Treasures On The Tibetan Middle Way

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  • TREASURES ON THE

    TIBETAN MIDDLE WAY

  • TREASURES ON THE

    TIBETAN MIDDLE WAY

    Herbert V. Guenther

    A Newly Revised Edition of TIBETAN BUDDHISM WITHOUT MYSTIFICATION

    THE CLEAR LIGHT SERIES

    Shambhala Berkeley 1976

  • SHAMBHALA PUBLICATIONS, INC. 2045 Francisco Street

    Berkeley, California 94709

    Originally published by E. J. Brill under the title Tibeta1z Budrj.hism Without Mystificatiotz

    1969 in the Netherlands by E. J. Brill, Leiden First Shambhala edition 1969

    Second edition 1976 Herbert V. Guenther ISBN 0-87773002-4

    LCC '75-40260

    Distributed in the United States by Random House and in Canada by Random House of Canada, Ltd. This book is published in the CLEAR LIGHT SERIES

    dedicated toW. Y. Evans-Wentz. The series is under the editorship of Samuel Bercholz.

    Printed in the United States of America

  • CONTENTS

    Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . VII

    Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . lX

    List of Abbreviations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . X

    PART ONE

    THE BUDDHIST WAY

    Man - His Uniqueness and Obligation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Different Types of Man . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 The Divine in Man's Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 The Path and the Goal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Paramitayana and Mantrayana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 'SI

    PART TWO

    THE TIBETAN SOURCES

    The Gold-Refinery bringing out the very essence of the Siitra and Tantra Paths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77

    The Specific Guidance to the Profound Middle View or the direct Message of Blo-bzang . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ro4

    The Secret Manual revealing the Innermost Nature of Seeing Reality or the Source of all Attainments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r28

    The Instruction in the Essence of the Vajrayana Path or the Short-cut to the Palace of Unity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136

    Index..................................................... 149

  • PREFACE

    Within the history of Tibetan Buddhism the dGe-lugs-pas were in the course of time to play a significant and powerful role. Their major contribution constituted a return to Indian sources which had be-come standard works for a strongly intellectually-toned approach to

    B~ddhist teachings. In this respect they have presented veritable trea-sures. This is the reason why the title to this collection of representa-tive dGe-lugs:..pa works is Treasures on the Tibetan Middle Way.

    Originally these works had been published under the title Tibetan Buddhism Without Mystification, which reflected the concern of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, whose guest I was for the university summer vacation in 1961. He complained that most of that which purported to be information about Buddhism in Tibet was p'll;re fancy and catered for the mystery-monger rather than for the earnest seeker of religious experience or the critical student of philosophy and that its rich symbolism, especially that of the T antras, continued to be mis-represented grossly. He more or less pressed me to start writing about Buddhism as an inner experience which is of vital importance to our spiritual growth and development. In order to give an all-round pic-ture of Buddhism as such a living power, I chose four small texts that had been written by the tutor of the Eighth Dalai Lama. As the reader will :find out these texts are a mine of information. -They reveal clearly the inner nature of Buddhism as a path of development, and they elucidate the relation between the Sutras and Tantras and thus are invaluable in removing the many misconceptions about the latter texts. In the translation I have tried to emphasize the value of mystic experience, not only because it is the keynote of Mahayana Buddhism, but also because it 'involves' man in actually following his path. At the same time I have attempted to show how its distorted presenta-tion, its mystification, can be avoided. In this attempt I have studi-ously refrained from etymologizing (because we do not understand a word or a proposition by its etymology) and from rediscovering neo-Hegelian trends in Buddhism (although this seems to be the stan-dard procedure by many Easterners and Westerners) . This has neces-sitated a revision of almost all key terms in Buddhist texts and the

  • PREFACE

    introduction of new renderings. Against the likely objection to this innovation I can only say that stale, outworn and misleading terms do not help us in understanding the problem in question and that clarity, the prime concern of the scholar, demands that he distin-guish what can be. distinguished by as clear and unambiguous labels as he .possibly can.

    The texts, which are translated here for the first time, belong to the dGe-lugs-pa school of thought, and in the notes to those passages which need further explanation for the Western reader, I have drawn copiously from other dGe-lugs-pa works. Although it would have been easy for me to quote from texts belonging to other schools of Buddhism in Tibet, I have refrained from doing so because I wanted to bring out the specific merits of the dGe-lugs-pa writers: the clear distinction between die various philosophical trends that were de-veloped by the four major schools of thought in India and continued in Tibet; the preeminent interest in epistemological problems; and their traditionalism.

    In the transliteration of Tibetan words I have adopted the system proposed by Turrell V. Wylie. It has the advantage of dispensing with diacritical marks. However, with personal names I have used a capital for theorthographic or phonetic initial, as the

  • ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

    I am grateful to the following publishers for permission to quote at sonie length from the designated works published by them, as follows: George Allen & Unwin Ltd.:

    Louis Arnaud Reid, Ways of Knowledge and Experience.

    Faber and Faber Ltd: WilliamS. Haas, The Destiny of the Mind. East and West.

    The Macmillan Company:

    F. S.C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West. An Inquiry concern-ing World Understanding.

    Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd. :

    C. D. Broad, The Mind and its Place in Nature. C. D. Broad, Religion, Philosophy, and Psychical Research. John Hospers, Introduction to Philosophical Analysis.

    Charles Scribner's Sons.:

    William Ernest Hocking, Types of Philosophy.

  • LIST OF ABBRJ;!.VIATIONS OF TIBETAN TEXTS QUOTED IN THE NOTES

    Bdl

    Chz

    GC

    Khg

    KsNzh Ktsh

    Myl

    Ngbl

    Phbkh

    SLNzh SLSHp SngSLNzh

    Spl

    Tchks

    Tskhp Zhdm

    Zhl

    Byang-cub lam-gyi rim-pa'i dmar-khrid thams-cad mkhyen-par bgrod-pa'i bde-lam (commonly known as Byang-chub bde-lam) The Collected Works of Yongs-rdzogs bstan-pa'i mnga'-bdag stag-phu yong-'dzin Ye-shes mtshan-can dpal bzang-po (Chu-bzang gsung-'bum) Grub-mtha'i rnam-bshad rang-gzhan grub-mtha' kun dang zab-don mchog-tu gsal-ba kun-bzang zhing-gi nyi-ma lung-rigs rgya-mtsho skye dgu'i re-ba kun skongs (Grub-mtha' chen-mo) The Collected Works of mKhas-grub dge-legs bzang-po (Tashilhunpo edition) gZhi'i sku-gsum-gyi rnam-bzhag rab-gsal sgron-me Byang-chub lam-gyi rim-pa chung-ngu'i zin-bris blos-gsal rgya-mtsho'i ljug-ngogs (Ke'u-tshang lam-rim) Byang-chub lam-gyi. rim-pa'i dmar-khrid thams-cad mkhyen-par bgrod-pa'i myur-lam (Byang-chub myur-la:m) The Collected Works of rje-btsun bla-ma Ngag-dbang blo-bzang chos-ldan dpal bzang-po (lCang-skya ngag-chos gsung-'bum) The Collected Works of rDo-rje-'chang Pha-bong-kha-pa dpal bzang-po (Pha-bong-kha-pa gsung-'bum) Sa-lam-gyi rnam-bzhag theg-gsum melzes-rgyan Sa-lam-gyi rnam-bzhag go-bde-ba'i ngang-gis bshad-pa gSang-sngags rdo-rje-theg-pa'i sa-lam-gyi rnam-bzhag rin-po-che'i them-skas The Collected Works of Thub-bstan yongs-rdzogs-kyi bdag-po rje-btsun Blo-bzang thugs-rje dpal bzang-po (sPang-gling gsung-'bum) dGon-gnas stag-lung brag-tu gsung-rgyun rgyal-ba'i bstan-srung-rnams-kyi gter cho-ga bskan-gso cha-lag dang bcas-pa dam-can dgyes-pa'i sbyin-phung The Collected Works of Tsong-kha~pa (Tashilhunpo.edition) Byang-chub bde-lam-gyi khrid-dmigs skyong-tshul shin-tu gsal-bar bkod-pa dge-legs 'od-snang 'gyed-pa'i nyin-byed (Zhva-dmar lam-rim) Byang-chub lam-gyi rim-pa'i khrid-yig 'Jam-pa'i dbyangs-kyi zhal-lung

  • I.

    THE BUDDHIST WAY

  • CHAPTER ONE

    MAN-HIS UNIQUENESS AND OBLIGATION

    Throughout its history Buddhism has claimed to be a path; and since it is the nature of a path to begin and to lead somewhere, its starting point and goal are of equal importance, although it is the goal that exerts a dynamic effect upon man's actions and in so doing directs his path or course of becoming. This goal is known by various names such as 'de-tachment from worldly and transworldly concerns', 'enlightenment', 'Nirvana', 'Buddhahood', and 'deliverance'. No doubt, these terms are ambiguous and what is to be understood by them may pe considered from various angles. The goal may be seen on the one hand as something static and to be approached in a sense of possessiveness or, on the other, as a way of being .which is active and dynamic. It is this difference in the goal-conception, the one static and the other dynamic, that marks the first great division