Namo in Sanskrit, or phyag ‘tshal lo in Tibetan, means homage. To whom? To the root Lama. Who is that? The deceit less, constant protector. This is one’s only root Lama, the constant protector, the embodiment of the three jewels, who shows self and all sentient beings the unmistaken, deceit less path leading from the white phenomena of the temporary happiness of higher states of gods and human beings until attainment of the ultimate white phenomena of the immortal bliss of the state of Buddha.
I beseech you to know me means that from the three doors of faith- clear faith, enthusiastic faith, and confident faith- one requests to be held by the great kindness and compassion of the root Lama, praying from the heart.
Why is it necessary to rely on an undeceiving Lama? Are there deceivers? There is no doubt there are a great many. Who are they? They are those who are never worthy of trust because they represent all the causes and result s of the suffering of samsaric phenomena. Where do they come from? They are from among all those who hold the various doctrines of eternalist views of this world.
Each kind of eternalist has its own way of recognizing the meaning of its own gods, with different ways of describing how its gods created the world and different ways of worshiping its gods. Although there are many differences among them, in synthesis, almost all eternalists decide that the ultimate basis of truth is believing only in their own god, and believing that no greater god exists beyond their own.
Each is convinced that the essence of their god is permanent, and that their god has created the impermanent universe, all living beings, happiness, suffering, and so on. They believe that if their god is pleased, then the world will be a place of happiness. If their god is displeased, then the world will be a place where mistakes are made and torment and punishment are delivered.
To examine this logically according to Buddhist theory: if the essence of a god who created the world were permanent, unchanging, and enduring, it would be impossible for that god ever to perform actions to benefit or harm the world. Just as it is impossible for continuous showers of rain to fall from a cloudless, empty sky, so is it impossible for a god whose nature is forever unchanging and permanent to benefit or harm a world that is always changing and impermanent.
One might ask: “If, according to Buddhist doctrine, the state of holy Dharmakaya is permanent, then how can Rupakaya manifest from that? Dharmakaya is not permanent in the same way as the imagined gods of eternalism. Buddhism does not focus on or define a particular, permanent god.
According to the Buddhist view, the emanations of Rupakaya occur from the permanent, uncontrived nature of Dharmakaya, which is always inconceivable openness. No particles of substance exist in dharmadhatu, which is perfectly pure and completely beyond the limitations of the two extreme views of eternalism and nihilism.
The nature of Dharakaya is the essence of Rupakaya, and Rupakaya is the inexhaustible self-manifestation of Dharmakaya. From the beginning, the qualities of Rupakaya cannot be seperated from Dharmakaya by conceptualization. Acceptance of this view can therefore never be considered the same as the eternalist belief in a seperate, distinct original source of all conceptual phenomena.
Those who hold the eternalist view believe that pleasing the gods leads to happiness for mankind, while displeasing the gods leads to suffering. If the gods’ pleasure and displeasure are dependent on the root and contributing circumstances of other beings, this means that gods are not able to transcend changing phenomena. If a god relies on other beings, and if those beings are impermanent, it means that the god is not permanent or unchanging.
This reasoning demonstrates that the concept of establishing the essence of gods as permanent is a mere fabrication that cannot actually exist. If pleased gods deliver happiness to the world and displeased gods deliver suffering to the world, how can they possibly be pure or perfect? Even ordinary worldly beings respond to whoever is kind to them by returning their kindness to benefit them, and to whoever is unkind to them by returning their unkindness so as to take revenge on them, identifying them as enemies and so on.
All beings react in this manner, from the power of aversion and attachment, as is obvious to everyone. Therefore, even though such activity seems to be temporarily beneficial for beings, if it is performed without great compassion, then helping other beings with the expectation of a result in return is only a worldly phenomenon. It is not appropriate to refer to this as the activity of gods.
Eternalists may think that Buddhists, too, say that happiness occurs when a deity is pleased and suffering occurs when the deity is displeased. According to the general Mahayana tradition, Buddha Nature is within the minds of all beings in the same way that oil permeates a sesame seed.
Once that nature awakens, until all habit is completely exhausted and the state of Buddha is attained, there will be gods and demons, depending on the good and bad habits of mind. Therefore, there will be suffering, and there also will be happiness. Accepting that, the way to attain constant bliss is to recognize that one’s own mind is Buddha. Until one has completely perfected confidence in that state, one must rely on deities and the Three Jewels, believing with faith.
According to those who hold eternalist views, a permanent, unchanging, enduring god is established as always existing separately over there, and self and all sentient beings are established as existing separately over here, so eternalists are always trying to make a connection between gods and sentient beings without having any basis of a point of view that would enable this to occur. From a Buddhist point of view, trying to create this connection with eternalist beliefs is like hoping for water from a mirage.
It is not like that. According to Buddhist beliefs, receiving the attainment of bliss and happiness from deities comes when one’s own dualisic mind is purified into the power of truth of inherent wisdom deity, which blossoms subjectively through belief, faith, merit, and meditation. Finally, inherent subjective deity unites in sole nonduality, which is called the result of the fully enlightened state, without falling to either objectivity or subjectivity.
The immeasurable quality of this state is not known by any egoism concept. It is forever wisdom body, wisdom mind, and wisdom pureland. Knowing by an omniscient stainless knower but not known by by any concept, it is inconceivable phenomena. This is different from the idea of a permanent, unchanging, enduring god who exists separately and who presents gifts, like one person giving a gift to another person.
In the same way, the experience of suffering actually comes from the reflection of negative habit, which comes from one’s own deluded mind. There is no particular enemy or demon who comes from elsewhere to impose harm. Therefore, according to Buddhist tantric teachings, everything taught about deities benefitting and harming is explained simply as the manifestation of one’s own pure and impure mind appearing to itself.
Unlike the doctrine of the eternalist view, whatever phenomena appear -including the entire universe and sentient beings, happiness and suffering, and so on -are thus not the creation of of any god, nor do compassionate Buddhas and male and female Bodhisattvas ever punish sentient beings as in the eternalist way of thinking Nihilists, on the other hand, do not believe that all the phenomena of life come from root and contributing circumstances, thinking instead that everything just happens, like mushrooms suddenly springing up in meadows.
Nihilists only accept root and contributing circumstances that occur within substance, and only believe in what their senses experience within this momentary life. They believe that mind ceases at the time of death, that there are no previous or future lives, and that there is definitely no karma of cause and result. In contrast to the nihilist view, just because one cannot see something does not mean it is non-existent.
For example, a blind person cannot see, but others with clear vision can see. If something is unheard, it does not mean that it cannot exist. For example, a deaf person cannot hear, but others with a clear sense of hearing can hear. So even if an object is unseen or unheard by some, it can still exist and be known by others.
Although Buddhists do not accept the eternalist view that all appearances are created by gods, many sublime beings have nonetheless affirmed that eternalism is much more optimistic and positive than nihilism. The eternalists’ belief in a god gives them a positive goal, and through believing, they can ultimately find enlightenment. Even though their point of view is different from Buddhism, since eternalists are believers, their belief can someday cause their Buddha nature to open and they can believe in Buddha.
Among humans, nihilists are the most pitiful, because without belief there is no hope of stepping toward positive phenomena in the future. Even so, it cannot be denied that nihilists will be reborn within the realms of cyclic existence, since they have continuous mind and its habit. Since theirs is not a positive spiritual habit of belief, they must unavoidably follow the karma created by their disbelief.
The positive potential of their Buddha nature and spiritual qualities of mind may remain dormant for many lives, so that it may take many eons for them to realize their Buddha nature.
According to the Mahayana, it cannot be said that nihilists always remain nihilists or eternalists always remain eternalists, because they can change through the influence of previous positive karmic connections, prayers, or blessings. Even inexperienced Buddhists can apostatize due to their previous nihilist habit of only expecting material answers, so that from a lack of experience and practice, when they do get a material answer, they give up.
This shows that Dharmata has not been realized. Sometimes beings who were misdirected as nihilists can gradually or suddenly rekindle the root circumstance of Buddha Nature through contributing circumstances, such as spiritual teachers, and can step toward the path of enlightenment. All beings have the potential to transcend the limitations of nihilism and eternalism and to attain enlightenment.
According to the tradition of Buddhism, until the continuity of dualistic mind is purified in nondual unending wisdom awareness, there will be past and future lifetimes and karma and karmic results that unavoidably arise from mind through interdependence. Omniscient Rongzompa said:
Those who hold the view of eternalism believe that the great god Brahma is permanent, powerful gods are permanent, ego is permanent, the nature of the elements is permanent, and particles of substance are permanent. From those beliefs in permanence, they claim that the impermanent world is compounded; they say that gods are permanent but can create phenomena that are impermanent.
Those who hold the nihilist point of view believe that there are no karmic causes or karmic results, and that there is no need to do anything in a spiritual way about believing in practice, worship, prayer to be reborn in a pureland, or enlightenment, because their is no though of what is beyond the appearances of this momentary life, because there is no special quality to gain from the effort of activity.
All of these various views are synthesized by Buddhism and called worldly views because without giving up the view of a personal I or an existing self, there is no power to transcend the world. In this way, one always goes under the blanket of attachment to ego, so that negative karma cannot be transformed. Thus, karma cannot be changed, and the result of karmic life cannot be changed.
If one cannot be released from karma and its karmic life, then there is no liberation. This is what Buddhists believe. In Buddhism, the outer and inner aspects of this material world are explained as the characteristics of cause and result that come from interdependent relative truth, agreed on by both the Great and LesserVehicles. It is said:
All aspects of this outer and inner material world
were not created by gods,
were not made by a doer,
Have not occurred naturally,
Have not occurred without a cause,
And are not changed by time.
They only occur through the characteristics
of the root and contributing circumstances
of interdependent relative truth.
Cause depends on result.
Result depends on cause.
Not occurring independently,
Whenever root and contributing circumstances
join together, then there is a result.
If root and contributing circumstances do not join,
then nothing occurs.
It is impossible for root circumstances to be obstructed.
They only depend on the arising of contributing circumstances
So, when the passions and karma
And their suffering are all transcended,
Including one’s own skandhas without anything remaining,
Then one attains the space of enlightenment. (?) What does transcended mean.)
Thus, that is the Buddhist belief. Thus Rongzompa said. In each eternalist religion, a supreme god is almost always considered to be the ultimate source of truth. There is always some uncertainty about eternalist beliefs, however, and it cannot be decided that any eternalist doctrine is definite or surely true.
Although eternalism is based on belief in what will always exist, because beings and gods are always separated in eternalism, the connection between beings and gods can change. Therefore, the convictions of eternalists can change, which causes many different beliefs about gods, so that nothing can be decided on as sure.
Although followers of eternalist religions believe their god is supreme, which of course the followers of any religion must think, individuals have different views at different times and sometimes voluntarily change their views and religions. According to history, not just individual eternalists but eternalist doctrines have changed, adjusting to worldly social ideas of different times.
Even when eternalists say they have one god, their views about their god are not necessarily the same; some views can be the same, and some can be different. Not only do followers of different eternalist religions have different views, such as Jews believing that the Messiah is coming and Christians believing that the Messiah already came; followers withing the same eternalist religion have different views.
In Islam, for example, some extremists believe in Allah’s message to worship by sacrificing human beings, while others are against this extremist position. Even though eternalism is based on the sureness of permanence, if something is said to be definitely sure about one eternalist doctrine, it cancels the sureness of another doctrine, so any sureness creates more unsureness. Furthermore, if a god is considered to be a creator, then one cannot make something sure, because the possibilities for creation are supposed to be open so that something else can be created according to what beings wish.
Therefore, from a Buddhist view, descriptions of eternalism must be left open and flexible, not trying to make them certain but letting them depend on differences in individual faculties and views.
There are many different eternalist gods, including the gods of religions that recognize one god and the gods of religions that have many gods, but it is necessary to name each one here or to describe each of their doctrines. It is taught in the sutras and shastras, as synthesized by Kunkhyen Rongzompa, that eternalists consider their gods to be absolute.
From a Buddhist view, it is unnecessary to try to decide which of these gods is absolute since whatever eternalists think is absolute is actually just beings phenomena appearing according to time and place and is totally uncertain. With this uncertainty as its basis, eternalist history about gods cannot prove what is true or absolute.
The many different histories about eternalist gods are not ultimate or believable because they only occur according to beings’ phenomena. Beings concretize these histories, but they do not exist as reality in a solid way. It is also unnecessary to describe the differences in the characteristics of gods, to determine whether a god is mortal or immortal, or to pay attention to whether a god is worshiped by few or many.
If each god were analyzed in detail by studying historical accounts and making endless conceptual observations, pretending to be scholarly, it would be materializing due to the lack of recognizing the nature of manifestation. This is what ordinary intellectual scholars do, who then become attached to these details. If one materializes each detail there are endless details, just as there are endless conceptions, but no wisdom.
If one becomes stuck in history, one is caught somewhere, even though history will not always be the same but can change. In Buddhism, the Yogachara, Madhyamika, Mahamudra, and Mahasandhi each have particular special explanations, but all teach about not remaining in two extremes.
This is special because it is never caught anywhere. Being caught in the material, one believes in time, history, and beliefs held in common with others, but absolute truth is not established by the beliefs of everyone else. There is no majority or minority to accept or reject what is less or what is more. These do not matter; they are self-deceiving.
For example, people think they can choose the right person for president, but the person they choose will change. Who is ultimate? Also, it is not certain when a majority elects a president whether that selection will later be considered a mistake and the beliefs of the majority will be considered false and deluded. According to delusion, delusion is believed to be the truth and becomes what is called true, but that truth does not exist from the beginning
When a believer believes in a god and then compares gods to decide which god is greater and which is greatest, if the believer believes that one is lesser and one is greater based on historical recognition that has been given to these gods, it means the believer is accepting what others believe.
If a god is considered to be lesser because the god is worshiped less often by fewer people than other gods, and a god is considered greater because a majority believes in that god, the importance of these gods is being determined only materially and is therefore deceptive. In this case, what seems to be eternalism is actually a misinterpretation of nihilism, which is disbelief in anything beyond the present reality of ordinary worldly perception and agreement with others.
Actually, eternalists are not sure about anything; as much as they try to ascertain anything, their beliefs still do not connect with a point of view that provides certainty. This applies to the beliefs of all eternalist doctrines.
The Buddhist view is always flawless and absolute because it is always based on the state of immeasurable stainless space. From that state come the ultimate pure Buddhafields of Sambhogakaya, and from that state come the infinite manifestations of Nirmanakaya. Buddhism is beyond eternalism, but Buddhism never denies phenomena, which are always unobstructed and can arise according to time and place.
That does not mean they arise only in one way, because they are never stuck in time and place. The Buddhist view is beyond time and place because there is always stainless, immeasurable empty space, so it never falls to time and place; it also never falls to nothingness because phenomena appear in time and place as manifestations wherever beings’ phenomena occur, not fixed by conceptualization or materialization.
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. Buddhist teachings begin in a beginninglessly pure way, so the path is naturally clean and easy. In Buddhism, whatever eternalist beliefs are held are not denied, although Buddhism does not accept the eternalist’s supreme view or totally believe in eternalist characterization of gods.
The Buddhist view is that anything can appear to benefit beings according to their different faculties, without attempting to assure that anything is definite. Therefore, when Buddhism explains eternalist and nihilist view, and that eternalism has many different views, while Buddhism does not accept these views as ultimate, there is no objection to whatever gods appear according to eternalism, which depends on time and individual capacity.
Also, since Buddhism teaches that there is manifestation, although these manifestations are fully enlightened, they can appear in any impure or pure aspect depending on time and individual beings’ faculties resulting from previous karma.
Generally, in Buddhism, gods are considered not ultimate but temporary because gods themselves cannot give up a self. That is why Kunkhyen Rongzompa identifies eternalist gods as worldly deities. As long as there is a self there, are always passions, there is always karma, and there is always change. There is nothing absolute.
There is no view of how to reach the fully enlightened state that is connected with eternalist gods, whose histories occur within different times and places. Whether time is brief, long-lasting, or many eons, it is a temporary appearance that belongs to beings, depending on beings habit or manifesting from Buddhas according to beings faculties.
Even though time and place do not exist and are just conception, whoever has not realized the fully enlightened state believes in a reality of time and place. Buddhas have no time or place, but Buddhas manifest within time and place for the benefit of beings. They are called fully enlightened because there is nothing trapped in time. Buddhas’ inconceivable wisdom is forever abiding in unwavering stainless Dharmakaya, never remaining in the habit of a certain place.
Buddha has purified self, so that is why Buddha is fully enlightened. Because eternalism does not give up the view of an existing self, whether a god is considered intermediate or supreme, there is still the cause of passions and karma, even though the way the appearances of gods arises seems positive according to history or an individuals experience and excels beyond the appearances of ordinary human beings. Since self is not purified, self produces cause and effect.
Whenever there is cause and effect, a possessor comes, and there is samsara no matter what aspect of gods arises. This is the basic Buddhist view about the characteristics of gods. The contrast between eternalist and Buddhist views of gods is comparable to the contrast between the Western geographical system, which from a Buddhist perspective only concerns one small part of the phenomena of this world, and the Buddhist geographical system, which is about all phenomena and is related to sentient beings according to time and place.
In the Buddhist view, one cannot make anything certain and sure. It is actually not good to try to make any kind of doctrine into something certain and sure, because if something is thought to exist only in a definite way, its reliability will eventually fail.
It is important not to compare eternalist gods, but to differentiate between the characteristics of wisdom, and then it will not be necessary to deny any gods’ doctrines, which are infinite. They have existed before, they exist now, and they will exist in the future because of beings’ phenomena, which are the general source of eternalist beliefs, and what arises is believed depending on beings’ time and place.
The eternalist belief that a god is absolute is only conceptual within time and place. Even if one tries to determine what is absolute according to an eternalist view, whatever is found will be conditional, compounded, and temporary because it is conceptual.
Even though there is belief in permanence, where does anything exist permanently? If something exists permanently, it cannot manifest anything because it is frozen, without mind, spirit, or wisdom. Even when considering absolute truth, by excessively concretizing absolute truth due to inflexibility, it will become diminishable and will not turn to a pivotal state or quality.
As the supreme Nyingma wisdom scholars Dharmabhadra, Kunkhyen Longchenpa, and Mipham Rinpoche explained based on the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni, the fully enlightened state is Buddhahood, which is omniscient. At that time, it does not matter who is considered to be great, greatest, or absolute, since this measurement does not go beyond conception. In Buddhism, there is nothing more omniscient than Buddha, yet this is not an eternalist view. What is Buddhism? In brief, it is beyond eternalism and nihilism, and neither of these views is accepted or denied. As Kunkhyen Longchenpa said:
Self is Samantabhadra, other is Samantabhadra, eternalism is Samantabhadra, nihilism is Samantabhadra. In the expanse of Samantabhadra, there is no self, other, eternalism, or nihilism.
Buddhism always accepts that different doctrines occur to benefit beings according to their faculties, but Buddhism does not take the side of permanence as eternalists do.
Also, Buddhism does not take the side of nothingness as nihilists do, because there are always phenomena. As much as there is inconceivable empty space, that much do appearances arise, so Buddhism never remains in a nihilist view. Buddhism explains that the nature of truth is inconceivable, beyond expressibility, so a certain time or direction cannot be made for it in a certain way. Individually or according to the shared agreement of complementary groups, a time or direction can temporarily be made if one wishes, but it actually is not going to be that way, because it is compounded by substance habit and conceptualized, and will diminish.
As it says in Sutra:
Instantly for some beings,
Slowly for some beings,
Depending on what beings want,
Buddha emanates whatever time is ripening.
One is supposed to believe this. General beings have different particular phenomena, so whatever is believed in eternalism only follows beings’ phenomena. Once cannot say any of these beliefs are absolute; whatever is said jumps between eternalism and nihilism. The activity of Buddhas always benefits beings, whether individually or collectively, yet it is beyond either eternalism or nihilism because it is manifestation. It is said:
The consciousness of mind appears like time. Time can occur as one instant or as many eons, but whether time seems to be short or long only depends on beings’ habit. Even though it is said that there are many exact times, exact time does not exist. All time only depends on beings’ habit of time, including any order of time as agreement between beings’ concepts about whatever appears to be earlier or later.
When history is created, it is predominantly about what is agreed on by a majority of people in particular times and places, but a reality of time does not exist that can be fixed. Even though fixation does not exist, beings create it, and then whatever is agreed on by a majority is thought to be absolute.
It actually is not absolute, because this agreement can change, and a majority can become a minority. Just as there is no reliability of time, since time does not exist and is only conceptual, the histories of the gods of different eternalist religions do not exist and are all conceptual. Within time and place, arguments occur from the conceptions or order and disorder of majorities and minorities who try to solidify time and place, but it is easily recognized these arguments are only conceptions about time and place. Whatever appears will vanish, and whatever is not appearing will appear.
Time and place occur as the creations of karmic conception and habit, so arguing about time and place is absurd. Fully enlightened Buddhahood does not have even an iota of samsaric phenomena because it is stainless, but it manifests as immeasurable phenomena such as Buddhafields without remaining in samsara even one moment because it is Dharmakaya, and at the same time it manifests for beings within ordinary phenomena, excelling beyond the ordinary. It is beyond eternalism and nihilism because it is inconceivable.
This is not made up to be inconceivable by conception; it is totally beyond conception, even logically. One cannot judge these inconceivable manifestations or materialize them as occurring only in a certain way within time and place.
According to the Buddhist view, one cannot say the qualities of gods are certain. There are many gods, including worldly gods, pure worldly wisdom gods, and enlightened wisdom beings. There are countless different beings, different faculties, and different stages of realization, so there are many categories of wisdom.
There is wisdom that relies on compounded circumstances such as accumulation when all root and contributing circumstances gather together perfectly and wisdom occurs, and there is also self-manifesting wisdom that does not rely on compounded circumstances. Buddhist theory explains the difference between worldly wisdom, which surpasses ordinary intelligence but is not like the holy wisdom of sublime beings because it is still worldly; pure worldly wisdom, which is connected with holy wisdom and is the wisdom of Bodhisattvas who have wisdom mind and wisdom activities but are not fully enlightened, so even though it is not fully enlightened Buddhahood, holy mind and holy activities always occur to benefit beings; and the fully enlightened wisdom of Buddha, which is only beginningless wisdom.
From a Buddhist view, although eternalist gods are generally considered to be related to beings’ phenomena and therefore connected to the stage of worldly wisdom, they can also be connected to the stage of pure worldly wisdom or the manifestation of enlightenment. When full enlightenment is reached, the same as Buddha, there are no stages, but continuous manifestations of wisdom appear to benefit beings unintentionally, including manifestations that can appear in the aspect of other doctrines’ gods or deities and manifestations of Buddhas.
Fully enlightened almighty wisdom can always manifest unobstructedly. As what? As anything, including, as nihilists wish, in ordinary beings’ reality form, and also in eternalist gods form.
Therefore Buddhism accepts worldly wisdom gods, but not in the same way that eternalists do, because Buddhism distinguishes between stages of wisdom and their relation to sentient beings, eternalist gods, and enlightenment, recognizing the qualities of impurity, impure purity, and extreme purity that differentiate these categories. These qualities cannot be discerned by ordinary beings.
Even though Buddhas are fully enlightened, since they can manifest as impure or pure, worldly gods and sublime beings are not necessarily totally separated since deciding who is worldly and who is sublime is uncertain unless it is based on wisdom.
Pure worldly wisdom is wisdom that occurs when entering the path of enlightenment and starting to practice so that wisdom mind is developing. It is not totally ordinary because wisdom is blossoming, yet it is not fully enlightened because it is still remaining in habitual samsaric phenomena. Wisdom has not fully expanded, but because it excels beyond ordinary beings, it is pure; yet residual habit still remains, so it is worldly, while excelling beyond the ordinary. Buddhism teaches that pure worldly wisdom is spiritual but not completely spiritual since it does not excel beyond worldliness if compared with the state of Buddha, which has no worldliness.
Pure worldly wisdom is mixed, having both worldly and holy wisdom mind and activity. It is performing in samsara, but at the same time, it is not like other beings extremely ordinary samsaric phenomena, because there is wisdom. Also, one cannot say that an aspect that seems to be mixed with worldliness cannot be enlightened, since enlightenment can manifest within worldliness. Enlightened wisdom beings can manifest in the aspect of pure worldly wisdom.
The beginningless wisdom of Buddhas is not ordinary beings’ wisdom. When the state of full enlightenment is reached, there is no name of worldliness. One cannot only conceptualize this. Fully enlightened Buddhahood is full wisdom and full wisdom activity. Buddhas’ mind is wisdom, but Buddhas such as Guru Rinpoche and many others emanate in samsara to benefit beings. They teach faith, meditation, and realization, manifesting in the state of impure worldly wisdom to guide others, but their mind is fully enlightened Buddhahood.
This wisdom excels beyond samsara, but is performing in samsara. Buddha Shakyamuni manifested in samsara in order to guide beings by showing a history and an order of stages of how to enlighten, but Buddha does not have any conception of order. If there is no conception, there is no stage. When Buddhas emanate, they have to emanate according to beings’ phenomena, showing histories to other beings, such as that of Buddha Shakyamuni learning, studying, and enduring hardship for six years so others can follow the example of these histories and open Buddha nature through practice, as Buddha taught according to Mahayana, until finally reaching the fully enlightened state in which there is no fixation of time, place, or direction, where all Buddhas abide.
So, Buddhas manifest within pure worldly wisdom. Full enlightenment has no pure worldly wisdom, but the fully enlightened can still manifest anything, whether in male or female form or as any kind of being, in any world or realm, while their mind is fully enlightened. This way of excelling is not like stone; it does not appear and just remain as it is. Whatever excels does not stay in one state. Whatever is shown is like magic and will change miraculously. That is why whatever manifests cannot be made a certain way.
The power of manifestation is inconceivable, and it cannot be made conceivable. Even if one tries to make it conceivable to understand it or explain it, inconceivability means that there is nothing that can be conceived of in an ordinary way. It would be very tiring to try to describe the many different levels and qualities of all the different gods and deities, placing them within a framework of stages and trying to make them into something real or to determine whose qualities are greater. Whatever god is considered, too much materialization transforms into nihilism.
It is enough to consider that manifestations of fully enlightened Buddhas appear in infinite forms to help beings. It says many times in Buddhist sadhanas, and as the main key in many Vajrayana teachings of sublime beings including Nagarjuna, never to remain in one side. Never falling into eternalism, which is the view of always and does not change, or into nihilism, which is belief in whatever is present, all Buddhist views are beyond these two extremes; they cannot be made into something sure.
Even though Buddhism talks about views, because Buddhism never falls to any extreme, there is no certain point of view, which has immeasurable meaning. The state of Buddhas is always from beginninglessness between the two extremes, which is not creating a third neutral state; it has no determined expression, yet without determination it always unobstructedly manifests.
By establishing this nature from the beginning, in which phenomena are not denied because manifestation is accepted, there is no danger of falling to nihilism because nothing is materialized. Without remaining in eternalism or nihilism, there is immeasurable manifestation, as the system of the three kayas shows. There is nothing stuck, because certain and uncertain manifestations occur endlessly as infinite forms, sounds, and wisdom only to benefit beings.
It is said in the Jewel Treasure of the Dharmadhatu:
This is called the self-manifestation of enlightened mind.
Its unobstructed emanation can occur as anything.
With concept and without concept, existent phenomena
such as outer elements and inner beings,
Including many varied phenomena,
Even as all these arise, naturally do not exist substantially.
There is no such thing: there is not any permanent material nature.
Just like the water of a mirage, a dream, and the form of empty,
The miraculous emanation of empty form is like a town of gandharavas.
It is just appearing. While it is appearing,
There is no base, there is no substance; just recognize it as only sudden temporary appearances arising from time to time.
It must be realized that phenomena are not always but occasional.
If one materializes and conceptualizes, one cannot realize wisdom. To decide that something will always be the way it is, even though nothing solid exists, is the view of always. If one looks at one’s own ordinary mind, it does not stay in a solid state in that way.
One’s own ordinary mind is going to change; there is not just one conception. To decide that there is nothing other than what is percieved is the view of nothing. If one looks at one’s own ordinary mind, it is not inert; something continually appears. Buddhism’s view is beyond the view of always and beyond the view of nothing.
All samsaric phenomena are called samsara; all of the immeasurable enlightened state is coming from stainless dharmadhatu. This is the treasure of samsara and the treasure of enlightenment. This treasure never moved from anywhere to anywhere. It is seeing the nature of wisdom. There is no need to worry about anything if one synthesizes that all immeasurable samsara and enlightenment are coming from dharmadhatu. It is the treasure of samsara and the treasure of enlightenment, but it is extremely pure itself, and has never moved from wisdom. This view is very important. There is no certain view.
To try to make it certain can be damaging. If one recognizes this, one is not going to be stuck in some small matter. That means liberation. Mind is not only material; it is immaterial and empty. It is not only empty now, but always empty. Since it is always empty, it is not nothingness but always wisdom inseparable with immeasurable emptiness.
Since it is immeasurable emptiness, wisdom is always present, timelessly, directionlessly, inseparable with emptiness. How can one believe in making what does not exist into something real and certain? Buddha Shakyamuni said this is like babies grasping at rainbows.
The essence of immeasurable phenomena is emptiness. How can what gods are be made into absolute truth? With attachment to materialism, one always creates materializations. No matter what the absolute truth of eternalism may be, according to Dzogchen’s point of view, although histories exist of gods and deities over many generations, they are still momentary. That is why worshiping a god is not ultimate, whether the god is worshiped by everyone or not. As Kunkhyen Longchenpa showed: In brief, simultaneous and effortless, it is from the beginning openness, dharmadhatu. From sustaining that, what is found?
All kinds of samsaric and enlightened phenomena, just arising, Do not exist in reality as reality samsara and reality enlightenment.
All immeasurable samsaric and enlightened phenomena can be synthesized into these two categories. Whatever on has, says, or thinks, whenever those phenomena arise, just as those samsaric and enlightened phenomena arise, they do not exist in reality. They are just arising; there is no reality.
Even if one thinks of them for many eons, to take immeasurable samsara and enlightenment into the path of enlightenment, just arising, there is no reality. Whenever sleeping, still there is sustaining. Even sleep is the unobstructed state. Whenever dreams arise, there is no dream. Just stay in sole awareness mind. Like a bed, one is there relaxing.
As Kunkhyen Longchenpa said:
In unobstructed space,
Just as it arises,
There is nothing exact,
Not any reality.
In summary, the outer container of the universe and the inner essence of sentient beings, all states of happiness and suffering, and so on that depend on the interdependent connection between root circumstances and contributing circumstances are rooted in the mind of of duality, which creates everything. Since that is so, one wonders where this mind of duality originates. The answer is as said in The Great Strength of Prayer.
Simultaneously born ignorance
Is the dispersion of mindless unawareness.
Is clinging to the duality of self and other.
These two, simultaneously born ignorance and all-naming ignorance,
Are the cause of delusion for all sentient beings.
Thus it says. The cause from which delusion occurs is ignorance. Ignorance is the essence of stupidity, coming from the circumstance of the lack of recognition of awareness. From that, the way in which the phenomena of samsara are established is explained according to the tradition of Buddhism, such as Vaibhashika, Sautrantika, Yogachara, and so on, each of which has its own beliefs about the way in which outer and inner phenomena are established as material or immaterial. According to the special tradition of the Great Perfection, Great Omniscient Longchen Rabjam said:
The sun of absolute self manifesting awareness Is obscured by both white and black clouds of virtue and nonvirtue. Misery comes from the lightning-like mind of attachment to the effort of accepting and rejecting. From the rainfall of deluded appearances of happiness and suffering continuously descending.
The seeds of samsara grow in the field of crops of sentient beings of the six realms.
Alas! Compassion for all the pitiful, helpless ones.
Thus, as said, recognizing or not recognizing the self-manifesting appearances of the spontaneous presence of the basis of appearances to be the natural emanation of the great empty basis of original purity is the difference between the appearances of Buddhas and sentient beings. If one wonders how this can be, it is because the originally pure Buddha is the most exalted, not remaining in the indifferent stupor of the alaya, the basis of all.
The undeluded self-manifestation of the basis of Dharmakaya is recognized as self-manifestation. The inconceivable qualities of the appearance of self-nature are not dormant in the alaya and are always stainlessly discerned. Without clinging, distinctions are discerned in the self-openness of liberation from the beginning. Whatever appears is only the unimpeded, uncompounded manifestation of self awareness, which does not arise from any other compounded root or contributing circumstances. Awareness is always unchanging because it abides forever in pure self-nature. These are the six most exalted aspects of supreme Kuntangpo.
All of this is upadesha that does not come from general teachings. Results do not come from causes. The state of Buddha does not come from dualistic mind. These are the three self-occurring dharmas through which the state of immutable space from the beginning is held forever.
All sentient beings who have not recognized their own naturally occurring self-manifestation of great empty original purity grasp at the appearances of the five lights. The five lights are the source of inconceivable myriad appearances of enlightened body and wisdom. Clinging to these five lights creates dualistic mind, and then the ordinary objects of form and body as the basis of delusion occur.
The self-sound of dharmata does not occur from root circumstances and contributing circumstances, but sentient beings grasp at it, and ordinary speech as the basis of delusion occurs. Owing to dependence on that, all deluded appearances such as self, others, cyclic existence, enlightenment, happiness, suffering, and so on, are experienced. In The Wish-Fulfilling Treasure, it says:
Whatever deluded appearances exist come from the three habits.
The habit of objects causes the vessel of the universe, and
Relying on that form and the objects of the five senses occur.
The habit of consciousness causes the eight groups eight groups of consciousness, and
Relying on that, positive and negative karma occur.
The habit of the body causes the bodies of the six classes of beings.
Relying on that, the branches of the extremities and the smaller branches of fingers and toes occur.
There are the three habits that settle on alaya, the basis of all,
If addiction to these habits is places on alaya from beginningless time,
These appearances will occur for many lives.