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 22.6 (Commentary)

[Guhyagarbha-Tantra, Text section 22.6]

All the Tathāgatas do not possess
Anything other than this secret.
This real Secret Nucleus
In which exageration and depreciation are quiescent
Was brought forth from the definitive expanse. [6]


de-bzhin gshegs-pa thams-cad-la /
gsang-ba 'di-las gzhan mi-mnga' /
sgro-dang skur-ba zhi-ba-yi /
gsang-ba'i snying-po de-kho-na /
nyid-de nges-pa'i dbyings-nas phyung / [6]


[The first (comments on Ch. 22.6):]

All the Tathāgatas (de-bzhin gshegs-pa thams-cad-le) of the ten directions and four times do not possess anything other than this ('di-las gzhan mi-mnga') genuine tantra, which 1s the conclusive secret (gsang-ba) of Buddha-body, speech, mind, attributes and activities. Therefore one should retain that which is supreme and genuine.

This actually refers to the tantra of the ground where all things are Buddha-hood in the secret nucleus of primordial sameness. It is the conclusive truth to be established by all the conquerors.[2]

Now. among the collection of texts, there are those in which the teacher applied exageration (sgro) to the profound truth from the extreme standpoint of eternalism, and (dang) there are those in which he applied depreciation (skur-ba) to it from the extreme standpoint of nihilism. However, this Secret Nucleus (gsang-ba'i snying-po) transcends intellectually conceived objects because its primordially empty and selfless nature is quiescent of (zhi-ba-yi) all conceptual elaborations including those which posit both existence and non-existence and those which posit neither of them. This real (de-kho-na-nyid de) nature of all things was brought forth (phyung) as a truth to be expressed by the teacher from the definitive expanse (nges-pa'i dbyings-nas) of unthinkable inexpressible reality.[3]

Accordingly, it says in the Ornament of Emergent Realisation (T. 3786):

This profound nature is itself free
From the extremes of exageration and depreciation.

And in the Root Stanzas of Madhyamaka, entitled Discriminative Awareness (T. 3824):

Absence of extraneous perception.
Quiescence, absence of conceptual thought,
Non-differentiation, and absence of conceptual elaboration—
These are the characteristics of this (reality).

And in the Sūtra of the Adornment of Pristine Cognition's Appearance (T. 100):

Phenomena are uncreated
And thoroughly quiescent like space.
Such is the perceptual range of those who see the ultimate.
The conqueror and guide reveals this uncorrupted quiescence
From the expanse of just what is.

These twenty-two chapters of expressive verses. comprising the profound genuine view and extensive conduct in which exageration and depreciation with regard to the real nature are quiescent, are secret to unworthy recipients and revealed to those who are worthy recipients. Their nature is the nucleus of all things, the reality of ground, path and result. They are brought forth from an indefinite expanse within the expanse of Samantabhadra's Buddha-mind; and are simultaneously spoken for the sake of those to be trained in the retinue.[4]

[Next, the prophetic declarations concerning the genuine persons who uphold this Secret Nucleus, (comments on Ch. 22.7):]

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Footnotes and references:


This aspiration resembles the mandate received by gter-ston, who, according to the lineage known as bka'-babs lung-bstan, are entrusted with the central intention of their discoveries and subsequently encouraged through prophetic declarations. See NSTB, Book 2, Pt. 6, pp. 511ff.; also T. Thondup, Hidden Teachings of Tibet. p. 64.


On the continuum of the ground, see above, pp. 20ff.; also NSTB, Book 1. Pt. 4, pp. 147b-150b.


On the differing degrees of intention (abhiprāya) with which different texts are motivated and the distinction between the provisional and ultimate meaning of texts, see NSTB, Book 1, Pt. 3. PP. 116b-121a.


The "indefinite time" (ma-nges-pa'i dus) at which this teaching is disseminated is discussed above, pp. 354-357.

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