2 Dharmarakshita: The Wheel of Sharp Weapons

Dharmarakshita, The Wheel of Sharp Weapons: By practising this way the two Bodhichittas, Of the ultimate and the conventional truth..

Dharmarakshita, The Wheel of Sharp Weapons: By practising this way the two Bodhichittas, Of the ultimate and the conventional truth..

Dharmarakshita: The Wheel of Sharp Weapons (2)

71 We seek to have homes in monastic seclusion,

Yet drawn by distractions, we venture to town.

Discourses we hear teach us most noble practice,

Yet we spend all our time telling fortunes with dice.

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 final release.

We give up monks’ vows, the true path to gain freedom,

We would rather be married, have children and homes.

We cast to the wind this rare chance to be happy,

And pursue further suff ering, more problems and woes.

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.

73 Discarding our practice to reach Liberation,

We drift about searching for pleasure or trade.

We have obtained bodies with precious endowments,

Yet use them to gain only hellish rebirths.

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.

74 Ignoring eff ects that the teachings can bring us,

We travel on business for profi t and gain.

Leaving behind all our Gurus’ wise lectures,

We tour diff erent places in search of some fun.

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.

75 We hoard what we have, never willing to use it,

And leech all our food and our clothing from friends.

We leave aside wealth from our father’s inheritance,

Taking from others a much as we can.

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.

76 It’s amazing how little endurance we have

To do meditation, and yet we pretend

To have gained special powers so others are fooled.

We never catch up with the paths of deep wisdom,

Yet run here and there in a needless great haste.

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.

Someone gives us advice from the depths of his heart,

Which is for our own good, but is harsh to our ears,

And with anger we view him as if he is our foe.

Yet when someone without any true feelings for us

Deceitfully tells us what we like to hear,

Without taste or discernment we are kind in return.

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.

78 When others consider us close and dear friends

And relate in strict confi dence all they know,

We disclose their deep secrets to especially their foes.

When we have a good friend who is constantly with us,

We locate his weak points so we can torment him.

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.

79 Our jealousy is strong and whatever is said

We are always the sceptic, we doubt what is meant.

We are fussy, bad-tempered and hard to get on with,

Infl icting obnoxious behavior on others.

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.

80 When someone requests us to do something for him,

We are never obliging, but think up instead

Clever devious methods to do him some harm.

When others concede and agree with our viewpoint,

We do not acquiesce – we argue still more.

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.

81 We do not pay attention to what others tell us;

We are a trial to be with; we strain others’ nerves.

Our feelings are hurt at the slightest remark,

And we hold grudges strongly – we never forgive.

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.

82 We always are jealous of those of great status;

We feel holy Gurus are threats to avoid.

Overwhelmed by attachment and ruled by our passions,

We spend all our time lusting after young loves.

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.

83 We do not think of friendships as long-term commitments,

We treat old companions with thoughtless neglect.

And when we are making new friends with a stranger,

We try to impress him with grandiose 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.

84 We lack clairvoyance, yet lie, feigning powers,

And then when proved wrong, we must bear all complaints.

We have little compassion for those who are near us,

Whenever they blunder, we are quick to lash out.

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.

85 We have poor education and limited knowledge;

Whenever we speak we are unsure of ourselves.

Our learning in scriptural texts is so meager,

When hearing new teachings we doubt they are true.

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.

86 By making a habit of anger and passion,

We come to despise everyone that we meet

And by making a habit of jealous resentment,

We ascribe fruits to others, disclaiming their worth.

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 do not follow proper procedures of study;

We say it is needless to read the vast texts.

We feel there is no value learning from Gurus;

We slight oral teachings and think we know best.

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.

88 We fail to explain what the ‘Three Baskets’19 teach,

But instead dwell on theories we have made up ourselves.

We lack deep conviction and faith in the teachings,

Whatever we say leaves disciples confused.

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.

89 We do not despise actions unwise and immoral,

Instead we dispute and attempt to pick fl aws

In the excellent teachings and great masters’ works.

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.

90 We are never embarrassed when acting disgracefully,

Only respectable deeds cause us shame.

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.

91 All the things we should do we do not do even once,

For improper behavior takes up all of our time.

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.

92 O mighty destroyer of selfi shness 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 fi erce weapon

And wrathfully swing it three times20 ‘round your head.

With all of your fi erceness come smash this foul enemy!

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

With your boundless compassion protect us from suff ering

Th e miseries caused by our self-centered actions

Destroy our self-cherishing once and for all!

94 With all the suff erings that others experience,

Smother completely our selfi sh concern.

Th e suff erings of others arise from fi ve poisons;

Th us whichever delusion affl icts other beings

Take it to smother delusions of self.

95 Th rough we have not a doubt, for we recognise fully

Th e 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,

Th en destroy the fi rm hold of this part of our minds

Th at, 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 suff ering that they never wished for,

We must dedicate fully our virtues to all.

97 Th us 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,

Th at 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,

Th ough the force of our actions may cause us to wander

Th rough various realms in the six rebirth states,

May we always be able to help one another

To keep our aim fi xed on Enlightenment’s shore.

100 Th en 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 all the beings in miserable rebirths

Out of their suff erings 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 fl owers;

May all harm be stilled – peace and happiness grow.

102 Th en 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 teachings

And regard us as Gurus with confi dent true.

103 Then may all sentient beings of the three higher rebirths

Perfect meditation on Egolessness.

In this way may they realize 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: selfi sh concern and self-love.

If we practise these methods we shall overcome also

False concepts of ego we hold to be real.

Th us 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.

Th e process of change is alluring like magic,

For physical form is but mental appearance,

As a torch whirling round seems a circle of fl ame.

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 fade out of sight.

Like mirages these things at a distance seem lovely

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

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 fi rm.

Our foe: our insistence on ego-identities

Truly our own, which we wish were secure,

And our butcher: the selfi sh concern for ourselves

Like all things there appear to be truly existent,

Th ough they never have been truly existent at all.

108 Although they appear to be concrete and real,

Th ey have never been real, any time, anywhere.

Th ey 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 suff ering,

Th e 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 refl ecting its image,

Th e various aspects of cause and eff ect

Appear in this relative world as refl ections.

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 fl ames 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.

Th us fearing such suff ering 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 wisdom21 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

Th at 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;

Th ey 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 those acts that would cause us 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 fi lled by an interdependent collection

Of causes and forces that came all together

Th e 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

Eff ects never come from the fi rst 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 those acts that would cause us great pain.

116 When not making formal dissections with logic,

Merely letting life’s happening fl ow 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,

Th is 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 likewise devoid of all mental constructions

That they are independent, self-contained acts.

In fact, on the whole, they are lacking completely

All mental projections and all 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 Bodhichittas,

Of the ultimate and the conventional truth,

And thus by completing without interference

Collections of insight and merit as well,

May all of us quickly attain Full Enlightenment

Granting what we and all others have wished.

Epilogue

The Wheel of Sharp Weapons Effectively Striking the Heart of the Foe was composed by the great Yogi Dharmarakshita in his retreat in the jungle where many fierce animals prey. What this great Yogi, the possessor of vast scriptural knowledge, the full powers of logic and deep profound insight has written here the essence of the teachings of all his holy Gurus. He always practised in accordance with this essence in his fearsome jungle retreat during the degenerate age in which he lived.

From among his many disciples, Dharmaraksita transmitted these teachings to Atisa (982-1054). Atisa practised them wherever he traveled in order to tame those who were most wild. When Atisa developed true insight into the two Bodhichittas through these teachings, he composed the following verses:

I went through much hardship abandoning royalty,

But by collecting much virtuous merit,

I met my true Guru, Dharmaraksita.

By showing me these supreme nectar-like teachings,

He has granted me sovereignty over my mind;

So that now I have attained all the forceful opponents,

Having memorised fully these words he has taught.

Although I do not favour a partisan viewpoint –

Whenever I study the various teachings

I always make eff ort to broaden my wisdom

To see boundless wonders in every tradition –

Yet I have to admit that these teachings especially

Have been of great help in this age of decay.

From among his many unimaginably great disciples in both India and Tibet, Atisa transmitted these teachings to Upasaka Dromtonpa22 who had been prophesied to be his most fi tting disciple by many of Atisa’s meditational deities such as Tara. Atisa transmitted these teachings to Dromtonpa in order to pacify the minds of the disciples of remote Tibet who were diffi cult to tame. This work has been translated from Sanskrit into Tibetan by the fatherly Atisa himself and his spiritual son Dromtonpa.

This translation of the Tibetan Theg-pa-chen-pohi-blo-sbyong-mtson-chahkhor-lo into English has been prepared by Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey, Sharpa Tulku, Khamlung Tulku, Alexander Berzin and Jonathan Landaw at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, at the Headquarters of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dharamsala, India, 1975.

Notes

1 Yamantaka is the wrathful aspect of Manjushri, the emanation of the wisdom of the Buddhas. Yamantaka’s wrath is directed against selfi shness, self-cherishing attitudes, ego grasping and grasping 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.

2 Bodhisattvas, or brave Ones, Sons of the Buddhas, are those beings who have the enlightened Attitude (Bodhichitta) to work towards the attainment of Buddhahood, that is Enlightenment, for the sake of all beings. Th ere are five points of similarity between Bodhisattvas and peacocks. Just as the colors of the peacocks’ feathers grow more radiantly brilliant when they eat plants that are poisonous to other animals, Bodhisattvas shine with blissful happiness by making use of such poisonous delusions as desire and attachment for the benefi t 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 colorful display gives us great pleasure, the sight of a Bodhisattva uplifts our mind because of his Bodhichitta. Just as peacocks live mainly on poisonous plants and never on 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 off ered 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.

3 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 Bodhichitta motivation we work to attain the full 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.’

4 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 Bodhichitta motivation.

5 The tantra system teaches many methods for the speedy attainment of Enlightenment. Included among these 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 fi rst be devoid of the self-cherishing attitude, 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.

6 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 as a method for directly benefi ting others when the circumstances demand it. They may not, however be practised as an actual path.

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

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

9 Cause and eff ect describes the universal law of karma whereby virtuous actions result in happiness and non-virtuous actions in suff ering.

10 The practice from Guru-devotion to tantra defi nes the range of the Graded Course to Enlightenment; of above, note 3.

11 Images of Buddha and the various meditational deities representing different aspects of the Buddhas’ Enlightenment have an important use in both the Perfection and 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.

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

13 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.

14 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 Bodhichitta operates as the means for leading both self and others a Enlightenment; (2) the ultimate level of truth on which ultimate Bodhichitta functions as the wisdom understanding Voidness; and (3) these two levels or grades of truth realized together.

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

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

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

18 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.

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

20 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 defi led bodies of delusion by these two types of ignorance.

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

22 Tibetan: hBrom-ston-pa.

 

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