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 ’...

Part 8 - The individual ways of guarding aspiring and entering

a. The way of guarding aspiring

1) The brief teaching

Now the individual ways of guarding aspiring and entering will be explained. As to how aspiring is guarded in terms of accepting and rejecting, regarding the details of as many things as are to be trained in, in brief:

Briefly four black dharmas ought to be avoided.
Four that are pure and white should earnestly be performed.

2) The extensive explanation

2.a) The instruction to abandon the four black dharmas

In detail, as for the first four:

These are the four black actions that are to be avoided:
Cheating any persons worthy of respect,
Producing regret for things that should not be regretted,
Speaking unpleasant words to those who are holy ones,
Behaving deviously to sentient beings in general.

Since these are the four black dharmas, they should be abandoned. The Jewel Heap Sutra says in the Chapter Requested by Kashyapa:

Kashyapa, if one possesses these dharmas, bodhicitta will be forgotten. What are these four? Slandering the guru and those who are worthy of respect. Producing regret in others for things that should not be regretted. To bodhisattvas who have aroused bodhicitta speaking with the fault of an angry mind. Behaving deviously and deceptively to sentient beings.

2.b) The instruction to practice the four white dharmas

As for the four white dharmas:

These are the four white dharmas in which we should place our trust:
Relying on holy ones and giving praise to their virtues,
Encouraging sentient beings to do what is truly good,
Producing perception of buddha children as the teacher,
Because of pure aspiration, benefiting beings.

Abandoning what is false has the ground of virtue of benefiting sentient beings. In producing perceptions of bodhisattvas as the teacher, they become special companions on the path. Dwelling in the excellent thought of non-deception is exemplified by relying on the holy ones and praising them, though indeed this is a consequence of all virtues. As establishing all sentient beings on the path of Mahayana has a special purity, first producing bodhicitta in that way is urged.

The Jewel Heap Sutra says:

Kashyapa, if one has these dharmas, bodhicitta will not be forgotten. What are these four? Being conscientious about not speaking falsely, producing perception of bodhisattvas as teachers, dwelling in the excellent thought of not behaving deviously and deceptively toward sentient beings, and truly establishing all sentient beings in the Mahayana.

As for guarding bodhicitta by means of what stabilizes it, the Shri Samadhiraja Sutra says:

O prince, if one has four perceptions, bodhicitta will be stabilized. What are these four?
They are perception of true spiritual friends as buddhas, perception of the Dharma
taught by them as the path, perception of those who practice it as companions on the path, and perception of all sentient beings as one’s only child.

b. Guarding the Mind of Entering

As for explaining the details of guarding the bodhicitta of entering:

Considering others’ welfare as more important than ours,
This is the practice trained in by the bodhisattvas.
If they benefit others, the seven evils of body and speech,
Are actually beneficial, when they can be performed,
However, the three of mind are never to be done.

and also:

By desiring peace and goodness for personal benefit
Even the good is a downfall for bodhisattva children.
For the benefit of others, even that which is evil,
Ought to be practiced, the Victorious One has taught.

There are three aspects.

  1. Learning to abandon what is to be abandoned.
  2. Learning to know what is to be known.
  3. Learning to practice what is to be practiced.

Within the first are how to guard the mind from transgressions of the root downfalls, having the kleshas, and the fault of useless activity. There is also knowing when to permit and restrain. Of these four ways of training, the first three were spoken of above. As for the last, there are occasions where the ten non-virtues of body and speech are permitted. When it will be for others’ benefit, know that they should be performed. The greatness of one’s own virtue will not be obscured by that, and in addition to that, on having observed an occasion for the three increases mahasattvas should perform those seven non-virtues.

What is the benefit? Minak Dungthungchen (mi nag mdung thung can), having seen many persons killed because of selfish desire, as a guide, because of the great compassion,[1] so that there would be liberation from limitless samsara, seemed to cut off life.

Some, though there is wealth, because of avarice will not give. When there is a time of famine, if it will save lives, for the benefit of both, what was not given by the rich is taken to give to the poor.

The bhraman’s child Karmala Gawa (skar ma la dga’ ba) was tormented by the desires of others. Wanting to reverse certain death, he seemed to perform wrong activity. So that those who would certainly be killed might be liberated, he seemed to speak falsely. Having deceived the companions of the evil-doers, for the purpose of reversing them from being led into the lower realms, he seemed to commit slander. To purify the suffering of those who had suffering, he made up and told various stories, or jokes, and there seemed to be frivolous speech.

To reverse those who would certainly undertake evil deeds, he seemed to speak harsh words. These things were done because the purpose was virtuous.

The three evil actions of mind, should never be performed, because they are only bad. Though some say that there are occasions when they may be performed, the prohibition is total.

Mañjushri went against his faith, when he tamed Kuntu Gyu (kun tu rgyu) by dwelling among the Hindus, but he is taught not to have fallen into the arising of wrong views by his presentation of them. Teaching such views was indeed practiced by him, and thus in body and speech, to Kuntu Gyu and others he taught the language the arising of wrong view. However, when wrong view arose in their minds, by and by he told these people about the virtues of the three jewels, so how could transgression of the precepts of mind have come about? Therefore he never performed these actions of mind.

‘Well, he did transgress by doing unvirtuous actions of body and speech. Isn’t that like eating poison?”

As in mantrayana, a virtuous mind is without fault or damage by ingesting poison. The Twenty Vows says:

If these are done with compassion and for the sake of kindness
And with a virtuous mind, the act is without fault.

Also the Objects of Mindfulness says:

Though it is taught that a sentient being who cuts off one life will be tormented for an intermediate kalpa in the ephemeral Hells, and though it is taught that an evil deed should never be done; if one thinks that, the Buddha’s word is intended for the minds of sentient beings of different capacities, and therefore, that sometimes “one” and sometimes “many” and sometimes “certain”[2] and sometimes “uncertain” are taught should be known not to be contradictory.

The Praise of the Teachings (gsung pa bstod pa) says:

Because of what is given and what is being held back,
Sometimes the words to us are “it is one and certain.
Sometimes “it is uncertain” also has been said.
Therefore these are not in mutual contradiction.

In such a style, it is important to know that there are provisional meaning and true meaning, as well as words having an intention and words that have any of the four hidden intentions. The divisions of these will be explained extensively below.

As for training in the second point above, the means of knowing what is to be known, the

Mahayanasutralankara says:

As for any not known by the Buddha’s children,
Such knowables as these do not exist.

Contemplation and learning should be industriously undertaken in the worldly topics or sciences, and learning and contemplation regarding whatever world-transcending dharmas there are.

This is so that omniscience may be obtained. If one summarizes these, there are five divisions to keep track of; arts, crafts, the art of reasoning, the reasoning of Buddhists, and the reasoning of non- Buddhists. The same text says:

If no effort is made with the five topics of the sciences, even supreme noble ones will never be omniscient. Cut off other pursuits, strive for your own omniscience.

In particular when the details of the vow of training are known, it is important to guard them. Moreover, as previously taught, downfall and non-downfall, associated qualities, what is to be trained in, and the reason why this is done should previously be known.

There are twenty root downfalls. Because these downfalls are absent, we are joined to virtue and there is no downfall. The associated aspects are those associated with the aspect of virtue and with nonvirtue and the downfalls. According to the two divisions, if transgressions are committed, there are two kinds, transgressions that have the kleshas and transgressions that become meaningless.

Moreover, when we enter into meaningless speech, frivolous entertainments, and so forth; if desire and aversion are produced, the fault of having kleshas will be produced.

Even if these have been produced, there is no reason why they should not be grasped with mindfulness and awareness, and if we so engage with them, meaningless faults are produced.

If we enter into action dispassionately for the sake of others, there is no downfall. If we enter with desire, there is transgression of that, and is associated with it. If we enter simply because of the joy of others, it is the same. We should learn, meditate, and so forth that the antidotes are impermanent.

When we have seen transgressions, we must confess and renew the vow. For example, if for reasons not connected with virtue, we dig up the earth, we commit faults of uselessly cutting roots and so forth. If the same thing is done for the sake of virtue, there is no downfall.

While we do not remember ultimate uselessness, there are associated faults of doodling in the sand and so forth. We should discipline ourselves so that such things are accomplished with mindfulness and awareness. When we remembered the discipline, it will be renewed, and our vow will be renewed. All actions of body, speech, and mind should be known to be joined to that. If there is transgression, from knowing how to renew, even if our aspiration has been transgressed, it can be restored.

The conditions of transgression are discouragement, procrastination, and entering into other paths. As for discouragement, if we think that we cannot produce the benefit of others as we can our own, we get discouraged. As for the antidote, because we have attained the freedoms and favors at this

time of arousing bodhicitta, discouragement is abandoned. In praise of confidence, the Mahayanasutralankara says:

Sentient beings become human
So that every measureless instant
They can try to gain perfect enlightenment.
So let us not be discouraged.

As for procrastination from not seeing the benefits of the path, but seeing the faults of difficult practice, as an antidote to that we are taught the benefits and joy of these. As for the instruction in patience, the Bodhicharyavatara says:

Therefore, having mounted the horse of bodhicitta,
Which clears away all weariness and discouragement,
We go on from happiness to happiness.
Knowing bodhicitta, who could then despair?

If we grasp the paths of the shravakas and pratyekabuddhas as being better than the Mahayana, we will be sent into them; so as an antidote, from the two meditations on faults and benefit, as for the shravakas and pratyekabuddhas being far from perfect enlightenment, the Manifestation of Enlightenment of Vairochana (rnam snang mngon byang) says:

The paths of the shravakas and pratyekabuddhas are eighty thousand great kalpas away from the unsurpassable fruition.

As to the immeasurable benefits of the Mahayana, the Bodhicharyavatara says:

As for this, because of the power of bodhicitta,
Former evil deeds will completely be exhausted.
Because a heap of merits is accumulated,

It is much nobler than the path of the shravakas. The Precious Garland says:

Because there is no regard for the benefit for oneself.
The benefit of others is joyful as one taste.
That occurs in the source of virtue, the Mahayana.

If mind is sent outward to externals, we are far from enlightenment, and the sufferings of samsara and the lower realms are immeasurable. As for the way of curing this, before statues and so forth, with remorse and repentance, confess and take the vow. This also arises by receiving it as before. The number of times is not fixed.

As for the method of remedying arousing the bodhicitta of entering, conditions of defilement are three: Its foundation, the bodhicitta of aspiring, is lost; The opposing root downfalls arise; and it is mixed with conditions of abandoning the discipline.

As for the faults of defiling this, when formerly accumulated merit manifests, by its having been degraded, later we will have no happiness. We will not meet with the Mahayana. By breaking our

vows our situation will deteriorate. By the heaviness of our defilement, we will wander for a long time in the lower realms. The Letter to a Student says:

Even when they are alone, their minds examine for truth,
Producing an association with genuine action.
Among those on earth, they become principal holy ones.
Those, who are excellent students, have respect for the guru.
Modest, producing a host of virtues, with noble intent,
Supremely motionless, they follow the view of kindness.

For even those brilliant ones rejoicing in truth and tradition,
Life is easily lost, and there are no promises.
Temporary beings have faults and evil deeds
That may send them all to the unbearable Hells.
Throwing away the natural state, indeed they suffer.
For the wise on earth, what pain is worse than this?

Those who receive the sages’ life-granting Dharma path
And having receiving what is like a great ship, then throw it away,
Whirling like dancers amidst the ocean of samsara,
They think the deceptive thought that their joy has been assured.

Therefore, the Bodhicharyavatara says:

Moreover, though merit is easily defiled,
As for the mind, it can never be defiled.

If one transgresses for a certain length of time, if the discipline is lost, having confessed as above with repentant mind, by practicing the rite three times it will be renewed. The number is uncertain. By the mahasiddha Nagpopa three means of renewal are taught.

Those who are lesser, because of grasping things as solid, are regretful. Having impressed their faults on their minds, they confess them before others. By subsequent vows, they are gradually distanced from those faults, and rising from their downfalls occurs.

The middle ones, having pleased the deities of vidya mantra and secret mantra, the bodhisattva

Akashagarbha and so forth, and so having attained the empowerment of those deities, arise from that downfall.

Some who are excellent, when someone says they have a downfall, remain effortlessly within bodhicitta. As to how, it is taught in the Noble Mahayana Sutra Teaching that All dharmas are Without Arising (‘phags pa chos thams cad ‘byung ba med par bstan pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo):

Mañjushri, the bodhisattva who knows no-action and no-arising attains complete purity from karmic obscurations.

Here, “We should follow this” is well-thought. Those of inferior mind do so before the bodhisattva Sangha or a special object. They supplicate after performing the seven-fold service and renew their vows, or supplicate such and such a mahasattva to consider them:

For I, so and so, such and such a downfall has arisen.[3] This, for the sake of all sentient beings, I confess, and I supplicate it be made pure.

Say this three times. The others say:

These transgressions we see as transgressions, and from now on well avoid them. In answer to that it is said:

I will draw back from them. I will refrain from them.

By saying that we are liberated from faults, according to the Bodhisattvabhumi. Also in between perseveringly performing the developing and fulfillment stages of the deity before our respective yidam deities, having done the seven-fold service, by confession and vowing to refrain we remedy the downfall.

The deity of vidya mantra in general is Shri Akashagarbha. If we want to confess before him, we should confess continuously day and night. From the time we arise, this is done. In the later part of the night call on by name and prostrate to all the buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions, and in particular Shri Akashagarbha. Continuously speak out strong confessions of evil deeds of transgression. At dawn before the sunrise, say this:

Please do what I ask. To Shri Akashagarbha, if I confess my transgressions, having purified them, please consider me and grant your blessings.

Say that three times. When the sun rises, as a sign of transgressions and downfalls being purified, body and mind are happier than before, and even the sun arises more gently. The air is pure, and good dreams display themselves, so it is taught.

Some excellent beings, sitting cross-legged, first call by name whatever dream and illusion-like transgressions there may have been. In the space in front are the buddhas and their sons.


After confessing to them, identify the essence of these very transgressions outer, inner, and in between, by examining their color, shape, and so forth. They do not arise from anywhere, do not abide anywhere, and do not go anywhere. Knowing them to be in nature like space, resting within that state, there is liberation from all transgressions. The Sutra of the Great liberation Blossoming in the Ten Directions (thar pa chen po phyogs chu rgyas pa’i mdo) says:

If the bodhisattva has four dharmas, all broken discipline and faults of the kleshas will be purified. What are these four? Because dharmas have no coming, because dharmas are known not to arise, because dharmas are seen to be unceasing, and because dharmas arise interdependently through causes and conditions, they are empty of nature. If these four are possessed, there will be no arising of broken discipline and faults of the kleshas.

The Dharmaraja Sutra (chos kyi rgyal po’i mdo) says:

If a sentient being knows non-duality, all obscurations will be completely abandoned. For example, as on a mirror covered with dust that has been forming for a thousand years, there can later be not a particle, this too is like that.

Also it is like this. For example, in a dark empty house that has been dark for a thousand years, though the darkness has lasted for a thousand years, a lamp will make it non-existent. So by the mind knowing the genuine truth of essencelessness, the evil deeds of countless kalpas will instantly be removed.


The Sutra of Entering into the Absolute (don dam par ’jug pa’i mdo) says:

The son of the gods White Lotus asked, “Mañjushri, how should karmic obscurations be abandoned?”

He replied, “Son of the gods, as for karmic obscurations, if we know that karma itself is primordially unreal, it will effortlessly be cleared away. That is like wiping with a cloth a conch that is covered by charcoal. These are guarded against by knowing their objects, it is taught.

Footnotes and references:


The great compassion is beyond the limitations of ordinary concepts of compassion and noncompassion. Other analogous phrases, such as “the great emptiness” are similar.


Or “true.”


Fill in the blanks with the appropriate name and transgression.

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