In Praise of the Great Holy Place Tsaritra, The Embodiment of Bodhicitta
by Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche.
Translation from the Tibetan by Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche and Terence Barrett.
To the holy root and lineage lamas, I pay homage and go for refuge. Please permeate my mindstream with magnificent blessings.
I. Explaining the Nature of the Great Holy Place
To the lamas, yidams, buddhas, dharmas,
supreme assembly1, and the assembly of viras and dakinis,
the places of refuge for those desiring liberation,
I go for refuge until enlightenment.
The nectar shower of nirmanakayas
from the multi-hued clouds of various sambhogakayas
floating in the limitless sky of dharmakaya
make the harvest of disciples auspiciously bountiful.
However many countless conquerors,
perfectly born from bodhicitta,
the supreme holy place, magnificent Tsaritra3 –
the merit of migrators has magnificently arisen.
Great monument to the mind-as-it-is,
unification of the wheels of the two collections4,
innate perfection of the qualities of freedom and maturation5 –
Tsari, the jewel that grants all wishes.
View, the snow-mountain, touching the sky;
four empowerments, the rushing rivers;
experiences and realizations, the beautiful various flowers –
Tsaritra, all marvelous conduct.
Outwardly, a snow-mountain, emanating splendor;
inwardly, the assembly of emanation deities resides;
secretly, the inseparability of bliss and emptiness –
O, Tsaritra, how wonderful!
Supreme holy place of the body, snow-mountain of Ti-se;
supreme holy place of the speech, snow-mountain of La-chi;
without equal, the most supreme of holy places,
Tsari, the mind place of the Sow-Faced One.6
Nirmanakaya, great snow-mountain;
sambhogakaya, yidam Chakrasamvara;
dharmakaya, great Vajradhara –
Tsaritra, the inseparable three kayas.
Realm of dharmakaya, wheel of primordial wisdom;
realm of sambhogakaya, pure self-appearance;
realm of nirmanakaya, various arisings –
Tsaritra, all enlightened realms.
Supreme support Pure Crystal Mountain,
the inconceivable palace
of twenty-eight hundred assembled deities,
is in the state of non-separation from the phenomena-basis7.
Sky, an eight-spoked wheel;
ground, a beautiful eight-petaled lotus;
surroundings, eight auspicious symbols and seven royal emblems –
all here is completely rich with meaning.
The foot-drinker8 naga mara vajra9 and
the running purifier10 liberator of migrators11
are here in this realm, the source of the common and supreme attainments –
Tsaritra, spontaneously accomplished, enlightened activity.
In the mountains, by rivers and streams,
in the caves, on lakes and ponds,
on major and minor passes, at the precipice-doors12, and so forth,
yidams and dakinis gather like clouds.
The place where the immoral purify the two obscurations13,
where the faithful accumulate the two collections,
and where yogis manifestly become fully enlightened –
the supreme wish-fulfilling-jewel-like holy place.
In all other famous holy places,
for many years yogis exhaust their diligence;
but due to the blessings this holy place bestows on a person,
it is said that here, attainment is near.
The people of this supreme realm:
men, heroes of great courage;
women, heroines with sharp discriminating awareness –
O, such fortunate vajra siblings!
II. The Determination of the Great Holy Place
In the sutras and tantras of the ultimate, definitive meaning –
the perception by the wisdom eyes
of all the buddhas of the three times –
the arrangement of Tsari has been determined.
La-wa-pa, King Song-tsen, Acharya Pe-ma Jung-ne, and others,
great beings who perfected
the generation and completion stages,
expressed the higher meaning of this great holy place.
Hevajra Mar-pa Lo-tsa1,
with vajra speech,
prophesied this matchless, supreme holy place
to Lord She-pa Dor-je.2
The supreme Ye-she Dor-je,
heart-son of dharma lord Da-ö Shön-nu3,
opened the first door of this holy place,
and so the name ‘Tsaritra’ became renowned throughout the world.
Following that, at the Gam-po Seat of the Physician from Tak-po
the essence of all the conquerors collected into one,
the Dri-gung-pa, the Giver of Refuge,
the Protector of the Three Worlds4
in the hermitage called Sang-lung5,
while continually connected to reality
in the expanse of the great all-pervading phenomena-basis,
with the essence of meditative equipoise and post-attainment as one taste,
beheld with his wisdom eye
the outer, inner, and secret arrangements of this great holy place,
the realms of all the countless conquerors collected into one,
exactly as it ultimately is.
And further, dakinis invited him
to look into a net of horse hair
appearing as an image in a mirror,
and there, arranged with clarity, stillness, and splendor
was a realm with all the lamas, the yidams,
the mandala deities, the buddhas of the three times,
the assemblies of the bodhisattvas, and the viras and dakinis –
this precious holy place, the refuge of migrators.
As a result of this, Jig-ten Sum-gön
three times in sequence dispatched mountain-dwellers6
from his ocean-like assembled retinue –
the first time eighty, the second time
nine hundred, and the third time
fifty-five thousand, five hundred, and twenty five –
and so groups of his disciples
pervaded the snowy peaks and rocky slopes.
And from among these mountain-dwellers,
many of the best attained buddhahood;
the realizations of all the rest were from
‘mind-as-it-is’ up to mastery of the tenth ground.
Master of the Teachings Gya-re,
of the glorious Druk-pa Kag-yu,
also three times sent dispatchments from his retinue,
and so the teachings of the Buddha shone like the sun.
All supreme noble ones, regardless of tradition,
who purified obscurations and accumulated collections in this holy place,
completely perfected the manifest realization of the grounds and paths –
Tsaritra, the supreme holy place, Akanishtha.7
Although some great teachers of conventional talk,
sharp in words but dull in meaning,
will begin to quarrel about this holy place,
Tsaritra severs the tongue of logical argument.
Therefore, fortunate people:
don’t obscure your mindstream with wrong view
and open the lotus of faith –
there is no doubt about receiving the blessings!
III. Revealing that the Great Holy Place and the Dharmas of Study and Realization
Are Without Separation
Inside the confusion-wheel of the six classes of cyclic existence,
turned by the wheel of the suffering of impermanence,
and fully realized by the wheel of discriminating awareness –
Tsaritra, the wheel of renunciation.
Since a place of permanent refuge
exists nowhere in the three worlds,
go for refuge to Tsaritra,
the Jewels of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.
Discipline makes steadfast the roots of the wish-fulfilling tree,
that is profuse with the branches, leaves, and flowers of meditative concentration,
and splendorous with the fruit of discriminating awareness –
Tsaritra, the tree of the three trainings.
Loving-kindness of a great wish-fulfilling jewel,
compassion like a burning lamp that dispels the darkness,
and bodhicitta victorious in battle with the four maras –
Tsaritra, the sole friend of migrators.
Emptying all traces of miserliness,
equating the sufferings of cyclic existence with mirage,
and revealing the face of the dharmakaya –
Tsaritra, transcendent generosity.
The basic character, devoid of adventitious defilement;
inherent qualities, perfected and manifest;
and sentient beings, buddhas from the beginning –
Tsaritra, transcendent discipline.
Suffering, dissolved into the expanse of phenomena-as-they-are;
all signs of victim and perpetrator, emptied;
the vast and profound phenomena-reality, free of center and edge –
Tsaritra, transcendent patience.
With steadfast armor of bodhicitta
and the enjoyment of training with constant respect,
completely passing beyond the extremes of existence and peace1 –
Tsaritra, transcendent perseverance.
Great bliss of the undisturbed mind-as-it-is;
spontaneously produced good qualities of samsara and nirvana;
and perpetual enlightened activities equal with the sky –
Tsaritra, transcendent meditative concentration.
Everything that exists, experienced with clarity;
inseparable, original, of one taste;
the mode of abiding, arising interdependently –
Tsaritra, transcendent discriminating awareness.
The rupakaya, blazing with light rays of the major and minor marks;
abandonment and realization, perfected – dharmakaya;
all aspects of the two collections, wholly completed –
Tsaritra, transcendent method.
By the mind of aspiration, other’s goals have been accomplished;
by the mind of engagement, one’s own goals have been accomplished;
both goals perfected, the mind of the ultimate –
Tsaritra, transcendent aspiration.
All the maras of afflictions, aggregates, and so on,
whatever there are, all arise interdependently;
their nature is that they don’t exist in the least –
Tsaritra, transcendent strength.
Primordially unfabricated mind-as-it-is,
nowhere produced, the basic character of the sky,
the luminosity that needs no dispelling or adding –
Tsaritra, transcendent primordial wisdom.
The vase empowerment purifies the obscurations of the body;
the secret empowerment, the obscurations of speech;
and the dharma empowerment purifies the obscurations of the mind –
Tsaritra, the wholly completed four empowerments.
Appearances, realm of the assembled countless deities;
mind-as-it-is, union of luminosity and emptiness, the state of the dharmakaya;
appearances and mind-as-it-is, inseparable, co-emergent –
Tsaritra, the mahamudra.
Marvelous bodhicitta, the yidam deities,
the essence of the four kayas of the lama, the mahamudra,
and dedication without conception of the three spheres –
Tsaritra, heart-essence of all the dharma.
One’s body, not separate from
the mandala deities, viras, and dakinis of Tsari,
through mindfulness and vigilance of faith and respect,
enjoys food and drink as the wheel of accumulation.
To Tsari, the lama of migrators,
make offerings without hope or fear,
supplicate with kalpa-end devotion and respect,
and strive to connect to reality in the inseparable state.
Those without thoughts of higher and lower, superior and inferior,
with exertion free of laziness,
strive at connecting their mindstreams
to Tsaritra, the embodiment of bodhicitta.
Tsaritra, the stainless three trainings;
Tsaritra, the supreme bodhicitta;
Tsaritra, the collection of all generation and completion;
Tsaritra, the embodied four kayas.
To the unchanging Tsari, the dharmakaya:
pay homage respectfully in the non-dual state,
make offerings free of holder and held,
purify in the non-objective expanse,
rejoice in the spontaneously produced phenomena,
ask for turning of the dharma-wheel of all that exists as objects of knowledge,
request for continuing to not abide in existence or peace,
and dedicate in the unexhausted, all-containing sphere.
IV. A Practice, Arranged as a Supplication Prayer
By the power of: the blessings of having recited this1,
the efficacy of bodhicitta,
the powerful abilities of the yidam deities,
and the truth of the unchanging phenomena-basis,
may I and the sentient beings of the six realms,
we that are cycling unceasingly in cyclic existence,
purify our bad deeds, defilements, and obscurations
accumulated since beginningless time.
May the thought-affliction collection of
attachment, aversion, ignorance, and so forth be purified.
May we not cling to this life,
which is like a water bubble.
May we strive in the sphere of acceptance and rejection
with regard to inexorable karmic result.
May we exert ourselves in the method of liberation from cyclic existence,
which is like a doorless prison.
Possessions are like the honey of the bee,
may we know that we are not empowered to make use of them.
Young adulthood is like the flower of autumn,
may we know it as illusory.
May the root-basis of cyclic existence, self-grasping,
be completely severed at the root.
May we see the disadvantages of cyclic existence,
which has the nature of the three sufferings.
Since oneself and all others are impermanent,
may renunciation be born in our mindstreams.
May we not entrust ourselves
to the joys and sorrows of the wheel of existence.
The sense pleasures, dew on a blade of grass,
may we know them to be without essence.
Existence, the wheel of interdependence,
may we know that it arose from causes and conditions.
From the bottom of our hearts, may we go for refuge
to the non-deceptive three jewels.
May we recollect the kindness of the Buddha,
whose compassion is unmatched in this degenerate age.
May loving kindness, the desire from the bottom of the heart to benefit others,
be born in our mindstreams.
May compassion, the desire to separate sentient beings from suffering,
be born in our mindstreams.
May bodhicitta, the source of peace and happiness in samsara and nirvana,
be born in our mindstreams.
Since phenomena are inherently non-existent,
may we see the supreme meaning of emptiness.
May all obstacles and unfavorable conditions
arise as assistance to enlightenment.
By focusing the mind-training2 to those things that torture us –
illness and evil spirits – may they be purified.
May we dust off and cherish
the wish-fulfilling jewel of the three trainings.
May we perfect the six transcendent actions,
the great highway of the conquerors of the three times.
May we attain the common and supreme attainments
of the ocean of yidam mandalas.
May the blessings of the root and lineage lamas
be effortlessly received into our hearts.
Sentient beings are of the nature of buddhas;
may unbiased pure appearance arise.
May we attain steadfast calm-abiding
that is without prana or wavering.
The mind doesn’t abide anywhere;
may its root basis be severed.
May all the waves of discursive thought
be realized as the self-expressivity of mind.
May the white and red outer appearances3
be realized as the self-lustre of mind.
May the co-emergent mind-as-it-is
be realized as the original luminosity.
May the unfabricated mind, free of production and cessation,
abide as fresh and self-settled.
In this one life, may we attain the buddhahood
that is the inseparable essence of the three kayas.
May our minds turn to the Dharmas,
may the Dharmas enter into the path,
may we dispel the confusions of the path,
and may confusion dawn as primordial wisdom.
May the entire collection of virtues –
those innate, and those accumulated in the three times in samsara and nirvana –
become the cause for all embodied ones in samsara and nirvana, without remainder,
to attain the four kayas.
The khenpo who has faith and respect for the great holy place, named Konchog Gyaltshen,
wrote whatever came to mind on the 18th day of May, 2003.
May all come to virtue and auspiciousness! Sarva Mangalam!
1. The supreme assembly is an epithet for the sangha of aryas, those beings on or beyond the path of seeing.
2. Vira is the Sanskrit word that was translated into the Tibetan “dpa’ bo”, pronounced “pa-wo”.
3. Tsaritra, the name of the great holy place, is a transliteration into Tibetan of the Sanskrit “caritra”, which points to this place as a center of action tantra practice.
4. The two collections are the collection of merit and the collection of primordial wisdom.
5. The qualities of freedom and maturation are the qualities of the dharmakaya and the rupakaya respectively, as described in the Uttaratantra.
6. The Sow-Faced One is an epithet of Vajrayogini.
7. Phenomena-basis, Tibetan “chos dbyings”, Sanskrit “dharmadhatu”.
8. Foot-drinkers is a metaphorical name for plants, as they soak up nutrients with their roots.
9. Naga mara vajra is the name of a plant with powerful healing and attainment-bestowing properties.
10. Purifier is a metaphorical name for water.
11. Liberator of migrators is the name of a particular type of water with special qualities.
12. The precipice-doors are four high and narrow passages on the pilgrimage route.
13. The two obscurations are the obscuration of mental afflictions and the obscuration to objects of knowledge.
1. Hevajra Mar-pa Lo-tsa, (Hevarja Marpa the Translator) a disciple of 108 masters, including Naropa, and teacher of Mi-la-re-pa.
2. Lord She-pa Dor-je (Laughing Vajra) is an epithet of Mi-la-re-pa, a disciple of Mar-pa and a teacher of Gam-po-pa.
3. Da-ö Shön-nu (Youthful Moonlight) is an epithet of Gam-po-pa, a disciple of Mi-la-re-pa and a teacher of Phag-mo-dru-pa.
4. Epithets of Jig-ten Sum-gön, a disciple of Phag-mo-dru-pa and the founder of the Drigung Kagyu lineage.
5. Sang-lung (Copper Handle)
6. Mountain-dwellers refers to retreat practitioners who live in solitude in the mountains.
7. Akanishtha – Sanskrit “akanirhtha”; in Tibetan ” ‘og min”, pronounced “og-min”, is the highest of the buddhafields.
1. Existence and peace is another way of saying “samsara and nirvana”.
2. Kalpa-end implies extreme intensity, since the end of a kalpa has the most intense fire that burns everything, etc.
1. If one is only reciting this section (and hasn’t just completed recitation of the previous three sections) then one should say here “the blessings of the root and lineage lamas” instead of “the blessings of having recited this”.
2. Mind-training is “blo sbyong” in the Tibetan, pronounced and often written in English as “lo-jong.”
3. White and red outer appearances is a way of referring to all appearances.