WHeel of Sharp Weapons Part IV Dharmaraksita


(92) O mighty destroyer of selfishness demons,

With Body of Wisdom unchained from all bonds,

Yamantaka come brandish your skull-headed bludgeon

Of egoless wisdom of Voidness and bliss.

Without any misgiving now wield your fierce weapon

And wrathfully swing it three times round your head.


(93) With all of your fierceness come smash this foul enemy!

Burst ego-concepts with your wisdom’s great might!

With your boundless compassion protect us from suffering

The miseries caused by our self-centred actions

Destroy our self-cherishing once and for all!


(94) With all the sufferings that others experience,

Smother completely or selfish concern.

The sufferings of others arise from five poisons;

Thus whichever delusion afflicts other beings

Take it to smother delusions self.


(95) Through we have not a doubt, for we recognise fully

The cause and the root of mistakes we all make,

If there is still left a part of our minds that would tend

To support this delusion of self that we have,

Then destroy the firm hold of this part of our minds

That, against or true wishes, makes fools of us still.


(96) As all that is wrong can be traced to one source:

Our concern for ourselves, whom we cherish the most,

We must meditate now on the kindness of others.

Accepting the suffering that they never wished for,

We must dedicate fully our virtues to all.


(97) Thus accepting ourselves all deluded non-virtuous

Actions that others have done in the past,

In the present and future with mind, speech and body,

May delusions of others as well as our own

Be the favoured conditions to gain our Enlightenment

Just as the peacocks eat poison and thrive.


(98) As crows may be cured after swallowing poison

By a powerful antidote given in time,

Let’s direct to all others our virtuous merit,

That this may replenish their chances for freedom

May all sentient beings reach Buddhahood soon!


(99) Till the time when all motherly beings and I

Gain the perfect conditions for us to be Buddhas,

Though the force of our actions may cause us to wander

Through various realms in the six rebirth states

May we always be able to help one another

To keep our aim find on Enlightenment’s shore.


(100) Then for even the sake of but one sentient being

May we gladly take birth in the three lower states.

With Enlightening Conduct that never grows weak

May we lead al the beings in miserable rebirths

Out of their sufferings and causes for pain.


(101) As soon as we have placed ourselves into their realm

May the guards of the hells come to see us as Gurus,

May the weapons of torture they hold turn to flowers;

May all harm be stilled-peace and happiness grow.


(102) Then may even hell beings develop clairvoyance

And take higher rebirths as men or as gods.

By developing strongly the wish to be Buddhas,

May they pay back our kindness through heeding the


And regard us as Gurus with confident true.


(103) Then may ah sentient beings of the three higher rebirths

Perfect meditation on Egolessness

In this way may they realise the non-self-existence

Of worldly involvement and freedom as well.

May they place concentration on both of these equally,

Seeing their natures as equally void.


(104) If we practise these methods we shall soon overcome

Our true enemies: selfish concern and self-love.

If we practise there methods we shall overcome also

false concepts of ego we hold to be real

Thus by joint meditation on Egolessness

And on non-dual wisdom of Voidness and Bliss,

How can anyone not gain the causes to win

A Buddha’s Physical Body and its fruit, Buddhahood


(105) O mind, understand that the topics discussed here

Are interdependent phenomena all;

For things must rely on dependent-arising

To have an existence-they cannot stand alone,

The process of change is alluring like magic,

For physical form is but mental appearance,

As a torch whirling round seems a circle of flame.


(106) There is nothing substantial to anyone’s life-force

It crumbles apart like a water-soaked log

And there is nothing substantial to anyone’s life-span

It bursts in an instant like bubbles of foam.

All the things of this world are but fog-like appearance;

When closely examined, they out of sight.

Like mirages these things at a distance seem lovely

But when we come closer, they are not to be found.


(107) All things are like images found in a mirror,

And yet we imagine they are real, very real;

All things are like mist or like clouds on a mountain,

And yet we imagine they are stable and firm.

Our foe: our insistence on ego-identities

Truly our own, which we wish were secure,

And our butcher: the selfish concern for ourselves

Like all things there appear to be truly existent,

Though they never have been truly existent at all.


(108) Although they appear to be concrete and real,

They have never been real, any time, anywhere.

They are not things we should burden with ultimate value,

Nor should we deny them their relative truth.

As our grasping for egos and love for ourselves

Lack substantial foundations with true independence,

How can they yield acts that exist by themselves?

And then how can this cruel vicious circle of suffering,

The fruit of these actions, be real from its core?


(109) Although all things thus lack inherent existence,

Yet just as the face of the moon can be seen

In a cup of clear water reflecting its image,

The various aspects of cause and effect

Appear in this relative world as reflections.

So please, in this world of appearances only,

Let’s always be sure what we do is of virtue

And shun all those acts that would cause us great pain.


(110) When our bodies are charred in a horrible nightmare

By the world-ending flames of a stellar explosion,

Although this ordeal is not actually happening

We nevertheless feel great terror and scream.

In similar fashion unfortunate rebirths

In hells or as ghosts are not actually real,

And yet we can fully experience their pain.

Thus fearing such suffering as burning alive,

We must cease all these actions that yield this result.


(111) When our mind are delirious, burning with fever,

Although there is no darkness, we feel we are plummeting

Further and further inside a black pit

With the walls pressing closer the deeper we fall.

In similar fashion, although our dark ignorance

Lacks self-existence, we nevertheless

Must by all means break out of its strangling construction

By putting the three kinds of wisdom to use.


(112) When musicians are playing a beautiful melody,

Should we examine the sound they are making

We would see that it does not exist by itself.

But when we are not making our formal analysis,

Still there is a beautiful tune to be heard,

Which is merely a label on notes and on players

That is why lovely music can lighten sad hearts.


(113) When we closely examine effects and their causes,

We see that they both lack inherent existence

They cannot stand alone, either whole or apart

Yet there seem to exist independently rising

And falling events, which, in fact, are conditioned

By various forces, components and parts,

It is this very level on which we experience

Birth and our death and whatever life brings.

So please, in this world of appearances only,

Let’s always be sure what we do is of virtue

And shun all their acts that would cause ns great pain.


(114) When a vase has been filled by the dripping of water,

The first drops themselves did not fill it alone;

Nor was it made full by the last several drops.

It was filled by an interdependent collection

Of causes and forces that came all together

The water, the pourer, the vase and such things.


(115) It is precisely the same when we come to experience

Pleasure and pain: the results of our past

Effects never come from the first causal actions,

Nor do they arise from the last several acts.

Both pleasure and pain come from interdependent

Collections of forces and causes combined.

So please, in this world of appearances only,

Let’s always be sure what we do is of virtue

And shun all their acts that would cause us great pain.


(116) When not making formal dissections with logic,

Merely letting life’s happening flow freely on,

Although we experience feelings of pleasure,

In ultimate truth the appearance of happiness

Lacks self-existence inherently real.

And yet on the everyday operative level

This seeming appearance has relative truth.

To understand fully this deep profound meaning

For slow-minded persons, alas, will be hard.


(117) And now when we try to do close contemplation

On Voidness, how can we have even a feeling

Of conventional truth at the very same time?

Yet what can there be that has true self-existence;

And what can there be that lacks relative truth?

How can anyone anywhere believe in such things?


(118) Just as objects of Voidness are non-self-existent,

The Voidness of objects itself is the same.

The shunning of vice and the practice of virtue

Are like wise devoid of all mantel constructions

That they are independent, self-contained acts

In fact, on the whole, they are lacking completely

All mental projections and an pre-conceptions.

Thus if we can focus our clear concentration

On Voidness without our mind wandering astray,

Then truly we shall come to be wondrous beings

With a deep understanding of the most profound Void.


(119) By practising this way the two Bodhicittas,

Of the ultimate and the conventional truth,

And thus by completing without interference

Collections of insight and merit as wall,

May all of us quickly attain Full Enlightenment

Granting what we and all others have wished.




This work has been translated from Sanskrit into Tibetan by the fatherly Atisa himself and his spiritual hBrom-ston-pa.

This translation of the Tibetan Theg-pa-chen-pohi-blo-sbyong-mtson-cha-hkhor-lo into English has been prepared by Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey, Sharpa TulLu, Khamlung Tulku, Alexander Berzin and Jonathan Landaw at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, at the Headquarters of His Holiness the Dalai Lime, Dharamsala, India.




Yamantaka is the wrathful aspect of Manjusri, the emanation of the wisdom of the Buddhas. Yamantaka’s wrath is directed against selfishness, self-cherishing attitudes, ego grasping and gaping for true independent existence. These ignorant attitudes take the life of our chance to gain Enlightenment, and thus Yamantaka’s wrath is opposed to the Great Lord of Death.



Bodhisattvas, or brave Ones, Sons of the Buddhas, are those beings who have the enlightened Attitude (Bodhicitta) to work towards the attainment of Buddhahood, that is Enlightenment, for the sake of all beings. There are five points of similarity between Bodhisattvas and peacocks. Just as the colours of the peacocks’ feathers grow more radiantly brilliant when they eat plants that me poisonous to other animals, Bodhisattvas shine with blissful happiness by making use of such poisonous delusions a desire and attachment for the benefit of others. Just as peacocks have five crown fathers, Bodhisattvas have the attainment of the five graded paths for enlightenment. Just as the sight of a peacock’s colourful display gives us great pleasure, the sight of a Bodhisattva uplifts our mind because of his Bodhicitta. Just as peacocks live moldy on poisonous plants and never at insects or cause others harm, Bodhisattvas never cause even the slightest harm to other sentient beings. Just as peacocks eat poisonous plants with pleasure, when Bodhisattvas are offered sensory objects, although they have no attachment for these objects, they accept them with pleasure to allow the donor to gain merit from his offering.



There are three levels of training of the mind according to the three levels of motivation outlined in the ‘Lam-rim’ teaching of the ‘Graded Course to Enlightenment’. On the initial level of motivation, we work to attain a better future rebirth. On the intermediate level, we work to attain Liberation (Nirvana) from the vicious circle of rebirth (samsara) for ourselves alone. On the advanced level, as a follower of the Mahayana path, with Bodhicitta motivation we work to attain the Pun enlightenment of Buddhahood for the benefit of all beings. The word ‘now’ in the text indicates the importance of practising the teachings with the advanced level of motivation, having previously trained our mind along the ‘Graded Course’.



With the advanced level motivation, there are two ways in which we can follow the Mahayana path. By following the Perfection Vehicle (Paramitayana), it may take many life times before we reach our goal of Enlightenment. By following the Tantra Vehicle (Vajrayana), however, we may attain Enlightenment within one human lifetime. The word ‘here’ in the text indicates the immediacy of practising the tantra path with an especially strong Bodhicitta motivation.



The tantra system teaches many methods for the speedy attainment of Enlightenment. Included among there is the use as a path of the normally poisonous delusions. In order to use delusions, such as lustful desire, as a path, however, we must first be devoid of the self-cherishing attitude, that the greedy attachment to our own self-interest. In addition we must have a sound understanding of Voidness the fact that all things, including ourselves, lack a truly independent manner of existence. To use delusions as a path without these two prerequisites is extremely dangerous and, far from achieving our intended goal, we may completely destroy our chance for attaining Enlightenment.



Any of the delusions may be used in the tantra system as an actual path to Enlightenment. In the Perfection Vehicle, the delusions may only be used pr a method for directly benefiting others when the circumstances demand it. They may not, however be practised as an actual path.



The Three Jewels of Refuge are Buddha, his teachings (Dharma), and the monastic community (Sangha) of those who understand end practise these teachings. The Three Jewels of Refuge are also referred to as the Three Precious Gems or the Triple Gem.



The practice of tantra requires receiving initiations. These entail the taking of rows concerning moral conduct and the giving of your sacred word of honour to follow the tantric practices in the prescribed manner.



Cause and effect describes the universal law of karma where by virtuous actions result in happiness end non-virtuous actions in suffering.



The practice from Guru-devotion to tantra defines the range of the ‘Graded Course to Enlightenment’; of above, note 3.



Images of Buddha and the various meditational deities representing different aspects of the Buddhas’ Enlightenment have an important use in both the Perfection end Tantra Vehicles. They are used as meditative aids for developing single-minded concentration (samadhi). By using such images as objects of devotion, we collect the merit to attain the Physical Body of a Buddha.



It is never possible for us to experience the consequences of the non-virtuous actions of others. Whatever suffering we have must be the result of non-virtuous actions we ourselves have committed in the pest.



The six realms of existence are divided into the three higher and the three lower states. The three lower unfortunate states of re-birth are those of the hell creatures, hungry ghosts (preta) and animals. The three higher fortunate states of rebirth are those of the gods, anti-gods (asura) and humans.



We request Yamantaka to turn the wheel of sharp weapons three times. These three refer to (1) the conventional or relative level of truth on which conventional Bodhicitta operates as the means for leading both self and others a Enlightenment; (2) the ultimate level of truth on which ultimate Bodhicitta functions as the wisdom understanding Voidness and (3) these two levels or grades of truth realised together.



The four great opponents eliminate the necessity for us to experience the unfortunate consequences of our previously committed non-virtuous actions. These fore are (1) feeling regret and disgust with our non-virtue; (2) taking refuge in the Three Jewels of Refuge and meditating on Bodhicitta; (3) offering our promise never to commit such non-virtue again and (4) performing and dedicating the merit of virtuous actions for the benefit of all sentient beings.



Mantras are words of power, combinations of Sanskrit syllables used r invocations.



Hum, dza and p’a (spelled ‘phat’) are mantric seed syllables. The first repetition of each is for conventional Bodhicitta, the opponent for our self-cherishing attitude. The second repetition is for ultimate Bodhicitta, which destroys our ego-grasping.



The sack of our body is filled with the five poisonous delusions of longing desire, fearful and angered repulsion, closed-minded ignorance, arrogant pride and jealousy.



The ‘Three Baskets’ (‘Tripitaka’) of Buddha’s teachings concern disciplined morality (vinaya), discourses on meditation (sutra), and philosophy and metaphysics (abhidharma).



We request Yamantaka to swing three times round his head his skull-headed bludgeon representing both the wisdom of Egolessness, common to both the perfection and Tantra Vehicles, as well the non-dual wisdom of Voidness and Bliss. The three-times he swings this bludgeon destroy (1) ego-grasping, (2) our self-cherishing attitude and (3) our defiled bodies of delusion by these tow types of ignorance.



The three kinds of wisdom can refer either to the wisdoms of acquaintaine, contemplation and meditation, or to intellectual, conceptual and non-conceptual wisdoms.




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