Verse III.37 Variations
RGVV Commentary on Verse III.37
Also, four examples were stated [above] for these [four] points [the powers, the fearlessnesses, the unique qualities, and the marks of a great being] in due order—a vajra, a lion, space, and the moon [reflected in] water. The summarized meaning of these is to be understood through the [following] twelve verses.
- Through six powers, three,
- And one, in due order,
- All stains in terms of what is to be cognized, meditative absorption,
- And [the afflictions] including their latent tendencies are eliminated. III.29
- Therefore since these [three stains] are pierced, broken, and cut down
- Like an armor, a wall, and a tree, respectively,
- The powers of the seer are like a vajra,
- Being weighty, firm, strong, and unbreakable. III.30 P127a)
- Why are they weighty? Because they are firm.
- Why are they firm? Because they are strong.
- Why are they strong? Because they are unbreakable.
- Since they are unbreakable, they are like a vajra. III.31
- Because of being unafraid, because of being indifferent,
- Because of being firm, and because of being supremely powerful,
- The lion of sages resembles a lion,
- Being fearless amid the assemblies of his retinue. III.32 (J97)
- By virtue of possessing all supernatural knowledges,
- He abides independently without being afraid of anything.
- He is indifferent because he sees that he is by nature
- Not equal even to pure sentient beings. III.33
- He is firm because his mind is always
- In samādhi with regard to all phenomena.
- He is powerful because he has supremely transcended
- The ground of the latent tendencies of ignorance. III.34
- As for worldly people, śrāvakas, those who live in solitude,
- The intelligent, and the self-arisen,
- Their insight is increasingly more subtle.
- Therefore, they are illustrated by the five elements. III.35
- Since [the first four] sustain all the worlds,
- They are like earth, water, fire, and wind.
- Since [the fifth] is characterized by being beyond the mundane
- And the supramundane, it resembles space. III.36
- These thirty-two qualities mentioned
- [Here] make up the dharmakāya
- Because they are undifferentiable [from it],
- Just as its radiance, color, and form are [inseparable from] a precious jewel. III.37
- What are called "the thirty-two marks"
- Are the qualities that delight upon being seen
- And are based on the two rūpakāyas—
- The nirmāṇa[kāya] and the one enjoying the dharma. III.38
yatpunareṣu sthāneṣu caturvidhameva yathākramaṃ vajrasiṃhāmvaradakacandrodāharaṇamudāhṛtamasyāpi piṇḍārtho dvādaśabhiḥ ślokairveditavyaḥ/
balādiṣu balaiḥ ṣaḍbhistribhirekena ca kramāt/
guru kasmādyataḥ sāraṃ sāraṃ kasmādyato dṛḍham/
dṛḍhaṃ kasmādyato'bhedyamabhedyatvācca vajravat//31//
parṣadgaṇeṣvaśāradyaṃ munisiṃhasya siṃhavat//32//
sarvābhijñatayā svastho viharatyakutobhayaḥ/
sthiro nityasamādhānāt sarvadharmeṣu cetasaḥ/
uttarottaradhīsaukṣmyāt pañcadhā tu nidarśanam//35//
guṇā dvātriṃśadityete dharmakāyaprabhāvitāḥ/
dvātriṃśallakṣaṇāḥ kāye darśanāhlādakā guṇāḥ/
śuddherdurāntikasthānāṃ loke'tha jinamaṇḍale/
dvidhā taddarśanaṃ śuddhaṃ vārivyomendubimbavat//39//
No Chinese commentary defined.
Other English translations
Obermiller (1931) 
- Of these properties, thirty-and-two
- Represent the Buddha’s Cosmical Body,
- Being inseparable from it like the form,
- The shine, and the colour of a precious stone.
Takasaki (1966) 
- These 32 Properties mentioned above
- Represent the Body of the Absolute,
- Since they are indivisible from it,
- As with a gem, the lustre, colour and shape.
Fuchs (2000) 
- So the dharmakaya fully divides
- into these thirty-two qualities,
- indivisible like a precious gem
- in its light, radiance, and shape.
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 Schmithausen’s suggestion of linking balādiṣu at the beginning of III.29 with III.28.
- Skt. nirvedhikatva. Though DP mistakenly has "impenetrable" (mi phyed pa), as confirmed by VT (fol. 15v3) nairvedhikatvena and C, the point here is that a vajra penetrates other materials, not that it is itself impenetrable.
- Since this verse obviously refers back to and comments on III.16ab, with Schmithausen, I follow C pañcadhātu versus J pañcadhā tu. Thus, the qualities of worldly people, śrāvakas, pratyekabuddhas, and bodhisattvas ("the intelligent") are compared with earth, water, fire, and wind, respectively, while the buddhas ("the self-arisen") with their unique qualities are like space.
- As mentioned above, III.36 is the commentarial verse on III.16cd. VT (fol. 15v5– 6) explains here that earth, water, fire, and wind in III.36c exemplify the qualities of worldly people, śrāvakas, pratyekabuddhas, and bodhisattvas, respectively, which are to be enjoyed by all. On the other hand, the unique buddha qualities are completely beyond even the supramundane—the qualities of śrāvakas, pratyekabuddhas, and bodhisattvas—and therefore resemble space. Note that Schmithausen refers to the following two passages in RGVV to support his reading that the subject of the entire verse III.36 is nothing but the unique buddha qualities: (a) A verse in RGVV (J17.10f) says:
- Those who gave rise to supreme compassion for others
- And adopted discipline support the livelihood of others,
- Just like fire, wind, water, and earth.
- They [truly] possess discipline, [but] others are [only] a likeness of that.
- (b) RGVV’s quote from the Avataṃsakasūtra (J23.14 ad 24.8) says, "tathāgata wisdom, the immeasurable wisdom that is the wisdom that sustains all sentient beings, pervades the mind streams of all sentient beings in its entirety . . . this immeasurable tathāgata wisdom becomes what sustains the entire world." However, it is clear from the context that (a) refers to bodhisattvas and not buddhas. Also, (b) does not refer specifically to the unique buddha qualities as they are discussed in III.16 and III.36 but to buddha wisdom in a very general way.
- I follow Schmithausen’s emendation °lakṣaṇākhyā ye or lakṣaṇāhvā ye (supported by DP gang / sum cu rtsa gnyis zhes bya ba) of J lakṣaṇāḥ kāye.
- MB dvidhā tu darśanaṃ, J dvidhā taddarśanaṃ (following DP de mthong ba ni rnam pa gneiss). However, DP thong ba for darśanaṃ means "seeing"instead of "display," as the term was used so far in relation to the rūpakāyas. Thus, in DP, III.39ab reads, "For those who dwell far from and close to purity, the seeing of these [kāyas occurs] in two ways."
- I follow Schmithausen’s emendation śuddhavāri° of J śuddhaṃ vāri°, which accords with C and °svacchadakacandra° in III.28d. Also, DP chu dang means "clear/pure water" and not "water and . . ." The most straightforward reading of this verse is that the nirmāṇakāya appears to those distant from purity (ordinary beings, śrāvakas, and pratyekabuddhas), which is just like the reflection of the moon in water, while the sambhogakāya appears to those close to purity (bodhisattvas on the bhūmis), which is just like the actual moon in the sky. However, VT (fol. 15v7) seems to relate III.39d only to "in the maṇḍala of the victor,"saying that "the manifestation in the maṇḍala of the victor for those who are far from purity [occurs] in the form of the nirmāṇa[kāya], which is like [the reflection of] the moon in water, while the manifestation for those who are close to purity is the sambhoga[kāya], which is like the moon in the sky."On this reading, the nirmāṇakāya and sambhogakāya appear only to those in the retinue of a buddha. By contrast, the ways in which a buddha appears "in the world" (that is, outside of his retinue) could implicitly be understood as the appearances of the other two types of nirmāṇakāyas beyond the actual form of a nirmāṇakāya buddha such as Buddha Śākyamuni—artistic nirmāṇakāya forms (such as great artists, healers, and musicians) and incarnate nirmāṇakāya forms (appearing as anything that is beneficial for beings, be it animate or inanimate, such as ordinary beings, animals, or medicine).
- 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.