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 3d.2c - The perfect teacher

The perfect teachers have bodies of the nature of space and of the radiance of the families.

Dwelling there:

The teachers, whose bodies blaze with the major and minor marks,
Are the five Bhagavans: Vairochana, and Akshobhya,
Ratnasambhava, Amitabha, and Amoghasiddhi,
In union with their consorts, each embracing each other.
These are Akashadhatvishvari and Vajra Māmaki,
Buddhalocana, Pandaravasini, Samayatara.
They are all complete with their individual ornaments.
They are emanating rays of colored light,
Respectively blue and white; yellow, red, and green.

On the ground below are the peaceful, above the wrathful ones,
The Buddha, Vajra, Ratna, Padma and Karma Herukas.
These are the five Shri-Herukas, together with their five consorts.
They are in union with the five khrodheshvaris.
Words cannot describe any details such as these.

The principal ones of the forty-two peaceful buddhas are the principal father and mother deities of the five families. They are in union with their consorts and also dwell on the lower ground displaying nine styles. The Fierce Lighting of Miracle says:

Each of their excellent bodies
Possess these nine-fold styles.
Smooth, supple, and caressing,
Flexibly pliant, and youthful.
Radiant, brilliant, massive,
Brightly shining, and sacred.

They blaze with the major and minor marks. In the ground above are the wrathful ones of the five families, also with nine styles.

What are these like? The Very Important (gal po che) says:

Graceful, heroic, repulsive
Laughing, fierce, and terrible,
Compassionate, awesome, and peaceful,
They assume these poses
Of the nine moods of dance.

Regarding the mandala, the former text says:

In the great place where there are all the great charnel grounds,
In the midst of raging tumultuous waves of rakta[1],
On a blazing Mount Meru of mounded skeletons,
In the midst of a blaze of all-consuming flames,

Is the blazing palace of the charnel grounds.
In its size and vastness it is endless and limitless.
Its luminous light arises from neither inside nor outside.
A four-spoked wheel below supports a blazing cube.
The palace is adorned with four-fold radiant gateways.
The courtyards inside and out are blazing brilliantly.

It is adorned by suns and moons, and snakes, and skulls.
There are also shaggy bulls and buffaloes,
And also with the claws of tigers and of bears,
Are the seats of arrogant Indra, Bhrama, and Ishvara.
In the center of all is great Yamantaka,

That and so forth is taught. A variant says:

As for fierce tigers and bears,
On pairs of them are great seats
Of luminous Indra and Bhrama.
The seats are also luminous.

This manifests in vivid clarity. The peaceful and wrathful mandalas, pervading as far as the limits of space, are inconceivable and inexpressible.

The major and minor marks are the essence of sambhogakaya. What are they?

First as for the thirty-two major marks, the Uttaratantra[2]says:

(1) The feet, very firm and steady,
Have the mark of dharmachakras.[3]
(2) The feet are very wide,[4]
With non-apparent ankles.

(3) The fingers and toes are long,
(4) Connected by a web.
(5) The skin is very soft
And excellently youthful.

(6) The body has seven rises.[5]
(7) There are calves like the antelope eneya.
(8) The secret parts are retracted
In a sheath like an elephant.

(9 ) The torso is like a lion.
(10) The shoulder blades are not hollow,
But well filled out with flesh. [6]
(11) The shoulder-tops are well-rounded.

(12) With arms soft, round and even,
(13) He has arms that are long.[7]

(14) His body, completely pure,
Has an aura of light,
(15) With a neck like a spotless conch,
(16) And a jaw[8] like the king of beasts.

(17) Forty teeth are in equal pairs[9]
(18) Very white and well-aligned,
(19) Are completely clean and even,
(20) With the canines extremely white.[10]

(21) The tongue is very long,
Of inconceivable length,
(22) With a perfect sense of taste.

(23) The Self-arising one
Has a voice Like the kalapingka,[11]
Or the melody of Bhrama.

(24) The excellent blue-lotus eyes
(25) Have lashes that are like
A bull that leads a herd.

(26) His face is beautiful,
(27) With a white and spotless hair,
Growing between the brows.[12]
(28) On the head is a mound.
(29) Pure and very fine,

The skin of the best of beings
Is like the color of gold,
(30) With fine, soft body hairs,
One growing from each pore,
Toward the top of the body,
Each curling to the right.

(31) With hair like faultless sapphire,
(32) His proportions are like the round
Of a perfect banyan tree.

He who is always good,
The incomparable great Sage
Has a body that is firm
With the strength of Narayana.

These blazing thirty-two marks,
Are beyond the scope of thought.
These were taught by the Teacher
As the marks of a Lord of Beings.

As for the eighty minor marks, the Abhisamayalankara[13]says:

The Sage's nails are (1) coppery,
(2) Glossy, and (3) highly arched;
The fingers (4) round, (5) full and (6) small-jointed.

(7) The veins are free from knots
(8) And inconspicuous.
(9) The ankles are inconspicuous.
(10) The feet have no disproportion.

He walks with a manner like
(11) A lion or (12) elephant,
(13) A bird[14] or (14) a herd-leading bull.
(15) He circles to the right.
(16) He goes gracefully and (17) directly,
(18)And in a chosen body,

(19) As if polished,[15] and (20) well arranged,
With body (21) clean, (22) smooth and (23) pure.
(24) The sexual organs complete,
(25) The Body is ample and strong,[16]
(26) And walks with even paces.

(27) His two eyes are pure.[17]
(28) Also he is youthful.
(29) The body not wasted away,
(30) Has blossoming health and (31) firmness.

(32) The limbs are well-defined.
(33) The sight unobscured and true.
(34) Waist round and (35) hips well proportioned.
(36) The middle not highly curved,
(37) The belly being flat.

(38) The navel deep (39) and right coiling.
(40) If looked at from all sides,
The form is very attractive,

(41) His conduct is pure (42) and his body
Unblemished by moles and freckles.
(43) The hands, soft like cotton wool,
(44) Have lustrous, (45) deep (46) long lines.

(47) The face is not too long.
(48) The lips are red like bimpa.[18]
(49) The tongue soft, (50) thin and (51) red.
(52)An awesome voice like thunder;[19]
(53)But the speech is soft and gentle.

(54) The canines are round and (55) sharp,
(56) White, (57) equal and (58) well-arranged.
(59) The nose tall and (60) very clean.

(61) The eyes[20] are wide (62) with thick lashes.
(63) They are like lotus petals.[21]
(64) The eyebrows are long and (65) soft,
(66) Glossy (67) with equal hairs.

(68) The hands[22] are big and long,
(69) The ears of moderate length.
(70) The hearing[23] is without faults.

(71) The forehead is well-defined,502
And (72) broad, and (73) the head is big.
(74) The hair is black like a bee,
(75) Thick, and (76) soft, and (77) not bristly,
(78) Not rough, and (79) very good smelling.

He ravishes people’s minds.
(80) With glorious knots of eternity,
Auspiciously adorned
With whirling swastikas.

That explains the Buddhas’
Excellent minor marks.

Footnotes and references:




Other lists, such as that in the Mahavyupatti (MV) differ to some extent. The divisions are accordng to Khenpo Tsultim Gyatso.


As do the palms.


Sometimes just the heels.


sku ni bdun mtho ba. MV 250  (15).{BDUN MTHO BA}: (-saptotsadah) -saptotsada; Of seven spans (in stature). (Note: This is usually supposed to mean "having seven

tc. The Chinese says having the seven places full or rounded off).


Some read this as “strong chested.”


MV says, they reach to the knees.


KTG: Cheeks.


In the upper and lower jaw.


A minor mark in MV.




Khenpo Tsultim Gyatso.


The following list, with some variations in wording, is identical to MV 268ff, except that (27) here is (60) there I have followed the tshig mdzod chen mo in a number of the translations, however.


MV 281 says “nang pa ltar,” like a swan.


byi dor: or clean up, decorate, make smart.




Spyan ni/ dag. In MV this is (60) with the other marks pertaining to the eyes. 494 Here MV has, “{SKU SHIN TU GZHON MDOG CAN}: With a juvenile body.” 495 Because he is not distressed.


ES: bil ba fruit or a peach. MV reports that the Chinese has bimba fruit (momordica monadelpha). Some sources have  the SK (-bimba pratibhimba darshana vadanah) TT {ZHAL LA GZUGS KYI GZUGS BRNYAN SNANG BA} In his face "the images of objects" may be seen


MV 319 “..or the trumpeting of an elephant.”


MV 328 adds spyan (rnam par) dag, “ (completely)pure,” here, instead of above.


MV 331-{SPYAN DKAR NAG DBYES SHIN PADMA'I 'DAB MA'I MDANGS LTA BU}; The white and black of his eyes (the pupils) like the brightness of the leaf of the hamala lotus flower.


MV 336, the ears are thick and long.


Following MV 338.

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