3 H.H. Dalai Lama Commentary on Gyalwa Gyatso

Third part of the Commentary on Gyalwa Gyatso given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to a group of Westerners in His Audience Hall at Teckchen Choeling Palace at Dharamsala, India, on 1st September 1984 from 10-12 noon and 2-4 pm.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama


Then there is the purification of one’s mindstream and that is done in terms of slowly in stages ridding the mindstream of its various stains. But the way of purification here, of purifying the basis of which is Death, Bardo and Rebirth, is a different one. It is done by meditating on the path which is similar to the basis being purified and by means of that accomplishing a result which is likewise similar to the basis being purified. Here, for instance, when we are talking about death for the basis of purification then by meditating on a path which is similar to the way that death comes ordinarily through its own forces, then one accomplishes the purification of that basis which is death. Here what is being purified is the type of death that comes about for beings of this world with the six elements. Because, if we can purify the kind of death, birth and Bardo that occurs for human beings of the southern continent then it is possible to purify any other type of birth, etc. in other realms. Therefore, there is no fault of omission, of having left anything out. Not only is it analogous to Death, Bardo and Rebirth which is the basis for purification but likewise the path is analogous to the way in which a supreme Nirmanakaya is made manifest in the world. It is likewise analogous to the result. So it is necessary to meditate in terms of how death occurs to human beings of the southern continent having the six elements. Then in terms of achieving a rebirth with that type of basis it is necessary to accumulate the positive karma and virtues in order to achieve that rebirth. This practice here is analogous to that.

Having emanated lights from one’s heart which bring forth the Mandala of Gyalwa Gyatso one makes offerings, etc. to it. Then there is the offering of the Seven-Limb Puja. In some of the Seven-Limb Prayers it either has the request not to pass into Parinirvana or it is left out. When it is included then it is done in terms of the Nirmanakaya and when it is left out it is done in terms of consideration of the Sambhogakaya.

After this there is the taking of the Tantric Vows, etc. which is not actually taking the vows but reminding oneself of them as a practice of offering. After that comes the meditation on the Four Immeasurables. Then the Field of Merit dissolves into oneself. Now let us first go and have lunch. Having made the offerings to the Field of Merit we ourselves can go off and eat. We will meet again at 2 o’clock.


This morning we completed the collection of merit and next comes the collection of insight. It is at this point that taking Death as the path for the Dharmakaya takes place. When human beings with bodies of the six elements on this southern continent die ordinarily, not due to a sudden happening or by some external chance, then one goes through the process of Earth dissolving into Water, etc. up to the Clear Light, altogether through eight stages. All of you know the general situation; there are the external signs and the internal signs. Here everybody imagines himself as the Deity Gyalwa Gyatso with consort. You imagine that light goes out from the syllable HRIH at your heart and reaches all sentient beings. Those who are not yet ripened it ripens them and those who are already ripened it frees them and those who are freed it brings them to total completion of the path. And automatically as the light brings all sentient beings to an enlightened state then without acting as a cause it also changes the entire environment into that of a Pure Land. Then the environment dissolves into the sentient beings, and the sentient beings living within that environment dissolve into oneself. Earth dissolves into water and the meaning of earth dissolving into water is that the ability of the earth element fails, is no longer working and so the water element becomes more prominent. The internal appearance for this is that of a mirage. Oneself as Chenrezig, the consort dissolves into oneself and oneself as the deity dissolves from the top and the bottom. First the dissolution occurs from the bottom up (to the heart) and then from the top down so that you are left with the syllable HRIH. It is at that point that the water dissolves into fire, which means that the ability of the water element lessens or weakens and the fire element becomes more prominent and at the same time you have a smoke-like appearance. You visualize yourself as the HRIH in the U-chen form of the Tibetan letters, then a long ‘a’ – sign at the bottom which makes it a long vowel and that ‘a’ dissolves into the body of the syllable HRIH. It is at that time that fire dissolves into wind which means that the ability of the fire element weakens and the wind element becomes more prominent and you get the image of a whirling firebrand.

When you visualize the syllable HRIH you should be completely absorbed in this visualization of the HRIH. From the viewpoint of this syllable you are below it so that you can look up and down the upper and lower parts of the body. Before that you should have been holding the strong dignity and pride of identifying with, being the syllable HRIH and then you go through the dissolution process.

Now we have come to the point where the RA underneath the HRIH dissolves into the letter HA. At this point the wind dissolves into the consciousness, and at this time the breath ceases. Normally one would consider the person having died. This is the vision like a glow, a red glow in which before you had all sorts of sparks as from a firecracker and these have slowly faded so that you have a vague red glow. There are different ways of explaining this but this is perhaps the easiest one for understanding. Now the body of the letter HA dissolves into the line that is on top of it as its head. You imagine at this point that the consciousness together with the eighty conceptual thoughts and these together with the wind on which they all ride, all these together dissolve into white appearance consciousness. The appearance is like that of a clear sky in an autumn night in the beginning part of the month when the sky is full with the light of the full moon, so it has this generally pervasive and extensive white appearance. You should not think of the actual disc of the moon appearing but it is the light from that moon which is pervasive all over the sky.

The line on top of the letter HA dissolves into the ‘I’ vowel indicator, the giku, on the top. It is at this point that the appearance consciousness dissolves into the increasing consciousness, the increasing consciousness has the appearance of red, like the sky being pervaded with rays of the light of the sun, that redness. Then the ‘I’ vowel indicator on top dissolves into the two dots which had been on the side of the syllable HRIH. So you are left just with the two dots. At this point the increase consciousness with its winds dissolves into the near-attainment consciousness and this has the appearance of blackness like a pitch-dark night which has no moonlight nor any other light. The near-attainment consciousness has two parts; the conscious and the unconscious part, with mindfulness and without mindfulness. In this other part, if somehow you can still think, you can remember, then in the later part that power is no more, just something like a faint, a complete faint, no memory, you yourself cannot remember. Up to that moment, the other part moment, someone who is really well trained and got used to it through many years, there is the great possibility to remember, up to that moment. This is the procedure of dying. This is a kind of one lifetime. So far, such and such a stage has already come, now such and such things will still come, that kind of strong alertness, awareness, and try to understand shunyata, non-selfexistent nature. If you have some other facility, quality, at that time the level of consciousness, its own environment is very helpful to absorb into the ultimate nature.

First all the things of gross appearance have already disappeared and mind, consciousness itself becomes much subtler than our present consciousness, there is much less distraction. Then the consciousness becomes still deeper and then finally the near approximation consciousness together with its winds dissolve into Clear Light. That is called the Clear Light of Death. This is the basis for the Dharmakaya. One can also call it buddhanature. This is the creator in Mahayana-Buddhism, especially in Mahayana-anuttaratantrayana. At that point the two dots at the side of the syllable dissolve as well, so that at that time all different types of appearances have been absorbed and you have achieved the subtlest level of consciousness. The appearance that you have then is of a completely clear, empty sky at the time of false dawn, just before dawn breaks. If you have accustomed yourself to meditation then at that point you meditate on voidness. Having absorbed all the various extraneous appearances and being completely absorbed on voidness then you set the pride and dignity of actually being the resultant Dharmakaya. This is the taking of Death as the path to the Dharmakaya. Since you are focusing single-pointedly on voidness this is the accumulation of insight or wisdom. Then, as I said before, in the state of voidness in which ordinary appearances are no longer there, staying within that state of realization of voidness the consciousness itself appears in the syllables YAM, RAM, etc., exactly as you have it in the text.

Then you get the emergence of the four elements, Mount Meru, etc., and then the Mandala. First you have the generation of the four elements, the element Mandalas and on top of that Mount Meru, then the Protection Wheel and then within the Protection Wheel the Celestial Mansion. After you have generated the Celestial Mansion with the deities and their seats, then you take as the basis the identification and single-pointed concentration of yourself being the Dharmakaya, so at this point you make that even clearer, stronger, remind yourself of it. Because at this period another visualization takes place, at this moment the Dharmakaya-nature might be somewhat weakened and so you now make a special effort to feel that you are the Dharmakaya. Now that Dharmakaya transforms into HRIH with form. That letter appears as letter but in reality you imagine it as the Sambhogakaya. You set the dignity of being the Sambhogakaya. Setting the strong dignity and self-confidence of being the syllable HRIH, this transforms into a blue utpala flower with the syllable HRIH on top of it. Then on the four petals and in the four doorways likewise the four Dakinis and the four wrathful Ones appear, coming out of their seed-syllables, and then the implements. Then, as it says in the text, the light radiates out and does the various purposes of benefiting sentient beings.

Then, if you have the time, you can imagine very carefully through the various stages that the light goes out and according to all the various dispositions and indications of the different beings it teaches them the various teachings which are suited to them, teaches them the various vehicles of humans and gods, vehicles of the Shravakas, the Pratyeka Buddhas, the Mahayana vehicle and it tames those who have not been tamed. And ripens those who have not yet been ripened, it liberates those who have been ripened and it brings those to completion who have been liberated, and in this way it leads everybody step by step through the various realizations to the ultimate actualization of the state of Avalokiteshvara.

Then all of them dissolve into oneself as the insignia marked with the seed-syllable and this changes and transforms into Avalokiteshvara Gyalwa Gyatso with consort. Then one sets the dignity and self-confidence of being the Nirmanakaya. Then you have the generation of the four goddesses and the four wrathful deities as in the text. This is the root-matter here, the Three Bodies, the path for the Three Bodies. Then comes the blessing of the three places with the three syllables, then the calling forth of the wisdom beings and they become inseparable with one. Then call forth the initiating deities, they give the initiation, and one is crowned with the head of one’s Buddha family.

Up to here, out of the four types of purities which are in common with all classes of tantra we have had so far the visualization of one’s body as the Deity and the visualization of the environment as the Mandala. Now comes the pure enjoyment of offering objects, the offerings made to the self-generation. Here is the pure enjoyment of the offerings from the four purities and first is the enjoyment of the Outer Offering to oneself and then the Inner Offering. Although it does not say so explicitly here in the text, for the Secret Offering and the Thusness Offering you can put in the visualizations here for them. For the Secret Offering you are in union with the consort and you induce the four blisses and the four voidnesses. As for the Thusness Offering, within the state of having the appearance of voidness and bliss you likewise have the appearance of yourself as an illusory body complete with all the major and minor marks and being aware and mindful of this union is the subtlest and most profound level of the Thusness Offering. In terms of this there is the Outer Offering in connection with the Vase Initiation. Then there is the Inner Offering made in connection with the Secret Initiation, then the Secret Offering made in connection with the Wisdom Initiation, and then the Thusness Offering in connection with the Word Initiation. So this takes care of the pure enjoyment.

For the fourth purity, the pure actions, this was the visualization of lights going out from the seed-syllables and during the various actions for the benefit of others. So that is the pure action or the pure virtuous conduct.

We have already had the taking of Death as path for the Dharmakaya, taking the Bardo as the path for the Sambhogakaya and the taking of Birth as the path for Nirmanakaya, and now applying that in terms of purifying the basis and in terms of applying this to the resultant state this is like the coming forth of the Nirmanakaya, and in terms of the coming of the Nirmanakaya to the world is the making of offerings to it and likewise the offering of praises.

Next comes the offering of praises according to the verses in the text. Similar to the silent meditation of the Buddha is the next part of the subtle development stage, meditation. According to history, after Buddha Shakyamuni had demonstrated Enlightenment he sat for 49 days without talking, without teaching Dharma. Representing this is the sitting in single-pointed concentration. The achievement of Zhine or Mental Quiescence of the basis of the tantra methods comes in here. This is something that requires special attention. The person who really wants to gain samadhi should practice this stage. At this moment you check, you visualize yourself as the main Deity, then you check all the four Dakinis, then go further to the four Guardians of the Doors, then the archways of the Mandala, then further to the lotus underneath the basis of the Mandala, then go further out to the Protection Wheel, and below the Mandalas of the four elements. Then you bring your focus back in, up to yourself and within you to the moon-disc and the HRIH in the centre. Coming, again going, so in this way you review. Then try to make a very clear vision about the central Deity, just stay, just leave on your mind without any wavering. Then it is exactly the same as is described in the Lam Rim in terms of applying the various opponents for metal dullness and mental agitation. One important thing is that your main consciousness or you yourself enter and remain in the central syllable HRIH. You imagine the outside of the Deity’s body as something like a house. You feel yourself in the central HRIH. Sometimes we visualize in front of the Deity which is in front of you either a consort or a dakini, sometimes you can think of deities around you but it is probably better to focus more on the syllable HRIH within. Try, try, try but stop before you get too tired, that is better. Then when the Buddha rose from his period of silence in single-pointed concentration he taught the Dharma and in accordance with this there is the recitation of the Mantra.

First there is the blessing of the Rosary. The instructions for the visualization during the Mantra recitation are found here in the small letters of instructions. You should follow them. For visualizing from the centre things go out or also the curved type of visualization of the Mantra going through a ring-like process, curving around. You arrange the syllables of the Mantra around the seed-syllable. There is nothing special to say here. If you are doing the approaching retreat then you do 100,000 repetitions of the Mantra. When we remain in a long retreat then there is the recitation of, say, two or three hours. What we are usually doing is, at the beginning we say a few hundred, two, three hundred Mantras, then do the visualization for the recitation. Then think about shunyata, about Impermanence, about the suffering nature, etc. Instead of thinking about other business think of something that helps your mind, otherwise the recitation period is the most relaxed period. All new ideas, new plans are coming, during the daytime you are going shopping etc., coming and going, then there is a special purpose when you stay and recite. This is the time to cut all the plans for the future. Avoid those mental distractions and think of the important points which shape your mind. Sometimes it is very useful to put the text in front of you and while reciting read, not very quickly but just to remind yourself of different points that you see in the text and then think about them. After about 1000 Mantras again think about the visualization of the recitation, just once or twice, then again think about Lam Rim, after another few hundred Mantras again think about the visualization, like that, it will help to refresh yourself. When you just think about the visualization, thinking, thinking, then you will feel bored. Sometimes you should imagine yourself from the point of view of the syllable HRIH on the disc looking around you reading the syllables of the mantra. When you have done the Mantra recitation you do the Hundred-syllable mantra.

After the recitation of the mantra come offering and praise and then comes the offering of the torma to the transworldly deities. This is done exactly according to the text and there is nothing further to add. After that is the offering of the torma to the worldly deities and the request for their actions, then the request for their patience for any mistakes and then the request for them to leave. Then the offering of praise and thanksgiving, then again request for patience, then at the end is the final dissolution. Then patience, then at the end is the final dissolution. Then there is nothing further, it is exactly as it says in the text. After that you rise again in the form of the deity. There are the various actions that one does afterwards.

The things to be abandoned on the generation stage are ordinary pride and ordinary appearance. The way to abandon them is not the same as for abandoning delusions. You are taking as the thing that is to do the abandoning the pride and the clear appearance of oneself as the deity. By holding this for the length of the session, whether that is one or two hours or however long, during that time ordinary appearance and ordinary attraction to that appearance do not arise and in that manner it acts as the opponent. It is not in terms of appearance to the face of the eyes but in terms of the face of the mind or imagination. You actually do see the various physical things in front of you but to the face of your mind or imagination you just have the appearance of the deities around you. During the period in which you do not have the ordinary appearances etc. to the face of your imagination, but have instead the pure appearance of yourself as the deity and if you maintain this with stability and consistency then you use this as the basis for labeling yourself, the I.

For instance, if you are a monk, on the basis of the robes you label yourself as ‘I am a monk’, on the basis of the continuity of having those robes, like that. Here having absorbed all the ordinary appearance of one’s ordinary aggregates, etc. on the face of one’s imagination or to the mind then what actually appears there to the mind is the pure appearance of oneself as the Deity and so you use this as the basis similar to the example before to label your I or self. This is the way of setting the pride and dignity of oneself as the deity. Sometimes if you face a wall when meditating it will help to make things clearer. Sometimes have your eyes open, sometimes close them, but it is probably better to keep your eyes open. If you put great effort into trying to have this appearance to the face of your mind then you will not have too much disturbance from what appears to your eyes. If you meditate with your eyes closed that may be easier in the beginning but in the long run it may not be helpful. While the eyes are open and sixth mental consciousness appears to the consciousness, try try, try and when you get used to it the external disturbances become very weak. That is better. Then occasionally remember the nature of the deity and stay single-pointedly on this.

You alternate between training on the profound side and on the extensive side. In the training on the extensive side there is the clear appearance and the holding of the pride. If you can stay like this for a four-hour session, without having any disturbances, then your mind has started to take shape, your qualification is arriving well. Wherever your mind is focused the energy will collect there. This is called either inner air or energy. That is the key point in shaping certain physical conditions; that helps to control the inner energy and the inner drops. These help to cease the grosser consciousnesses. Through that way we eventually reach the second stage, Dzog Rim.

Now almost complete. In the periods between sessions there are the yogas of eating, washing, going to sleep and waking up. At that time you should try to recognize all appearances as being purely the deities. The body one sees as deity and whatever sound one hears one imagines as the sound of the mantra omniscient mind. So now this is complete

This Teaching was requested by Lama Zopa Rinpoche in connection with the Chenrezig Gyalwa Gyatso Initiation given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the Temple at Dharamsala on 21st and 22nd August, 1984. His Holiness spoke mostly in English and was assisted by Alex Berzin and Sharpa Rinpoche.