Verse I.147

From Buddha-Nature
Ratnagotravibhāga Root Verse I.147

Verse I.147 Variations

मध्वेकरसवत् सूक्ष्मगम्भीरनयदेशना
नानाण्डसारवज्ज्ञेया विचित्रनयदेशना
madhvekarasavat sūkṣmagambhīranayadeśanā
nānāṇḍasāravajjñeyā vicitranayadeśanā
E. H. Johnston as input by the University of the West.[1]
ཕྲ་མོ་ཟབ་མོའི་ཚུལ་བསྟན་ནི། །
སྦྲང་རྩི་རོ་གཅིག་པ་བཞིན་ཏེ། །
རྣམ་པ་སྣ་ཚོགས་ཚུལ་བསྟན་ནི། །
སྣ་ཚོགས་སྦུབས་སྙིང་བཞིན་ཤེས་བྱ། །
The teaching of the principle of subtle profundity
Is like the single taste of honey.
The teaching of the principle of diversity
Should be understood to resemble a kernel in its various husks.
如美蜜一味 微細法亦爾
修多羅等說 如種種異味
Les enseignements du mode profond et subtil
Évoquent le goût unique de tous les miels.
Quant aux enseignements du mode détaillé,
Ils ressemblent à tous ces grains dans leur balle.

RGVV Commentary on Verse I.147

།འཇིག་རྟེན་འདས་ཕྱིར་འཇིག་རྟེན་ན། །འདི་ལ་དཔེ་ནི་མི་དམིགས་{br}པས། །དེ་བཞིན་གཤེགས་པ་ཉིད་དང་ཁམས། །འདྲ་བ་ཉིད་དུ་བསྟན་པ་ཡིན། །ཕྲ་མོ་ཟབ་མོའི་ཚུལ་བསྟན་ནི། །སྦྲང་རྩི་རོ་གཅིག་པ་བཞིན་ཏེ། །རྣམ་པ་སྣ་ཚོགས་ཚུལ་བསྟན་ནི། །སྣ་ཚོགས་སྦུབས་སྙིང་བཞིན་ཤེས་བྱ། །དེ་ལྟར་སངས་རྒྱས་ཀྱི་གཟུགས་དང་

སྦྲང་རྩི་དང་སྙིང་པོའི་དཔེ་འདི་གསུམ་གྱིས་ནི། དེ་བཞིན་གཤེགས་པའི་ཆོས་ཀྱི་སྐུས་ལུས་པ་མེད་པའི་སེམས་ཅན་གྱི་ཁམས་ཁྱབ་པའི་དོན་གྱི་དབང་དུ་བྱས་ནས། སེམས་ཅན་འདི་དག་ནི་དེ་བཞིན་གཤེགས་པའི་སྙིང་པོ་ཅན་ཡིན་ནོ་ཞེས་བསྟན་ནོ། །གང་ཞིག་{br}དེ་བཞིན་གཤེགས་པའི་ཆོས་ཀྱི་སྐུ་ལས་ཕྱི་རོལ་དུ་གྱུར་པའི་སེམས་ཅན་དེ་ནི་འགའ་ཡང་སེམས་ཅན་གྱི་ཁམས་ན་མེད་དེ། ནམ་མཁའི་ཁམས་ནི་གཟུགས་བཞིན་ནོ། །ཇི་སྐད་དུ། ཇི་ལྟར་ནམ་མཁའ་རྟག་ཏུ་ཀུན་སོང་འདོད། །དེ་བཞིན་དེ་ཡང་རྟག་ཏུ་ཀུན་སོང་འདོད། །{br}ཇི་ལྟར་ནམ་མཁའ་གཟུགས་རྣམས་ཀུན་དུ་སོང་། །དེ་བཞིན་འདི་ཡང་སེམས་ཅན་ཚོགས་ཀུན་སོང་། །ཞེས་གསུངས་སོ།

Other English translations[edit]

Obermiller (1931) [6]
The Teaching of the profound and subtle Doctrine
Is like honey that has only one taste,
And the other, Empirical, Teachings, in their various forms.
Are like the interior (of different grains)
Covered by various kinds of peel.
Takasaki (1966) [7]
[The Doctrine] taught by subtle, profound means
Is to be known as being akin to honey of one taste,
And taught by various kinds of means,
As being similar to the kernel of various grains.
Fuchs (2000) [8]
Teaching in the deep and subtle way
is like the one single taste of honey,
while teaching through various aspects
resembles grain in its variety of husks.

Textual sources[edit]

Commentaries on this verse[edit]

Academic notes[edit]

  1. Digital Sanskrit Buddhist Canon Unicode Input
  2. Brunnhölzl, Karl. When the Clouds Part: The Uttaratantra and its Meditative Tradition as a Bridge between Sūtra and Tantra. Boston: Snow Lion Publications, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, 2014.
  3. The Sanskrit aṇḍa ("egg") is hard to make sense of here (it is probably used in analogy to aṇḍakośa in I.136d, but the result would still be a mixed metaphor of a kernel in an eggshell). Therefore, I follow the Tibetan sbubs (corresponding to kośa). However, given the previous example of one taste, C’s reading "kernels of different tastes" also makes good sense.
  4. It could be argued that dhātu here takes up that term as it is used in I.146c and elsewhere, where it clearly refers to the basic element of sentient beings. See however the next sentence in which dhātu means "realm."
  5. IX.15 (the translation follows the Sanskrit of the Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra; RGVV has a few slight variations). This verse is the fourth of six verses in the Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra (IX.12–17) that explain buddhahood as being "the fundamental change." According to Sthiramati’s Sūtrālaṃkāravṛttibhāṣya (D4034, fol. 113b.5–117a.6), IX.12 states that this fundamental change is endowed with the supreme qualities of the pure dharmas (mirrorlike wisdom, the wisdom of equality, discriminating wisdom, all-accomplishing wisdom, the pure dharmadhātu, and all the buddha qualities such as the ten powers). This fundamental change is obtained through the supramundane nonconceptual wisdom of meditative equipoise seeing all phenomena as being empty and the pure mundane wisdom of subsequent attainment seeing all phenomena as illusions and mirages. IX.13 speaks of the superiority of the fundamental change of buddhahood even over the fundamental changes of śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas since they do not have compassion for all beings and do not relinquish all cognitive obscurations. Therefore, buddhas feel compassion even for śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas. IX.14 plays on the word "fundamental change"by adding ten different prefixes to the Sanskrit word vṛtti in āśrayaparivṛtti, most of which highlight the dynamic character of this fundamental change called "buddhahood." Thus, it is a "pro-change"because it is always engaged in the welfare of all sentient beings. It is a "superchange"since it is the best of all phenomena, superior to any mundane phenomena and even to supramundane śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas. It is a "nonchange"because it is the changeless result that consists of the three causes of afflictions (the presence of objects, improper mental engagement, and not having relinquished the latencies of both) not being active anymore. It is a "counterchange"since it does not engage in afflictions or nonvirtue, and counteracts selfish actions. It is an "ongoing change"since it functions all the time (once this fundamental change has occurred, its operation will never decline until the end of saṃsāra) and engages in all the remedies for afflicted phenomena. It is a "dual change"because it first engages in demonstrating full awakening and finally engages in demonstrating nirvāṇa. It is a "nondual change"because, ultimately, it neither engages in saṃsāra nor in nirvāṇa. For by virtue of being endowed with prajñā and compassion, it has relinquished what is conditioned and what is unconditioned, respectively. It is an "equal change"because as far as merely being liberated from all afflictions goes, it is equal in śrāvakas, pratyekabuddhas, and buddhas. It is a "special change"because it is superior to the fundamental changes of śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas by virtue of having relinquished the cognitive obscurations and possessing the qualities such as the ten powers. It is an "omnipresent change"because it engages all sentient beings through the three yānas in an omnipresent way. Also, since it is endowed with all these supreme qualities (the uncontaminated dharmas that are the remedies for all afflictions), it operates in a very vast manner. In particular, Sthiramati comments on IX.15 say that just as space is omnipresent in all kinds of phenomena in the three times, the uncontaminated dharmadhātu exists in and pervades the mind streams of all sentient beings. This is to be understood here in terms of buddhas’ experiencing and accepting all beings as not being different from themselves in a perfect manner—"experiencing"here means realizing the equality of themselves and all beings. Buddhahood has the nature of the dharmadhātu, and once the characteristic of the omnipresence of the dharmadhātu is realized on the first bhūmi, a state of mind of perceiving oneself and all beings as equal is attained. Through progressively cultivating the realization of this equality throughout the remaining bhūmis, at the time of buddhahood, this realization is completely perfected in an all-encompassing manner. This is what is called "being omnipresent in the hosts of beings." IX.16 answers the qualm why sentient beings do not realize the dharmadhātu and do not see buddhas despite the dharmadhātu’s always existing and being omnipresent in them. Just as the moon is not seen in vessels that are without water or broken, the mind streams of beings are either like an empty vessel (due to not being filled with the accumulations of merit and wisdom) or their mind streams are impaired (due to being full of afflictions and evil deeds). Despite such beings having the nature of a buddha, they do not see it. Naturally, the reverse applies for beings whose mind streams are endowed with merit and wisdom. Thus, IX.17 says that just as fire burns in places with sufficient fuel but does not burn in places without, buddhas appear and teach when and wherever there are beings to be guided who have gathered sufficient degrees of the fuel that consists of the accumulations of merit and wisdom, but they pass into nirvāṇa when and wherever such beings are not present.
  6. Obermiller, E. "The Sublime Science of the Great Vehicle to Salvation Being a Manual of Buddhist Monism." Acta Orientalia IX (1931), pp. 81-306.
  7. Takasaki, Jikido. A Study on the Ratnagotravibhāga (Uttaratantra): Being a Treatise on the Tathāgatagarbha Theory of Mahāyāna Buddhism. Serie Orientale Roma 33. Roma: Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente (ISMEO), 1966.
  8. Fuchs, Rosemarie, trans. Buddha Nature: The Mahayana Uttaratantra Shastra. Commentary by Jamgon Kongtrul and explanations by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso. Ithaca, N. Y.: Snow Lion Publications, 2000.