Theg chen rgyud bla ma'i don bsdus pa

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LibraryCommentariesTheg chen rgyud bla ma'i don bsdus pa

Theg chen rgyud bla ma'i don bsdus pa
Condensed Meaning of the "Ultimate Continuum of the Mahāyāna"

The first Tibetan commentary written on the Uttaratantra by the translator of the only extant Tibetan translation of the treatise. Furthermore, since the author is also the namesake of the Ngok tradition (rngog lugs) of exegesis of the Uttaratantra, known for its analytic take on the work, this text was highly influential in the conception of a uniquely Tibetan approach to the Uttaratantra and the notion of buddha-nature.

Relevance to Buddha-nature

This is an essential text for the study of buddha-nature teachings in Tibet as its author and his teachings formed the basis for one of the two major schools of thought on Maitreya's teachings.

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Description from When the Clouds Part

Ngog’s Synopsis of the "Uttaratantra" explains I.154 in terms of the inseparability of the two realities, without superimposing any ultimate existence of afflicted phenomena or denying the existence of purified phenomena on the level of seeming reality.

As for teaching the defining characteristic of the unmistaken meaning of being empty, [RGVV] says, "What is it that is called ‘the principle of what emptiness means in the case of the tathāgata heart’ here?" Since one neither superimposes that the focal objects of afflicted phenomena exist ultimately nor denies that the focal objects of purified minds and mental factors exist on [the level of] seeming [reality], the two realities abide just as they are. This is said to be the unmistaken meaning of emptiness.

As for "there is nothing to be removed in this," in this true reality there is nothing to be removed that is a focal object of afflicted phenomena because [such focal objects] are not established right from the beginning. In this true reality there is not the slightest to be added that is a purified characteristic (such as the powers and supernatural knowledges) because the existence of the focal objects of purified phenomena (such as the [ten] powers) on [the level of] seeming [reality] abides since beginningless [time]. By way of not superimposing ultimate existence and not denying seeming existence in this way, unmistaken actual reality—the nature of the two realities in union—is taught.

You may wonder, "But if one neither eliminates afflicted phenomena nor accomplishes purified phenomena, what is the point of entering the path?" It is said that [the path], through the elimination of superimposition and denial, merely makes one realize the true reality that is incompatible with such [superimposition and denial]. Thus, [line I.154d] says, "[whoever sees actual reality] is liberated."[1]

(p. 913)
  1. Rngog lo tsā ba blo ldan shes rab 1993b, fols. 42b.2–43a.2. Note that both Gyaltsab Darma Rinchen and Rongtön are greatly influenced by Ngog’s comments (see in the text below). For further details on Ngog’s position on tathāgatagarbha, which seeks to adapt the teaching of the Uttaratantra to the Madhyamaka understanding of emptiness, as well as its impact on later Tibetan commentators, see Kano 2006, 129–253 and 367–495 and Kano 2009.

Philosophical positions of this text

Text Metadata

Text exists in ~ Tibetan
~ English
Literary Genre ~ Commentary Synoptic - bsdus don 'grel pa
Commentary of ~ RKTST 3363