Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche


Dharma & Dharmata – Part 4/4


Instructions on “Distinguishing Phenomena & Pure Being“

by Buddha Maitreya / composed by Asanga


presented at Thrangu Tashi Chöling in Boudhnath, Nepal, in 1992



3.2.2. Transformation in Ten Points (pts. 7 - 10)

4. The Compatibility of Dharma & Dharmata

E. Conclusion

Appendix: Mipham Rinpoche’s General Introduction, entitled

“The Stanzas ‘Distinguishing Phenomena & Pure Being’ by Buddha Maitreya”



* * *


The seventh of the ten points through which to realise original non-conceptual wisdom is (7) MENTAL CULTIVATION. As stated in the Root Text, the Regent Maitreya taught:


“The introduction to mental cultivation for individuals wishing to cross the threshold into original non-conceptual wisdom, for any Bodhisattva, awakening hero, this is the way to cultivate the mind:


“Because the suchness yet remains unknown, the so-called ‘store of all seeds’ of untrue imputation is the cause of appearance, of two which do not exist. And with that as support, there are grounds for diversification, due to which the cause and effects as well, in spite of appearing still do not exist. With that appearing, pure being indeed appears.


“Through such cultivation of mind when properly done, the Bodhisattva steps across the brink into original non-conceptual wisdom. Through focusing thus, mere awareness is focused on, through which there are no referents to focus on. Through there being no referents that could be focused on, there is no such mere awareness to focus on. Through that not existing on which to focus, the verge is crossed into focusing free of this twofold division.


“No split into two existing on which to focus, this is non-conceptual wisdom. Since this is what is defined with the utmost precision with respect to involving no object, no focusing, no attributes on which to focus at all.”


In these lines, Maitreya teaches Bodhisattvas who aspire to realise original non-conceptual wisdom in which way they ought to take things to mind. They need to fully understand that sentient beings wander in samsara because of not knowing the way in which dharma(s) (‘phenomena’) abide, i.e., the apparent reality of phenomena, and that liberation is achieved by realising the genuine reality of appearances. Ordinary beings who do not understand suchness, Dharmata (‘the way things abide’) designate dharmas and become involved with that which has no self-existence. This is how they are confused, and as a result a great variety of appearances dawn in a mistaken fashion to and for them.


Our mind is not established by way of its own nature and therefore has no inherent self-existence, nevertheless, at the same time it is clear, luminous, and unceasing. In dependence upon our mind’s luminous clarity, various thoughts arise and thus we become bound in confusion. Let us take the example of a drawing or painting to illustrate this. Generally, we do not mistake that which is depicted in a painting for “the real thing.” However, if the picture is painted extraordinarily well, we could be confused about it and think the depiction is the actual image and not just a painting. Similarly, the very vivid aspect of our mind leads us to mistake appearances and causes us to become involved in confusion.


The nature of our mind is free of duality. However, due to our mind’s clarity, we apprehend differences when phenomena appear to us. From that, there are the eight types of consciousnesses. The basis of the consciousnesses is the eighth, the all-ground consciousness (alaya in Sanskrit, also translated as ‘the mind-basis-of-all’). In the Root Text, the alaya is referred to as “the store of all seeds,” because all our predispositions and latencies are stored in our alaya consciousness and arise in the form of appearances when causes and conditions prevail. If these latencies are positive and good, then what appears to us is good. If they are of a bad sort, then the appearances that arise to us are unpleasant, dissatisfactory, or painful. So, the root of all appearances that dawn is the alaya.


In dependence upon the alaya, confusion comes about by way of the six collections of consciousnesses (the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mental consciousnesses). There are the six types of objects (sights, sounds, smells, tastes, forms, and thoughts) that are perceived with the first five consciousnesses and apprehended with the sixth mental consciousness. These six objects serve as the causes or seeds of the six consciousnesses. In this way, various appearances dawn and by failing to realise their nature, we become confused.


Again, no phenomenon whatsoever has inherent, independent self-existence. From the alaya there come to be the six types of consciousnesses and the various appearances that dawn in the face of those consciousnesses. However, with regard to their genuine nature and way of abiding, those appearances are not independently established and for that reason they are called “mistaken.” We are mistaken and confused about the genuine nature of appearances when we perceive and apprehend things. At that time, Dharmata (‘the way in which all dharmas abide’) does not appear to us. When we have realised the genuine and true nature of appearances, then because of having overcome our confusion regarding them, Dharmata appears to us. Thus, when a Bodhisattva knows and sees the manner of abiding, then he/she has entered original non-conceptual wisdom.


The discussion of dharma on the one hand and Dharmata on the other hand makes it seem as though they contradict or stand in opposition to each other. In contrast to the Sutrayana path of inferential reasoning that requires tedious investigations carried out over periods of many lifetimes and takes aeons, Mahamudra and Dzogchen practitioners of Mantrayana-Vajrayana do not focus on investigating external appearances, but due to having been introduced to the nature of their mind, they can swiftly recognize that the mind is the root of all appearances. Appearances of samsara are not seen when Dharmata is seen and Dharmata is not seen when appearances are seen. Mantrayana practice is different than Sutrayana practice in that to see Dharmata it is not necessary to negate phenomena by carrying out extensive investigations or to stop them from appearing. So, those are the differences between the paths in Sutrayana and Mantrayana.


Within Dharmata, there is the alaya and the various phenomena that appear within the alaya. In just that way, all phenomena that lack inherent self-existence are understood to be mind only. Likewise, the mind, i.e., internal consciousnesses, lacks inherent self-existence. So, both phenomena as well as the mind that apprehends appearances lack inherent self-existence. The realisation that there is no difference between that which is apprehended (i.e., appearances) and that which apprehends (i.e., the apprehender) is original non-conceptual wisdom.


Determining or resolving in a decisive way the empty nature of all phenomena is an extremely good way to go about it. But it is a long path and it does lead to knowledge and a definitive understanding of reality. To go about it in that way is extremely good because it enables practitioners to separate from grasping at what appears to them and from conceptuality. Still, in terms of direct perception of this ultimacy, of this emptiness, there are the uncommon methods that are presented in the traditions of Mahamudra and Dzogchen so that appearances are understood to be mind and mind is understood as emptiness, making a relationship in that way. There is no method for being directly and quickly introduced to the emptiness that is the nature of phenomena. There is, however, a way to bring about a relationship of great importance between meditative experiences on the one hand and our view of apparent reality and genuine reality on the other hand. It is possible to be introduced directly and quickly to the emptiness that is the nature of our mind, and that is something of great significance.


As it is, we have never really looked at our mind. From beginningless time, we have just not looked to see what our mind in truth is. We have just gone along in a casual way, being confused about it and thinking, “Well, I have a mind. It does exist. It’s there. It has this and that quality, and it’s something that’s extremely potent.” However, when we ask, “Where is my mind? What is my mind?” and look for it, then we don’t see much of anything. Why is it that even when we look intensively, we do not find anything? Is it because we do not know how to look? Is it because we do not know where to look? Is it because our mind is transparent like water or a crystal? Or is it because our mind is very small? No, those aren’t the reasons we don’t find our mind when we look for it. The reason we do not find anything is because our mind is not an established self-existent entity. It is, in fact, just of the nature of emptiness. This is not something that has to be determined or discovered through reasoning or analysis. It is discovered just by looking right at it.


As discussed earlier, we examine external phenomena by looking for the hand, for example. We ask, “Where is the hand? Is the thumb the hand? Are the fingers the hand?” We went through that investigation and realised, “Yes, emptiness is probably the truth of the matter.” But, we do not go about it in that way when we look for our mind. We just look for it and in that way we see emptiness directly.


What then? Does this mean that our mind is just nothing whatsoever? We talked about the union of emptiness and luminous clarity. But if we say that in looking for our mind we do not find anything because mind does not really exist, does it mean that we end up just being like a lifeless corpse? No, even though we do not find anything when we look for our mind, nevertheless, we understand and know, and this capacity to know is called “luminous clarity.” If we then look for the luminous clarity of our mind, we do not find anything either. Right while the mind is luminous and clear, it is empty, and just because it is empty, it is luminous and clear.


So, in this way, the topics that are explained in the treatises and that we have understood and the experience at which we arrive through the practice of Mahamudra – looking directly at our mind – meet at one point and come down to one thing.


The eighth of the ten points of transformation is (8) PENETRATING THE LEVELS THROUGH APPLICATION. The text is:


“The penetration of levels through application should be known to include the following four degrees: Through intense application involving informed commitment this level, called ‘training by way of informed commitment,’ comprises the stage of definitive verification. Through application of true concrete realisation of the levels, the first is the stage, the precise is encountered. Through intense application employing meditation, the impure levels as well as the purified three are what comprise the stage of recollection. Through application involving final perfection, the spontaneous deeds of a Buddha are uninterrupted. Hence, this is the stage of immersion into the core.”


The eighth point is a discussion of the paths and grounds. The Sanskrit term for “ground” is bhumi, and the Tibetan term is sa. There are ten grounds or levels of a Bodhisattva’s development into a Buddha. On each level, more subtle defilements are purified and a further degree of qualities manifests. The Sanskrit term for “path” is marga, and the Tibetan term is lam. They are the aspects of the complete path to Buddhahood. The discussion of grounds and paths has four aspects that describe the way.


The first path consists of training by way of informed commitment. It is (1) the path of preparation, which includes the path of accumulation and the path of application from among the five paths. At this stage, we understand emptiness and meditate in terms of what we have understood.


The second path is (2) the stage of definitive verification. From among the five paths, it corresponds to the third path of seeing, in which case we have direct realisation of emptiness and have arrived at the first of the ten grounds. The first ground is called “the joyous.”


The third path is (3) meditation, at which stage a practitioner does indeed see emptiness. Is that enough? No. Why not? There are still many latencies stored as habits in the alaya ground-consciousness. These latencies cover up Dharmata and cause confusion. Up to this point in our lives, we have become accustomed to confusion, so it is necessary to become accustomed to non-confusion by practicing meditation.


In the Tibetan language, there are two terms for “meditation”; they sound alike. One word is gom (‘to meditate’) and the other word is sgom (‘to become accustomed, familiar’). Meditating and in that way becoming accustomed to Dharmata is the path of meditation. From among the ten bhumis, the first six are referred to as “impure grounds.” Through meditation practice, a Bodhisattva purifies and overcomes more and more subtle afflictions and arrives at the last three pure grounds. The second to tenth grounds are called “the period of subsequent mindfulness,” in that familiarisation with Dharmata that was first seen while practicing the path of seeing increases, more and more.


As Regent Maitreya laid out in “Distinguishing Dharma & Dharmata,” the fourth division of the paths is (4) the path of perfection. It is called “the stage of immersion into the core.” It is the final state of Buddhahood in which the mode of abiding of all phenomena is completely and perfectly seen. By fully seeing genuine reality, subtle forms of ignorance and conflicting emotions that are the cause of confusion and mistaken appearances are abandoned from their own side and wisdom manifests naturally and clearly.


So that a Bodhisattva is not mistaken and does not mix up dharma and Dharmata, he/she further and further cultivates the two types of wisdom. They are knowledge of the conventional extent of appearances and knowledge of the genuine abiding nature of all things. In dependence upon these two types of knowledges that are wisdom, a Bodhisattva and Buddha clearly understand the way in which all sentient beings abide and the way in which phenomena appear to them. Therefore, they understand the sufferings and difficulties that sentient beings create and endure. As a result and through its own force, extraordinary love and compassion arise for sentient beings. Having the two types of wisdom, such tender love and compassion for sentient beings that Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have gives them the ability to help and protect others. Since freedom from suffering is attained by acquiring the two types of wisdom, it is suitable to cast off difficult situations that cause suffering. So, although at a given time a Buddha and Bodhisattva might not be able to help particular sentient beings, nevertheless, gradually, over a period of time, they will be able to help everyone separate from their suffering.


Original non-conceptual wisdom, which is characterised by knowledge, tender love and compassion, and the ability to help and protect others, emerges and manifests as enlightened activities when Buddhahood has been attained. There are three aspects of enlightened activity, one is that it is never cut off but is continuous and the other is that it is spontaneous. What does “spontaneous” mean? Without having to exert effort, a Buddha naturally manifests enlightened activities for the welfare of sentient beings. By abandoning and casting off the causes that they create to experience suffering and difficulties, sentient beings will experience a tremendous benefit. On the other hand, they will continue suffering a lot if they remain confused. Since a Buddha understands this, he/she enters sentient beings onto the path that leads to freedom from suffering. In this way, a Buddha engages in enlightened activities naturally and spontaneously.


The aspect of a Buddha’s wisdom, namely, that it is unceasing, means that the continuum of a Buddha’s activity is never cut off or severed. He/she is always involved in helping sentient beings, and the number of beings who are and who will be helped is inconceivable. It is not the case that there are some sentient beings that have the good fortune of being able to enter the sacred Dharma and there are others who do not have this good fortune. That would denote the end of enlightened activities, but a Buddha’s activities never end. Another aspect of a Buddha’s wisdom is great love and compassion for all sentient beings, without exceptions. Some people think that because a Buddha sees the suffering of sentient beings and therefore has compassion for them, he/she must suffer, too. It is not like that, though. Indeed, a Buddha sees everyone’s suffering clearly and vividly but feels great joy for having the capacity to help and when actually able to do so.


The ninth of the ten points of transformation is knowing (9) THE DISADVANTAGES OF THERE BEING NO TRANSFORMATION. The text is:


“The introduction to disadvantages includes the four which would follow as a result of there being no transformation, including the flaw that preventing afflictions’ entry would lack a support, the flaw of the path’s introduction lacking support, the flaw of there being no basis of imputation for speaking of individuals reaching nirvana, as well as the flaw of no basis of imputation for distinctions between three forms of enlightenment.”


In this verse, the Regent Maitreya showed that four disadvantageous situations do not return after transformation has been accomplished in a thorough manner. The first is (i) the presence of afflictions, i.e., afflictions do not return after they have been abandoned. It would definitely be a disadvantage if they returned after having been overcome. The reason the afflictions do not return in the mind stream of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who have practiced the paths and have attained non-conceptual wisdom is that the afflictions are themselves an error and arise due to confusion. Once this is understood, the afflictions just fall to pieces and do not return.


The second sort of disadvantageous situation that indeed does not return when transformation has been accomplished is (ii) the absence of the antidotes, i.e., their exhaustion. There is an antidote to the afflictions and each antidote has a great capacity. Should it be the case that an antidote is exhausted or used up, then at a specific time in the future, a practitioner could fall back into his/her former state. Why is this impossible? Because the afflictions are mistaken and the wisdom gained while practicing the paths is not mistaken but is true.


The third fault that does not return after the afflictions have been transformed is (iii) returning to former states. Having qualms about returning to former states that have been transformed was discussed by the Indian master Dharmakirti. He presented two examples: If we boil water, it becomes hot, and if we take the pot of hot water from the oven and let it stand for a while, the water becomes cool again. Similarly, if we melt a lump of gold in a fire and take the molten gold from the fire, it eventually becomes solid again. Like that, we might think that no matter how much we purify our condition, eventually we will fall back into our former state. But it is not like that. Certainly, gold is indeed solid when it is not molten because that is the nature of gold, and water is cool when it is not boiled because that is the nature of water. However, it is not like that with the afflictions, confusion, and samsara altogether. Afflictions and confusion are instants of being mistaken, and once we understand the mistake and realise the truth of the matter, we do not fall back into the former state of confusion that we had been in.


The fourth fault that does not return after the afflictions have been transformed is (iv) the presence of not knowing everything. As was the case in the third fault, we might have qualms or doubts about a Buddha’s omniscience and think, “Well, it’s impossible to know everything.” This can be compared to an athlete who trains in jumping. He can learn to jump a longer and longer distance or higher and higher, but he cannot take off and keep jumping. Eventually, a limit is reached and he must return to the starting-point. We might think, “Well, one can learn a lot. One can gain a great deal of knowledge, good qualities, and so forth, but it’s impossible to learn everything.” However, the situation is actually different, and such omniscience does come. Jumping is carried out with the body, which is composed of particles. So the body is restricted. The mind is of the nature of luminous clarity and there is no limit to its ability to know. When a Buddha has realised the way phenomena abide, then he/she naturally knows the conventional apparent reality of phenomena, i.e., the way things appear within Dharmata.


The second reason omniscience does come is that it is indeed suitable to pass beyond the confusion and hardships of samsara and it is possible to achieve release from samsara by arriving in nirvana. The Sanskrit term “nirvana” was translated into Tibetan as mya-ngän-läs-‘däs-pa, which means ‘passed beyond suffering.’ Since it is appropriate to pass beyond the suffering of samsara and achieve the omniscience of nirvana, omniscience does come about.


The last of the ten points of transformation is (10) THE ADVANTAGES. The line in the Root Text is:


“The introduction into the benefits which are the reverse, should be known under four motifs.”


The tenth topic is about the benefits or advantages of transformation. The words “which are the reverse” in the line of this point refers to the disadvantages that were shown in the ninth point and states that it is indeed possible to abandon and eliminate the afflictions. The four motifs are: (i) the absence of afflictions, (ii) the presence of the antidotes, (iii) the absence of returning to former states, and (iv) the absence of not having omniscience.


4. The Compatibility of Dharma & Dharmata


We have arrived at the conclusion of the discussion on phenomena of samsara and Dharmata, which is the genuine nature of such phenomena. This was set forth in a very clear manner by the Regent Maitreya in the treatise “Distinguishing Phenomena & Pure Being.” At the end of this treatise, he presented examples to show the way in which dharma and Dharmata are compatible.


“Dream, illusion, mirage, clouds, gold, water.”


Examples are given for the way in which phenomena of samsara are. They are (1) like a dream, an illusion, and a mirage that actually do not exist but appear. Right at the time of not existing, they appear. Likewise, right at the time of not existing, phenomena of samsara appear. What sort of example fits to illustrate the transformation of confusion and afflictions into original non-conceptual wisdom? Indeed, in the beginning we have faults and defects but it is possible to separate from them. The examples are (2) clouds and gold. Sometimes clouds appear in the sky, but they are not the nature of the sky. It is suitable for them to pass and for the sky to be free of clouds again. Similarly, gold might be covered with dirt, but dirt is not the nature of gold, which is suitable to be polished and restored to its pure state. The third illustration is (3) water that can become quite dirty. But filth and water are different, and water can be restored to its purity. So, like the examples illustrate, Dharmata is temporarily concealed by dharmas, but they are not the nature of the situation and Dharmata does not need to remain covered or concealed. It is appropriate for the situation to become pure.


E. Conclusion


“These words which differentiate dharma and Dharmata, composed by the Protector Maitreya, are now completed.”


Generally speaking, the great monastic universities of Nalanda and Vikramashila in India were the wellspring from which the various treatises that elucidate and illuminate the Buddhadharma were composed and that spread extensively and widely from there. Among the individuals who studied at these monastic universities, there were those who were very capable of composing treatises and were considered being the best; there were some who were capable and were considered good, and there were others who were not really capable. What characterizes the best, the middling, and the worst of these three groups of scholars, so to speak? The best were those who saw Dharmata directly. The middle group consisted of practitioners who were able to achieve a meeting with Manjushri and then promised him that they would write about what they had experienced and learned. Those persons of the lowest group were skilled in the five topics of knowledge and could write texts that were not the best, though. The treatise that we have been studying, “Distinguishing Phenomena & Pure Being,” is extraordinary because it was composed by someone who did not just see Dharmata directly but who dwells on the tenth Bodhisattva bhumi. Due to the author’s distinction, this text is supreme.


In earlier times, great and accomplished masters stated that for their own benefit, future practitioners needed to cause great books to dawn for themselves as oral instructions. That is the important point, letting what has been taught in a supreme treatise and what has been learned from reading and studying it guide us and direct our practice. Thank you !




Ju Mipham Rinpoche’s General Introduction, entitled

“The Stanzas ‘Distinguishing Phenomena & Pure Being’

by Buddha Maitreya,” translated in reliance on the instructions of

Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche by Jim Scott


To the one who has conquered the mountain, perceived and perceiver,

with the Vajra, original, non-conceptual wisdom body,

thus finding the inconceivable wisdom body,

to the teacher supreme, the gifted master, I bow.


They who of treasures of Dharma both vast and profound

are the holders, the ones who are heirs of the victor, Manjushri,

and that tenth-level paragon, Regent undaunted, are they

the nails of whose feet are the jewels I support as my crown.


That which will here be explained is a critical treatise

elucidating profound reality:

original non-conceptual wisdom, the heart

of Mahayana Dharma’s abundance of treasures.


That Heir of the Victor, the noble Asanga, performed the practice of the Beloved Master of Loving Kindness, Maitreya, for what - measured in human time – would be twelve years, at the end of which he beheld him face to face. As a result, he was transported to the Joyous God Realm, Tushita, where he was presented with five works which include the two Ornaments, the two Distinctions, and the Changeless Nature, which are treatises serving as commentaries on the purport of the teaching of the Victor in its entirety.


There are some scholars who consider all five as constituting a single coordinated treatise, while others refute this assertion on the grounds of the disagreement in their presentation of the ultimate on such points as there being one or three vehicles from the perspective of the definitive meaning.


Our own tradition considers them to be commentaries on the intent of the separate levels of the Teaching, taking the first and last as commentaries on the thought of the Madhyamaka, the middle three on that of the Cittamatra.


There are also some who consider “The Ornament of the Sutra Collection” alone to be a work of the Cittamatra, the other four they take to be Madhyamaka. There are some who consider “The Ornament of Direct Realisation” to be Madhyamaka, the other four Cittamatra; others still who locate all five within the thinking of Cittamatra; and others who consider all five to belong within the thought of the Madhyamaka, and so on.


What can nevertheless be indisputably established is that “The Ornament of Direct Realisation” is in fact a commentary on the purport of the “Prajnaparamita” in the context of the middle level of the teaching; and that “The Changeless Nature” is a commentary on the purport of the Sutras presenting the Buddha nature, which in turn belongs to the definitive meaning associated with the final turning; and that both of these propose but one family and one vehicle ultimately, which is in accord with the thinking of the Madhyamaka.


“The Ornament of the Sutra Collection” is a commentary which compiles in one volume the topics of the majority of the Sutras differing from those represented in the two texts just mentioned. On the whole, such factors as its lacking a decisive presentation of the single family and vehicle clearly indicate it to be primarily a commentary on the thought of the Sutras associated with the Cittamatra.


The two Distinctions teach the vast as well as the profound dimensions of the Mahayana vehicle in general, and even though these extensively teach the three natures and the sense in which outer objects do not exist, this in itself does not restrict them to being works of the Cittamatra alone insofar as the thinking of the Mahyamaka could also be interpreted in terms of such Dharma terminology without incurring a contradiction. In the “Lankavatarasutra” such terms are taught as general headings applicable to the whole of the Mahayana as follows:


“The five prevailing themes and natures three,

along with the eight-fold collection of consciousness

and the pith in the two forms of lack of self-entity

throughout the Mahayana these are found.”


This is also explicitly illustrated by the “Maitri Paripricha Sutra – The Sutra Requested by Maitreya,” which clarifies the intent of the Mother. In it, such Dharma terms as “the three essentials” and so on are taught without there being a single categorical statement of logical argument which would necessarily amount to asserting true existence for the consciousness empty of dualism as this is asserted in the works of the Cittamatra. There is therefore no error whatsoever in classifying (the two Distinctions) as commentaries which do not fall into any specific school of the (Mahayana), but apply to the whole vehicle in general.


Moreover, precisely because they follow the style exhibited by such major works, “Distinguishing the Middle from the Extremes” is a work teaching the vast aspect, meaning the topography of the paths of all there vehicles, and “Distinguishing Pure Being” is a work which, commensurate with the way in which the Yogacaryamadhamaka unites the two truths, conclusively portrays the very heart of the theme found in all Sutra collections treating of the profound, namely, non-conceptual original wisdom.


It is precisely for this reason and due to their extraordinary profundity that the manuscript of this present work and of “The Changeless Nature” already in the Indian period were bound with a seal of secrecy and later in that period disappeared from circulation. It was at that time that the mighty Lord Maitripa, on discovering light emerging from a crack in a Stupa, extracted the manuscripts of “Distinguishing Pure Being” and “The Changeless Nature” and disseminated them anew. Therefore, while Lotsawa Senge Gyaltsen was studying “Distinguishing Pure Being” and preparing his translation of it, his learned teacher emphasised its significance by giving him only one page at a time with the admonition, “Beware that no harm befalls this! It is a text which is rarely available, because it is bound with a seal. Its disappearance would be tantamount to the Body of the Beloved Master of Loving Kindness, Maitreya, passing from the world into nirvana.”


Since what it teaches is profound reality, which is the critical secret embodied within the view, and because the realisation of such a view is required of all practitioners of the Mahayana, there is no incongruity in interpreting it from the perspective of either the Madhyamaka or the Cittamatra systems. Nevertheless, even given that such texts as for example the “Prajnaparamita Sutras” are interpreted in the works of individual Cittamatrin and Madhyamika preceptors in accordance with their respective schools, their ultimate purport rests with the Madhyamaka. Similarly, even though there are scholars in whose treatises also this present work is interpreted according to the Cittamatra, since this is relevant to a specific level of mental development, there is no contradiction in explaining it thus. Nevertheless, it is in fact a work which clearly portrays the character of nothing less than non-conceptual original wisdom, the point of the utmost profundity within the Mahayana, for which reason it serves as a commentary applicable in general to any Sutra treating of the profound. Since it accords with the Cittamatra in the form its assertions take with respect to host phenomena, which constitute apparent reality, and since it accords with the Madhyamaka in its interpretation of pure being, which constitutes genuine reality, it demonstrates the key points of Mahayana view in a fashion which unites Cittamatra and Madhyamaka, while its ultimate purport rests with the Madhyamaka. To understand and explain it in this way covers the entire range of implication afforded by this great treatise.





Through this goodness, may omniscience be attained. Thereby may every mental defilement be overcome. May beings be liberated from the ocean of samsara, which is troubled by waves of birth, ageing, sickness, and death.


Long Life Prayer for Thrangu Rinpoche:

Karma Lodrö, splendour of the teachings, may you remain steadfastly present, your qualities of the glorious and good Dharma spreading as far as space can go. May your activity of teaching and practice be universally victorious, and may the magnificence of this triumph blaze forth.


Long Life Prayer for H.H. the Gyalwa Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje:

Self-arising, undivided, everlasting Dharmakaya, truth body springing up as wondrous form, the Rupakaya; may the triple secret of the Karmapa rest stable in the Vajra realm, activity endless and spontaneous with glory.


Long Life Prayer for H.H. the Dalai Lama:

In the heavenly realm of Tibet, the source of all happiness and help for beings, is Tenzin Gyatso, Chenresig in person. May his life be secure for hundreds of kalpas.




The beautiful photo arrangement of Thrangu Rinpoche & the dedication photo with the rose from the fb, “The Most Beautiful Things in the World,” are courtesy of Teong Hin Ooi from Singapore. The teachings on “Dharma & Dharmata” were presented in Tibetan & were simultaneously translated into English by Jules Levinson. The Root Text & Mipham Rinpoche’s General Introduction in the appendix were translated in reliance on the instructions of Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche by Jim Scott; it was published in Kathmandu, Nepal, & printed by the International Press Co. Ltd., Singapore, no. 1233, in 1992. Thrangu Rinpoche’s teachings were transcribed from the recordings that Clark Johnson from Colorado had sent by Gaby Hollmann in 1992 & in 2013 the manuscript was revised & edited again so that it is available through the Dharma Download Project of Karma Lekshey Ling Shedra, Nepal. This rendering is for personal studies only; it may not be published anywhere else & it may not be translated into another language. All rights reserved. Copyright, Munich 2013. – May virtue increase!


©Karma Lekshey Ling Institute