim pa gnyis, i.e. Bskyed rim and rdzogs rim), many of which had been translated into Tibetan. In later times the ācārya Abhaya[27] composed the Vajrāvali[28] . Since he mainly followed on the dkyil 'khor gyi cho ga bzhi brgya lnga bcu pa, his work belongs to the system of ye shes zhabs (Jñānapāda).

The ācārya Buddhajñāna later settled in Vajrāsana and its neighbourhood, and is known to have built a new temple[29] there and to have made large offerings (to it). In Tibet the system of ye shes zhabs (Jñānapāda) was first introduced by the Great Translator rin chen bzang po. The latter preached it to his disciples and it was handed down through their Lineage. The paṇḍita Smṛti also taught extensively the system of Buddhajñāna in Khams. The ancient ācāryas Buddhaguhya (sangs rgyas gsang ba) and Buddhaśānta (sangs rgyas zhi ba) had been also direct disciples of Buddhajñāna. Books composed and translated by them also belong to the system of Jñānapāda (Buddhajñāna).

In the meantime, the paṇḍita Śūnyaśrī and gngan lo tsa ba also taught much the system of Buddhajñanā in Tibet. Snang kha'u ba, a disciple of gnyan, also spread its teaching. Again, the lo tsa ba gnyos 'byung po[30] proceeded to India, and studied well the method of Buddhajñāna under Balin ācārya, a contemporary of Śrī na ro pa, who was also known as Kṛṣṇapāda, the Junior (nag po zhabs chung ba).

His (Balin ācārya’s) previous Lineage: 'jam pa'i rdo rje, the ācārya Buddhajñānapāda, mar me mdzad bzang po[31] , Manju͂ śīkīrtimitra, 'jam dpal grags pa'i bshes gnyen, the keeper of horses dpal bde ba chen po, also known by the name of Kamalakulīśa and Anaṅgavajra (yan lag 'med pa'i rdo rje), and the ācārya yi ge pa. He was a clerk of the king Śrī Dharmapāla. Besides receiving the blessing of shar ba pa, he also attained excellent realization (Buddhahood). He was the spiritual teacher of the former king.

The ācārya Karṇa pa: On ordination, he received the name of Candaniprabhava. His mystic initiation name was Ratnavajra. He also attained realization. Jñānaśrīmitra was the middle pillar of Vikramaśīla. It is said that he taught (the system) to Balin ācārya. Gnyos 'byung po[32] (taught it) to his own son rdo rje bla ma, The latter to his own son gnyos dpal le; the latter to his own son gnyos grags pa dpal; the latter to his own son rdo rje gzi brjid, known as sangs rgyas ras chen rgyal ba lha nang pa; the latter composed also a commentary on the Guhyasamāja and taught much at lho brag, skyi shod (lha sa), lha nang and other places. Especially he instructed lha rin chen rgyal po and gtsang dge brag pa tshul khrims gzhon nu.

The scholar byang chub dar studied under these two. He taught it to gzi brjid rgyal po; the latter to bla ma mgon po rin chen; the latter to snyan ston kun dga' dar; the latter to bla ma ri pa Śākya bzang po and he in turn taught it to gnyos rdo rje bla ma, born in the family of gnyos lo tsa ba. He received ordination in his childhood and possessed an excellent moral conduct. He studied well in both dbus and gtsang and became learned in the method of Buddhajñāna (ye shes zhabs). From him he obtained the initiation into the method of Jñānapāda, the 'jam rdor[33] , the 'jig rten dbang phyug[34] , the rgyud kyi bshad pa[35] , and the zhal lung[36] , and most of the secret precepts (upadeśas).

The other Lineage of this initiation is as follows: Mañjuśrī, Jñānapāda[37] , Dīpaṅkarabhadra, Ānandagarblia (kun dga' snying po), tha ga na, Śānti pa, Śraddhākara, Padmākara. From these two -the Great Translator rin chen bzang po, rkyang po chos blo, the kalyāṇa-mitra skyabs se, rdo rje sra brtan, dkon mchog ‘bar, the kalyāṇa-mitra dbang rin, khams pa sa phug pa Śākya rdo rje, rong pa chos mgon, lo tsa ba mchog ldan, dpal ldan seng ge, bu ston rin po che, further sangs rgyas ras chen, ston ma lung pa, ye shes mkhar, bla ma chu sku 'od zer, kun mkhyen 'phags 'od, chos rje bu ston, rin rnam pa (sgra tshad pa), kun mkhyen shes rab' dpal bzangs, from the latter I obtained the initiation into the system of Jñānapāda.

Again, the Spiritual Lineage of the initiation into the Guhyasamājalokeśvara[38] : The Venerable Master (Atīśa), lha btsun pa byang chub 'od, 'ol pa byang chub rdo rje, rgya lcags ri gong kha pa, rdzing bu kha pa, thang stong pa chos kyi 'od, zhang yes, gze ba don grub mgon, bar thang pa, father and son, dar ma Śākya, bsod nams dbang phyug, the lo tsa ba mchog ldan, bla ma dpal ldan seng ge, bu ston kha che, byang chen 'jam rings pa, kun mkhyen shes rab dpal bzangs, the latter bestowed (the teaching) on me.

The chapter on the system of Jñānapāda[39] .

Footnotes and references:


Buddhajn͂āna (R).


San͂caya-gāthā-pan͂jikā, Tg. shez phyin, No. 3798 (R).


Kg. shez phyin, No. (R) 553 Maṇidvīpa (R).


samaya, dbang tshig (R).


name of a deva (R).


dist. Guntur, Madras (R).


Rakṣitapāda (R).


Vasudharī (R).


sems-dben. The other two are the lus-dben and nag-dben (R).


Rakṣi-tapāda (R).


zhal lung, Tg. 1854 (R).


Samantabhadra-nāma-sādhana, Tg. rgyud, No. 1855 (R).


Caturaṅgasādhana-Samantabhadrī-nāma, Tg. rgyud, No. 1856 (R).


Śrī Herukasādhana, Tg. rgyud, No. 1857 (R).


rgyud kyi rnam bshad, Tg. rgyud, No. 1852 (R).


Śrī Guhyasamājamaṇḍalavidhināma, Tg. rgyud, No. 1865, According to bu ston there were 250 ślokas in the work. See bu ston gsung ‘bum, vol. XXVI/La/, bstan 'gyur dkar chag, fol. 35b (R).


grol ba'i thig le zhes bya ba, Tg. rgyud, No. 1859 (R).


bdag grub pa, Tg. rgyud, No. 1860 (R).


Tg. rgyud, Nos. 1861-63: Bhaṭṭāraka-Ārya-Jambhala-Jalendra-sādhana, Guhya-Jaṃbhala-sādhana and Vistara-Jaṃbhala-sādhana. The other treatises were not translated into Tibetan. bu ston gsung 'bum, vol. XXVI/La/, fol. 35b/bstan 'gyur dkar chag/ (R).


lung, Āgama, lung dang 'thun pa'i chos bcu bzhi (R).


Tg. rgyud, No. 1852 (R).


gzugs 'kyi phung po, rūpa-skandha (R).


dbang chen ri, the name of the cave is dbang po'i phug; Indasāla-guhā. See Bimala Churn Law: "India as described in Early Texts of Buddhism and Jainism", London, 1941, p. 29 (R).


Tg. rgyud, No. 1852 (R).


rdo rje 'chang chen po, i.e. Buddhahood (R).


Sukusuma-nāma-dvikramātattvabhāvanamukhāgamavṛtti, Tg. rgyud, No. 1866 (R).


rdo rje phreng ba, Vajrāvalināma-maṇḍalasādhana. dkyil 'khor gyi cho ga zdo rje phreng ba zhes bya ba, Tg. rgyud, No. 3140 (R).


rev dge 'dun chos 'phel: rgya gar gyi gnas chen khag pa bgrod pa'i lam yig, Calcutta, 1939, p.23 (R).


gnyos, "the Devil" (R).


Dīpaṅkarabhadra (R).


the companion of mar pa lo tsa ba. See J. Bascot: "La Vie de Marpa,"Paris, 1937, p. 16, 80 (R).


Sūguhyasamājaman͂juśrīsādhana, Tg. rgyud, No. 1880 (R).


dpal gsang ba 'dus pa'i 'jig rten dbang phyug gi sgrub pa'i thab zhes bya ba, Śrīguhyasamājalokeśvarasādhana-nāma, Tg. rgyud, No. 1892 (R).


dpal gsang ba 'dus pa rgyud kyi rgyal po'i bshad pa zla ba'i 'od zer zhes bya ba, Śrīguhyasamājatantrarājaṭīkācandraprabhānāma, Tg. rgyud, No.1852 (R).


Mukhāgama, Tg. rgyud, No. 1853 (R).


ye shes zhabs, Buddhajn͂āna (R).


Tg. rgyud, Nos. 1892,1893 (R).


Buddhajn͂āna (R).

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