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Guru Rimpoche, Padma-Sambhava- Wall painting at Wangdue Phodrang dzong. Colours are made clearer and brighter.
Padma-Sambhava depicted

Long ago a non-Buddhist king gathered his army and sent four high non-Buddhist priests with many hundred followers to Bodh Gaya, the place where Gautama Buddha had sat down by a banyan tree and got Enlightened. The four priests were to prepare the way for overthrowing Buddhism. Each of the four high priests challenged the Buddhists there to public debate, saying,

"If you are defeated by us, you will have to join our faith. And, if you defeat us, we will become Buddhists."

The four chief scholars of the Buddhists said among themselves, "We may defeat them in debate, but we cannot overcome their occult powers."

Right then came a blue-coloured fairy lady (dakini) with a broom in her hand and said,

"If you compete with the non-Buddhists, you will not be successful. But there is one who can defeat them. I will go and fetch him." With these words she disappeared.

Next morning at dawn, Padma came to the palace. He came gliding down like a great bird, and at once entered into contemplation. While he was meditating, the Buddhists sounded their drums, preparing for the great day. And when the sun rose, Padma flew over Bodh-Gaya, and the non-Buddhists said,

"Call in that inferior guy, for should we fail to nip him in the bud, our religion may suffer. So we have to subdue him."

All the most learned non-Buddhists gathered. Each of them had magical powers. Padma started to debate various subjects with the non-Buddhists, and kept winning.

Next non-Buddhists wanted to compete in producing magical fire, and were better than the Buddhists by ten flames. Then Padma cried, "Wait! Wait!" He placed his hand on the ground, and at once a lotus blossom sprang up. From it came a flame that reached to the top of the world [look around to see it!].

On seeing this, the four chief priests of the non-Buddhists with a few followers flew up into the sky as best they could. Padma pointed at them, and fire went round and round and over them. They were filled with fear and descended to their places, but then they shouted,

"You have defeated us, both in arguments and magic. Prepare to die in seven days!"

At once they went into the jungle. There they practised black magic to kill Padma, but all their followers embraced Buddhism.

Next morning at dawn, the fairy lady came to Padma and gave to him a leather box that was bound with iron nails, and told him to use it. Padma opened the box and found within in descriptions of how to produce thunder, lightning, and hail within days.

And as soon as the four non-Buddhist priests had completed the magical rites which were meant to cause Padma's death and had returned to their home city, thunder and lightning came and killed them all.

Padma then went to the roof of the palace in Bodh-Gaya and roared as best as he could, and all the non-Buddhists who heard him fell down in great fear and embraced Buddhism. Religious drums and gongs and conch shells were sounded from the palace roof, and the chief Buddhists carried Padma aloft on their heads and named him "The Most Exalted Lion Roarer." Neighbouring kings invited Padma to their kingdoms, Buddhism spread widely, and the converted non-Buddhists at Bodh-Gaya called him "The All-Subduing Victorious One." (Lik 168-71, retold).


Nuggets of Sagacity

Good sayings are like gates in that they lead into better pastures for some who walk through them somehow. Some of the gate sayings below explain several koans in Zen Buddhism too.



"Without closing one's eyes and ears to shut out the external world, one may attain Buddhahood directly," stated Hui Neng, the sixth patriarch of Zen as it's handed over. Buddhahood is a level of attainment that is tied in with native deep mind itself, "just as God made it," hopefully. One question is whether you may adapt as a flock animal from then on. There are differences of opinion in many flocks, and among various schools of Buddhism too. One should listen to the best ones and circumspectly implement what seems top suitable for one's own thriving in order to develop - without forsaking the gentle guidance of Buddha. I think we all could do well to go about very carefully in such matters. (Tiy xxxvii)

Hui Neng also said, "Just as there is no difference between the sea and its waves, there is no [great] difference between Buddhas and other sentient beings." (See Tiy xxxxvii)

Basic knowledge of Tantric yoga contributes greatly to an understanding of what is meant by Buddhist enlightenment, including difficult and obscure Zen koans (or 'riddles'). (See Tiy xlii)


Many of these resumes of good and salient points from yoga sources are aimed at once for the exact scholar and for the general reader. A new way of presenting items was designed with that end in view. I have tried to give the essential wisdom they contain and do away with many rather unnecessary details. The rest is up to you.

This doesn't expound in completeness the theory, philosophy, and application of neither Tibetan nor Hindu yoga forms. They're very many and variegated. Solid practice and long experience are needed to be able to gauge and calibrate these considerations well. It may be a fine mistake to hanker after visualised experiences in themselves, and to believe that guru teachings can be discussed authoritatively only by outsiders in other traditions, including doctors and professors at well renowned universities on the East coast of the U.S.A.

The book that these nuggets were taken from, Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines, is a systematic and cultural product of Tibet. (See Tiy xlii)

"Sound scholarship, no less in religious than in historical or other problems, must ever depend upon original documents." - W.Y. Evans-Wentz (Tiy 2)

What is more, sound practical use of the good fruits of scholarship and research may be better still. "Home cybernetics" can help that sort of implementation on and up.


Gongs and Drums Doctrines

Yogi doctrines nowadays may be different than many from Tibetan Buddhist yoga sources, and yet they may have a common ancient root. There were many developments in ancient Hindustan.

Opposed to these Buddhist teachings, two Hinduism figures called Vishnu and Narada are much presented as two very gracious guru figures of ancient India. But there is literature evidence that these two famous ones were in part feigning enemies of good non-Indians, and not the kind helpers they appeared to be. They misled very many upright people to have them depraved and killed - for no good reasons as far as those people were concerned. This is from a yogic book, the Sanskrit Siva Purana. [Cf. Si] It's a classic. In fact, the guru model Narada made it his "sport" to betray and lead astray upright people and have them and their families and country utterly destroyed, without a last resort.

Thus, staunch guys can be a robbing guru's best enemies. It stands to reason. Krishna and Narada are often thought of as exemplary gurus, even role models for such as Indian fishers of men, or even gurudevas.

You should take notes of the wrong effects of unhealthful guru-symbioses if you can find them, for man often advances by being clever enough to count somehow.

It makes no sense to strive for getting liberated if liberated or enlightened is what you already are, much as the guru Yogananda decrees in a book of his. In the light of this, it could be that the liberation that mock gurus demand you to strive for under their patronage, is different. (Cf. Say)

Now, what about this?: "The sage says excellent renunciation is the renunciation of renunciation itself (per se) [Cf. Avadhut Gita 4:21]. Then you can come and go as you will." - It may be found to be good to renounce very little of what can be wise to have or be as one moves through the stages of life, just to be on the safe side, if one can handle great wealth or great goings or great blessings in some balanced scheme of life and progress. In such a scheme it is also good to free time to use it on higher and inner pursuits, as Buddha shows by the Eightfold Path. Compare the British proverb: "If youth knew what age would crave, it would but get and save."(Dp)

Narada - the prototype guru to many Hindus - fools naive men to destroy them. It is wicked. So according to the ancient Siva Purana, to cheat and wreak ruin to good ones may be what base and Narada-hailing gurus are really going for. If that is a fit bottom line, many guru followers are in need of help.

Existential pinpointing added

Who seeks liberation could need more great Lebensraum, more zest and fair joi de vivre in the first place.

Blunt longing for heaven can suggest one doesn't thrive well enough in one's surroundings, with one's lot in life, family - and perhaps not with God or the church too.

To protect kinsfolk can be true blessedness.
Unshaken, secure mind is indeed true blessedness. - Rooted in a Buddha-sermon. (Lik xiv.)

Great mobbing can be the predecessor of lack of wariness later, and nasty cult conformity speculates in "salvation" - in huge words that are like shells - not first-class inside.

To love a brilliant exposition could mean the same as getting teacher-outsmarted.

Be wary - many fine-sounding, huge words could signify that their dominant users are trying to tame you somehow. And what is more, one can be deceived into becoming a maladapted one, even a dreary misfit.

One should want to escape the narrow confines if one can find a good way out. Yogic self-help liberation is no easy thing to turn to, at least not according to yoga tradition.

After all, anyone may feel called to be free, even outdo (outflank seems included) Jesus in the proper spirit, just as Jesus himself asks for. Why shouldn't you believe it? Note well he says his followers are "sickly sheep" - and that healthy ones are not for him. (Jn 4:12; Mk 2:17; 14,27; Jn 3 ff; Mt 10:16, etc.)

If man is small inside, the conform idiot lives it, he is next to nothing, but all the same very free to ignore the biblical: Man is the image of Yahweh, often greater than bad -

In many waters it is fit to insist on very good, relevant evidence. And if none is forthcoming, there should be no obligation whatever to believe as big guys tell.

Some teachers say: "One Mind is in and above the unconscious." And the evidence is ...?

Some say, as "others" in opposition to yet others: "There are no opposites -"

And in the West the unconscious is often considered to comprise even fantastic irreality.

Getting unhinged is really not a way out. It should rather easily be seen in persons with an inferiority neurosis or guilt gone far.

Yoga sayings as to "seeing of reality " may refer to one's inborn simple mind essence itself as the supreme reality and forget the outer reality in which we tend to place ourselves.

Get away from silly and irrational urges if you can. Thus, when yogis or yogas advocate seeking the Voidness, that projected void isn't really void. And to experience something like that, there has to be someone experiencing it - an "I" inside "void". That's in the teaching of Ramana Maharsi. (Check)

What is outwardly rewarding happens to glide in time (per se) and can drop by as we age or die. Thus, uncontrolled desires for lands, gold and things can be said to be primitive at the very least. And still, good things can be put to good uses. There is that hope.

One should let good hope be allied with progress somehow

There is a (theoretical) possibility that fruits of some forms of previous experience can be funneled in a life to look like instinctive acts.

Tibetan Buddhists think the hidden or inner essentiality of a Buddha is present in three synchronic modes, symbolized as the three divine bodies or perhaps sheaths (Skt. Tri-kaya). Up in Tibet they state: "Realize that the self-mind is the Dharma-Kaya; that the self-mind is the Sambhoga-Kaya; that the self-mind is the Nirmana-Kaya." Those are the names for the Tri-kaya. (Tiy xxxvii)

There is a good chance that even pretty rudiments of Buddhist philosophy could help some in the long process of mastering life. The Catholic Church has tried out many smart facets of Zen lately, as part of the new program after the Second Vatican Counsel.

Professor Chen-chi Chang: "From my own personal experiences in the study and practice of both Zen and Tantricism, I have discovered that the teachings of Zen and the advanced Tantricism of the [Buddhist] Mahamudra [or Great Symbol teachings in Tibet] are identical." (Liy xxxv-xxxvi)

Let it be said: The instruction concerning the Mahamudra or Great Symbol teachings are shown by Padma Karpo (or Garbo) in the second book contained in the Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines. They bring a handy outline of dominant practice and resultant stages of the Great Symbol teachings of Tibet, but without divulging methods for insiders only to manage. (See Tiy xl-xli) There is a rather complementary exposition of the yoga of the Mahamudra in a treatise that's attributed to Padma-Sambhava, the Founder of Tibetan Lamaism. The treatise is called "Seeing of Mind in its Nakedness" and can be found in The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation. (See Tiy xli)

There were room for many divergent developments of Buddhism and Buddhist thinking earlier. Widely different principles, practices, and styles of the Mahamudra and also Zen developed within that flock.

In Zen as in Mahamudra Buddhism it is held that Consciousness (deep mind itself) is expanded (subtilised some way or other) to the final state of Enlightenment. (Tiy xxxvii)

Just how the essence of mind can be deep inside, can hopefully be studied by diving inside (i.e. contemplation) and by not a few solid introspective techniques that tend to emphasise good practice.

It's a nice little pleasure to describe (facets of) what is (i.e. reality) by cogent, apt and carefully geared words and ways. And a good language is to be well nuanced for exploits like that.

When Gautama Buddha was attaining Enlightenment, he observed, "It's strange indeed, for I see that in reality all creatures are enlightened, are Buddhas". Zen is founded in concomitance with that. Let a good Zen aphorism give vent to it: "I and all the Buddhas of the past, present, and future breathe through one nostril". (Tiy xxxvii) Also consider that many aphoristic expressions or teachings in the Mahamudra School and in Zen, can be traced back to the doctrine of the identity of the Sangsara [phenomenal world and Nirvana [realm beyond]. (See Tiy xxxviii)

Terms and styles may be developed and later analysed, yet solid mental development in the ways of Zen or Mahamudra is not had by that alone, but rather by escaping from the bounds and realms of words and concepts. Sound mind diving is for that.

There are many schools in Buddhism. Some who have reached enlightenment through Zen and the Mahamudra ways may describe reality in terms quite in accord with the point of view of the Buddhist Yogacarya School as well. It may be good to note that. (Tiy xxxviii) The right grasping the real nature of one's inborn mind needs no study and formal schooling. That's another Zen doctrine highlighted in the story of Hui Neng himself from a period where Chinese Zen - called Chan - underwent vast changes.

"From the time of [the Zen patriarch] Bodhidharma to Hui-Neng, Chinese Zen largely preserved its Indian character and tradition, and remained very much like the Mahamudra, which has not changed since its introduction into Tibet from India." (Tiy xxxxviii-xxxix)

"After Hui-Neng, there came the division of the Schools [and] Chinese Zen underwent vast changes, both in style and practice, and the Tsao-Tung School alone retained something of the Indian form. Innovations such as the koan, mondo, the Zen dialogue, story, or poem, and the hitting of the disciple by the master, made Zen in its later Chinese period complicated and difficult to understand, especially as theoretical explanations and detailed instructions for the practices were avoided." - Professor Chen-chi Chang (Tiy xxxix)

"A useful and succinct formula of comparison for Chinese Zen and Tibetan Mahamudra is that Zen is esoteric Mahamudra and Mahamudra is exoteric Zen." - Professor Chen-chi Chang (Tiy xxxix)

"In contradistinction to the Mahamudra, the later Zen provides no 'map' for its students." - Yet we find that Chinese Zen also has certain 'maps' or instructions that serve to illustrate stages to the attainment of Buddhahood. Such free-flowing sorts of 'maps' can be discovered in the Ox-herding Pictures - they may not be enough to serve as guides in actual practice unless used as well explained icons to followers.

Many Zen students are expected to begin "in the dark", relying implicitly on one master, and then reach a sudden inner illumination. On the other hand, by offering to the novice a step-by-step guide to one end goal, the Mahamudra is closer to the Indian tradition, and perhaps easier and safer, and its illumination in the initial stages may not be as sharp, deep, and abrupt or wholly free from conceptualizing, professor Chan insists, and adds one special danger, that of "clinging to (a level of deep) consciousness on the journey further", to where all things melt into sameness - something like that. "All things are reducible to one. To what is the one reducible?" - Zen aphorism. (Cf Tiy xxxix)

Superficial Zen may emphasise only wisdom. Yet something called infinite compassion is also recognised and reckoned with full well. Thus:

During the moment of illumination, when I see the original face of mind,
A limitless compassion arises.
The greater the illumination, the greater is the compassion.
The greater my compassion, the deeper is the wisdom I feel.

- By Garmaba (Tiy xl)

"Parallel to this is the Zen koan: Before I understood the grand affair (i.e. Enlightenment) I felt as though I had lost my parents. After I understood the grand affair, I felt as though I had lost my parents." (Tiy xl)

Good and skilled study of insider experiences requires more than mere curiosity and verbosity. The fundamentals of the scientific method geared to insider attention, can and should be well applied to the task or project after searching for and finding suitable premises fit for both parties involved.

There is the hope that good yoga can contribute greatly to well-being where it is most needed - in stressful, harmful urban settings, believe it or not.

A great idea that is put into convenient action may help better than an idea that exists only as an idea.

Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little.

To keep the body in good health is a good duty . . . otherwise we may suffer and not even be able to keep our mind strong and clear.

However many great words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act well on any of them?

In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.

To be true to the best one knows, that should be fit for all, but again - it depends on how good the best one knows actually is. To be true to yourself tends to run deeper.


Great symbol teachings, Padma Sambhava, Guru Rinpoche, mahamudra buddha, padma-sambhava, Tibetan Buddhism, Mahayana, Nyinga, Vajrayana. tibetan yoga, Literature  

Chze: Johnston, William: Christian Zen. New York: Harper and Row, 1971.

Co: Watson, Burton tr: The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu. New York: Columbia University, 1968.

Dead: Mullin, Glenn: Death and dying: The Tibetan tradition. Harmondsworth: Arkana/Penguin, 1987.

Ebu: Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite DVD. London: Encyclopaedia Britannica, yearly.

Lif: Moody, Raymond: Life after Life: the Investigation of a Phenomenon - Survival of Bodily Death. New York: Bantam, 1976.

Lik: Evans-Wentz, W. ed: The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation or the Method of Realizing Nirvana through Knowing the Mind. London: Oxford University Press, 1968.

Prz: Chang, Garma: The Practice of Zen. New York: Perennial/Harper, 1970.

Til: Evans-Wentz, W. ed: The Tibetan Book of the Dead: After-Death Experiences on the Bardo Plane, according to Lama Kazi Dawa-Samdup's English Rendering. London: Oxford University Press, 1927.

Tiy: Evans-Wentz, W. ed: Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines. 2nd ed. London: Oxford University Press, 1967.

Tm: Evans-Wentz, W. ed: Tibet's Great Yogi Milarepa. 2nd ed. London: Oxford University Press, 1969.

Tun: Yampolsky, Philip tr: The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch. The Text of the Tun-Huang Manuscript. New York: Columbia University, 1967.

Added Padmasambhava literature

Padmasambhava. Advice from the Lotus-Born: A Collection of Padmasambhava's Advice to the Dakini Yeshe Tsogyal and Other Close Disciples. Tr. Erik Pema Kunsang (Erik Hein Schmidt). 3rd ed. Århus, DK, and Hong Kong: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2012. ⍽▢⍽ Recommended.

⸻. The Light of Wisdom: The Conclusion. Root Text by Padmasambhava. Commentary by Jamgöl Kongtrül. Comp. Chokgyur Lingpa. Tr. Erik Pema Kunsang (Erik Hein Schmidt). Commentary by Lodro Taye. Notes by Jamyang Drakpa. Contributor: Pema Trinley Nyingpo. Ed. Marcia Binder Schmidt. Hong Kong: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2013.

⸻. Natural Liberation: Padmasambhava's Teachings on the Six Bardos. Commentary by Gyatrul Rinpoche. Tr. B. Alan Wallace. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1998.

⸻. Self-Liberation through Seeing with Naked Awareness: An Introduction to the Nature of One's Own Mind from The Profound Teaching of Self-Liberation in the Primordial State of the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities. A terma text of Guru Padmasambhava Expounding the View of Dzogchen, Rediscovered by Rigdzin Karma Lingpa. 2nd ed. Tr. John Myrdhin Reynolds. Itacha, NY: Snow Lion / Shambhala, 2010. ⍽▢⍽ John Reynolds is a good translator/editor/author in the field of Tibetan Dzogchen, although perhaps a little bit biased.

Padmasambhava and Yeshe Tsogyal. The Legend of the Great Stupa and The Life Story of the Lotus Born Guru. Berkeley, CA: Dharma Publishing, 2004. ⍽▢⍽ A short book in three parts. The first goes into the Boudhanath Stupa - yet heed Buddha's reminder: "Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without." - The second part is a concise biography of Guru Rinpoche of Chokgyur Lingpa. It ends with a brief explanation of each chapter by Keith Dowman. The third part is the Tibetan text of part one and two.

Tsogyal, Yeshe. The Lotus-Born: The Life Story of Padmasambhava. Tr. Erik Perna Kunsang. Boston, MA: Shambhala, 1999. ⍽▢⍽Traditional accounts: The yogi Padmasambhava grew up an adopted prince, was banished, burned at the stake, and continued unscathed for a long, long time. Tibetans tell he subjugated demons and taught the Buddha's teachings in their country.


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