I prostrate to the Lord of teachings,
The crown of the victorious banner of realization,
Possessing the two-fold purification
Inseparable from the kingly great bliss body and the Buddhafield,
Unceasingly manifesting the spontaneous stream of activities
According to the need of practitioners.
The glorious Vajradhara body,
Inseparable from the three bodies,
Is the Lord Vajradhara
Who ripens and liberates all sentient beings.
No one can express the entire story of his life;
Yet I will write as much of an account of the Kagyu lineage
As can be understood by ordinary people.
The Lord of the three worlds and the King of Dharma, Vajradhara, is the embodiment of the Buddhas of the Three Times, the nature of the Triple Gem, and the essence of the three kayas of the Buddha. Until the ocean of samsara ends, he ripens and liberates all sentient beings.
The Lama is the Buddha
The Choten Tsekpa Tantra tells us:
Prostrate to the Lamas,
The embodiment of all the Buddhas,
And the root of the Triple Gem,
Having the essence of the Vajra Holder.
And the Dompa Gyatso says:
Pay homage at the lotus feet of Vajradhara,
Whose body is precious as a jewel,
Who by his kindness
Causes great bliss to arise in a moment.
In the Dompa ]yungwa it is written:
The Lama is the Buddha and the Dharma;
Likewise, the Lama is the Sangha.
The Lama is glorious Vajradhara;
The All-Creator is he.
Less fortunate beings who lack the eye of devotion wonder how Vajradhara appears as a spiritual master. For those who think in this way the Vajra Tent offers this verse:
I am Vajrasattva
Who manifests the body of a master;
To benefit all sentient beings
I remain in an ordinary body.
Therefore the precious Lama is the Buddha,
Whose body, speech, and wisdom mind
Pervade all samsara and nirvana,
And remain unceasingly throughout the three times.
In general, the Buddhas of the Three Times cannot fully recount even in an entire kalpa the qualities of him whose every activity of body, speech, and wisdom mind is adapted to the needs of each sentient being. In particular, in this fortunate kalpa there will appear a thousand and two Buddhas. Especially for this degenerate age there manifested a Buddha filled with limitless compassion. In India there appeared a mass of his disciples who compiled the teachings known as the Six Ornaments of Jambudvipa, as well as great yogins. In Tibet, the Land of Snow, there appeared the great Dharma kings and the great masters and ministers. Later came Atisha and his lineage, and all the great Kagyupa masters. These are the manifestations of the precious Lama Vajradhara.
Even the Buddhas cannot fully recount the life stories of all these beings, and if they cannot describe the root and lineage lamas’ qualities and activities, who can do so? Yet, as my Lama instructed me, I will write that part of their life stories which can be understood by ordinary beings.
Simply by hearing the precious teachings of the Kagyupa, one is blessed by all the root and lineage Lamas, and by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. The Dakas and Dakinis gather like a cloud, and the Dharma protectors remove all inner and outer obstacles. As a lamp dispels the darkness, the practice of these teachings dispels the false and afflicting emotions.
Like a wish fulfilling gem, so will the practice of these teachings help one to fulfill all wishes. Like a medicine which neutralizes all poison, the practice of these teachings neutralizes the poison of moral defilements. Like the attainment of the sky treasure siddhi, the practice of these teachings confers limitless peace and happiness in samsara and nirvana. Like the waxing moon, all the qualities increase; like the rising sun overwhelming the light of fireflies, the teachings overcome even the qualities of the Sravakas and others; like a precious wheel, the teachings lead to the omniscient state of Buddhahood; like the precious elephant which bears heavy burdens with ease, the teachings dispel the suffering of the mother sentient beings, limitless as the sky; like the precious steed, the teachings enable one to attain Buddhahood speedily; like the precious jewel, the teachings illumine the darkness of ignorance; like the precious minister, the teachings enable one to discriminate between samsara and nirvana, cause and effect; like the golden science of alchemy, the teachings transform all negativity into attainment; like the universal king, the teachings enable humans and nonhumans to join together happily, free from even the thought of discord.
The quality of the path and the wheel of the endless fruit of body, speech and wisdom mind cannot be expressed. In brief, this Lineage teaching allows us to achieve the ordinary and extraordinary attainments and quickly to realize complete Buddhahood.
This is the path of devotion, about which the Hevajra Tantra says:
The co-emergent wisdom
Which cannot be expressed
Can be found nowhere.
It can only be realized
Through ultimate devotion to the Lama
And through one’s own collection of virtue.
And the Guhyasamaja Tantra says:
Even if one has committed the five heavy negative karmas,
Killing millions of sentient beings and Brahmins every day,
Yet if he follows this Teaching
And has devotion to the Lama,
He will doubtless become realized.
But he who has no devotion to the Lama
Will not become realized even if he practices.
The Uttaratantra says:
The ultimate meaning of self arising
Will be realized through devotion.
The light radiating sun
Cannot be seen by him who has no eyes.
The teaching which can be realized through aspiration~devotion, and which cannot be described in written words, is transmitted only from ear to ear, and from heart to heart. It is this teaching which Vajradhara has given to the great saint and emanation, Tilopa, who in turn gave it to Naropa, who gave it to Marpa Lotsawa in the South. Marpa gave it to Milarepa, who gave it to Dagpo Lharje (known as Gampopa). Gampopa also received the teachings of Atisha, who had three lineages: the profound view lineage, the profound action lineage, and the blessing experience lineage.
The profound view lineage was given by Arya Nagarjuna to Chandrakirti, who gave it to Rigpe Khuchuk, who gave it to Kusali Chewa, who gave it to Kusali Chungwa, who gave it to Atisha.
The profound action lineage was given by Lord Maitreya to Asanga, who gave it to Vasubhandu, who gave it to Arya Namdrul De, who gave it to Soso’i Kyewo Namdrul De, who gave it to Chok-gi De, who gave it to Dulwai De, who gave it to Khenpo Yangdak Namnang za, who gave it to Singhabhadra, who gave it to Rinchen Zangpo, who gave it to Gunamitra, who gave it to Lama Serlingpa, who gave it to Atisha.
The blessing experience lineage was given by Vajradhara to Tilopa, who gave it to Naropa, who gave it to Saint Dombipa, who gave it to Atisha.
Atisha had many disciples, but his lineage was given to Geshe Tompa, who gave it to Naljorpa Chenpo who gave it to Geshe Nyukrumpa, who gave it to Gampopa. Also, Geshe Tompa gave the teaching to Geshe Chen~ngawa, who gave it to Geshe Chya-yulwa, who gave it to Gampopa. Gampopa gave it to the glorious Phagmodrupa, who gave it to Lord Drikungpa (Lord Jigten Sumgon). From Lordjigten Sumgon this teaching spread to all the great Drikung Kagyu lineage holders in Central, Western and Eastern Tibet.
All the Buddhas of the Three Times
And all the Kagyu Lamas
Are the emanations
Of the Lama, Glorious Vajradhara.
By making offerings to the precious Lama
One makes offerings to all the Lamas.
If he is pleased, all are pleased,
And one achieves the supreme attainment.
Arya Nagarjuna said:
Refrain from all other offerings;
Make offerings only to the Lama.
By pleasing him
One attains omniscience, the ultimate attainment.
The short-cut path of Vajrayana
Is the combination of the interdependence
Of object, motivation and matter.
The glorious Vajradhara said:
It is far superior to make offerings
Even to one pore of the Lama’s skin
Than to make offerings to the Buddhas of the Three Times.
This is the essential point.
Therefore, make offerings to him
Of body, wealth and practice.
Of the three, the practice offering is superior.
In particular, he who wishes to hold the lineage of Vajradhara
Should perform the practice offering.
He who has accomplished the practice action
Is the activity of the Lama.
This is the life-root of the Buddha’s teaching
And is cherished by the Kagyu Lamas.
What does devotion mean?
The glorious Lama has said:
To one who grows in confidence
The Lama is the embodiment
Of the three kayas of the Buddha.
Whoever sees the Lama’s activities
Understands the turning wheel of Dharma.
He who accomplishes the practice
Is a proper devotional vessel.
The blessed, glorious Vajradhara, because of the inseparability of the three kayas, pervaded all the realms of samsara and nirvana, ripening and liberating all the sentient beings.
It is said in the Inconceivable Secret Sutra:
As emptiness pervades all phenomena,
Likewise his body pervades;
As his body pervades,
So does light;
As light pervades,
So does his speech;
As his speech pervades,
So does his wisdom mind.
And in the Don Nyepar Kopai Gyaltsen, a commentary by Lord J igten Sumgon, it says:
“The Buddha as Dharmakaya possesses limitless excellent qualities. In particular, he has thirty,two separated qualities, (separate from impurities such as afflicting emotions; hence, eternally pure) ten strengths, four fearlessnesses, and eighteen unassociated dharmas. By these he sees clearly and without error the past, present and future in his wisdom mind. He also possesses thirty,two ripening qualities which are the thirty,two major marks. When he was on the path to Buddhahood, he gathered innumerable accumulations of virtue and merit which caused these ripening fruits to appear. All the Buddhafields appeared to this dharmakaya body, which in tum pervades all the Buddhafields. Thus he benefits and liberates countless sentient beings through his body, speech and wisdom mind of endless qualities, the source of the wheel of inexhaustible ornaments.
The Buddha’s body appears to a greater or lesser degree to each of the Bodhisattvas at the different levels of the path according to their degree of realization. This type of appearance is called the body of quality, or the sambhogakaya of the Buddha, which is described frequently in all the sutras and shastras.
The activities of the self-nature of dharmakaya are free from all elaborations and boundaries, and forever remain. For the other condition (sentient beings) the Buddha cultivates mind on the path to enlightenment, and by the force of his aspirations variously manifests his body, speech and wisdom mind according to the understanding of sentient beings, effortlessly and continually until the end of samsara.
Appearing as horses, elephants and chariots,
Oxen, lions and rabbits
And other containers
In both peaceful and wrathful forms,
He establishes all beings
In the cessation of suffering.
A single utterance of Vajradhara
Pervades the language of gods, nagas, yakshas and vampires,
And the languages of humans,
And the ocean of different languages of all other sentient beings.
Even if he teaches in one language, all understand him in their own languages, each according to his level. In this way he benefits countless sentient beings and completely understands their different needs. The sage appeared as Brahma, Vishnu, and the sixty-four viewers according to the disposition of the sentient beings of the six realms.
The victorious ones taught the view of
Sravakas and the Pratyekabuddhas,
Chittamatra, Madhyamika and others
According to the level of understanding of each.The vehicle of the gods and Brahma;
Likewise, the vehicle of the Pratyekabuddhas and others
Were taught by the Buddha
To liberate unripened beings.Until there is an end to afflicting emotions
There is no end to vehicles.
These various views
Lead to the peace of nonduality.The profound activities of the dharmakaya,
The interdependence of self and other conditions,
As is explained in all the sutras and shastras.
– The Buddha (circa 620 B.c …. circa 543 B.c.)
Skillful compassionate one born into the famil’y of the Shakyas,
You conquered the hordes of Mara, which others could not.
Your body is splendid like a mountain of gold.
To YOU, the King of the Shakyas, I prostrate.
-Lord ]igten Sumgon