Verse II.24 Variations
The nature of being absolutely indestructible.
This character of indestructibility is the brief statement
That is explained by "everlasting" and so on.
- [Ces deux corps] sont incomposés
- Puisqu’ils sont indestructibles à jamais.
- C’est leur indestructibilité qu’explicitent
- La stabilité et les trois autres qualités.
RGVV Commentary on Verse II.24
Full Tibetan Commentary
Full English Commentary
Full Sanskrit Commentary
Full Chinese Commentary
The meaning of these three verses is to be understood in brief through the [following] eight verses.
- In brief, the function of the two wisdoms
- Is to be understood as this—
- The perfection of the [vi]muktikāya
- And the purification of the dharmakāya. II.21
- [The vimuktikāya] is uncontaminated because of the cessation
- Of the afflictions together with their latent tendencies.
- Wisdom is held to be all-pervasive
- Because it is without attachment and without obstruction. II.23
- Being unconditioned is due to having
- The nature of being absolutely indestructible.
- This character of indestructibility is the brief statement
- That is explained by "everlasting" and so on. II.24
- Destructibility is to be understood as four kinds
- By virtue of the opposites of "everlasting" and so on,
- Which are putridity, sickness, extinction,
- And death in an inconceivable manner. II.25
- Since it lacks these, it is to be understood as
- Everlasting, peaceful, eternal, and imperishable.
- This stainless wisdom is the matrix
- Because it is the foundation of [all] pure attributes. II.26
- Just as space, which is not a cause,
- Is the cause for forms, sounds, smells,
- Tastes, tangible objects, and phenomena
- Being seen, heard, and so on, II.27 (J84) (D17b)
- Likewise, on account of being unobscured,
- The two kāyas are the cause
- For the arising of uncontaminated qualities
- Within the objects of the sense faculties of the wise. II.28
As for its being said [here] that the Buddha has the characteristic of space, this was said with the ultimate unique buddha characteristics of the tathāgatas in mind. As [the Vajracchedikāprajñāpāramitāsūtra] says:
- If the Tathāgata were to be viewed [just] by way of the thirty-two marks of a great being, a cakravartin king too would become a tathāgata. D16, fol. 131a.6. D16 has "the consummate marks" instead of "the thirty-two marks of a great being."
asya khalu ślokatrayasyārthaḥ samāsato'ṣṭabhiḥ ślokairveditavyaḥ/
karma jñānadvayasyatadveditavyaṃ samāsataḥ/
pūraṇaṃ muktikāyasya dharmakāyasya śodhanam//21//
vimuktidharmakāyau ca veditavyau dvirekadhā/
anāsravatvaṃ kleśānāṃ savāsanani rodhataḥ/
asaṅgāpratighātatvājjñānasya vyāpitā matā//23//
nāśaścaturvidho jñeyo dhruvatvādiviparyayāt/
tadabhāvāddhruvaṃ jñeyaṃ śivaṃ śāśvatamacyutam/
padaṃ tadamalajñānaṃ śukladharmāspadatvataḥ//26//
yathānimittamākāśaṃ nimittaṃ rūpadarśane/
śabdagandharaspṛśyadharmāṇāṃ ca śravādiṣu//27//
hetuḥ kāyadvayaṃ tadvadanāvaraṇayogataḥ//28//
yaduktamākāśalakṣaṇo buddha iti tatpāramārthikamāveṇikaṃ tathāgatānāṃ buddhalakṣaṇamabhisaṃdhāyoktam/ evaṃ hyāha/ saṃceddvātriṃśanmahāpuruṣalakṣaṇaistathāgato draṣṭavyo'bhaviṣyattadrājāpi cakravartī tathāgato'bhaviṣyaditi/
No Chinese commentary defined.
Other English translations
Obermiller (1931) 
- They are eternal, being
- Of a totally indestructible nature;
- This imperishable character, being demonstrated in short,
- Is expressed by the ideas of firmness and the rest.
Takasaki (1966) 
- The 'absolute immutability' is caused
- By its nature of imperishability,
- [Here] 'imperishability' is a general statement,
- Which is explained by the words, 'everlasting ', etc.
Fuchs (2000) 
- Being of a nature forever indestructible
- [neither kaya] is something that is created.
- While "indestructibility" is the [concise] explanation [of uncreatedness],
- it is taught in more detail through [the topic] "steadfast" and so forth.
Commentaries on this verse
- Digital Sanskrit Buddhist Canon Unicode Input
- Digital Sanskrit Buddhist Canon Unicode Input
- 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.
- I follow dvidhaikedhā in MA/MB and VT (fol. 14r6) as well as DP rnam gnyis rnam gcig against J dvir ekadhā.
- With Schmithausen, I take the three ablatives in II.22.cd as predicative ablatives.
- For the last two lines, C has "It is the matrix because it has the nature of stainless wisdom and pure attributes" (corresponding to amalajñānaśukla°), which is the preferred reading of Schmithausen. However, my translation follows MB padaṃ tad amalajñānam (MA amalaṃ jñānam) śukla°, which is confirmed by DP dri med shes de dkar po yi / chos kyi rten yin phyir na gnas /. In the Yogācāra system in general, as exemplified by Mahāyānasaṃgraha I.48, the usual distinction between the vimuktikāya and the dharmakāya is that the former designates the removal of only the afflictive obscurations as attained by śrāvaka and pratyekabuddha arhats, while the latter represents the removal of both afflictive and cognitive obscurations as well as the possession of all buddha qualities. Thus, when speaking about the dharmakāya as the actual state of buddhahood in a general sense, it is understood that both types of obscurations have been relinquished in it, and it is in this sense that it can be said that the dharmakāya includes the vimuktikāya. Here, the Uttaratantra describes these two kāyas as the two aspects of relinquishment (purity) and realization (wisdom), respectively, of unconditioned perfect buddhahood, without relating them to any distinction between buddhas and arhats (more commonly, it is the svābhāvikakāya that is said to represent the aspect of the purity or the relinquishment of all obscurations). Note, however, that VT (fol. 14r5–6) glosses the vimuktikāya as "the sambhogakāya and the nirmāṇakāya free from the latent tendencies of the afflictions and so on" and its "perfection" (II.21c) as "the production of the accumulation of generosity and so on."Likewise, the vimuktikāya’s being "understood in two ways" (II.22b) is glossed as "as the difference between sambhogakāya and nirmāṇakāya." As for II.21–26, most Tibetan commentaries agree that the nonconceptual wisdom of meditative equipoise (familiarizing with the wisdom of knowing suchness) perfects the vimuktikāya (the ultimate relinquishment), while the wisdom of subsequent attainment (training in the wisdom of knowing variety) purifies the stains of the dharmakāya (the ultimate realization). As for "the vimuktikāya and the dharmakāya being understood in two ways and in one way,"RYC (148–49) relates the two ways to the vimuktikāya (its being liberated from both afflictive and cognitive obscurations), while the one way pertains to the dharmakāya and consists of consummate wisdom. GC (479–80) agrees with describing the vimuktikāya in two ways and the dharmakāya in one way, saying that the former is uncontaminated (because of being free from the afflictive obscurations and their latent tendencies) and all-pervasive (because of lacking the obscurations of attachment and obstruction with regard to all knowable objects). The dharmakāya is unconditioned because it has the nature of being absolutely indestructible. YDC (344–45) explains that the vimuktikāya refers to buddhahood in terms of its aspect of relinquishment, while the dharmakāya refers to it in terms of the aspect of its qualities. Therefore, though śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas make efforts in familiarizing with the lack of a self, they do not train in the entire variety of knowable objects and therefore only attain the vimuktikāya but not the dharmakāya. As for "being understood in two ways,"the vimuktikāya is to be understood in one of these two ways—being uncontaminated because afflictive and cognitive obscurations including their latent tendencies have ceased. The dharmakāya is to be understood in the other one of these two ways—being the wisdom that pervades all knowable objects because it engages them through lacking the obscurations of attachment that obscure suchness and the obscurations of obstruction that obscure variety. Both the vimuktikāya and the dharmakāya are to be understood furthermore in the one way that is common to them both—being unconditioned because they have the nature of being absolutely indestructible. Therefore, YDC says, through the Uttaratantra ’s verses on the nature and the function of awakening, it is clearly taught that buddhas have the wisdom of self-appearance and that this existent wisdom is unconditioned, which is to be understood well by the intelligent. JKC (137–40) agrees with YDC on the vi-muktikāya’s being uncontaminated because it is endowed with the relinquishment of lacking any contaminations. The dharmakāya is all-pervasive because it is endowed with the realization of pervading all knowable objects (Rong ston shes bya kun gzigs 1997, 161 and ’Ju mi pham rgya mtsho 1984b, 448.4 also show the same pattern). Both kāyas are unconditioned because they have the nature of not being produced by causes and conditions. Rongtön, GC, YDC, and JKC agree that these three characteristics of the vimuktikāya and the dharmakāya represent one’s own welfare, while both kāyas are also the foundation of all pure attributes, which represents the welfare of others (RYC speaks only of the dharmakāya as being that foundation). Still, lines II.30ab "one’s own welfare and that of others is taught through the vimuktikāya and the dharmakāya"are taken by all commentaries to mean that the vimuktikāya represents one’s own welfare and the dharmakāya the welfare of others (which is basically just another way of looking at this). For the meanings of "everlasting," "putridity," and so on, in II.24cd–26ab, see CMW.
- Obermiller, E. "The Sublime Science of the Great Vehicle to Salvation Being a Manual of Buddhist Monism." Acta Orientalia IX (1931), pp. 81-306.
- 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.
- 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.