HH Dudjom Rinpoche The Enlightened or Buddha Family

The Enlightened or Buddha Family by H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche

When this buddha family of the unsurpassed greater vehicle is classified, the Supreme Continuum of the Greater Vehicle (Ch. 1, v.149) says:

One should know this enlightened family to be twofold:
One similar to treasure and the other to a fruit tree.
The [first] is that which naturally abides from the beginning,
And the [second] is supreme through having been genuinely acquired.

So there is both an enlightened family which naturally abides and an enlightened family which is attained. Concerning the former, the Sutra of Final Nirvana says:

Son of the enlightened family, the reality of the mind which is natural, inner radiance, and naturally without essence is not differentiated by the naturally pure mind as it appears, decorated with the enlightened attributes of blazing major and minor marks, but it is differentiated by its nature of appearance and emptiness.

Therefore, when this enlightened family is classified, it is threefold owing to its function of being the ground in which the culminating three buddha-bodies of the result arise. It consists of [firstly] the enlightened family in which reality naturally abides, which resembles an image made of precious gems in that it is the spontaneously present causal basis or ground separating (bral-rgyu) the essential buddha-body (svabhavikakaya) or the uncorrupted expanse [from obscuration]; [secondly] the enlightened family in which the apparition of this reality naturally abides, which resembles a universal emperor in that it is the causal basis separating the buddha-body of perfect rapture (sambhogakaya) from obscuration; and [thirdly] its apparitional reflection, which resembles a golden image in that it is the causal basis separating the emanational body (nirmanakaya) from obscuration. In actuality, however, the reality in which these three are of an inseparable essence is the great, naturally present, uncompounded buddha-body of reality (dharmakaya), the pristine cognition of supreme sameness (samata-jnana), coalescing appearance and emptiness without conceptual elaboration. Since it is the great, indivisible reality in which the ground differentiating appearance and emptiness has ceased, it is exemplified by the nature of the Tathagata. As the Supreme Continuum of the Greater Vehicle (Ch.l, v.146) says:

Since it is supramundane, in the world
There are no examples to which it may be referred.
Therefore the nature of the Tathagata
Is revealed to be similar to the seed.

When this enlightened family is actualised without obscuration, the conclusive truth of cessation according to the greater vehicle is the essential buddha-body endowed with two purities.
The [second] enlightened family, the one in which [reality] is attained, includes those who awaken to the [aforementioned] twofold family, in which the expanse, or reality, and pristine cognition, or [reality’s] apparition, naturally abide, and those who consequently study to integrate the two provisions of skilful means and discriminative awareness. These two provisions in turn are subsumed by the provisional path of learning (saiksamarga) which includes the generation of enlightened mind, in order that the suddenly arisen stains covering [the nucleus] might be removed. The Sutra of the Arrayed Bouquet says:

Sons of the Conqueror, this which is called the enlightened family is devoted to the expanse of reality (dharmadhatu). It is one in which, having seen the natural, inner radiance vast as the sky, studies are pursued in furtherance of the great provisions of merit and pristine cognition.

So the former enlightened family is the ground of separation from obscuration and the latter is the path which removes the stains covering [the nucleus]. It is said that though the truth of the path depends on the ground-of-all and is subsumed in the causal basis of separation from obscurations, it does bring about the basis of unchanging authentic liberation. This is because its function of attainment which effects the result of separation [from obscurations] depends on the enlightened family or the nucleus.

For anyone to know that this enlightened family, which naturally abides, does exist, it is inferred to exist through the signs [visible in those who] awaken to it, just as one, in general, infers fire from smoke. The signs that one has awakened to the natural enlightened family of the buddha-body of reality are indicated in the Introduction to the Madhyamaka (Ch.6, vv.4-5c):

One who, having heard about emptiness even as an ordinary person,
Experiences within, sheer delight again and again,
And who, owing to this delight, is brought to tears,
And whose body-hair stands erect,
Has the seed of intelligence which attains to perfect buddhahood.
That one is a vessel for this very instruction,
To whom the ultimate truth should be revealed.

The signs that one has awakened to the enlightened family of the buddha-body of form, which is the apparition of reality, are indicated in the Ornament of the Sutras of the Greater Vehicle (Ch.3, v.5):

Even prior to practice,
Correct conduct with respect to compassion,
Volition, patience and virtue,
Is truly explained to be a sign of that family.

Then, the benefits which result when one awakens to that enlightened family are mentioned, too, in the same text (Ch.3, v.8):

Though a long time has been passed in evil existences,
Liberation will swiftly be attained;
There, too, less suffering will be experienced,
And being disillusioned, one will mature sentient beings.

As long as one has once awakened to this enlightened family, one will not be born in evil existences, and even if one is so born, one will be liberated in merely the time it takes to bounce a ball of yarn. There, too, suffering will diminish, and through strong disillusionment [with samsara], one will indeed bring sentient beings to maturity. In this way it is said that when the Teacher himself [Sakyamuni] became the strongest of charioteers in the hells, he was instantly liberated by awakening to that enlightened family which embodies great compassion, and was born as a god in Trayatrimsa. He subsequently became the boy Bhaskara, the son of a potter, in Jambudvipa and aspired to enlightenment in the presence of the Tathagata Sakyamuni. Similar things are said about the series of his [ordinary] lives in which he took birth as the daughter of a friend and so on.

If living beings were without this enlightened family, those who experience suffering would not even feel regret. It would be reasonable for some not to think that samsara should be rejected and nirvana acquired, and even the desire for liberation would not arise in their minds. However, untaught by anyone, some persons feel compassion when others experience suffering, and are disturbed by the experience of suffering. One should know such phenomena to be the virtuous power of the seed of beginningless reality. It says in the Supreme Continuum of the Greater Vehicle (Ch.l, vv.40-1):

Without the seed of buddhahood,
One would not feel regret for suffering;
One would have neither the desire,
Nor the prayer, nor the aspiration for nirvana.
This perception of suffering as a negative
And happiness as a positive attribute,
In relation to existence and nirvana,
Is present owing to the existence of the enlightened family;
For it is not found in those lacking that family.

Passages which speak of beings belonging to no family or to a cut-off family are rhetorical devices which indicate through negation the baseness in those who have not awakened to the enlightened family. Indeed, there are no living beings who do not belong to the enlightened family which naturally abides. The Sutra of the Nucleus of the Tathagata (Tathagatagarbhasutra, T 258) says:

Son of the enlightened family, this is the reality of all things. Whether the tathagatas have appeared or not, these sentient beings always possess the nucleus of the tathagata.

And in the Sutra of Queen Srimala (Srimaladevisimhanadasutra, T 92):

The nucleus of the sugata
Completely pervades living beings.

Therefore, the mind is developed in the enlightened attitude of the greater vehicle consequent on awakening into the [first] enlightened family, which has two aspects and is the causal basis. Subsequently, the stains which obscure the buddha-body of reality are removed by experiencing, above all, the non-conceptualising pristine cognition during meditative equipoise; and the stains obscuring the two buddha-bodies of form are skilfully removed by conduct that is relevant to the two provisions with the assistance of illusion-like compassion during the aftermath [of that meditation].

Then, there is obtained the culminating result of this separation from obscuration (bral-‘bras), the essential buddha-body. It is defined as an expanse encompassed by inconceivable, uncorrupted, enlightened attributes, or the ground in which the buddha-body of form that appears to others is reflected like the moon in the sky. It naturally manifests as pristine cognition itself, without being extraneously sought, and is endowed with the three bodies of the buddhas manifest in and of themselves. The Supreme Continuum of the Greater Vehicle (Ch.2, v.3) says:

That which is called natural inner radiance is as the sky.
It is unobscured by the dense clouds
Of suddenly arisen conflicting emotions
And ignorance of the knowable.
This buddhahood endowed with all enlightened attributes of the taintless Buddha,
Constant, steadfast and eternal, is attained
Dependent on the pristine cognition which discerns things non-conceptually.

And [Ch.2, vv.38-9]:

Without beginning, middle, or end and indivisible,
Neither two, nor three, taintless and non-conceptualising,
That realisation, which is the natural expanse of reality,
Is perceived by the yogin during meditative equipoise.
Endowed with enlightened attributes that are immeasurable,
That outnumber the sands of the Ganges, limitless and without peer,
This taintless expanse of the Tathagata
Has renounced the entire range of faults, along with their propensities.

Arising from that [essential body], the two buddha-bodies of form have the same uncorrupted pristine cognition. They become naturally present through a co-emergent cause, consisting of the basis of the pure vessel of the beings requiring training, as well as the conditions of their former aspirations and their experience of the two provisions. The maturing result (smin-‘bras) of these bodies of form is then established through their function of teaching in forms manifest to others who require training, in the manner, for example, of the moon reflected in water. As the above [Supreme Continuum of the Greater Vehicle, Ch.2, vv.40-1] says:

With a buddha-body which manifests the diverse rays of the true doctrine,
Persevering so that the liberation of living beings be achieved,
Their deeds, like the king of wish-fulfilling gems,
Are without inherent existence despite their diverse forms.
All their forms which cause [beings]
To enter into, ripen and prophetically declare the path by which the world is pacified
Also constantly abide therein,
Just as form occupies space.

And as Nagarjuna [in the Eulogy to the Expanse of Reality, v. 101] says:

Since within the taintless body of reality
An ocean of pristine cognition abides,
The benefit of sentient beings emerges therefrom
In the manner of diverse gemstones.

In short, as [Longcenpa has said] in the Great Chariot (shing-rta chen-mo):

In this context, one should know that, among the three buddha-bodies, the body of reality, which is an expanse invisible to those requiring training outside the range of the Buddha alone, is present as subtle pristine cognition, the inner expanse that is unique and of a single savour. The two buddha-bodies of form endowed with pure enlightened activity, which are the pristine cognition that manifests to others, outwardly radiate through its blessing and the aspiration of those requiring training. They appear in the manner of the moon in the sky [body of perfect rapture] and the moon in water [body of emanation].

And in the Treasury of Philosophical Systems:

Since the three buddha-bodies are primordially present as the twofold enlightened family, the apparitional aspect of the buddha level or [the enlightened family] of inner growth is the body of perfect rapture and its empty aspect or [the enlightened family] which naturally abides is the body of reality. From the indivisible blessing of these two, the emanational body gives teaching in form manifest to others who require training, and is exemplified as the reflection of a universal emperor (cakravartin) shining on a golden mountain.

One who, without knowing this, is attracted to the concept that a single uncompounded emptiness of explicit negation is the enlightened family which naturally abides, and that the enlightened family of inner growth is exclusively compounded and newly produced by the path, is found to interrupt the realisation which belongs to the paths of learning as a conclusive result and so to adhere to the cessation of the pious attendants’ tradition, which resembles an expired butter lamp in that it establishes no order of buddha-body, pristine cognition and so forth. If one were to take this view, one would not even savour the fragrance of the truth of cessation according to the greater vehicle. In the ground, one would fall into the extreme of conceptual elaboration. On the path, one would not require the two provisions of the greater vehicle. In the result, one would not distinguish between the nirvana of the three vehicles; and as a conclusive result, one could not cross beyond the abyss of nihilism. The refuge of ultimate reality would never be found.

It was with an intention directed toward this mode [of the nucleus] that the all-knowing doctrinal master [Longcenpa] said in the Precious Wish-fulfilling Treasury (yid-bzhin rin-po-che’i mdzod):

One who without knowing this mode [of the nucleus] determines emptiness verbally
As free from extremes of being and non-being
Harbours the view of the summit of existence,
Ignorant of the causal basis of separation from obscuration.
Since he is outside this teaching,
He may as well cover himself with ashes,
Like those who hold the mind to emerge from space.

Such a wrong view is gathered within [the nihilism of] the Followers of Brhaspati [Barhaspatya]. The Doha also says:

The Archer says:
"Those who hold the mind to emerge from space
Never attain to liberation."

If one were to think that on the paths of learning one develops anew, by the two causal provisions, what was previously non-existent, then the body of reality, or essential body of the buddha, and the body of perfect rapture would be compounded and impermanent. If one were to hold this view, it is said one would harbour the immeasurable defects of looking upon the continuum [of enlightened mind] as an ephemeral compound; the suffering of change as something unrenounceable; the possession of the body of indestructible reality, which is pristine cognition vast as the sky, as non-existent; and the body of indestructible reality itself as impermanent. Because of such limitless faults, one would deviate from the meaning of the greater vehicle.

So, rather than merely differentiate the twofold enlightened family as being the apparitional and emptiness aspects of a single expanse, it is the flawless intention of the all-knowing doctrinal master [Longcenpa] to establish it to be this supreme essence or natural expression which is indivisible, uncorrupted and uncompounded. In the Great Chariot he says:

There are nine similes which reveal as spontaneously present the enlightened attributes of the Buddha’s body of form, deriving from the naturally radiant apparitional aspect of the taintless mind-as-such, the naturally pure essence, the mind in which the genuine pristine cognition of the Buddha originally abides. And the comparison of its emptiness aspect, the enlightened attributes of the body of reality, with the sky is explained in all the sutras and tantras. However, these two are inseparable in the virtuous seed of beginningless reality. This [seed] firstly is called the enlightened family which naturally abides because it is unchanging, and secondly is called the enlightened family of inner growth because enlightened attributes are extensively manifest after the stains have been purified. Yet its root is inner radiance, the pristine cognition which is intrinsic awareness.

Similarly, in the Extensive Sutra of the Commitments (dam-tshig mdo-rgyas), a teaching of the all-seeing Rongzompa, the naturally present pristine cognition in which the ground, path and result are inseparable, is said to be the mind or family of enlightenment:

That which is imperishable like a vajra is the mind of Samantabhadra, unchanging like a vajra, because it naturally contains no distinction between [firstly] the enlightened mind of beginningless time [i.e. the ground], [secondly] the provisional mind which is the causal situation [of the path extending] from the development of enlightened mind to the attainment of the vajra-like contemplation, and [thirdly] the mind of the body of reality along with its actions which is the essence of the result, similar to the Wish-granting Tree and the precious Wish-fulfilling Gem.

These quotations serve to illustrate that all the panditas and accomplished masters of the Ancient Translation School, including the king of the doctrine Terdak Lingpa and his brother, have affirmed the same system exclusively. This can be known in detail from the Lecture Notes on the Nucleus of the Sugata (bde-gshegs snying-po’i stong-thun), the Lion’s Roar in Affirmation of Extrinsic Emptiness (gzhan-stong khas-len seng-ge’i nga-ro) and the Proof of Mind in its Natural State (gnyug-sems sgrub-pa) along with its branches, which are all teachings of the all-knowing Mipham Jampel Gyepa.

The lord of living beings Atisa, too, has determined in conformity with them that the uncompounded expanse of reality, the coalescence of appearance and emptiness, which is empty of imaginary deeds and defilements, and inseparable from the uncorrupted enlightened attributes is the enlightened family [or the nucleus of the tathagata]. In his Song with a View to the Expanse of Reality (Dharmadhatudarsanagiti, T 2314) he says:

Just as the son of a pregnant woman is within her womb
But is not perceived,
So, covered by conflicting emotions,
The expanse of reality is also unperceived.
Since the expanse of reality is not a self,
It [resembles] neither woman nor man;
One should examine just how one clings subjectively
To that which is liberated from all objects.
When the mind is purified by all three actions,
Namely, [the meditations on] impurity, impermanence, and suffering,
The sutras which point out emptiness
Are accordingly spoken by the Conqueror.
Conflicting emotions are reversed by all these topics,
But this seed [of reality] is not diminished.

And also:

The natural expression of reality’s expanse,
Like space is without cause or condition:
Without birth, old age, duration and destruction,
Without being compounded,
The inseparable attributes of the Buddha
And, similarly, the attainment of this enlightened family
Are not false, deceptive or harmful.
They are the original, natural quiescence.

Then, among the esoteric instructions of the dakinl entitled Valid Cognition of the Transmitted Precepts (Ajnasamyakpramana, T 2331) which were introduced from Akanistha by Tilopa, it is said:

Just as a butter lamp within a vase
Does not appear outside,
But if the vase is broken,
The lamplight is visible thereafter,
So is one’s own body like the vase
And inner radiance like the butter lamp:
When well broken by the guru’s instruction,
The pristine cognition of the buddhas becomes radiant.

And in the Ganges Great Seal (phyag-chen ganga-ma, T 2303) which Tilopa imparted to Naropa:

Just as, for example, the nature of space transcends colour and form,
And is uncovered and unchanged by positive and negative values,
So does the nucleus of one’s own mind transcend colour and form,
And is uncovered by positive and negative doctrines of virtue and sin.
As the nucleus of the sun, for example, radiant and clear,
Is not obscured by the darkness of a thousand aeons,
So the inner radiance of the nucleus which is one’s own mind
Cannot be obscured by the samsara of aeons.

Then, in the Teaching Cycle of Lord Maitripa (mnga’-bdag mai-tri-pa’i gdams-skor) there is the Ten Verses on the Real (Tattvadasaka, T 2236) composed by master Advayavajra, which says:

Since you desire to know, the nature of just what is
Is neither represented nor representationless;
Unadorned by the guru’s speech,
Even the Madhyamaka is mediocre.

The great brahman [Saraha] in his Song of Instruction Given to Lord Marpa (mnga’-bdag mar-pa-la gdams-pa’i mgur, DZ Vol. 5) has also said:

Emptiness and compassion are indivisible.
The uninterrupted mind in its natural state
Is the original purity of just what is:
Space is seen in union with space.

The venerable Milarepa has also revealed this in general in Illuminating the Substance of the Aural Lineage (snyan-brgyud dngos-po gsal-byed, DZ Vol.5, pp.443-55) which he gave to Nyiwa Rincen [Gampopa]:198
In every corporeal being

This truth of the nucleus originally abides.
Through it sentient beings have the basis of buddhahood.
When one arrives at the result from the cause,
It is reached primordially, not just presently.

Then, particularly in his Song of Indestructible Reality in Answer to Questions Posed in a Trilogy by the Goddess of Longevity, which is the Root of the Aural Lineage of Ngamdzong (ngams-rdzong snyan-brgyud rtsa-ba tshe-ring skor-gsum-gyi zhus-lan rdo-rje’i mgur, mgur-‘bum, Ch.29), he differentiates between the two truths, which provisionally have synonyms, beginning as follows:

With reference to the ultimate truth,
Due to negation there is not even buddhahood…


With reference to the relative truth,
The Sage has said everything exists,
Both samsara and nirvana.

He then conclusively evokes the expressive power of ultimate reality for which there are no synonyms as follows:

Since appearances in the form of existing substances
And reality which is non-existing emptiness
Are essentially inseparable and of a single savour,
There is not just intrinsic awareness or extrinsic awareness,
But a vast coalescence of everything.

And finally, he literally reveals the way in which the taintless, sublime, pristine cognition is directly perceived in the following verses:

So, one skilled in realisation
Perceives not consciousness but pristine cognition,
Perceives not the apparition of reality, but reality itself,
And thence the force of compassion emerges.
The enlightened attributes of the buddhas,
Including power, fearlessness and retention,
Emerge in the manner of a precious gemstone.
They are the measure of my realisation as a yogin.

Zhang Rinpoche in his Culmination of the Supreme Path (lam-mchog mthar-thug, DZ Vol.5, pp.744-77) has said:

The buddha-body of reality, or the nucleus
Which is the culmination of definitive meaning,
Is the essentially pure expanse of inner radiance.
Whether the conquerors of the three times appear or not,
Whether it is realised by the sublime assembly or not,
Whether it is spoken of by the sages or not,
Whether it is delivered by learned commentators or not,
This reality which is pure unelaborate inner radiance,
Abides from the beginning, spontaneously present,
Without increase or decrease.
Though the skies have been ravaged over many immeasurable aeons
By the conflagrations, whirlwinds and the like
Which create and destroy the world,
The sky is unharmed, without increase or decrease.
Similarly, the radiant sunlight obscured by clouds
Ostensibly varies in the intensity of its radiance
When the thick darkness and cloud mass dissolve,
And yet the nucleus of the sun neither increases nor decreases.
This unchanging buddha-body of reality, which so abides,
Is nothing other than one’s own mind.
The diversity of samsara without exception arises from the mind.
When one’s own mind is not realised,
The suffering of the world of samsara and its contents increases
Through the confusion [caused] by erroneous, bewildered appearances.
When one’s own mind is genuinely realised,
The limitless pristine cognition of nirvana arises as supreme bliss.
Thus, everything without exception issues from one’s own mind-as-such.
If one knows reality in relation to oneself,
One will know reality in relation to all sentient beings.
One who knows that knows all things including nirvana.
One who knows all things completely transcends the three realms.
If that one thing is known, one becomes learned in all things.

The Lord of Conquerors, the venerable Karmapa [III], Rangjung Dorje, has additionally given an extensive explanation of the classification of the enlightened family in accordance with the transmissions of the Supreme Continuum of the Greater Vehicle and the Collection of the Greater Vehicle in his autocommentary on the Profound Inner Meaning (zab-mo nang-don). Therein he says that the enlightened family of inner growth is not to be regarded as newly arising, as is the opinion of some. In such ways he clearly reveals [the family] to comprise both the expanse [of reality] and pristine cognition. That is, the expanse of reality is the enlightened family which naturally abides, and the pristine cognition, pure in respect of the eight aggregates [of consciousness], is the enlightened family of inner growth. Indeed, he proves both of these to be naturally pure in accord with the transmission of the Analysis of the Middle and Extremes (Ch.l, v.17) which he quotes as follows:

Just as water, gold and the sky are pure,
So are [these families] held to be pure.

The same point is also clearly revealed in his Two Short Treatises (gzhung-chung gnyis).

The venerable Karmapa VII [Chodrak Gyamtso] asserts, too, that the expanse or emptiness in which the sixty-four enlightened attributes are inseparable is the emptiness endowed with all supreme aspects. These and the statements made by the All-Knowing Situ [VIII, Dharmakara] and others are renowned among the Kagyupa traditions.

Again, in the Commentary on the Eulogy [entitled Taintless Gem Rosary, i.e. bstod-‘grel, SK Vol.5] which is his culminating personal statement, Sakya Pandita first establishes the way in which the character of the mind is obscured by suddenly arisen stains despite the mind’s naturally pure reality. He then establishes the ways in which the stains can be purified since they are suddenly arisen and buddhahood attained by their removal. At this point, he sets forth the intention of the Collection of Madhyamaka Reasoning (Yuktikaya, T 3824-8) that, with reference to reality, there is no transformation at this moment [of buddhahood], and the intention of the Collection of Eulogies (Stavakaya, T 1118-36) which is that, with reference to the apparitional mode of enlightened attributes, there is transformation [of consciousness into pristine cognition]. Then, after setting forth the viewpoints, one of which holds that these two [intentions] are essentially not contradictory and the other of which holds that there is no pristine cognition in buddhahood, he offers his personal statement, refuting the assertions that there is neither the pristine cognition nor the body of buddhahood, and says that these two [intentions] are inseparable.

Furthermore, in his Answers to the Questions of Nyemo Gomchen (snyi-mo sgom-chen-gyi dris-lan, SK Vol. 5) it is said by way of illustration:

When the mind is realised to be empty, it cannot be estimated according to [the standards set in] the three pitaka and the four tantrapitaka, for that is equivalent to the cessation of the pious attendants; but when it is realised to be coalescence, such an estimation can be made. In the exclusively empty aspect of mind, the Three Precious Jewels are incomplete. In the coalescence of awareness and emptiness, the seed [of buddhahood] is complete, and if the meaning of that coalescence is well realised, [buddhahood] is actualised completely.

He then states that:

After freedom from conceptual elaboration has been established, the coalescence is experientially cultivated.

And also that:

The view assumed during the causal phase is poisonous,
The view assumed during the resultant phase is poisonless…

Regarding this passage, he claims that the former refers merely to freedom from conceptual elaboration, or the emptiness which is analytically appraised by study and thought.The latter, having no use for that, is identical in essence to the pristine cognition of the buddha level, which arises from the empowerment and the two stages [of creation and perfection] and results in the coalescence of bliss and emptiness, and of awareness and emptiness. Such statements are renowned among the glorious Sakyapa.

Again, in the Three Emphases of the Path (lam-gyi gtso-bo mam-gsum, P 6087) of the great being Tsongkapa, the expressive power of ultimate reality without synonyms, in which appearances and emptiness are coalesced, is brought into relief as follows:

Whoever perceives the cause and result
Of all things of samsara and nirvana,
To be always infallible,
And destroys all their referential bases,
At that time enters the path pleasing to the buddhas.
As long as one continues to differentiate
Between the two understandings of
Appearances which are infallibly interdependent
And emptiness which is free from assertions,
One will not yet realise the Sage’s intention.
But when [these understandings] are simultaneous, without alternation,
And if, having merely seen interdependence to be infallible,
True conviction has destroyed all postures of objective clinging,
At that time, the scrutiny of the view is perfected.

Similar passages are found in the all-knowing Tolpo Sangye’s Ocean of Definitive Meaning on Retreat Practice (ri-chos nges-don rgya-mtsho), and in other works.

Despite the mere subtle distinctions provisionally asserted in these [various] philosophical systems, such as concern the degree to which appearances and emptiness are respectively emphasised, and the different delineations of the two truths, in actuality the secret activities which are the intention of great sublime beings who perceive the truth of reality are of a common savour. They are inseparable like water and salt; for, within the space of the supreme pristine cognition, the conclusive ultimate reality which is without synonyms and free from the intellect, the two truths have a common savour. Therefore, [their systems] are not objects to be appraised by the childish intellects of inhibited perception.

The lord Atisa has said:

Since, in the manner of an ocean,
Its depths and other shores are not found
By words, examples and the intellect,
It is the great, profound reality.

And also:

Do not be critical of the doctrine;
One should aspire to what one reveres.

Remembering this, as well as the points expressed in the Short Tantra of Cakrasamvara (Tantrarajasrilaghusamvara, T 368), the Texts of Maitrey a, the Jewel Garland, and other sources, it is clearly of extreme importance that one personally preserve this [understanding].



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