Theg pa chen po rgyud bla ma'i bstan bcos kyi 'grel ba gsal ba nyi ma'i snying po
Relevance to Buddha-nature
Based on the Third Karmapa’s topical outline (bsdus don) of the Uttaratantra.
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Translations of This Text
- Brunnhölzl, Karl. When the Clouds Part: The Uttaratantra and Its Meditative Tradition as a Bridge between Sūtra and Tantra. Tsadra Foundation Series. Boston: Snow Lion Publications, 2014.
Recensions of This Text
When he was on his way back to his homeland, he met the Seventh Karmapa in Namtökyi Riwo, in Kongpo in southern Tibet. Uncontrollable devotion arose in him, and he discarded his plans to travel home, requesting instead various instructions and transmissions of Mahāmudrā, the Six Dharmas of Nāropa, Saraha’s dohās, several texts by the Third Karmapa (such as Pointing Out the Three Kāyas, The Nonduality of Prāṇa and Mind, and The Profound Inner Reality), and many other teachings of sūtra and tantra. He also received teachings from the Third Situpa, Dashi Baljor (1498–1541). Dashi Öser practiced all of these diligently, and his realization is said to have become as vast as the sky. In that way, he became very learned in all major Tibetan scriptural traditions but remained mostly in solitary mountain retreats, during which he had visions of all the buddhas in the ten directions.
Later, he taught various topics from the sūtras and tantras, particularly at Surmang Monastery, where he also received teachings in return. Eventually, he became one of the four principal teachers of the Eighth Karmapa and widely instructed on The Profound Inner Reality, the Six Dharmas, Saraha’s dohās, and so on, in the Karmapa’s nomad-style encampment. Mikyö Dorje considered him as a bodhisattva on the eighth bhūmi and to be equal in kindness to his main teacher, the First Sangyé Nyenpa Rinpoche, Dashi Baljor (1457–1519). Later, Dashi Öser returned to Surmang to continue teaching, went into retreat again, and also founded a monastery in Rongwo Pengar. Over the years, he gave many instructions in various places in eastern Tibet, always teaching solely the uncommon intention of the Kagyü lineage. Besides the Eighth Karmapa, his numerous disciples included the Third Gyaltsab Rinpoche, Tragba Baljor (1519–1549).
Except for the introduction and a few other passages, Dashi Öser’s commentary (HLS) consists primarily of the Third Karmapa’s lost topical outline of the Uttaratantra and mostly literal passages from RGVV (which is quoted explicitly only once), including its sūtra sources. Just like RGVV, the bulk of HLS’s comments is on the first four vajra points. Thereafter, the text mostly just intersperses its outline with the verses of the Uttaratantra. The introduction provides a brief account of the role of Asaṅga and Vasubandhu in the transmission of the Maitreya works in India and how they were transmitted to the Kagyü lineage in Tibet. In its comments, HLS states a number of typical Kagyü positions on tathāgatagarbha. For example, at the end of the first chapter, HLS discusses the positions on the nature of the tathāgata heart in the Gelug, Sakya, and Kagyü schools, denying that it is just a nonimplicative negation or a teaching of expedient meaning. In particular, HLS’s comments equate the tathāgata heart with "ālaya-wisdom" and state that it exists, while mistaken appearances (the adventitious afflictions) are primordially nonexistent. Also, though awakening, which has the nature of the fundamental change, is a "result of freedom," it performs the function of fulfilling one’s own welfare and that of others. As for this "fundamental change," "the foundation" refers to the sugata heart taught in the first chapter, while "its change" refers to the awakening of this sugata heart, its having become free from obscurations, which is taught in the second chapter. (pp. 306-308)
- Tib. 'Bri stod. At present, this is one of the six counties (rdzong) in the autonomous Tibetan prefecture of Yülshül (yul shul) in the Qinghai province of China.
- The sources of this biographical sketch are Chos kyi ’byung gnas (Situpa VIII) and 'Be lo tshe dbang kun khyab 2005, 2:261–62 and Dpa’ bo gtsug lag phreng ba 2003, 2:1167–68.
- Tib. Dpal 'byor don grub.
- Tib. Bsdus grva.
- Tib. Chos grub bzang po.
- Tib. Rnam thos kyi ri bo.
- Tib. Bkra shis dpal 'byor.
- Tib. Zur mang.
- Tib. Rong bo ban sgar.
- Tib. Grags pa dpal ’byor.
- That HLS preserves the Third Karmapa’s outline is the reason why it was included in the present collection of the works of the Karmapa (Rang byung rdo rje 2006a). As for the term "topical outline" (Tib. bsdus don), though the Tibetan literally means "summarized meaning," as already pointed out by D. Jackson (1993, 4–5) and Kano (2008a, 136–38), there was a tendency in the early and middle periods of the later spreading of Buddhism in Tibet (beginning in the eleventh century) to use this term to indicate the genre of topical outlines. Later, the use of bsdus don in this sense was commonly replaced by the term sa bcad. The technique of elaborate topical outlines is neither an Indian nor an indigenous Tibetan device but of Chinese origin.
Philosophical positions of this text
|Text exists in||~ Tibetan|
|Literary Genre||~ Commentaries - 'grel pa|
|Commentary of||~ Ratnagotravibhāga Mahāyānottaratantraśāstra|