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 3e.2b - The nirmanakayas who are tamers of beings

Second, there is the teaching by the Sages of how being-taming nirmanakayas appear in accord with individual realms of beings. As for their appearance as teachers who benefit beings, as said above, from the six places of the sambhogakayas of Akanishta, emanate six rays of light to the places of the six kinds of beings. At their tips are letter garlands which perform benefits by appearing as the individual teachers. What is so-known is

2.b.i) The field of sambhogakaya:

From this come nirmanakayas who are the tamers of beings.
They dwell within the six realms, appearing teachers in each.
There are Indra, Aravala, Shakyamuni and Senge Rabten
Jvalamukhadeva and Awa Langosé.
Each of these six sages purify the minds
Of beings of one of the realms, throughout the ten directions.

From sambhogakaya light rays, circular garlands of syllables emanate as teachers in the places of the six kinds of beings. In the place of the gods, are divine sages, lord Indra and so forth. In the place of the asuras is Aravala. In the place of human beings are the Great Sage Shakyamuni and so forth. In the place of the animals are Senge Rabten and so forth. In the place of the pretas are Jvalamukhadeva and so forth. In the place of the Hell beings are Awalango and so forth. These individual tamers are self- existing, accomplishing benefits for beings without motion and effort. This is the blessing of the great compassion. It arises from the cause of the increasing white virtue of beings.

The Dharma appears in a three-fold way, like water, the moon's reflection, and the disk of the moon. As the moon has the power of establishing reflections, the moon of sambhogakaya has a power of making emanations arise from the viewpoint of those to be tamed. As water in a vessel has a power of holding reflections, those to be tamed have the merit of an emanation appearing. When these two come together, as the moon effortlessly arises in the water, the reflection emanated from the moon of the teacher arises when there are those to be tamed, and never at an untimely moment. The Hundred Actions says:

In the ocean where water dragons live,
Waves may rise at an inappropriate time:
The Buddha's coming to children to be tamed,
Never comes at an inappropriate time.

In the four directions of the world realm with above, and below making six directions, as limitless as space, including the intermediate directions above and below,[1] to as many of the six kinds of beings as exist, by their own karma, these emanations are shown. They appear to those above in the celestial realms, to human beings and animals in the middle, and to hell beings and pretas below. To these beings who experience various joys and sorrows, benefiting as many of them as there may be, countless inconceivable and immeasurable sages appear. The Secret Essence says: #1082.5

Then from all the tathagatas, as the blessing of the great compassion, come the so- called insight beings, the six sages. They came forth from the body, speech, and mind vajras of the Tathagata. Having come forth, by the power of karma, above, below and everywhere in the ten directions of the six realms, in each limitless three-fold thousand world realm, these Bhagavans, these great sages, benefit beings in each world by the four kinds of taming.

The four kinds of taming are:

  1. Taming by great merit of the body
  2. Taming through speech by the dharmas of various vehicles
  3. Taming through mind by the great higher perceptions
  4. Taming through inconceivable buddha activity.

The buddha qualities are all-pervading and not separately counted.

In the first, there is taming by the twelve deeds of a Buddha and so forth. The Uttaratantra says:

By the great compassion,
The knower of the World,
Having seen all the world,
Not moving from dharmakaya,

By various kinds of emanations
Manifesting in birth,
(1) He emanates from Tushita;
(2) Enters the womb, and (3) is born,

(4) Is skilled in the arts and sciences,
(5) Enjoys his harem of queens,
(6) Renounces, (7) performing austerities,
(8) Goes to the essence, enlightenment,

(9) Overcomes hosts of maras,
(10) Attains complete perfection,
(11) Turns the wheel of Dharma,
And (12) passes into Nirvana.

In as many worlds as there are
These are shown in their impure fields.

As for his taming by speech, The Secret Essence says:

By his power of taming, as antidotes to the eighty four thousand kinds of conceptualizations and kleshas, he teaches the vehicles of gods and human beings, the shravaka yana, the pratyekabuddha yana, the bodhisattva yana, and the unsurpassable vehicle. Eighty-four thousand dharmas have been taught, are taught, and will be taught.

As Shakyamuni turns the wheel of Dharma in different realms of samsara, the melodious speech of Dharma has sixty limbs, with a teaching according with the interest and openness that each being has. As such teachings are given at one time to limitless different sentient beings, the teachings of the eighty- four thousand gates of Dharma and so on are simultaneously heard like an echo. The sound and words of the apparent speech of nirmanakaya have no individuating characteristics. They are self-appearances of the minds of those to be tamed and blessings of the Buddha. The Uttaratantra says:

Just as reverberations of an echo
Arise within the apprehension of others,
Without any thoughts or making anything,
Not really existing outside or internally,

So the speech of the Tathagata,
Arises within the apprehension of others,
Without any thoughts or making anything,
Not really existing outside or internally,

This same speech, in the ears of those to be tamed, achieves the sixty limbs of melodiousness.[2] The Summary of the Intention says:

The roots are like this:

  1. Like Bhrama
  2. Like the sound of cymbals
  3. Like songs and dances
  4. Like the bird kalapingka
  5. Like the music of thunder
  6. Like an echo

Lord of Lanka. The limbs are like this:

  1. Producing ideas
  2. Intelligible
  3. Worthy of being listened to
  4. Without disharmony
  5. Very profound
  6. Interesting to hear
  7. Completely undisturbing
  8. Pleasant and interesting to the ear
  9. Completely without clashing
  10. Supremely clear

Arising for each of the array of gates, these and their limbs arise entirely perfect.

The six roots multiplied by each of the ten limbs make sixty altogether. As for the ten natures of these sixty, the same text says:

Lord of Lanka, what are its natures? They are like this:

  1. A great slow melody
  2. All pervadingly abiding
  3. Quickly understandable
  4. Cutting off doubts
  5. Equal in its single vision
  6. Ephemeral manifestation
  7. Entering everywhere
  8. Producing yearning
  9. Specially acting
  10. Taming everything

Each of the ten natures multiplied by the six roots makes sixty. The sixty multiplied among themselves become the thousand limbs of melody, called “the ocean of limbs of melody.” Thus the reflected emanations of the supreme Buddha are seen. As on a background of vaidurya, or lapis lazuli, the reflection of a statue of Indra appears, so the mental appearances of the pure karma of beings appear. The Uttaratantra says:

Just as on a ground of polished vaidurya
The reflection of the king of the gods appears,
So on the polished ground of the mind of beings,
The reflection of[3] the Lord of Sages rises.

That reflection for beings does not have
Any arising, setting, or disturbance.
Disturbance gets in by the power of one's own mind.

As for taming by mind, the Secret Essence says:

Knowing all and everything in the four modes of time,
Knowing all the continua of the minds of all,
Seeing all phenomena with the miraculous eye,
Hearing all phenomena with the miraculous ear,
By miraculous awareness, experiencing them all...

The undefiled experience of Samantabhadra, the great, completely perfect six higher perceptions is like that.

These are the six higher perceptions:

  1. The vision of the divine eye
  2. The divine ear
  3. Non-obscuration
  4. Knowing the thoughts of others
  5. By knowing the four times and remembering many lives, remembering former existences
  6. Displaying whatever miracles will tame beings.

By these stages, all minds are accepted and known. Then by performing benefits they are tamed. Regarding taming by buddha activity, the Secret Essence says:

His form being everywhere is inconceivable.
His mind being everywhere is inconceivable.
His face being everywhere is inconceivable.
His speech being everywhere is inconceivable.

There are countless such inconceivable appearances in the ten directions.

Each of the details of body, speech, and mind also exists as an inconceivable assembly, pervading the ten directions of the buddha field and doing benefits. Moreover, by body, speech, and mind real, substantial benefits are produced, and all these buddha activities, within all things and continūa are explained as being different.

2.b.ii) The explanation of emanations and further emanations

The six sages in the six realms of beings which have been discussed are the number of the principal ones:

These six chief emanations have countless sub-emanations.
These are also found in each of the realms of the gods,
From the Bhrama and Ishvara realms right up to Akanishta.
They appear as teachers in every one of them.

The six sages are included among the six kind of beings, existing in the realization of those to be tamed. The six names, lord Indra among the gods and so forth, are mere examples. The sages are emanations from space, and by these emanations, from the viewpoint of sentient beings, countless further emanations perform benefits. Even in the realms of the gods from the four great kings up to Akanishta, the principal ones of the god realms perform taming.

2.b.iii) Taming whatever needs to be tamed:

They also appear wherever humans are tamable
Manifesting as shravakas and pratyekabuddhas,
As bodhisattvas or kings, they tame those human beings.

Among the asuras are also such different kinds of teachers.
Among the animals they may appear as birds to birds,
Or to deer like excellent lions, and other ways.

The different kinds of teachers transcend the scope of thought.
Likewise among pretas and also the beings of Hell
They appear in forms that are appropriate.

In the human world too there is not only one emanation. There is taming by innumerable kshatriyas, bhramans, women, and so forth. The single Buddha emanates shravakas, pratyekabuddhas, kings, and so forth, who similarly perform benefits.

Similarly, produced among animals, they tame them. For taming wild animals, they appear as lions and so forth. Among hell beings and pretas, it is similar. Wherever there are sentient beings, benefits are performed by the Buddha's emanations. The Avatamsaka Sutra says:

Kye! Son of noble family, as for the emanations of the Buddha, whatever sort of beings are to be tamed, these immeasurable ones perform benefits by that sort of form, color, and name. It is like this:

In the realm of the lord of the gods, having emanated as the lord of the gods, they genuinely transmit the path of the ten commandments of virtuous action.

Similarly, for those who are to be tamed by renunciates, bhramans, pretas, or Hell beings, the Buddha emanates in those forms and benefits them.

2.b.iv) How benefits are performed by wisdom, #1089.2

2.b.iv.a) How individual benefits are performed:

As to how:

Each of these tamers of beings possesses two kinds of wisdom,
These are the wisdom of nature and wisdom of extent.
Knowing dharmata and distinctly knowing dharmas,
They produce the two benefits for those who are to be tamed.

As for the wisdoms of the tamers of beings and the supreme emanation, depending on dharmata there is the wisdom of nature, and depending on the dharmin there is the wisdom of extent.

2.b.iv.b) The way of knowing: It is like this:

The wisdom of nature sees emptiness as reality.
It teaches beings the meaning of total pacification.
The wisdom of extent knows minds and their various powers.
Distinctly knowing these, it shows limitless styles of Dharma.

Having come to know the empty essence of dharmata, these emanations teach sentient beings the

Dharma of unborn nature. The Middle Length Prajñaparamita says:

Kye! Sentient beings come here. All dharmas are by nature unborn. Because I shall teach you the Dharma of how the kleshas are, you shall discriminate emptiness.

Seeing all the nature, powers, and propensities of those who are to be tamed by their wisdom of extent, they teach the Dharma in accord with that. The same text says:

Having fully seen the natures of sentient beings, to sentient beings, all of whom have the kleshas, to tame their kleshas, I teach the Dharma.

2.b.v) The way of appearing to impure beings

Thus, these emanations by the six sages are appearances for impure sentient beings:

These are the teachers appearing to beings that are impure.
Their realm is the six-fold world of the beings of the six realms.
The teacher will match the projections of those who are to be tamed.
The various vehicles of the Dharma are never fixed.
The time will equal a kalpa of the beings who are to be taught.

The place of nirmanakaya is any place where sentient beings appear. The teacher appears in accord with what appears to them. Because of differing mental conceptions of sentient beings and because of their different powers and senses, the Dharma is taught with various assemblies of vehicle, teacher, place and retinue. The All-Creating King says:

As for the fields of taming of nirmanakaya,
In Jambuling there are a hundred million or more.
In all of them the compassion of self-arising wisdom
Tames the six kinds of continua of sentient beings.


As for teaching the antidote to passion,
Twenty one thousand vinayas have been taught.

As for teaching the antidote to aggression,
Twenty-one thousand sutras have been taught.

As for teaching the antidote to ignorance,
Twenty-one thousand abhidharmas were taught.

As antidotes equally taming the three poisons,
Equally from the three pitakas twenty-one thousand were taught.

In total there are eighty-four thousand teachings.
They were taught as antidotes to the three poisons. How impure appearances arise

As just explained:

Thus within the six worlds of beings of the six realms,
As a result of karma and habitual patterns,
Due to the cause and effect of good and evil deeds,
There are various ups and downs and joys and sorrows.

The six teachers too are only appearances to beings.
Just like buddhas and beings that may appear in our dreams.
Though their essence is pure, the phenomenal details are not.
So does apparent variety rise as the play of compassion.

Because of the karma and habitual patterns of beings, by virtue we whirl about in the higher realms and by non-virtue in the lower realms. We experience various joys and sorrows like appearances in a dream. The Buddha blessings that wake us from this sleep appear from our own good karma. These beneficial buddha-emanations, the Sage, the Buddha Bhagavat, and so forth, are also like a dream. The non-establishment of benefits by such self-appearances of beings is like that of emanations who appear to proliferate in a dream. The Jewel Heap Sutra says:

By me, for all dream-like sentient beings,
Emanating like dreams, though Dharma is taught,
Essenceless, it is non-dual in its nature.
To be understood as selfless, empty and hollow.

The Middle Length Prajñaparamita says:

Subhuti, all dharmas are like a dream, like an illusion. Nirvana too is like a dream, like an illusion.

The vessel and essence of confused appearance are false. Any buddhas and beings appearing within it are also false. They do not exist. They appear while they do not exist. They are like buddhas and beings in a dream. Though their essence is the primordial purity of buddhahood, when samsara and nirvana appear like a dream, the sentient beings of the six realms and the teachers who tame them appear as these bad appearances. But also even as they appear, they are non-dual with the primordial purity of the single space of the dhatu. The Sutra of the Non-arising of All dharmas (chos thams cad ‘byung ba med pa’i mdo) says:

Without any Buddha there are no Dharma and Sangha.
Anyone who knows that is competent.
The nature of sentient beings is taught to be Buddha.
Enlightenment’s nature of Buddha is taught as all sentient beings.
Sentient beings and enlightenment are not two.
Whoever knows that is an excellent being.

For sentient beings, seen by the compassion of the Buddha, tamer and tamed are distinguished and benefits performed. When wrong conceptions and their habitual patterns have been purified, the space of peace has been gained.

However, by the great kindness of wisdom,


when sentient beings have been clearly and distinctly seen, those beings, confused by futilely grasping at ego, become intended objects of compassion. As they are led by upaya, by the primordial power of effortless spontaneous deeds, benefits are performed. The Secret Essence says:

Examinations with wrong conception are purified.
Since they are not other than the space of wisdom,
When they are connected with the great compassion,
The six realms appear with their places, times, and beings.

2.b.vii) How these also possess limitless compassion

As for the six emanated great nirmanakayas :

As for these six great nirmanakayas :

These are the limitless emanations of compassion.
Such buddha activity lasts as long as samsara.

From the space of the dhatu, from the blessing of the immeasurable compassion of the essence of wisdom, self-appearing emanations benefit sentient beings. A nature of those to be tamed, upayas and antidotes of taming, and a time when these occur are nowhere to be found. The benefits of taming arise effortlessly, like the appearance of the moon in water. The Uttaratantra says:

As for the natures of those to be tamed, and the means of taming those to be tamed,
And the actions by which their natures will be tamed;
Going to the realms and times in which they are to be found
The all-pervading Lord spontaneously enters.

Beings of the lower realms are established in the higher realms. Then they are led to the level of liberation.

Those in the higher realms are kept from harm and distress. When they have been benefited, they too are established in liberation. Those who do not dwell on the path are made to enter it. Those who dwell on it are connected with ever-higher virtues. They are established in the ten bhumis and afterwards in enlightenment.

In brief, the nature of sentient beings is instantly turned to happiness. Then gradually, according to their individual fortune in the three enlightenments, they are led out of samsara and established in liberation. Real and mental buddha activity protect them from suffering for as long as samsara is not emptied. The Abhisamayalankara says:

In a similar way, for as long as samsara lasts,
This activity is maintained to continue uninterrupted.

The aspects are taught by nine examples.

1. As increase arises when Indra is seen, after the Buddha has been seen, the purified mind aspires to and practices the two accumulations.

2. As the sound of the divine drum motivates us away from carelessness and clears away fear, the sound of the drum of Dharma clears away the carelessness and fear of samsara.

3. Like rain from a cloud, the falling rain of Dharma increases the wholesomeness of our continūa.

4. As Bhrama appears in the place of the gods without moving from his place, rupakaya benefits beings while not moving from dharmakaya.

5. As lotuses blossom in the sun, the lotuses of students blossom and darkness is dispelled.

6. Like a wish-fulfilling jewel, with complete non-thought, benefit for others is performed.

7. As with an echo, though one melody may be heard as sixty, from the time benefit is performed, its sound and words do not exist.

8. As the sky has a nature without complexity, by revelation of the basis of arising, dharmakaya, benefit is produced.

9. As the earth increases harvests, it produces the benefit of increasing all the harvests of virtue of sentient beings. The Uttaratantra says:

Like Indra, a drum, a cloud, like Bhrama, or the sun
Or like a precious king of wish-fulfilling gems
Like an echo, the sky, or the earth, as long as samsara lasts,
For the family of yogins, the effortless helpers of others,
The teachers manifest like the lord of gods in a jewel.

In well admonishing, they are like a drum.
The clouds of wisdom and kindness of the universal lords
Thus pervade limitless beings to the pinnacle of samsara,

Immaculate like Bhrama, not moving from their place,
They teach by the appearance of many emanations.
Like the sun, their light of wisdom radiates everywhere.

With a pure and precious wish-fulfilling gem-like mind,
The speech of the victorious ones, like an echo, is letterless.
Their bodies are like space, pervasive, formless, eternal.

Like earth, for all the medicines of the white Dharma of beings
They are always the ground, the ground of buddhahood.

Footnotes and references:


Which would make ten.


yan lag drug bcu'i dbyangs.


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