Blue Annals (deb-ther sngon-po)

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

This page relates ‘Introduction: The (system) of gcod yul and kha rag pa’ 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 13 (Cutting and Kkarakpa).

Introduction: The (system) of gcod yul and kha rag pa

Now I shall relate the (history) of the Lineage of the gcod yul of the Demons (bdud kyi gcod yul) of the Prajngāpāramitā (so called because the adepts of the gcod cayul adhered to the philosophic doctrine of the Prajngāpāramitā). Lord Maitrīpāda (maitrī pa) had said that even in the Prajngāpāramitā mention was made of practices which imitated those of the Tantras. Because of this, the system was (originally) called spyod yul[1] . How can it (i.e. Gcod) be similar to the Tantra? Because it agrees with the standpoint of the Hevajra Tantra,[2] in a cemetery, in an empty cave[3] (ma mo'i khyim), at night, in a solitary place, or in the neighborhood of a village (bas mtha).’

Again it is said in the Hevajra Tantra:[4]

“Having given up (his) physical body, he (the adept) should afterwards practice the rite.”

And again it is:[5]

“Verily, should an asura, even one equal to Indra, walk in front of you, you should not be afraid of it, and should walk on in the manner of a lion[6] .”

(The system) was also called the Prajngāpāramitā cutting (the influence) of demons[7] .’

Again, because it is said in the Prajngāpāramitāsangcayagāthā [8] :

“A Bodhisattva endowed with the power of learning (mkhas stobs ldan) cannot be overcome or shaken by four demons, because of four reasons: because he abides in the Void (stong par gnas pa), because be has not abandoned living beings, because he acts according to his word, and because he is endowed with the blessing of the shūnyatā.”

The followers of the gcod system observe the above four religious injunctions, that is, they (accept) the theory of abiding in the Void, they (cultivate) compassion by not abandoning living beings, they (observe) the moral rule of the Bodhisattvas of acting according to one’s word, and they strive for the blessing of the shūnyatā. These are the four (injunctions) which constitute the foundation of their spiritual training. The (injunction) of striving for the blessing of the shūnyatā (means) the taking of Refuge (skyabs su'gro ba), and the offering of prayers to the Teacher and the Spiritual Lineage. The acting according to one’s own word, (means) to abstain from harsh actions (tho cao ma yin), and (to abstain) from breaking the vows, which were taken at the time of the manifestation of the Mental Creative Effort towards Enlightenment.

The non-abandoning ' of living beings, means a practice characterized by a great compassion and, abstention from doing harm to demons[9] (mi ma yin) and others, by which one becomes free from any sort of ill-wish towards living beings, and makes them enter on the Path of Enlightenment. The theory of abiding in the Void, or shūnyatā, (means) firstly, the abandonment of the view which maintains the substantiality of the aggregate (of the elements), which constitute the individual stream [10] (rang rgyud), and secondly, the non-acceptance of the notion of the reality and substantiality of other living beings. Now, on what ground is such a practice called gcod yul.

In the Abhidharmakosha[11] it said:

“Defilement (klesha), originates from attachments (phra rgyas [12] ), the presence (nge bar gnas pa[13] ) of external objects, and a wrong conception of them.”

That which is to be cut (is) Defilement (klesha, ngon moñs) (%). If these defilements have originated from attachments, external objects, and wrong conceptions of them, the yogin, as soon as he contacts an external object and rouses (in himself) past inclinations (bag cahags[14] ), should remove[15] the Defilement, which was preceded by a wrong conception (of the external object). For this reason this system was called gcod yul[16] .

The secret precepts of the system were handed down from dam pa. The (precepts) which were handed down by skyo bsod nams bla ma and ram par ser po of yar kluns, were called pho gcod, or “Male gcod.” Those handed down by ma gcaig (labs sgron ma) were called mo gcod, or “Female gcod.” dam pa sangs rgyas used to say that lie had given three words of friendly advice (sñin gtam) to ma jo mchod gnas ma at the residence of rog pa of yar kluñs. Through them she attained emancipation. She herself, used to say that she had obtained emancipation through them. She, a natural yogini, preached numerous secret precepts of her own. Now, why is it that one and the same thing was called by two different names: spyod, or “practice”, and gcod, or “cutting asunder.” Such is the case of other texts, also. For instance, the Lord of Wealth (nor gyi bdag po) was sometimes called vaishravana, which means “Son of Learning” (rnani thos kyi bu), and sometimes called vaishravana, which means “Son of Rest” (ñ al sos kyi bu).

Also one and the same person, was sometimes called nāgabodhi, meaning “The Enlightenment of a Naga” (klu'i byan chub), and sometimes called nāgabuddhi, which means “Naga’s wisdom” (kLu'i blo). In particular, in the shri shamputatantrarājatikamnāyamangjarī nāma[17] the word pilaba[18] is explained by two words: “thuñ spyod, or “drink and practice”, and ‘thun gsod, or “drink and cut”[19] . One should understand (spyod and gcod) in a similar manner.

Footnotes and references:


Tibetan spyod corresponds to skrt. gocara, practice. The orthography gčod is a corruption of the first word. Both words are pronounced cöd cö in modern Tibetan {R}


(s Nar-than b Ka'-'gyur, rgyud-'bum, Vol. I /Ka/, fol. 316b: ‘Meditation is said to be fruitful at the foot of a solitary tree (a solitary tree, growing in a deserted plain, is popularly believed to be the abode of demons. Because of this wide-spread belief solitary trees are never felled in Tibet, and are often worshipped by the local population) {R}


tnitr-grlia, skt.


s Nar-than b Ka'-'gyur, rgyud-'bum, Vol. I /Ka/, fol. 315b {R}


said (Vol. I /Ka/, fol. 315b) {R}


(Hevajra-Tantra, Vol. I/Ka/, fol. 315b, has br Gya-byin-lta-bu yin-na yam)


(Pha-rol-tu phyin-pa b Dud kyi gčod -yul; gčod -yul means the—act of cutting asunder’).


(s Dud-pa tshigs-su bcad-pa, ni Do-mans, Vol. II, fol. 435a; s Dud-pa, fol. 27a) {R}


amanusya, skt.


Santāna, skt.


V, 34: Phra.rgyas spans-pa ma yin dah/ yul ni ííe bar gnas-pa dais /tshul biin ma yin yid byed las/ non-mops rgyu ni tshan ba yin. Abhidharmakosa, translated by L. de la Vallée Poussin, V, 34 P- 72 /Paris-Louvain, 5925/)


anuśaya, skt.


pratyupasthāna, skt.


Vasana, skt.


lit. cut asunder {R}


lit. objectcutting {R}


Man nag sne ma, Tg. rgyud, No. 1198 {R}


this seems to be a corruption of the Sanskrit pitha {R}


(Thun gčod is a term used to designate a groúp of sacred places in the list of twenty-four Sacred Places: 'Thun gčod, ne ba'i 'thus gčod, ii n, ne ba'i iin, gron mtha', fie ba'i gron mtha', etc. See Buston g Sun 'bum, vol. VI /Cha/, f3l. 29a. {R}

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