1 Dharmarakshita: The Wheel of Sharp Weapons

Dharmarakshita, The Wheel of Sharp Weapons: Our pleasure and happiness come from the Buddhas.

Dharmarakshita, The Wheel of Sharp Weapons: Our pleasure and happiness come from the Buddhas.

Dharmarakshita: The Wheel of Sharp Weapons (1)

A Mahayana Training of the Mind

The name of this work is

The Wheel of Sharp Weapons Effectively Striking the Heart of the Foe.

I pray heartfelt homage to you, Yamantaka;

Your wrath is opposed to the Great Lord of Death.1

1 In jungles of poisonous plants strut the peacocks,

Though medicine gardens of beauty lie near.

The masses of peacocks do not find gardens pleasant,

But thrive on the essence of poisonous plants.

2 In similar fashion, the brave Bodhisattvas2

Remain in the jungle of worldly concern.

No matter how joyful this world’s pleasure gardens,

These Brave Ones are never attracted to pleasures,

But thrive in the jungle of suff ering and pain.

3 We spend our whole life in the march for enjoyment,

Yet tremble with fear at the mere thought pain;

Th us since we are cowards, we are miserable still.

But the brave Bodhisattvas accept suff ering gladly

And gain from their courage a true lasting joy.

4 Now desire3 is the jungle of poisonous plants here.4

Only Brave Ones, like peacocks, can thrive on such fare,

If cowardly beings, like crows, were to try it,

Because they are greedy they might lose their lives.5

5 How can someone who cherishes self more than others

Take lust and such dangerous poisons for food?

If he tried like a crow to use other delusions,6

He would probably forfeit his chance for release.

6 And thus Bodhisattvas are likened to peacocks:

Th ey live on delusions – those poisonous plants.

Transforming them into the essence of practice,

They thrive in the jungle of everyday life.

Whatever is presented they always accept

While destroying the poison of clinging desire.

7 Uncontrollable wandering through rounds of existence

Is caused by our grasping at egos as real.

Th is ignorant attitude heralds the demon

Of selfi sh concern for our welfare alone:

We seek some security for our own egos;

We want only pleasure and shun any pain,

But now we must banish all selfi sh compulsion

And gladly take hardship for all others’ sake.

8 All of our suff erings derive from our habits

Of selfi sh delusions we heed and act out.

As all of us share in this tragic misfortune,

Which stems from our narrow and self-centered ways,

We must take all our suff erings and the miseries of others

And smother our wishes of selfi sh concern.

9 Should the impulse arise now to seek our own pleasure,

We must turn it aside to please others instead;

For even if loved ones should rise up against us,

We must blame our self-interest and feel it’s our due.

10 When our bodies are aching and racked with great torment

Of dreadful diseases we cannot endure,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have injured the bodies of others;

Hereafter let’s take on what sickness is theirs.

11 Depressed and forlorn, when we feel mental anguish,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we how deeply disturbed minds of others;

Hereafter let’s take on this suff ering ourselves.

12 When hunger or violent thirst overwhelms us,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have kept what we had without sharing;

We have plundered and stolen and lured people on.

Hereafter let’s take from them hunger and thirst.

13 When we lack any freedom, but must obey others,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have looked down upon them who were lowly

And used them as servants for our own selfi sh needs;

Hereafter let’s off er our service to others

With humble devotion of body and life.

14 When we hear only language that is foul and abusive,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have said many things without thinking;

We have slandered and caused many friendships to end.

Hereafter let’s censure all thoughtless remarks.

15 When we are born in oppressive and wretched condition,

This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have always had a negative outlook,

We have criticized others, seeing only their fl aws;

Hereafter let’s cultivate positive feelings

And view our surroundings as stainless and pure.

16 When we are parted from friends and from those who can help us,

This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have taken the friends and good servants

Of others away, wanting them for ourselves;

Hereafter let’s never cause close friends to part.

17 When supreme holy Gurus find us displeasing,

This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have turned from the Gurus and teachings,

Preferring the counsel of misleading friends;

Hereafter let’s end our dependent relations

With those who would turn us away from the path.

18 When unjustly we are blamed for the misdeeds of others,

And are falsely accused of fl aws that we lack,

And are always the object of verbal abuse,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have despised and belittled our Gurus;

Hereafter let’s never accuse others falsely,

But give them full credit for virtues they have.

19 When the things we require for daily consumption

And use fall apart or are wasted or spoiled,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have been careless with others’ possessions;

Hereafter let’s give them whatever they need.

20 When our minds are unclear and our hearts are unhappy,

We are bored doing virtue but excited by vice,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have led others to acts of non-virtue;

Hereafter let’s never provide the conditions

Th at rouse them to follow their negative traits.

21 When our minds are disturbed and we feel great frustration

Th at things never happen the may that we wish,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have caused interfering disturbance

When others were focused on virtuous acts;

Hereafter let’s stop causing such interruption.

22 When nothing we do ever pleases our Gurus,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now with our Gurus we have feigned pious manners,

But out of their presence have reverted to sin.

Hereafter let’s try to be less hypocritical

And take all the teachings sincerely to heart.

23 When others fi nd fault with whatever we are doing

And people seem eager to blame only us,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have been shameless, not cared about others,

We have thought that our deeds did not matter at all;

Hereafter let’s stop our off ensive behavior.

24 When our servants and friends are annoyed by our habits

And after a while cannot stay in our homes,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done

Till now we have imposed our bad habits on others;

Hereafter let’s change and show only kind ways.

25 When all who are close turn against us as enemies,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have held grudges inside us with anger

With thoughts of sly methods to cause others pain;

Hereafter let’s try to have less aff ectation,

Not pretend to be kind while we harbour base aims.

26 When we suff er from sickness and such interference

Especially when gout has swollen our legs,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now without shame and with no self-control

We have stolen or misused what others have given;

Hereafter let’s never take anything off ered

To the Th ree Jewels of Refuge7 as if it were ours.

27 When strokes and diseases strike without warning,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have broken our vowed words of honour;8

Hereafter let’s shun such non-virtuous deeds.

28 When our mind becomes clouded whenever we study,

This is the wheal of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have thought that the study of Dharma

Lacked prime importance and could be ignored;

Hereafter let’s build up the habits of wisdom

To hear and to think about what Buddha taught.

29 When sleep overwhelms us while practising virtue,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have gathered the causes for obstacles

Hindering our practice of virtuous acts.

(We have lacked all respect for the scriptural teachings;

We have sat on our books and left texts on the ground.

We have also looked down upon those with deep insight.)

Hereafter for the sake of our practice of Dharma

Let’s gladly endure all the hardships we meet.

30 When our mind wanders greatly and runs toward delusion,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have neglected to meditate fully

On defects pervading this transient world;

Hereafter let’s work to renounce this existence

(And see the impermanent nature of things).

31 When all our aff airs, both religious and worldly,

Run into trouble and fall into ruin,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have felt cause and eff ect9 could be slighted;

Hereafter let’s practise with patience and strength.

32 When rites we perform never seem to be fruitful,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have relied on the gods of this world

Or on unskillful actions to bring us relief;

Hereafter let’s turn in another direction

And leave our non-virtuous actions behind.

33 When none of the wishes we make reach fulfi llment,

Although we have made prayers to the Th ree Precious Gems,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have had an imperfect commitment

To Buddha whose teachings deserve complete trust;

Hereafter let’s place our exclusive reliance

On Buddha, his teachings and those in his fold.

34 When prejudice, polio or strokes have us crippled

And external forces or harm rise against us,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have collected vast stores of non-virtue

By breaking, our vows and off ending protectors

In our practice from Guru-devotion to tantra;10

Hereafter let’s banish all prejudiced views.

35 When we lack all control over where we must travel

And always must wander like waifs with no home,

This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have disturbed holy Gurus and others

And forced them to move from their homes or their seats;

Hereafter let’s never cause others disturbance

By evicting them cruelly from where they reside.

36 When the crops in our fi elds are continually plagued

By drought, fl oods and hailstones, insects and frost,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have failed to honour our pledges;

Hereafter let’s keep all our moral vows pure,

37 When we are poor, yet are filled with much greed and desire,

This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done,

Till now we have been misers, reluctant to share.

The offerings we have made to the Three Jewels were meager;

Hereafter let’s give with a generous hart.

38 When our bodies are ugly and others torment us

By mocking our flaws, never showing aspect

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have made images11 lacking in beauty,

By venting our anger we have made ugly scenes;

Hereafter let’s print books and make pleasing statues,

And not be short-tempered, but be of good cheer.

39 When attachment and anger disturb and upset us

No matter how much we may try to suppress them,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have held on to the improper outlook:

Stubbornly cherishing only ourselves;

Hereafter let’s uproot self-interest completely.

40 When success in our practices always eludes us,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now, deep within, we have clung to our ego,

Fully immersed in self-cherishing ways;

Hereafter let’s dedicate all of the virtuous

Actions we do, so that others may thrive.

41 When our mind is untamed though we act with great virtue,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have engaged in those worldly ambitions

Th at aim at success for ourselves in this life;

Hereafter let’s work with pure one-pointed eff ort

To nourish the wish to gain freedom’s far shore.

42 When after we do any virtuous action

We feel deep regret or we doubt its eff ect,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have been fi ckle and, stirred by base motives,

Have courted only those who had power or wealth;

Hereafter let’s act with complete self-awareness,

Exerting great care in the way we make friends.

43 When those with ambition repay trusting friendship

By luring us on with their devious schemes,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now from ambition we have acted with arrogance,

Hereafter let’s dampen our self-centered pride.

44 When the force of attraction or that of repulsion

Colors whatever we hear or we say,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have ignored what has caused all our troubles:

Th e mass of delusion that dwells in our heart;

Hereafter let’s try to abandon all hindrances,

Note their arisal, examine them well.

45 When no matter how well-meant our actions towards others,

Th ey always elicit a hostile response,

Th is is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.

Till now we have repaid loving-kindness with malice;

Hereafter let’s always accept others’ favours

Both graciously and with most humble respect.

46 In short then, whenever unfortunate suff erings

We haven’t desired crash upon us like thunder,

Th is is the same as the smith who had taken

His life with a sword he had fashioned himself.

Our suff ering is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrong we have done.12

Hereafter let’s always have care and awareness

Never to act in non-virtuous ways.

47 All of the suff erings that we have endured

In the lives we have led in the three lower states,13

As well as our pains of the present and future,

Are the same as the case of the forger of arrows

Who later was killed by an arrow he had made.

Our suff ering is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrong we have done.

Hereafter let’s always have care and awareness

Never to act in non-virtuous ways.

48 When the troubles and worries of family life grieve us,

This is the same as the case of a child

Who was cared for with love later killing his parents.

Our suff ering is the wheel of sharp weapons returning

Full circle upon us from wrong we have done.

Hereafter it is fi tting in all of our lifetimes

For us to live purely as monks or as nuns.

As it’s true what I have said about self-centered interest,

I recognise clearly my enemy now.

I recognise clearly the bandit who plunders,

Th e liar who lures by pretending he is part of me;

Oh, what relief that I have conquered this doubt!

50 And so Yamantaka spin round with great power

The wheel of sharp weapons of good actions now.

Three times turn it round,14 in your wrathful-like aspect –

Your legs set apart for the two grades of truth,

With your eyes blazing open for wisdom and means.

51 Baring your fangs of the four great opponents,15

Devour the foe – our cruel selfi sh concern!

With your powerful mantra16 of cherishing others,

Demolish this enemy lurking within!

52 Frantically running through life’s tangled jungle,

We are chased by sharp weapons of wrongs we have done

Returning upon us; we are out of control

Th is sly, deadly villain – the selfi shness in us,

Deceiving ourselves and all others as well –

Capture him, capture him, fi erce Yamantaka,

Summon this enemy, bring him forth now!

53 Batter him, batter him, rip out the heart

Of our grasping for ego, our love for ourselves!

Trample him, trample him, dance on the head

Of this treacherous concept of selfi sh concern!

Tear out the heart of this self-centered butcher

Who slaughters our chance to gain fi nal release!

54 Hum! Hum! Show all your powers, O mighty protector.

Dza! Dza! Tie up this enemy; do not let him loose.

P’a! P’a!17 Set us free by your might, O great Lord over Death

Cut! Cut! Break the knot of self-interest that binds us inside.

55 Appear Yamantaka, O wrathful protector;

I have further entreaties to make of you still.

Th is sack of fi ve poisons,18 mistakes and delusions,

Drags us down in the quicksand of life’s daily toil –

Cut it off , cut it off , rip it to shreds!

56 We are drawn to the suff erings of miserable rebirths,

Yet mindless of pain, we go after its cause.

Trample him, trample him, dance on the head

Of this treacherous concept of selfi sh concern,

Tear out the heart of this self-centered butcher

Who slaughters our chance to gain fi nal release.

57 We have high expectations of speedy attainments,

Yet do not wish to work at the practice involved.

We have many fi ne projects we plan to accomplish,

Yet none of them ever are done in the end.

Trample him, trample him, dance on the head

Of this treacherous concept of selfi sh concern,

Tear out the heart of this self-centered butcher

Who slaughters our chance to gain fi nal release.

58 Our wish to be happy is strong at all times,

Yet we do not gather merit to yield this result.

We have little endurance for hardship and suff ering,

Yet ruthlessly push for the things we desire.

Trample him, trample him, dance on the head

Of this treacherous concept of selfi sh concern,

Tear out the heart of this self-centered butcher

Who slaughters our chance to gain fi nal release.

59 With comparative ease, we develop new friendships,

Yet since we are callous, not one of them lasts.

We are fi lled with desire for food and fi ne clothing,

Yet failing to earn them, we steal and we scheme.

Trample him, trample him, dance on the head

Of this treacherous concept of selfi sh concern,

Tear out the heart of this self-centered butcher

Who slaughters our chance to gain fi nal release.

60 We are experts at flattering others for favours,

Yet always complaining, we are sad and depressed.

The money we have gathered we cannot bear to part with;

Like misers we hoard it and feel we are poor.

Trample him, trample him, dance on the head

Of this treacherous concept of selfi sh concern,

Tear out the heart of this self-centered butcher

Who slaughters our chance to gain fi nal release.

61 We have done very little to benefit someone,

Yet always remind him how much we have done.

We have never accomplished a thing in our lifetime,

Yet boasting and bragging, we are fi lled with conceit.

Trample him, trample him, dance on the head

Of this treacherous concept of selfi sh concern,

Tear out the heart of this self-centered butcher

Who slaughters our chance to gain fi nal release.

We have many great masters and teachers to guide us

Yet shirking our duty, ignore what they teach.

We have many disciples, yet do not ever help them;

We cannot be bothered to give that advice.

Trample him, trample him, dance on the head

Of this treacherous concept of selfi sh concern,

Tear out the heart of this self-centered butcher

Who slaughters our chance to gain fi nal release.

63 We promise to do many glorious deeds,

Yet in practice we give others minimal help.

Our spiritual fame has been spread far and wide,

Yet inwardly all of our thoughts are repulsive

Not only to gods, but to demons and ghosts.

Trample him, trample him, dance on the head

Of this treacherous concept of selfi sh concern,

Tear out the heart of this self-centered butcher

Who slaughters our chance to gain fi nal release.

64 We have read very little, heard only few teachings,

Yet talk with authority expertly on Voidness.

Our knowledge of scriptures is pitifully lacking,

Yet glibly we make up and say what we like.

Trample him, trample him, dance on the head

Of this treacherous concept of selfi sh concern,

Tear out the heart of this self-centered butcher

Who slaughters our chance to gain fi nal release.

65 We have many attendants and people around us,

Yet no one obeys us or heeds what we say.

We feel we have friends in positions of power,

Yet should we need help, we are left on our own.

Trample him, trample him, dance on the head

Of this treacherous concept of selfi sh concern,

Tear out the heart of this self-centered butcher

Who slaughters our chance to gain fi nal release.

66 We have gained lofty status and ranks of prestige,

Yet our knowledge is poorer than that of a ghost.

We are considered great Gurus, yet even the demons

Do not harbour such hatred or clinging desire

Or as closed-minded an outlook as we seem to have.

Trample him, trample him, dance on the head

Of this treacherous concept of selfi sh concern,

Tear out the heart of this self-centered butcher

Who slaughters our chance to gain fi nal release.

We talk about theories and the most advanced teachings,

Yet our everyday conduct is worse than a dog’s.

We are learned, intelligent, versed in great knowledge,

Yet cast to the wind wisdom’s ethical base.

Trample him, trample him, dance on the head

Of this treacherous concept of selfi sh concern,

Tear out the heart of this self-centered butcher

Who slaughters our chance to gain fi nal release.

68 We have selfish desires and horrible anger,

Which fester inside us, we would never admit;

Yet without provocation we criticise others

And self-righteously charge them with faults we possess.

Trample him, trample him, dance on the head

Of this treacherous concept of selfi sh concern,

Tear out the heart of this self-centered butcher

Who slaughters our chance to gain fi nal release.

69 We wear robes of saffron, yet seek our protection

And refuge in spirits and gods of this world.

We have promised to keep solemn vows of strict morals,

Yet our actions accord with the demons, foul ways.

Trample him, trample him, dance on the head

Of this treacherous concept of selfi sh concern,

Tear out the heart of this self-centered butcher

Who slaughters our chance to gain fi nal release.

70 Our pleasure and happiness come from the Buddhas,

The Gurus, the teachings, and those who live by them,

Yet still we make offerings to ghosts and the spirits.

All of our guidance derives from the teachings,

And yet we deceive those who give this advice.

Trample him, trample him, dance on the head

Of this treacherous concept of selfi sh concern,

Tear out the heart of this self-centered butcher

Who slaughters our chance to gain fi nal release.

 

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