Guhyagarbha Tantra (with Commentary)

by Gyurme Dorje | 1987 | 304,894 words

The English translation of the Guhyagarbha Tantra, including Longchenpa's commentary from the 14th century. The whole work is presented as a critical investigation into the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, of which the Guhyagarbhatantra is it's principle text. It contains twenty-two chapters teaching the essence and practice of Mahayoga, which s...

Text 6.14-17 (Commentary)

[Guhyagarbha-Tantra, Text section 6.14-17]

At this time, he is revealed
To all six classes of living beings
In forms which bring them to renounce negativity: [14]
To pious attendants in the form of an Arhat, [15]
And to self-centred Buddhas in the solitary way of a rhino. [16]
Moreover, according to the sequence of the supreme vehicle,
In the supreme unsurpassed abode of Akaniṣṭha,
The Buddha-body (is present) as Vairocana,
Who, to retinues of Bodhisattvas, does not divulge
The supreme Buddha-speech in that previous way,
But discloses through his Buddha-body
The doctrines that are encountered. [17] ...


de-tshe 'gro-drug thams-cad-la /
sdig-spong gzugs-su rnam-par bstan / [14]
nyan-thos-rnams-la dgra-bcom-gzugs / [15]
rang-rgyal-rnams-la bse-ru'i tsul / [16]
gzhan-yang theg-mchog rim-pa-bzhin /
'og-min bla-med gnas-mchog-tu /
sku-ni rnam-par snang-mdzad-tshul /
byang-chub sems-dpa'i 'khor-rnams-la /
de-bzhin gsung-mchog mi-smra-ste /
sku-yis chos-rnams mjal-bar ston / [17]


[The latter (the appearance of enlightened activity for the sake of those to be trained) has four parts (which comment on Ch. 6.14-17):]

i. The first part concerns the appearance (of enlightened activity) for the sake of the six ordinary classes of living beings:

At this time (de-tshe) when Buddha-hood is attained in the spontaneous Bounteous Array without conjunction or disjunction in respect of the three buddha-bodies, he is revealed (rnam-par-bstan) to all (thams-cad-la) the ordinary six classes of living beings (gro-drug) including the gods, as the different sages such as Śatakratu. i.e. in forms which bring them to renounce (spong gzugs-su) the negativity (sdig) of their minds; and then he teaches the doctrines which purify the obscurations of gods, humans, and so forth.

ii. (The second) concerns the appearance (of enlightened activity) for the sake of pious attendants:

He appears in the guise of a virtuous ascetic and, to (rnams-la) those living beings who are to be trained and who belong to the family of pious attendants (nyan-thos), he is revealed in the form of an arhat (dgra-bcom gzugs), (foremost) among pious attendants, who then establishes them in the realisation of the four truths.[1]

It is said in the Sutra Requested By the Emanational King (T. 167):

To those who are to be trained by pious attendants, he becomes present and teaches the doctrine in the form of a pious attendant.

iii. (The third) concerns the appearance (of enlightened activity) for the sake of self-centred Buddhas:

In order to grant instruction through the form of the self-centred buddhas. to (la) adherents of the vehicle of the self-centred buddhas (rang-rgyal-rnams), he teaches the doctrine of dependent origination symbolically in the solitary way of a rhino (bse-ru'i tshul).[2]

As the same text says:

To those who are to be trained by the form of a self-centred buddha, he becomes present in the form of a self-centred buddha, and genuinely teaches through symbols the doctrine of dependent origination.

iv. (The fourth) concerns the appearance (of enlightened activity) for the sake of adherents of the greater vehicle:

Moreover (gzhan-vang), in addition to these, he appears differently to spiritual warriors of the tenth level whose sequence (rim) of acumen is according to (bzhin) the supreme vehicle (theg-mchog), in the supreme (mchog-tu) unsurpassed abode of Akaniṣṭha ('og-min bla-med gnas), the excellent abode of the mighty lord, which is superior among the form-realms. the teacher himself or the buddha-body (sku-ni) is present as Vairocana (rnam-par snang-mdzad tshul), who, to retinues of Bodhisattvas (byang-chub sems-dpa'i 'khor-rnams-la) of the tenth level, forming the excellent retinue, teaches the greater vehicle which is the excellence of doctrine during (the time of) unchanging sameness, which is the excellence of time.

Now, the teacher who is himself the buddha-body of perfect rapture does not divulge (mi-smra-te) the doctrines as (supreme) buddha-speech (gsung-mchog) in that previous way (de-bzhin) in which the emanational body appears to different living beings and verbally teaches the doctrine. But he discloses (ston) through (yis) the essence of his apparitional buddha-body (sku) the doctrines (chos-rnams) of the greater vehicle that are encountered (mjal-bar) in the intellects of the retinue.[3]

The third part (see p. 664) concerns the liberation of living beings through these (activities). This comprises both the refinement of obscurations according to the causal path, and the supreme attainment of the resultant buddha-body and level.

[The former (comments on Ch. 6.18):]

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Footnotes and references:


On Śrāvakas and Arhats, see above, Ch. 3, pp. 506-508. On the four truths (bden-pa bzhi), namely, duḥkhasatya, samudayasattva [samudayasatya?], nirodhasatya, and mārgasatya, see NSTB, Book 1, Pt. 3, PP. 123a-124b, and glossary of enumerations under "four truths,” and on their interpretation according to the resultant or mantra vehicles, ibid., Pt. 4, p. 143b.


On Pratyekabuddhas, see also above, pp. 508-509, esp. note 65.


The meaning of this disclosure is clarified in the following paragraphs, pp. 669-670.

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