The Manjusrimitra: Cultivation of Enlightened Mind

The Cultivation of Enlightened Mind, Bodhicittabhavana by Acarya Sri Manjusrimitra1. Salutation

Homage to Saint Manjusri-kumara! 2

1 To the Blissful One (sugata), the Embodiment of the inconceivable Gnosis of the Source of Reality (dharmadhatu jnana), who is without either [personal or phenomenal] identity;

2 to the Quiescent Nature (santi-svabhava) of all [phenomena], arrived at through the supreme path of neither acceptance nor rejection;

3 and to all the Followers of the Lord (bhagavat), possessing the ten powers of not falling-back, etc.;

4 to this triad that is one throughout, with a characterless mind of supreme faith, we make salutation.

2. The Enlightened Mind

5 The World-Teachers (shastara, prophets), they who are the Light of the World, have all equally praised this [Enlightened-mind]

6 as the very essence of the Dharma, the essence itself of the Eternal Manjusri;

7 as the mother of all the Blissful Ones, as the sole Spiritual Path of all the Victors (jina)3;

8 as the basis of the path of the vast collection of spiritual practices, beginning with Virtue (sila), and so forth.

9 This is the immaculate Enlightened-mind (bodhicitta), inherently ripe with the most excellent attributes (guna).

10 When a sage has realized this unique mind,

11 then he has realized what the Victors have called the very “Embodiment of Reality” (dharmakaya), the foremost of the three Embodiments [of the Buddha].

12 Likewise this iss also known as the “Eye of Wisdom” (prajnacaksu), since it is ultimate consciousness.

13 Further, this has been referred to by some as the “Vajra-lady,” the supreme non-conceptualizing Gnosis (nirvikalpa-jnana).

14 Insofar as these terms are used to describe the experiential state of liberation (moksha) that is common to every enlightened-saint (arya),

15 they reveal various aspects pf Enlightened-mind.

16 Every Enlightened-being (bodhisattva), belonging to the immortal great lineage of the saints,

17 could not have come into being except for this, and this is the Path itself of supreme Liberation.

18 And so, to attain this, the stats of universal Vajra Being (samanta-vajra-sattva), how should one meditate?

3. The Supreme Path of Direct Recognition

19 The direct, hard to understand, subtle field of knowing, the Great Path, is non-conceptual (akalpana), and entirely beyond the grasp of intellectual thought.

20 Divorced from verbal ideation, it is difficult to point out and as difficult to enquire into.

21 It cannot be communicated through words and [therefore] is not within the scope of the neophyte (adikarmika).

22 Nevertheless the path is to be approached through studying scriptures (sutra) of the World-Teacher and following the personal instructions (upadesa) of one’s Guruji.

4. The Mundane Nature of Conventional Reasoning

23 So far as logical reasoning [or philosophical speculation] based on cognitive perception is concerned, it is an established tenet that one can reflect on existence only within the confines of thesis and antithesis.

24 Therefore any attempt whatsoever to define an object-of-experience (visaya) by means of thought, is an affirmation of a “reality” (pramana) inherently negated by its own logical antithesis.

25 If thought is incapable [of positing ultimate reality], then what valid knowledge (pramana) can there be?

26 Hence, the conventional means of reasoning normal to worldly individuals does not apply to the Path of Yoga.

5. Beginning with First Principles

27 The place to begin is to inquire through direct experience into the nature and cause of finite “Existence” (bhava, Being4).

28 [First, the nature of the problem:] All knowable phenomena, whether internal and external, appearing in any given present moment to the minds (citta) of beings,

29 must by its very nature be improperly perceived, due to the delimiting characteristic of the field of perception of six-fold sense-consciousness (vijnana), and hence must be a deceit (bhranti, fiction).

30 Were that which is apprehended through the intoxicated conceptual-constructions (kalpa) of sentient beings factually true (satya),

31 then they would be on a par with the liberated Arhats who conceive not of this “Existence.”

32 Since, however, they are tormented by suffering (dukkha) and slain by time (kala), it is obvious that they are [caught up] in something false (branti).

33 If what is known by means of the organs of sense did afford valid knowledge (pramana),

34 then beings, possessing valid knowledge, would have no need of the Spiritual Path (arya-marga).

35 The Path is taught as the Path of Liberation (moksha-marga), but freedom (mukti) is not acquired through the sense-organs (indriya) of perceptual consciousness.

36 In fact consciousness, which is incapable of banishing suffering, is the very birthplace of the neurotic-defilements (klesa) in the first place.

37 Therefore the Victors have stated that what is perceived by people is false.

38 [Second, the cause of the problem:] So, how does this deceit come into being (abhasa, shine forth)?

39 Due to the fault of identification with the conceived reality, everything conceptually constructed is infirmly perceived, with the result that

40 intelligence (mati) arises through the power of adventitious ignorance (avidya) as an obscured-apprehension (viparyasa).

41 Mind (citta) and mental-function (cetasika), in and of itself, comes into being in three stages.

42 [First stage:] The accumulation of vestigial-imprints5 (vasana), derived from the formative impulses (samskara) [of Creation], proliferate [from the first moment onwards] and evolve; when the [compounded] power (prabhava) of that has ripened [i.e., has obtained ‘critical intensity’]

43 then Mind-in-itself (cittatva, the essence of citta)6 manifests forth (abhasa) as subject and object, or in other words as Subjective Being (atmabhava, Tib: lus) and Existence, which nevertheless has no more ‘reality’ than the life in a pile of bones.

44 [Second stage:] Identification (lamba) with the activity of the continuum (santana) of evolving imprints (vasana) results in the formation of the ‘psychic monad’ (manas), experienced as a ‘self’ (atma), which it is not.

45 [Third stage:] As a result, the obscuring effect of the impulse-to-come-into-being (samskara) produces a subtle diminution-of-awareness7, giving birth to a specific local consciousness.8

46 Through the power of mind combined with the continuum, ensuing conceptual-constructions (kalpa) further negate realization.

47 From that [i.e., from the above three modalities], having the nature of a contaminant (asrava), conceptual-constructions of self (atma) and phenomena (dharma) become serially reiterated.

48 It is from entanglement (cara) with the subtle diminution-of-awareness that there has arisen

49 the [mistaken] view of a ‘Supreme Identity’ (atman)9 [immanent in the Universe], followed by various corollary beliefs, such as are generally held by religious Animists (tirthika) and others, and which they consider redemptive.

50 But [it is simply the case that] once the mind becomes the site of unbounded activity, imprints (vasana) proliferate endlessly and indeterminately.

51 With the ripening (vipaka) of the imprints (vasana), further conditions for their production multiply profusely.

52 The ripening of imprints are the co-operating conditions from whence the concatenation [of effects resulting in the emergence] of organic beings (deha) occurs.

53 Insofar as objective (para, other) conditions are seen to produce objective (para) imprints, then it becomes obvious that the governing-power (prabhava) is in the transformative process itself.

54 It is claimed [by Religionists] that what occurs is due to a ruling-god (isvara) or super-entity, but that approach does not lead either to the cessation [of suffering] nor to true liberation.

55 A mistaken grasp of the subtle concatenation [of interdependent cause and effect] results in the failure of the Path of Yoga.

56 By entanglement with ‘ego’ an overwhelming obscuration divorces one from the lineage of the Saints (arya-kula).

57 By entanglement with ‘phenomena,’ the diversity of suffering arises, condemning (apaya) one to worldly-existence.

58 Since consciousness (vijnana, perception), moreover, takes on its specific characteristics (lakshana) subject to the continuum of the Samskaras,

59 it manifests (abhasa) in an eightfold manner according to its different functions, even though in terms of pure Intelligence (vidya) it is non-specific.

60 Therefore, from the first instant (ksana) of [the continuum of] mind (citta), the subjective Being (atma-bhava) and all phenomena (sarva-dharma) are present.

61 From the cathectic-functioning of mentation (cinta) there proceeds the appearance of origination.

62 Yet no phenomena exists for either ordinary people or for enlightened Saints other than the continuum (santana) of their own mind (citta).

63 The whole diversity (vicitrata) that exists for the six types [of sentient beings] is just their own internal-contemplation (samadhi).

64 The mental-continuum (citta-santana) is without boundaries or extension; it is not one thing, nor supported by anything.

65 Since it has no boundaries, therefore every one of all the infinite realms of existence are one’s own body (deha).

66 In that the infinite realms and the organic creatures [inhabiting those realms] appears as one’s body,

67 it is impossible to define mind and the imprints (vasana) as either one or many.

68 Everything arises and disappears according to the law of [causally] interdependent co-creation (pratityasamutpada).

69 And yet, as with a burnt seed, since nothing can arise from nothing, cause and effect cannot actually exist.

70 Cause and effect, which is fundamental to “Existence” (bhava), is a conceptual discrimination occurring within the essence of Mind-itself,

71 which appears as [both] cause and effect; and yet, since the two [i.e., cause and effect] do not exist as such, creation and destruction [which are dependant on cause and effect] cannot exist either.

72 Since creation and destruction do not exist, self and other cannot exist; [from whence it follows] since there is no termination (samkrama), [the two extremes of] eternalism and nihilism do not exist either.10

73 Therefore, it is established that the deceptive dualism of Samsara and Nirvana is actually a fiction.

74 Time (ksana, moment) and locality (sthana, the space or place of phenomena) are indeterminate; temporal duration is a uniquely simultaneous event (sama, unicity), and where the one [i.e., phenomena occupying space] does not occur, the other [i.e., time] does not occur.

75 Since they are a virtual production (upahita) and not actual (samyak), the vestigial-imprints (vasana) also do not factually exist, and

76 since there then does not exist a sensum (caryavisaya), there can be no substratum (alaya) and no conscious perceiving (vijnapti).11

77 Because there are no boundaries, a focus-of-attention (prabhana) and a locality (sthana), cannot exist. How then can conscious perceiving [i.e., the ‘act’ of consciousness] arise?

78 Therefore mind is separate from the alternatives of existence and nonexistence, and is neither one nor many.

79 In that the Enlightened state of the Blissful Ones is not [objectifiable], the deceit of appearance (abhasa) is like a magical apparition.

80 In the same way [as Enlightenment is not objectifiable], so also, immaculate Gnosis, and the pure continuum of goodness (kusala) that

81 is the Source of Reality (dharmadhatu), are misconstrued as having an existence, and hence as being objectifiable [i.e., an object separate from consciousness].

82 But, since there is no such thing as an “absolute place” (Vajra-sthana) the nature of “locality” is all-the-same (sama, a perfect unicity).

83 And since the Supreme Vajra [i.e., ultimate Being, non-dual Gnosis] per se, [abiding in] the Dimension of Reality, is without boundaries, there can be no “time-moments” (ksana) whatsoever.

84 With all positive good-qualities (kusala), as the root (mula), no more existent than a reflection, then for certain, worldly knowledge (Jagadjnana) [as the branches] has no reality!

6. The Definitive Meaning 12

85 Consequently, since both Enlightenment and Unenlightenment are united in nonexistence, there is nothing to accept or reject.

86 In this sense, terms describing absolute truth (paramartha-satya), such as “the nonexistence of creation and destruction,” “sameness” (samata),

87 “nonduality” (adwaitam), “beyond thought” (acinta), “emptiness” (sunyata), “Source of Reality,” (dharmadhatu), “beyond words or designations,” etc., are all relative (samvritti) terms,

88 since the conceptual distinction between an absolute (paramartha) and an obscured (avarana) position is irrelevant.

89 Claiming that something is an absolute, is itself an obscured position.

90 One should therefore abide in uncertainty (vicikitsa, defensive skepticism), nor attempt to overcome it.

91 Since neither the meditator nor the Source of Reality exists, there can be neither uncertainty nor certitude of view.

92 Thus, if one enquires into the conception of “Existence,” even as an apparition it is without an independent-nature (svabhava, own-nature).

93 Consequently, even this nonexistence, depending as it would on existence, is not; nor does the nonexistence of nonexistence exist!

94 Since all finite concepts are negational, the concept of “middle” (madhya) is equally negated, and so one should not even try and abide in a Middle View (madhyamaka).13

95 However, just as the Lotus Lord of the World (Padmalokisya, i.e., Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassionate Love) does not reject even one [sentient being], but sees all [beings] alike and equal,

96 so too should one understand that even to see [all as] a deceit is itself a deception.

97 The six doctrines [of Brahmin philosophy] should not be treated as heretical. Nor should the works (karma) of the devil (mara) be rejected [i.e., as something opposed to the good] as such.

98 Since the performance of Method (upaya) and Wisdom (prajna) does not exist, indulgence in or aversion to such a path is equivalent to becoming caught up in the works of Mara.

99 Due to the pride (mana, egoism) fostered by assuming that one’s knowledge is superior [to another’s],

100 scholarly debate occurs, from whence follows attachment (lobha) and aversion (dvesa), resulting in delusion (moha), which means that no truth (satya) can be seen at all.

101 Insofar as the psychic monad (manas) is agitated [with cognitive-construction], one remains caught up in the mortal world. If one practices the authentic way [of meditation]

102 then one should neither abide in agitation nor in thoughtless non-agitation (acala, unmoving), any more so than in any other state.

103 This Middle Path wherein there is no appearance (abhasa, shining forth) is what the Blissful Ones describe as Enlightened-mind.

7. Applying the Definitive Meaning to Spiritual Practice

104 Letting go of form (rupa), characteristics (lakshana), and choice (pranihita, wishfulness);

105 taking hold of meditation (bhavana) on the Three Gates (tridhara) of Liberation – thereby one seeks to be free from limitation; however, since form-in-itself (rupata) is empty (sunya, zero),

106 such a turning from the triple ways of Samsara, so as to cultivate (bhavana) the Path to Nirvana, does not on its own overcome one’s limitations;

107 and thus does not conduce to the pacification of all phenomena, since factually there is nothing to abandon or struggle to attain.

108 The aim and object of all the saints, Nirvana, etc., exists not apart from the Path itself.

109 There is no need for renouncing what occurs, nor of remaining passive, since one does not need to construct a support for the mind.

110 Where there is even the tiniest particle of entanglement, that is not the state of Manjusri.

111 Since a ground (prakriti) of meditation cannot be discovered, no fruit (phala), of meditation will be found either.

112 The ordinary mind (citta), in which consciousness (vijnana) objectifies phenomena, in itself is the Supreme Reality.

113 Since one is severed from perceivable concepts, there is no “superior” and “inferior.” This is the proper Path to be developed!

114 Since the Samskaras never have arisen, and the whole of phenomena (sarva-dharma) never has come into being, all phenomena are verily Nirvana.

115 When there is no identity [of phenomena], everything that exists is the Source of Reality itself. To know this is the Supreme Yoga of the Arhats!

116 Just as space (akasa) is not substantial – it is just a name – positive (kusala) and negative (akusala), being inseparable, never arise.

117 Do not involve the mind in intellectual pursuits nor direct it to anything: let it remain separate from conscious perception and non-perception.

118 There is no [need for the deliberate practice of] remembrance (smrti, mindfulness) and applied insight (vipasyana); neither need one observe asceticism nor lax into sybaritic indulgence.

119 By simply abiding in unicity (sama, sameness) duality is not fabricated, nor does one create or not create, nor accumulate [virtue] or eradicate [sin].

120 Not engaged in seeking anything, the psychic monad (manas) remains unmoved, recognizing the unicity of everything; and since

121 there is no problem of becoming intoxicated by desire for the object [of perception], one neither separates from nor is attached to anything at all.

122 Thus one obtains the four realizations of unicity (catvari-sama jnana) by just remaining undisturbed, and attaining to the very boundary [of Existence], one passes beyond.

123 Meditating on the source of mind (cittadhatu) is the Path; anything other than that, and the Clear Light (prabhasa) will not dawn.

8. The Validity of Contemplating Oneself as Divine

124 The World-Teacher has taught: “The use of an authentic indicative Symbolism (samketa) is also [a valid way to] Enlightenment.”

125 That [spoken of] here refers to techniques for the generation (utpatti)14 and meditation (bhavana)15 of the Enlightened-mind [through symbolic procedures].

126 Having applied the three seals (mudra)16 which are signifiers [of Enlightenment], and stabilized the three Contemplations (tri-samadhi)17

127 then through the practice of reciting the Heart Mantra one generates the reality of the Mahamudra of Mind-in-itself.

9. Indicative Symbolism of the Divine Icon

128 Through liberating meditation on the Vajrasattva [i.e., the Divine Logos, the icon of the inconceivable Absolute] all the [five] Paths are unerringly developed.

129 The performance of the naturally virtuous Dharma of the Universally Beneficent Mother Absolute (buddha samanta-bhadri) is to do what ever is immediately appropriate,

130 and the performance of the Universally Beneficent Father Absolute (buddha samanta-badra) is to exhaust [like fire ceasing upon the exhaustion of its fuel] and put a finish to the devil’s work [i.e., the action of entropy and death].

131 When one has attained to that, then indeed may it be said, the works of the devil are merely the flip side of Enlightenment.

10. Devotion Alone is Sufficient Unto Itself

132 Moreover, Great Enlightenment, so the supreme Victor has said, may be realized by means of devotion alone.

133 Simply through the generation of veneration for one’s Guru, who is Supreme Lord of the threefold Universe (tri-sahasra-mahasahasra-dhatu)18

134 and by making Offerings (puja) according to the practice of proper disciples (sravakas), one may overcome with splendour all the devil’s hosts.

135 This Great Method is the particular mystical practice of the Bodhisattvas.

136 If this was not so, the Victors would never have appeared and the Three Vehicles would never have been taught.

137 In a single instant, by the power of Faith (sraddha), one is rapidly transformed into the Eternal Manjusri;

138 the mystical pleroma (guhya-mandala) is thus entered, the supreme Covenant (samaya) of the Mahayana is thus confirmed,

139 the supreme vows of morality (sila) are thus held, salvation is thus obtained, and that which is our object of veneration is thus worshipped.

140 If the grace (punyam) of Enlightened-mind was something tangible that could be measured,

141 then not even the whole of space would be sufficient to contain it, so the Victors have declared!

11. Concerning False Views and Teachings

142 Living beings have been born, are born, and will be born in profuse variety, and thus come under the dominion of the continuum of “Existence” (bhava-sanatana).

143 Not recognizing the [hypnotic power of] finite conceptual-constructions (kalpana), they are seduced by these constructions, and since the continuum of conceptual-construction is a temporal flow, there is no turning back from the deceit later on.

144 They who are deceived by Illusion’s (maya) illusion, which is like the projected apparition of an elephant conjured up by a magician,

145 are like sleepers who, drawn by the attraction of a lustful dream, are brought under the power of dream.

146 They fall short of the Holy Path and adhere instead to extreme paths, which they preach as dogma.

147 Like those who believe mere fool’s gold to be actual gold, they are in need of compassion, in need of the compassionate love of the Compassionate Ones.

148 Those scholars who follow no spiritual discipline, especially in the coming five-hundred year epoch of chaos [i.e., the dark ages of Kali-yuga],

149 cannot possibly realize the immaculate Supreme Doctrine, for they are incapable of even comprehending the words.

150 Therefore all the variety of Views [that have been established] are taught solely according to the level of a person’s intelligence.

151 If one is caught in the current of this torrent of misunderstanding, then one will remain separate from the heart of the Doctrine, which is the ambrosia of Yoga.

12. Dedication of the Grace of These Teachings

152 This is the Supreme Path taught by the Lords, the sacred Mystery of Mind,

153 the extra-ordinary domain of the performance of the primordial Mind of the Universal Victors.

154 I have myself validated it by virtue of direct experience, which is the only incontrovertible valid knowledge (pramana).

155 Through having written this treatise on the Supreme Path of Nonduality, for the sake of all sentient beings

156 instantly and in all realms of becoming, may the

157 hindrances (nivarana) decrease and [realization of] the primordial Mind of the Universal Victors increase.


158 Manjusrimitra composed this text.

159 The Indian professor (upadhyaya) Sri Simha and the Tibetan translator Bhikshu Vairocanaraksita translated this [into Tibetan].

This text was translated May, 1995 from the Tibetan into English by the Kunpal Tulku for the Dharma Fellowship of His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa. Key Buddhist Sanskrit technical terms have been included in brackets and translation of those terms remain invariant throughout the text. Some terms or phrases have been added in square brackets to explicate the text. The translation has been presented line by line, with each line numbered to correspond to the respective line in the Tibetan text; this has not always yielded the best grammar in English, but has been done for those who would like to study the text along the Tibetan original. May this translation inspire all those who wish to penetrate the profound depths of the wondrous ocean of Yogacara Wisdom.


1 The subheads are not part of the original text, which flows as a single piece. Nevertheless the subheads are listed in the commentaries and make the text easier for reading. Therefore the subheads defining selected passages as mentioned in the commentaries have here been included.

2 Manjusri is the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, or in other words the spiritual patron-saint of Knowledge, and thus frequently evoked at the beginning of scholarly works. The mind of Manjusri is used as a representation of Buddha-awareness, the fundamental ground of Reality.

3 Jina, Victor: this is a common title of the Buddha, who through attaining Nirvana has conquered death and attained victory over the world.

4 Bhava: This is the term ‘Being’ (Sein) in the sense used by Heidegger – what does it mean ‘to Be?’ To exist is to have come into being. Manjusrimitra is asserting that this is the starting point of yogic investigation. It is the primary thesis of Descartes, and stands as the unique question of philosophy. The one fact that can be asserted is that we apparently exist. Does the world exist? Maybe, maybe not – but regardless whether any external object is real, apparently the person asking the question does exist. This sense of “being” is therefore the starting point. Manjusrimitra has, however, already dismissed reasoning and philosophical speculation as a means of pursuing that point. He therefore is saying that once we have grasped this sense of Being, the next step for the seeker of Truth is to pursue the experience by means of yogic contemplation.

5 Manjusrimitra introduces the concept of Vasana into his text without prior comment, because he assumes that his reader is already familiar with Yogacara Theory. Vasana, here translated as vestigial-imprint, describes the information content of the resonant field proceeding from the first point of Creation. A given phenomena contains a set amount of information. To define the smallest possible amount of information we use the term ‘bit.’ We know that any given phenomena is made up, therefore, of bits of information. Every elementary particle, atom, and molecule registers bits of information. Every interaction between particles processes information by altering those bits; since the altered bit is distinct from its original bit, the available bits proliferate ceaselessly. Each bit is a ‘trace’ of information, or in other words, a vasana, a vestigial imprint. In modern physics the fundamental bits that make up the Universe are described as ‘quantum-bits’ or qubits – each containing within itself both alternatives (thesis and antithesis) to any bit of information. Information, or in other words the total number of qubits making up the Universe, is constantly proliferating and evolving, as the event horizon expands. The intrinsic information-processing nature of Existence necessarily generates complexity. Until the formation of atoms, virtually all information in the Universe existed at the level of elementary particles and the density of energy throughout was everywhere almost the same. Nevertheless even in the first billionth of a second the Universe as we presently understand it, must have been on the order of some 100 million billion billion billion billion billion bits. The present measurement of total information stored in the Universe at the present time is phenomenal: if (following the modern Margolus-Levitin theorem) we take the amount of energy present within the event horizon of the knowable Universe, multiply that by 4, and divide by Planck’s constant, it is possible to estimate that over the 15 billion years since the first point of Creation, the Universe has now expanded its information content to some 100 billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion quantum bits of information.

6 Cittatva (Tib: Sems-nyid), Mind-in-itself or the Essence of Mind, is understood not as ‘mind’ which arises as the activity of cognition, but as the essence of the mind, the bare ground, which is original primordial Intelligence (Skt: vidya, Tib: rig-pa) without differentiation into a subject-knower and an object that is known.

7 Literally, a collapse of the wave-function of intelligence.

8 In Buddhist terminology local consciousness is sixfold, consisting of (1) mental-consciousness, (2) visual-consciousness, (3) auditory consciousness, (4) gustatory consciousness, (5) smell consciousness, and (6) tactile consciousness. If to this is added Manas and the Alaya-vijnana, then we have the Yogacara Theory of “eight consciousnesses.”

9 In other words, belief in a god or Supreme Ruler who controls the affairs of the Universe and is, in effect, the supreme ‘Self’ of the Universe.

10 The two extremes: eternalism is the assertion that Being exists, and nihilism the assertion that Being does not exist – the simple binary equation: “is” or “is-not”. Manjusrimitra is denying both positions. The most fundamental elements of Existence consist of spacetime and matter. Matter is composed of elementary particles, which essentially are quanta of energy. Do these particles have a ‘real’ existence? In terms of quantum theory, the ‘reality’ of an elementary particle is suspended in an indeterminate superposition until measurement brings about the collapse of the wave-function. Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and Schrodinger’s unnerving Cat Paradox are ways of demonstrating that quantum bits (qubits) contain both aspects of the equation, without being either. In Yogacara Theory this is colloquially called “Satasat,” where ‘sat’ means ‘to-be,’ and ‘asat’ means ‘not-to-be.’ Something may be said either to exist (sat) or not-exist (asat), but under ordinary circumstances not to be able to do both simultaneously. The flip of a coin can be either heads or tails; something either is, or it is not. Written in binary figures these alternatives are either 1 (one/eka) or 0 (zero/sunya). A single ‘bit’ (short for ‘binary digit’), the smallest unit of information possible, must represent one or other of these alternatives. One bit of information states that ‘it is’ (heads), its alternative states that ‘it is not’ (tails). But once we get down to the quantum mechanical level, the smallest unit of information, the qubit, is in the superposition state /0> + /1> from the beginning.

11 Manjusrimitra has earlier introduced the concept of universal consciousness (alaya-vijnana), but here he is making it clear that in doing so he was speaking of provisional facts relative to the Universe. In the present section, he is now speaking in terms of Ultimate Reality.

12 Nitartha (Tib: Nges-don) refers to the Definitive Meaning behind what is being said, in contrast to the Provisional Meaning (neyartha/dreng-don). Up to this point in the text, Manjusrimitra has generally been speaking within the context of provisional meaning. Provisional meaning points toward the Truth, but only from a given perspective. He is here stating that he shall now begin to speak in terms of definitive meaning.

13 Manjusrimitra is exposing faults in that grand system of philosophy of Nagarjuna known as Madhyamaka, or Middle Way philosophy. Throughout his text Manjusrimitra makes it quite clear that the intellectual pursuit of philosophy and logic leads nowhere. Those who seek the Truth must turn to direct yogic experience, should they hope to acquire realization.

14 Utpatti, generating, is used here in the sense of utpatti-krama, the Creation-phase yoga practice.

15 Bhavana, development or meditation, is used here in the sense of sampanna-krama, the Completion-phase yoga practice.

16 The three mudras are the mudras of Body, Speech and Mind as the Being, Word, Spirit of the Divine – Karmamudra, Samayamudra, Dharmamudra.

17 The three Samadhis are (1) the samadhi of the discernment of Great Emptiness as the true nature, (2) the samadhi of the shining forth of Great Compassion, and (3) the samadhi of the resolution-of-opposites (yuganadha) in the causal singularity, which manifests as the Mahamudra.

18 In Buddhist terminology the Universe is referred to as a Tri-sahasra-mahasahasra-dhatu. This describes a Universe consisting of galaxies of (1000)3 x 1000 world-systems with an almost unimaginable event horizon. In every direction these world-systems stretch out, some circling distant uninhabited hot stellar nebula, others rich in sentient beings. When we gaze upwards at the stars, we are gazing toward countless civilizations spanning across the shoreless ocean of the night sky. And yet what we see is only a fraction of the Universe as such.