The Great Chariot

by Longchenpa | 268,580 words

A Commentary on Great Perfection: The Nature of Mind, Easer of Weariness In Sanskrit the title is ‘Mahāsandhi-cittā-visranta-vṛtti-mahāratha-nāma’. In Tibetan ‘rDzogs pa chen po sems nyid ngal gso’i shing rta chen po shes bya ba ’...

As for their expressions:

Their expressions are the desires that it may be workable
That all beings may be happy and also free from pain;
and, never parting from joy, that they have equanimity.

Toward the objects of these four immeasurables there is the desire that sentient beings be without suffering and possess happiness; and that, not separated from joy, but leaving behind passion and aggression, their minds may possess a kindness that is one with equanimity. The same text says:

I prostrate to you who are so kind to sentient beings,
Having an intention that is not newly encountered,
Having an intention that is not separable,
Having an intention of goodness and benefit.

The essence of the four immeasurables is free from what does not accord with each of them. The same text says:

What does not fit their stable completeness is abandoned.
The wisdom of complete non-thought is thus possessed.
The three apprehensions regarding these are thus engaged with.
Sentient beings are made to be completely ripened.

As for abandoning partialities that do not fit with each one of these four, the commentary of that same text says that, not thinking of anything else, focusing on objects with happiness, suffering and in between, we should benefit sentient beings.

As to how to engage with the object, those who merely do not have happiness are the object of equanimity. Those who are tormented by suffering and possess passion and aggression have the cause and fruition of suffering. Therefore they are the object of suffering.

Joy is because of beings’ happiness. The above three mental apprehensions engage with their three objects. The objects of joy, happiness and goodness consist of these three.

Likewise, as for the four immeasurables having dharmas as their objects, according to all the treatises these  same four arise.  In the four immeasurables that have the object  of dharmata, the nature of these is realized as the unborn.

In the tantras and their commentaries there is found a terminology of the four immeasurables in which selflessness is not realized, in which “one and one half” are realized, and in which two-fold selflessness is realized.[1] The Bodhisattva-bhumi says:

That with sentient beings as object is an object in common with the extremists. That with dharmas as object is in common with shravakas, and pratyekabuddhas. That with no object is not in common with anyone.

These immeasurables arise with the object of sentient beings, dharmas, and with no object. Explaining the arising of these four in terms of six aspects that do not correspond with the six perfections, the Ornament of Mahayana Sutras says:

Kindness to the miserly, and to vicious undisciplined ones;
Kindness to the agitated and unconscientious;
Tenderness to those who are who are under the power of objects,
And to those who are strongly inclined to wrong perception.

Explaining the ten objects for which these kind feelings are produced, the same text says:

Those who are fiercely blazing, and those in the enemy’s power;
Those oppressed by suffering, and those obscured with darkness.
All who abide on paths that are difficult to travel.
Those who are chained by fetters that are very great.
Those who are attached to food that is mixed with poison.
Those who have completely lost the way of the path.
Those who go far astray, and those of little power
Who still possess loving-kindness for all sentient beings.

The ten objects are these:

  1. Those who blaze with the kleshas as if they were in a fire
  2. Those for whom obstacles of Mara have arisen, even though they have entered the path
  3. Those of the three lower realms
  4. Those with stupidity and delusion about karma, cause, and effect
  5. Those who have entered wrong paths
  6. Those who are tightly bound by the knots of the kleshas
  7. Those addicted to the taste of the bliss of samadhi
  8. Those who dwell on the paths of shravakas
  9. Those who dwell on the paths of pratyekabuddhas
  10. Neophyte bodhisattvas.

The four immeasurables arise with four conditions:

  1. The naturally existing gotra or dhatu is the causal condition.
  2. The spiritual friend who teaches the instructions of the four immeasurables is the dominant condition.
  3. Apprehension of each one’s particular object is the object-condition.
  4. Previous acquaintance with the benefits of meditating on the four immeasurables, and the harm of not doing so, is the immediately preceding condition.

The former text says:

From the causes of happiness and suffering Comes the kindness of the bodhisattva.
Along with those causes, from the spiritual friend And our natural disposition, rises compassion.

The Abhidharmakosha says:

With four there are the mind and mental events. With three there are the two samapattis.
Other things arise from only two.

Mind and mental events are produced by four conditions, the main cause, predominating, immediately preceding and object conditions. Samapatti is produced by three, the main cause, predominating, and immediately preceding conditions. Material things arise from two, the main cause, such as a seed, and predominant conditions, such as water and manure.

Footnotes and references:


The first kind of selflessness realizes the emptiness of a real self that owns the dharmas it perceives and those same dharmas insofar as they are regarded as owned by it. It does not realize the selflessness of dharmas altogether. Abhidharma Buddhist philosophy shares this approach with the Samkhyas etc. The second approach is most typical of pratyekabuddhas, but is perhaps easiest to understand if we think of the mind-only school. It realizes the emptiness of grasped objects because of interdependent arising, but tends to cling to the reality of the grasping perceiver and perception. Having realized the emptiness of the object and perceiver of individuals and the emptiness of the object, but not the perceiver, of dharmas altogether, these individuals realize “one and a half” of the two egolessnesses.

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