Lion’s Roar Proclaiming Extrinsic Emptiness
by Mipham Rinpoche
Namo Guru Manjusriye.
Respectfully I bow to the lion among men, the Friend of the Sun,
To the great compassionate Maitreya, Asanga, and their lineage,
And to the one who makes the fearless lions roar in Tibet!
The secret treasure of infinite victors and their scions,
The essential nectar of instructions of sutras and tantras of definitive meaning,
The finest of the experience and realization of
The learned and accomplished ones of India and Tibet:
Here I will explain a little of the profound Madhyamika view.
Here, the philosophers of extrinsic emptiness take the sutras of the final turning, which teach the irreversible, fearless, permanent path of the Victor’s teaching of definitive meaning, the Mahayanottaratantrasastra, which is the teaching of the regent Maitreya, the lord of the tenth bhumi, the profound meanings taught by the sublime Asanga and his brother, the scriptural commentaries on the definitive meaning such as the Lord Nagarjuna’s hymnic corpus, the tantras, such as the glorious Kalacakra, as well as their interpretive commentaries (dgongs ‘grel), which elucidate them, such as the three cycles of commentaries on mind (sems ‘grel skor gsurn), as having the same essential significance. Although this [extrinsic emptiness], which causes one to enter the textual system of the great Madhyamaka of profound and definitive meaning, has an extremely profound and vast intention underlying it, nowadays those who undertake to expound philosophy say whatever comes into their mind in this regard, whether they understand it or not. They are extremely deluded.
Now, to say a little bit about this system. In order to understand definitively the philosophical system of extrinsic emptiness, one must first understand the absence of inherent existence according to the texts of Nagarjuna. If one does not understand this, one will not understand how deceptive reality is empty with respect to itself, and how ultimate reality is empty with respect to the other. So, one must first understand for oneself the absence of conceptual elaborations.
Having realized the ultimate reality that is free of elaboration by means of subjective (yul can) non-conceptual gnosis, the subject and object that are concordant with respect to the abiding nature of things and the way things appear are together called "ultimate" (paramartha = don dam), and the subject and object for which abiding nature and appearance are discordant are called "superficial" (samvrti = kun rdzob). If one analyzes with a conventional validating cognition, they are, respectively, nonmistaken and mistaken, or nondelusory and delusory. So, whatever is neither mistaken nor delusory is ultimate, and the other is considered deceptive.
Both of these ways of positing the two truths—the well-known distinction of appearance and emptiness, and the harmony and discordance of the abiding and apparent natures as just explained—were originally explained in the sutras and great treatises. These are not the original creations of the philosophers of extrinsic emptiness. They were explained in the Dharmadharmatavibbanga and in the Mahayanottaratantra:
It is empty of adventitious elements,
Which have the character of being differentiable;
It is not empty of the unsurpassable dharmas,
Which have the character of being nondifferentiable.
And, in its commentary:
The Buddha essence is capable of being differentiated and separated; it is empty of the shell of negative emotions. It is not empty of the Buddha qualities, which are not differentiable, not separate, and are more numerous than the sands in the river Ganges.
The great system-builder Nagarjuna said:
Just as the stains on a fireproof cloth
That is sullied by various stains
Are consumed when the cloth is placed in fire
While the cloth itself is not,
Likewise the stains of the luminous mind
Are consumed in the fire of wisdom;
They are not luminous.
All the sutras on emptiness
Taught by the Victor
Counteract negative emotions;
They do not harm that element [of luminosity].
The Dharma king, the awareness-holder Manjusrikirti said:
The emptiness [that results from] analysis of the aggregates
Is without essence, like the plantain tree;
The emptiness supremely endowed with qualities
Is not like that.
Thus, the statement "not empty from its own side" must by all means be understood in terms of the latter way of positing the two truths; this means that it should be understood in terms of the position of the two truths being mutually exclusive, where one is the negation of the other (gcig la gcig dkag). It must never be understood according to the manner of positing the two truths as different isolates of the same essence (ngo bo gcig dang Idog pa tha dad). Accordingly, the delusory appearances of the discordance of abiding nature and appearance appear from the perspective of delusion; because they are not established that way in reality, they are considered deceptive. The other [namely, the ultimate truth] is established as it appears from a nondeluded perspective; since it is not invalidated by valid cognition, it is said to exist ultimately and to be truly established.
This [ultimate truth] does not have to be a truly established appearance that is separate from emptiness. Being established from the very beginning as the emptiness supremely endowed with qualities—the coalescence of the expanse of phenomena and emptiness—it has already been accepted as the ultimate reality that is the nature of things. Thus, such an ultimate is not empty from its own side. To take a conventional example, a coiled rope is ultimate reality; a snake should be posited as deceptive reality in relation to it. They should be differentiated as conventionally established and nonestablished, respectively, as it is impossible for them to be either both false or both true.
Thus, the ultimate is not empty of its own essence, because the ultimate has both a nondeluded subject and a nondelusory object, because what exists there cannot be invalidated (gnod pa) by a valid cognition that proves otherwise, because it is what is proven after the reasoning establishing emptiness has already been applied, and because in establishing it according to conventional validating cognition, no one in this world, including the gods, can dispute it in accordance with the Dharma.
Since the ultimate is true and nonmistaken from its own side, it is never empty of dharmas that exist in that way; if it were empty, there would have to be some valid cognition that posited it as deluded and untrue, and that is impossible. If it were possible, and the peace of nirvana were unreliable, then this position would, except for devils and tirthikas bereft of valid cognition, not be something for those with faith in this teaching to expound.
This ultimate reality that is the nature of things exists primordially in this way, but the deluded perceptions that do not realize it are validly established as untrue and deluded and in this context are called "deceptive" (samvrti = kun rdzob), which accords with the meaning of the word [samvrti], which is "having obscurations." So, the ultimate is empty of that deception; it is empty of the very subject and object that comprise the deluded perceptions that are termed "deceptive." For example, a rope is empty of being a snake.
Thus, one is very much compelled to accept [this position]. According to other philosophical systems that claim to refute extrinsic emptiness, truthlessness [in Gelug Prasangika] is the probandum of an ultimate analysis, but one should not take it [i.e., truthlessness] as a negandum. Likewise, [according to other Prasangikas such as Go ram pa,] non-elaboration is the probandum of ultimate reasoning but is not a negandum. So, [according to these interpretations,] if one does not uphold the position of truthlessness and the absence of elaboration, one will not be able to establish anything as "our own philosophical system." Moreover, if ultimate reality were empty of its own essence just like deceptive reality, then one would not be able to establish the ultimate as nondelusory and as the abiding nature of things, nor would one be able to establish deceptive reality as delusory and not established by way of its own essence—for emptiness is here understood in terms of what kind of empty basis is empty of what kind of dharma (chos).
If ultimate reality were empty from its own side, there would be no way to distinguish between deluded and nondeluded appearances by means of a valid cognition of truth and falsity, and it would be just like the rope and snake being either both existent or both non-existent. That emptiness of deceptive phenomena definitely qualifies as emptiness, because that true existence [that is negated in relation to conventional phenomena in the Gelug Prasangika system] is not established, and because the apprehension of true existence is a deluded cognition that is misleading and [causes] wandering in samsara. Thus, since that delusory subject and object [bound up with the misapprehension of true existence] are both considered deceptive reality in this context [of intrinsic emptiness], and since [the ultimate] is empty of them [from the perspective of gnosis], if the fact of [ultimate reality] being empty of that [deluded dichotomy of subject and object] did not qualify as emptiness, then the emptiness of true existence would also not qualify as emptiness, and the elimination of the apprehension of true existence would not qualify as meditation on emptiness.
So emptiness, which is the absence of subject and object [established] with respect to the elimination of the elaborations of object and object-possessor, is perfectly complete in this system. Since all elaborations of the dualistic perception of subject and object are comprised by the delusory object and object-possessor, in this context they are posited as deceptive reality. If the fact of ultimate reality being empty of that [subject-object dichotomy] did not qualify as emptiness, then the absence of elaboration would not qualify as emptiness, and the mind that meditates on non-elaboration would not qualify as meditation on emptiness, either. "Well, isn’t that ultimate not truly existent and free of elaboration?" How could something that is neither nontruly-existent nor nonelaborated be the ultimate? It is the same as the case of deceptive reality [as considered in our system, for we, like you, accept that true existence does not even conventionally exist]. "Well, if the ultimate is not truly existent and empty, then how can you say that it is truly existent and not empty from its own side?" Here you have utterly failed to understand that, in this context, true existence and non-emptiness exist and are established from the perspective of conventional validating cognition, so this is just ignorant quibbling on your part.
"Well, then aren’t you saying that it is both truly existent and not truly existent, and both emptiness and non-emptiness?" How could that be? You consider appearance to be deceptive reality, and emptiness to be ultimate reality. Just as you consider it inappropriate to eliminate truthlessness and non-elaboration when analyzing ultimate reality, in our system, which considers delusion as deceptive reality and nondelusion as ultimate reality, we do not think it appropriate to negate the nondelusory nature of the ultimate, nor to establish nondelusion as true. Thus, the great system-builder Asanga [sic] said, "When something does not exist in something else, that something is empty of it; whatever is left over there exists."
Thus, when establishing a system (gzhung) of proof and refutation, one must by all means refute what is not established by reasoning, and one should accept what is proven by reasoning, without refuting it. If one were to refute everything, one would reverse the valid cognitions that establish the difference between authentic and inauthentic signifying dharmas (rjod byed chos) and signified meanings (brjod bya’i chos), and it would be impossible to develop any kind of certitude whatsoever.
"Well, don’t you have a position about the object of individual cognition, the dharmadhatu that is beyond refutation and proof?" Why do you say that? one should ask. "Because you set forth a system that, on the one hand, negates a negandum and, on the other hand, has a position of establishing a probandum, and thus you abide in a state that reifies something without claiming to negate everything."
Since the dharmadhatu that is realized in an individual’s experience is beyond refutation and proof, this we accept as the ultimate reality. In the present context [of extrinsic emptiness], such an ultimate, which is already established [for you, as well as for us], is conventionally established to exist as the ultimate, so these two [positions] of refuting one thing and establishing another are not contradictory. If we did not have this position, which proves that ultimate reality is conventionally not empty of its own essence, then the ultimate that is free of refutation and proof would be non-existent [conventionally]. Therefore, just as reversing the conventional position that things have no inherent existence would be tantamount to establishing that they do have inherent existence, if it were not proven that ultimate reality is not empty from its own side, then that ultimate would not be ultimate, but deceptive.
Given that it is already established that the ultimate is not truly existent from its own side and is without elaboration, one might think that the verbal expression "the ultimate is not empty from its own side" disqualifies it from being empty and is the untenable view that existence and peace are not equal and that the ultimate is isolated (rkyang pa), permanent (rtag pa), and unchanging (ther zug). This, however, is a case of not having even a partial understanding of this great philosophical system.
According to the position that emptiness is the absence of true existence and is free of elaboration, how could it have true existence or elaboration? The mere statement that the ultimate is established as the ultimate is a conventional distinction about what is empty and not empty by means of showing that [ultimate reality] is not deceptive reality; this [conventional distinction between ultimate and relative] is the probandum here. If to accept this [distinction] conventionally were to hold a view that reified emptiness as a thing, then to accept the absence of true existence would be to hold an untenable view clinging to emptiness as a nonthing, and to accept non-elaboration would also be to hold an untenable view reifying emptiness as an inexpressible thing.
In brief, in this context [of extrinsic emptiness] the bases of the designations of ultimate and deceptive are, respectively, the absence of delusion and the distinct apprehension of objects by subjects that are deluded about them. The nondelusory ultimate is the object of a nondeluded mind, is true, and is accepted as being empty of the delusion of deceptive reality. Conventionally, it is not empty [of truth], because it is held to be the experience of sublime beings.
If the ultimate were empty from its own side, then it would not be possible to posit it as the basis for the emptiness of deceptive reality. Since it would not be possible to determine the difference between what exists and what does not exist as an object of sublime perception, the ultimate would not be the ultimate, and the deceptive would not be deceptive but would be entirely on the same level as the ultimate.
Therefore, it is completely inappropriate not to accept this position. Whatever faults are found therein would equally apply to the position of those who expound emptiness as truthlessness or non-elaboration. Also, it is not the case— since samsara and nirvana here have become different [because of being] non-existent and existent, respectively—that there is no equality of existence and peace (srid zhi mnyam nyid). It is utterly impossible even conventionally for [something to be] both a deluded samsara and a nondeluded nirvana. Though samsara appears, it does not exist as such; the nature of samsara is the originally pure ultimate reality that abides in great nirvana, and this is the probandum here, which is termed "the equality of existence and peace." In any system where all phenomena abide primordially in the ultimate expanse, this is called "the equality of existence and peace." There is no position whereby samsara and nirvana have a common basis. Also, the ultimate is not empty of being the ultimate, because if the ultimate were empty of itself, it would not be ultimate, but would become the deluded appearances of deceptive reality.
Listen, you [Gelugpas] who would vehemently dispute this philosophical position! Don’t you say that a vase is not empty of being a vase, but is empty of true existence? If it is reasonable to accept that all conventionally existent dharmas are not empty of themselves but are empty of something else—true existence—then you must also accept the position that the ultimate is not empty of being the ultimate, together with the reasoning [that establishes that position, because "ultimate" is no less a conventionality than "vase," etc.]!
"If the ultimate is not empty of being the ultimate, then it would not be empty of true existence"—but the same could be said of vases, etc. Thus, although our ultimate is not empty of being the ultimate, since it is empty of deceptive reality, it goes without saying that it is empty of true existence, [which is a] false, deluded appearance. If the fact that we accept that it is empty of all dualistic appearances of deceptive reality [which are constituted by the misperception of true existence] does not qualify our [conception of ultimate reality] as empty, then how could the elimination of the superimposed, isolated object of true existence—which is not empty of all dualistic phenomena of deceptive reality—possibly qualify as emptiness? Just as you say that true existence is negated, but truthlessness never can nor should be negated, likewise we negate the deluded appearances of deceptive reality, [but maintain that] the nondelusory ultimate never can nor should be negated.
In brief, in your line of reasoning that establishes truthlessness without negating deceptive reality, the basis [for the designation] of emptiness (stong gzhi) winds up being deceptive reality, so ultimate reality is not empty of deceptive reality. We say that the basis [for the designation] of emptiness is ultimate reality, and that it is empty of deceptive reality. You maintain an ascertained (phyang chad) emptiness, which is the emptiness of true existence, with respect to a basis of emptiness, which is truthlessness as absolute negation; and [you maintain] an ascertained deceptive appearance, which is not empty from its own side, but is empty of an extrinsic (yan gar ba) true existence. [Thus, in your system] appearance and emptiness, as bases of emptiness, are never mixed together, and the equality of existence and peace is utterly impossible in either of the two levels of truth. Therefore, please look into the important details of this point.
In our system, both objective emptiness and the subject, which is gnosis, are ultimate. In the final analysis, both of these are the nondifference of the two truths of appearance and emptiness, so the ultimate expanse of phenomena is not an ascertained emptiness. It is not empty of the inseparable Buddha bodies and gnoses, and abides as the primordial, spontaneously present essence body (ngo bo nyid sku = svabhakaya). Your ultimate, which is the ascertained emptiness of absolute negation, is a nonentity (dngos med) that is distinct from conventional appearances; it will never, ever be endowed with even a fragment of the Buddha bodies and gnoses. The conventional appearances that are different from it exist, but they are of no use [for understanding] that emptiness, because [appearances and emptiness] are utterly incapable of being combined. Thus, since the object of the root of samsara—which is the apprehension of true existence—does not exist, the subject and object both are deceptive delusions, so in your system deceptive reality should be considered as just true existence and the apprehension of true existence.
[In your system] conventional appearances are not ultimate, because they are not emptiness, and they are not deceptive reality, because they are nondeluded appearances or are immune to ultimate analysis—because, although they are not immune to analysis with respect to true existence, they are immune to analysis insofar as they are not conventionally empty from their own side. Thus, truthlessness and all conventions would be ultimate reality, true existence alone would be deceptive reality, and the apprehension of true existence would be a substantial entity, like vases and so forth.
Though it is reasonable to assert that the object of truly existing appearance and the subject of apprehending true existence together are the deceptive reality wherein the abiding nature of things and appearances are discordant, and that truthlessness and the apprehension of truthlessness are the ultimate wherein abiding nature and appearance are concordant, it is not reasonable to assert that both subject and object without dualistic appearance are the ultimate, and that the existence [of dualistic appearance] is deceptive reality. If vases and so on were not empty from their own side, the dualistic appearance of existents and the mind that apprehends duality would become the subject and object wherein abiding nature and appearance are concordant, and the absence of dualistic appearances and the apprehension of duality would become delusion, wherein abiding nature and appearance are discordant.
In brief, in your system the rational negandum is only true existence; to meditate on emptiness is to abandon only appearances of true existence and the apprehension of true existence, and nothing else.
"In the meditative absorption of those training on the sublime paths (‘phags slob kyi mnyam bzhag), why shouldn’t all deceptive appearances empty of true existence be nonapparent? Though they are not objects of rational negation, they are negated on the path, and cease to appear."
That path, which is like a shade tree, causes existent things not to appear. If the fact of non-existence appears, why can one not see what exists? Because one sees their non-existence! As it is said, "What is this form of darkness?" Such a path is amazing!
In our system, when the ultimate is seen directly, the domain (gocara. = spyod yul) is non-conceptual wisdom without the dualistic appearance of subject and object. How can it have the appearance of true existence or the apprehension of true existence? How can it have the objects of elaboration and elaborations [about them]? This is designated as the ultimate. Taking that nondeluded ultimate as the basis of emptiness, it is said that it is empty of the subject and object that comprise the deluded samsaric appearances of deceptive reality.
Though the the ultimate essence is beyond elaborations,
When establishing the ultimate, our position is that
What is ultimate and what is deceptive
Are differentiated as nondelusion and delusion;
What is wrong with that?
Although all dharmas are unelaborated because they have no inherent existence,
Those who refute non-elaboration and focus on absolute negation
Maintain a one-sided position of "absence of inherent existence";
They hold these words alone as their philosophical refuge.
But, by taking the position of "truthlessness,"
Even though they do not wish to accept the position
That the ultimate is not empty from its own side,
They cannot avoid it.
If one explains that ultimate reality is not empty from its own side,
It is good to establish the ultimate as the ultimate;
If one were to explain that a vase is not empty from its own side,
All dharmas would be non-empty, would be seen as permanent,
And emptiness would be a trivial nonsubstantiality—
Thus one would establish the basis of the view as a dichotomy of permanence and annihilation.
If the ultimate is established and known by conventional valid cognition
As permanent, real, and non-empty,
One seizes all qualities of the path and eliminates
All base views that cling to the extremes of permanence and impermanence.
"Whatever is permanent is not necessarily a view of permanence,
And whatever is annihilated is not necessarily the extreme of annihilation;
Whatever is existent is not necessarily the extreme of existence,
And whatever is not existent is not necessarily the extreme of non-existence"—
This is [universally] accepted by Tibetans renowned as scholars.
Thus, if one analyzes well with conventional valid cognition,
One can realize with a discriminating mind whether
Permanence, impermanence, emptiness, non-emptiness,
Reality, unreality, existence, and non-existence are extremes.
For the gnosis that analyzes the final ultimate
There are no elaborations of existence, non-existence, and so forth;
This is accepted by all the learned and accomplished philosophers of extrinsic emptiness.
Your position is that, even from the perspective of an ultimate analysis,
There is an elaboration of "truthlessness";
If something exists from the perspective of an ultimate analysis,
And is the object of sublime perception,
Why should it be contradictory to say that it is
Not empty, truly existent, and perceived as such?
Therefore, what contradiction is there in explaining this according to how it is imagined?
If the perception of truthlessness were empty of truthlessness,
How would that be any different than not seeing truthlessness at all?
If you think that truthlessness is seen as empty,
Then why not see a vase and so forth as empty?
You think that vases and so on are empty of true existence but not of themselves—
For if they were, vases and so forth would not exist conventionally—
But why would this be any different than saying that
From the perspective of seeing the ultimate, the ultimate is not empty?
In brief, if someone should ask, "What is the meaning of the statement The ultimate is not empty from its own side’?" we reply that it means that the ultimate reality is not empty of being the ultimate reality. To this they reply, "Then, the ultimate would be truly existent," [to which we reply,] "But if a vase is not empty of being a vase, it would be truly existent!" Now they ask, "If a vase were empty of being a vase, then that vase would become a non-vase, so why wouldn’t the vase become conventionally non-existent?" Indeed, it would. Thus, if the ultimate reality were empty of being the ultimate reality, the ultimate reality would become nonultimate reality, [for] this would be the same as the ultimate being conventionally non-existent.
Therefore, if it is reasonable for truthlessness, non-elaboration, emptiness, and the ultimate to be accepted as the probanda of an ultimate rational cognition, but unreasonable for them to be accepted as neganda [of such a cognition], then you must definitely assert that truthlessness and so forth exist. The fact that you do not accept their non-existence means that you accept that [in the perspective of conventional validating cognition] the ultimate and emptiness are true, existent, and non-empty, and do not accept that they are untrue, non-existent, and empty.
The pristine cognition of the equipoise that sees the ultimate must see, apprehend, have as objects, and accept as real the aforementioned truthlessness and so forth. Therefore, it would be wrong to claim that pristine cognition does not see, apprehend, have as an object, or witness the non-existence of that [truthlessness], etc. Everyone accepts that ultimate emptiness is the perspective of sublime vision, exists, is established as true, and so forth.
"If it is accepted as truly existing, clinging to emptiness as true will not be eliminated"—but [you also say] it is not appropriate to negate clinging to it as conventionally true. The thought that what is [in fact] true is established as such is not the clinging to truth (bden ‘dzin) that should be eliminated by reasoning or the path, just as apprehending truthlessness as truthlessness is not a negandum.
A true existence that is immune to an ultimate analysis is not something that needs to be analyzed here, for it has already been determined [as false] by the reasoning that establishes the ultimate, and because the emptiness of true existence is included in the explanation of the [ultimate] being empty of deceptive reality. Thus, just as you say that although there is no true existence in truthlessness, the apprehension of truthlessness should never be eliminated, in quite the same way [we assert that] although it is empty of dharmas that are immune to ultimate analysis, the apprehension of that ultimate per se is truly established and not empty of its own essence, is not something to eliminate.
Just as you assert that by analyzing with an ultimate analysis nothing is found to be immune to analysis, and that no dharma that is not negated by such analysis is ultimately established, you likewise maintain that true existence is the only negandum of rational cognition that analyzes the ultimate, and is abandoned by non-conceptual gnosis. [You also say that] if one were to assert that anything that is reified as a dharma is to be negated and abandoned by those two [viz., by analysis and gnosis], that would be the extremely wrong view of Hashang. According to that position, rational cognition (rig shes) and pristine cognition (ye shes) negate and abandon, respectively, the dualistic appearances of deceptive reality. But this establishes well the fact that the objective ultimate that is empty of deceptive reality, the subjective (yul can) pristine cognition, and the ultimate dharmas that are seen by pristine cognition are not negated or abandoned. If all objects (dmigs pa) were always taken as objects of negation and abandonment, all dharmas in their multiplicity and mode of existence (ji lta ba dang ji snyed pa’i chos thams cad) would be the neganda of reasoning and the path, and that would result in a spacelike nihilistic emptiness of complete nothingness.
Thus, by disavowing our position, all those Tibetans who look down on this theory established by exponents of extrinsic emptiness wind up establishing all the theories of extrinsic emptiness automatically. Thus whatever is existent, whatever is non-existent, whatever is real, and whatever is non-empty are not necessarily extremes; nor are all minds that apprehend [things in those ways] the apprehension of extremes. As it is said:
The Buddha thoroughly comprehends what exists as existent,
And what does not exist as non-existent.
Modes of existence, modes of non-existence, what is truly existent and non-existent, what is empty and non-empty, and so forth, are differentiated and systematized by the analytical wisdom of meditative aftermath (rjes thob shan ‘byed pa’i shes rab). As these are established by the valid cognition that investigates the meaning of whatever exists, without confusing any conventionalities and differentiating each [phenomenon], they are not objects of negation.
The supreme protector, Lion of the Sakyas,
Sounded this lion’s roar to his fearless retinue,
Gratifying those who found confidence in it
With prophesies [of irreversibility].
The rivers of the intentions of
The lord of the tenth bhumi, the regent Ajita,
And those dwellers on sublime ground, Nagarjuna and Asanga,
Are united in the expanse of gnosis;
Any contradictions seen therein
Are just the faults of one’s own mind.
Although all dharmas are empty of essence,
The element of luminosity, the bodies, and gnosis
Are spontaneously present, like the sun and its rays.
The meaning of the Great Madhyamaka, the coalescence of appearance and emptiness,
Is not deceptive for sublime perception, and is the ultimate truth.
The dualistic appearances of conventional reality are deceptive delusions;
Opening the eyes of wisdom that discern modes of existence and appearance,
This excellent, supreme explanation is like a bejeweled lamp.
For that reason intelligent, honest, and fortunate ones
Will develop eyes to see this profound meaning;
Dwelling in the mansion of the essence of definitive meaning,
May they be rich with the joys of benefiting themselves and others!
Like the fresh brilliance of the harvest moon, may the virtue of this effort
Permanently banish the burning torment of the five degenerations;
May the lily garden of the scriptures and realizations of the Lord of Sages
Explode into blossom, and may the ocean of liberation swell!
In all my lives may I be protected by the Gentle Lord (jam mgon bla ma)
And perfect my skill in scriptures, reasoning, and personal instructions;
From the heights of the peak of the supreme vehicle,
May I proclaim this fearless lion’s roar!
To this, the essential abbreviated kernel of a composition spoken by the unique lion among Tibetan philosophers, the Lord Lama, the omniscient Mipham ‘Jam dpal dGyes pa’i rdo rje, I added my own words as the introductory and concluding verses. It was edited (zhal bshus) by ‘Jam dbyang bLo gros rgya mtsho at his residence, the college of glorious Shechen Tennyi Dargye Ling. May this cause the tradition of the Great Madhyamaka of definitive meaning to spread in all directions, and to persist!
May all Beings benefit !