Vesna A. Wallace: The body as a text and the text as the body: a view from the Kalaciakratrantra’s perspective
Vesna A. Wallace, University of California, Santa Barbara
When contemporary geneticists study the body, they look at it as a genetic text and strive to intelligibly read it as a blueprint for how the body is formed and maintained. In this sense, for geneticists, a malleable genetic text serves as a metaphor of the body. The holders of the Kalaciakra tradition in India saw the body in a similar way. They viewed it as a tantric text, consisting of mantras and letters that provide a blueprint of the mind-body complex, its operations, habitual propensities, and potentialities for transformation. They devised their own method of interpreting, editing, and changing that text in order to transmute the ordinary body characterized by afflictions into the blissful body of empty form.
One can say that in the context of the Kalaciakra tradition, a tantra is also interpreted as a metaphor of the body, since the tantric text and its discourse themselves are treated as blueprints of the individual’s mind and body. Moreover, a tantric text is also understood as representational body of ultimate reality, manifesting in a literary form, as a literary reproduction of Vajrasattva, the Buddha’s gnosis of bliss.
In this paper, I will discuss both the Indian Buddhist interpretation of the Kalacakratantra discourse as the body, and the interpretations of the body as the Kalacakra.
In the context of Indian tantric Buddhism, the concept of the body as a sacred text is evoked in various definitions of the term “tantra” and is elaborated within the Buddhist tantric discourse on the body and tantric practice.
The Buddhist tantric concept of the body as a Dharma discourse or as a sacred text has its precursors in earlier Buddhist literature. In the early Pali sources, its antecedents can be recognized in the Buddhist definitions of Dharma, contained in discussions pertaining to the Buddha’s discourse on Dharma. In the Ariyapariyesana-sutta of the Majjhimanikaya, I. 167, Dhamma is defined as dependent origination (paticcasamuppada), which is synonymous with samsara, the condition of a sentient being, and it is also defined as nibbana. The Mahahatthi-padopama-sutta (MN, 2001, p. 282) further states that one who sees dependent origination sees Dhamma, and one who sees Dhamma sees the dependent origination. In the Pali suttas, the Buddha himself is identified with Dhamma due to his insight into dependent origination. Therefore, one of the epithets of the Buddha in the Pali suttas is dhamma–bhuta (“one who has become Dhamma”); and the Buddha is quoted as saying: “He who sees the Dhamma sees me, and he who sees me sees the Dhamma.”1 This early Buddhist interpretation of Dharma suggests that by gaining transformative insight into a Dharma- discourse, one becomes the embodiment of Dharma. It further shows that in the context of early Buddhism, an ordinary individual who fully grasps a Dharma-discourse with both of its aspects, samsaric and nirvanic, becomes transformed into its nirvanic aspect. Thus, there is nothing outside the Dharma itself that is being transformed, and there is nothing outside the Dharma that brings about a transformation. This interpretation can be also supported by a statement given in the commentary on the Pa˛isambhida-magga, which interprets the phrase “dhamma-cakka” or cakra (Sanskrit) (can be translated as “wheel”) as Dharma being a weapon by means of which mental afflictions (kilesa) are destroyed.2 This understanding of Dharma as a three-faceted phenomenon, consisting of the basis, means, and the result of a transformative insight, is echoed in the later Buddhist views of Mahayana sutras and in the Buddhist tantric interpretations of the term “tantra.”
In the subsequent Mahayana literature, a Mahayana sutra, sometimes referred to as a Dharma text, is seen as a textual embodiment of all the good qualities of Buddhahood. Therefore, one is told that by listening, memorizing, reciting, or copying a Mahayana sutra, one will acquire those good qualities and see the Buddhas.3 Similarly, the Saddharma Pundarika Sutra asserts that by reading, copying, mastering, and teaching this text to others, one attains the pure and perfect body, which reflects the triple universe with all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in it.4 It is also stated in the Lalitavistara that the house in which this Dharma text is found is the dwelling place of the Tathagatas, and one who masters it, will be like the imperishable ocean.5 Statements like these indicate that also in the context of Mah›y›na, by mastering a Dharma discourse, which is a container of all virtues and the means of attaining the virtues, one becomes a living Dharma text, instilled with virtue and worthy of reverence.
In Indian Buddhist tantric sources, the term “tantra” is frequently defined as a “connected discourse.”6 In the Amritakarika (Amrita is a Sanskrit term that is literally translated to mean “immortality” or nectar) one reads the following: A tantra is called a “connected discourse.” Samsara is considered a tantra. A tantra is called a “secret mystery.” The higher is called a “tantra.”7
Thus, similarly to the early Buddhist definition of Dharma, a tantric discourse here has samsara and nirvana as its two interconnected aspects. This “connected discourse” is said to have three aspects, namely: the cause (hetu), result (phala), and method (upaya) leading to the result. Although in various Buddhist tantric texts, interpretations of these three mutually related aspects of a tantric discourse differ slightly, they equally suggest that the individual may be viewed as a tantra with all of its facets. According to the Yogaratnamala commentary on the Hevajratantra (1959, p. 105), the causal aspect of a tantra is sentient beings (sattva) who are the members of the vajra-family. Another commentary on the Hevajratantra, the Hevajrapañjika-muktavalı, identifies the causal tantra and a causal Hevajra (hetu-hevajra), with a geneological line (gotra), or a vajra-family. A tantra is a connected discourse (prabandha). It is of three kinds: the causal tantra (hetu-tantra), resultant tantra (phala-tantra), and method-tantra (upaya- tantra). Therefore, Hevajra is also of three kinds: the causal Hevajra, resultant Hevajra, and method-Hevajra. A cause (hetu), a geneological line (gotra), and a family (kula) are synonyms. Here, a vajra-family itself is called a “causal Hevajra” and a “causal tantra” due to being a receptacle of virtues that have sublime compassion (maha-karuna) and wisdom (prajña) as their essential part. Why is it Hevajra? Because Hevajra is the cause. Why is it a connected discourse? On account of the multitude of sentient beings who belong to the vajra-family and owing to the power of a causal Hevajra, the state of sublime Vajradhara, which is attainable through the long-term practice of the method-Hevajra, is called a “resultant Hevajra” and a “resultant tantra.8
In the Guhyasamajatantra (Ch.18, vs. 34-35), the causal aspect is the material nature (prakuti), which is the cause of a form, or appearance (›k¸ti).9 In the Gu˚avatı˛ık› commentary on the Mahamayatantra, (1992, p. 2-3), it is the beginningless and endless mind of sentient beings, which is luminous by nature (prak¸ti-prabhasvara) and the cause of spiritual awakening.10
As for the method aspect of a tantra, all the aforementioned texts describe it as a means of transforming a tantra’s causal aspect into its resultant form. As will be demonstrated later in this paper, the method aspect of a tantra is an embodied practice; it is a performative facet of an embodied tantric text. Furthermore, the resultant form of a tantra, which is reality (tattva), or the gnosis of supreme and imperishable bliss, is said to have its origin and place in the body. In the Amritakanika, the gnosis of sublime bliss (maha-sukha-jñana) is referred to as a sublime tantra (maha-tantra) and as a sublime mantra (maha-mantra).11 In this and other Buddhist tantric texts, the identification of a mantra with the gnosis of sublime bliss is justified on the basis that the mantra secures protection (trana) of the mind (manas) through the manipulation of pranas, while innate bliss is the source of the origination of all mantras and their accomplishments.12 In the Vimalaprabha commentary on the Kalacakratantra, Ch. 4, v. 7, the state of supreme, indestructible bliss (paramak-ara-sukha) is identified with the syllable a, which, as the first syllable of the Sanskrit alphabet, stands for the dharma-source (dharmodaya) and for the vajra-womb of all the Buddhas. As such, it is seen as the fundamental cause of all expressions, as the birthplace of all mantras.13 In light of this view, the individual syllables that constitute a tantric discourse are declared to be of the nature of a mantra;14 and the mantra is said to be in the body. Thus, a tantra, which is identified with mantra on this ground, is a text that is encoded in the individual’s body in the form of mantric syllables.
Here too then, that which is being transformed on the tantric path is not something outside the tantra itself, but rather, one aspect of a tantra is transformed into its other aspect by means of yet another aspect of a tantric discourse. This suggests that a tantra as a text that is encoded in a human body is malleable and therefore can be altered. It is an embodied tantric text that can be changed not through an external agency but through its own internal workings. As will be shown later, only the inner workings of an embodied tantric text, or its own self-manipulation, leads to its transformation.
A Perspective from the Indian Kalaciakra Tradition
In the SekoddeŸa, the following is said with regard to the fidubddhatantra:14
Thus, the fidibuddha [tantra], denoting the Kalacakra, is purified by means of the six points (ko˛i),15 four vajra-yogas,16 four perfect awakenings, six families of the psychophysical aggregates (skandha), elements (dhatu), and sense-bases (›yatana), by means of the five chapters known as “Cosmos,” and so on, and by means of the two truths17.18
These two verses clearly suggest that the Kalacakratantra text, which is purified by its content and structure, should be understood not only as a mere discourse on the Kalacakra, but also as the fidibuddha himself. Sadhuputra and Naropa https://www.sangye.it/altro/?p=10116 commenting on these two verses in the SekoddeŸa˛ippa˚ı and SekoddeŸa˛ıka respectively, point to the fidibuddhatantra as the fidibuddha Kalacakra himself. For Sadhuputra, the fidibuddhatantra is “without beginning or end, devoid of adherence to the two doctrinal positions, and imparting the complete mundane and supramundane knowledge.”19 Referencing the verse cited in the Vimapalrabha, Vol. 1, 1986, p. 43, which gives the Kalacakra tradition’s etymological explanation of the phrase “kalacakra” and reads: kakarat kara˚e Ÿante lakarat layo ‘tra vai cakarac calacittasya krakarat kramabandhanai¯
Sadhuputra identifies the fidibbuddhatantra with the resultant aspect of the tantra, the Buddha Kalacakra. Naropa does the same by explaining the Vimalaprabha’s above–cited exposition of the term “kalacakra” in the following way. With regard to the syllable ka, he asserts, “The cause (karana) (eng. = doing) called the body of bodhicitta, is peaceful and free from conceptualizations (vikalpa) on account of the destruction of the waking state; and it is a Nirmanakaya owing to the cessation of the drop of the body (kaya–bindu) in the lala˛a.” With regard to the syllable la, he says: “When it is so, a dissolution (laya) of prana, which is of the nature of the destruction of the dreaming state, is a Sambhogakaya owing to the cessation of the drop of the speech (vag-bindu) in the throat.” With respect to the syllable ca, he states: “A motion (cala) that moves toward the sense-objects such as sound and the like in the waking and dreaming states is the mind that is of the nature of [seminal] emission (cyuti), overcome by darkness, and acquired through a transformation of the eighteen bodily constituents. Its binding is a removal of darkness, a destruction of the dreamless state owing to the cessation of the drop of the mind (citta–bindu) in the heart, a Dharmakaya.” Lastly, with regard to the syllable kra, he comments: “A sequential process (krama) is an emission of the drops of the body and so on. A binding of that [emission] is a destruction of the fourth state by means of innate bliss. Owing to the cessation of the drop of gnosis (jñana-bindu) of perishable [bliss], it is a Sahajakaya. Thus, [Kalacakra] consists of the four bodies.”20
Moreover, since Kalacakra is said to be a unity (ekatva) of the knowledge of indestructible bliss, referred to by the term “time” (kala), and of the object of knowledge, or the world characterized by endless beings of the three realms, referred to by the term “wheel” (cakra),21 the Kalacakratantra with which he is identified, is to be seen not only as a representation of the Buddha Kalacakra’s mind but also as the representation of the body of sentient beings. Naropa https://www.sangye.it/altro/?p=11381 supports this interpretation with the verse from the Kalacakratantra (1994, Ch. 5, v. 56), which identifies all sentient beings within the six realms of existence with a cakra, referred to in the same text as the body of the Buddha.22
In the Kalacakratantra and in the Vimalaprabha, a tantra is also identified with the body of the individual, as a sublime mantra, and as a tantric discourse and its subject matter. One reads in the Vimalaprabha23 that the original fidibuddhatantra, which consists of 1,620 deities, is the nadıs in the body. Form that root–tantra emerged the Kalacakratantra in accordance with the classification of the nadıs of the heart–cakra. According to the Kalacakra tradition, the number of nadıs in body is 72,000. It is worth noting that this number of bodily nadıs corresponds the number obtained by adding the 12,000 lines of the Kalacakratantra to the 60,000 lines of the Vimalaprabha commentary.24 Since the significance of the number of lines in these two texts has not been discussed by their authors, it is no clear whether or not the authors or redactors of these texts wrote the aforementioned numbers of lines with intention to correlate them to the number of the nadıs in the body.
One is further informed in the Vimalaprabha, that not only the fidibuddhatantra but also all other tantras are contained in the body. In some places, it is said that the yoginı- tantras are present in female bodies, and the yoga-tantras are in male bodies;25 and in other places it is asserted that both of these classes of tantras are in a single body. The body is described as a collection of the kings of tantras (tantra-raja)—namely, the threefold Mayajalatantra and the six-fold Samajatantra.26 The origination of the two mentioned tantra- rajas within the body is described as a process of their gradual composition. The expansion of the number of their emerging sections is understood to accord with the development of a child from the moment of its conception to the age of sixteen. Thus, the three phases of the Mayajalatantra’s composition in the body take place in the following way. With the arising of the five psychophysical aggregates (skandha), five elements (bhutas), eight bodily constituents (dhatu), twelve sense-bases (ayatana), six faculties of action (karmendriya), four cakras, and three doshas – vata, pitta, and kapha – the Mayajala emerges as a text having forty-two parts, or sections. With the development of the u˝˚ı˝a and secret (guhya) cakras, it expands into a text with forty–five sections; and with the arising of the mental afflictions (klesha) of attachment, aversion, delusion, and pride it becomes a complete text consisting forty-nine sections.27
The process of the composition of the Samajatantra in the body is also understood to accord with the development of a human being from the initial embryonic state to a sixteen year-old person. With the arising of the psychophysical aggregates and elements of the fetus, the Samajatantra emerges as a text that has nine sections. Upon the origination of the four cakras, it has thirteen sections; and with the arising of the sense-faculties (indriya) and sense-objects (vi˝aya), it extends into a text with twenty-five sections. Afterwards, with the emergence of the faculties of action, the secret cakra and u˝˚ı˝a, it has thirty-two sections; and with the arising of the divine faculty (divyendriya) and bliss (sukha), it becomes a complete text with thirty-four sections.
Furthermore, according to the Kalacakratantra tradition, one becomes the Buddha Mañjuvajra by knowing the manner in which the fidibuddha and all other tantras that are included in the fidibuddhatantra are present in the body.28 Here too then, right insight into one’s own body as a tantric text and its subject matter is a requisite for spiritual transformation. One should know the tantras that are present in the body by their respective classes of consonants, which are the letters of a mantra. Here, like in other anuttara-yoga- tantras, a tantric body is constructed on a specific linguistic model, on the taxonomic order of syllables. This suggests that Indian Buddhists considered linguistic structures of the embodied tantric texts to be important and powerful.
Consonants are referred to as the presiding deities of the nadıs and the lords (natha) of the cakras. For example:
In the joint of the left shoulder and upper arm are gutturals with short vowels of space, etc. in inverted order.
In the joint of the right shoulder and upper arm are gutturals with long vowels of gnosis.
In the joint of the left upper arm and forearm are palatals with short vowels of space, etc.
In the joint of the right upper arm and forearm are palatals with long vowels of gnosis, etc.
In the joint of the left hand and forearm are retroflex consonants with six short vowels of space, etc.
In the right joint of the left hand and forearm are retroflex consonants are retroflex consonants with long vowels of gnosis, etc.
In the joint of the right hip and thigh are labials with six long vowels of gnosis, etc. In the joint of the left hip and thigh are labials with six short vowels of space, etc.
In the joint of the right knee and thigh are dentals with six long vowels of gnosis, etc. In the joint of the left knee and thigh are dentals with six short vowels of space, etc.
In the joint of the right foot and shin are sibilants with six long vowels of gnosis, etc. In the joint of the left foot and shin are sibilants with six short vowels of space, etc. in the inverted order.
Thus, every single class of consonants, making up thirty syllables, is in the twelve cakras, which have thirty spokes: in the action (karma) cakras and in the activity (kriya) cakras.
In every joint of the right thumb are gutturals with 6 long vowels of gnosis, etc.
In the joint of the lower knuckle of the thumb are 6 nadıs, or gutturals with 6 long vowels of gnosis, etc.
In the joint of the right forefinger is the syllable kha.
The syllable ga is in the middle finger.
The syllable gha is in the joint of the right ring finger.
The syllable ºga with six long vowels of gnosis, etc. is in the joint of the right little finger.
The syllable ºga with six short vowels of space, etc. is in the joint of the lower knuckle of the left little finger.
The syllable gha with six short vowels of space, etc. is in the joint of the left forefinger.The syllable ga with six short vowels of space, etc. is in the left middle finger. The syllable kha with six short vowels of space, etc. is in the left ring finger. The syllable ka with six short vowels of space, etc. is in the left thumb.
The six classes of consonants – ka, ca, ˛a, pa, ta, and sa – make up thirty consonants due to their respective five-fold divisions.29 These thirty consonants together with ha, ya, ra, la, va, and k˝a, are considered to be the lords of the thirty-six bodily cakras. Each class of the six consonants is further divided into thirty-six syllables, in accordance with the accompanying short and long vowels, gu˚as and v¸ddhis. These thirty–six syllables of each consonantal class are declared to be the lords of the cakras in thirty-six tantras in the body, namely, in the ka-vajra-tantra, kha-vajra-tantra, and so on.30 Thus, each class of consonants with its thirty-six syllables is itself a tantra.31 This implies that each nadı-cakra is an individual tantra. These diverse individual tantras are linked together, forming a single, all-inclusive tantra, namely, the fidibuddhatantra, or the Kalacakratantra. Among these multiple tantras, not a single tantra exists independently of other tantras. The numerous tantras in the body are linked together by their common pervader (vyapaka), which is the mind (citta), or gnosis (jñana). Perhaps, this presentation of the interconnection of the multiple tantras in the body could be interpreted as a unique Kalacakratantra’s theory of intertextuality, one that pertains to the embodied texts.
The aforementioned thirty-six consonants are also identified as the six psychophysical aggregates, six elements, six faculties of action and their activities, sense-faculties, sense-objects, and the like.32 Thus, every bodily constituent is to be known as an individual tantric text, and the body is to be seen as a multi-volumed tantra. These individual tantric texts in the body, represented by the groups of thirty-six syllables, are also identified as the yoga (method) and yoginı (wisdom) tantras. 33
However, due to being a corporeal text, this inclusive tantra in the body is characterized by finitude, as it is subject to destruction. It carries the meaning of ordinary, conventional reality, which must be transcended. For this reason, this corporeal and provisional tantra is in need of transformation into the definitive text. Its transformation requires a certain kind of translation, a transition from presentation to reality. Its transition from a finite text with a provisional meaning to a transcendent text with a definitive meaning is a process of transformation from the conceptually constructed text to the non-conceptual text. This transition of a text from one state of being to another involves a rewriting of personal history. In this process of rewriting, the old signs must be reinterpreted and subsequently replaced by new signs needed for capturing reality. The signs that express the unitary and partless reality are deemed as non-conceptual signs; and thus, although functioning as signs, ultimately they are not signs at all.
It is the earlier mentioned, third aspect of a tantra, known as the method, or sadhana, that provides the new encoding necessary for such transition. In the course of the sadhana, or the stage of generation practice, the earlier discussed groups of thirty-six consonants o various tantras are mentally dissolved. The embodied tantric text is disintegrated. Upon this disintegration, a new tantra is generated, the thirty-six consonants are encoded in a new form – in the form of a deity-ma˚˜ala – and their new meaning is produced. The consonants are transformed into the textual body of mantric deities (mantra-devata). By being generated with new meanings into the new textual form, the consonants undergo a gradual transformation in the same six-phased sequence in which they initially had emerged from the time of the individual’s conception till the age of sixteen. Upon their regeneration in the new form with new meaning, they continue to undergo further metamorphosis in the six main cakras (u˝˚ı˝a, heart, lal›˛a, and guhya) brought by the intervention of different sets of vowels.34 The vowels are the six types of wisdom (prajñ›), or the pure psychophysical aggregates, elements, and the like. “Spliced” on the top of the consonants, which carry the meaning of compassion in relation to the vowels, they take possession of the consonants. In the context of the Kalacakratantra practice, this process of altering the embodied text, carried out through the “splicing” of the completely different classes of sounds—namely, the consonants and vowels—is called “sealing,” or “printing” (mudrana) of the revised text of the body, speech, and mind. In this phase too, the redacted consonants, or the revised yoga and yoginı tantras, in the body are mutually linked by the mind (citta), or the pervading gnosis (jñana), which is their presiding deity (nayaka). However, the embodied tantric discourse that is redacted in this way is still a provisional and conceptually constructed text, which is said to be a fabrication of the individual’s own mind.35 Although in this new form it continues to be a complete and coherent unit, it is still structured as a composition of the mutually connected but disparate parts. Consequently, a further redaction is needed for its complete alteration, the redaction that will amalgamate the mutually differing parts of the text in a novel way. A subsequent phase of revision entails the mutual assimilation of the different classes of consonants that have been earlier sealed by their respective vowels. In Buddhist tantric jargon, this is referred to as an “embracing of a different family” (para-kula-liºgana). It is a preparatory phase for the actual merging of the body’s yoga and yoginı tantras into each other, forming a unitary text, devoid of diverse parts. It is followed by a further redaction by means of which the embodied text becomes a partless and nondual text, in which all the letters of the nadı–pranas are unified into the single word “eva˙.” The word eva˙ is said not to be a term, or a conceptual sign, because it is the union of wisdom and method. E is a syllable a, or emptiness, the space- element, in the locative case; and va˙ is gnosis, sublime bliss, which arises from and abides in emptiness, or space. Thus, the multi-syllable text is reduced to a two-syllable text, which is neither a yoga or yoginı tantra.
In the final phase of revision, the embodied text is completely transformed with the incineration of the all of its letters by the fire of the same gnosis that previously linked them together. Following the model of the six-phased composition, dissolution, and reconstruction of the text’s two earlier forms—phenomenal and conceptual—the process of its incineration is also carried out in six consecutive phases. This new text, which is devoid of parts and signs (nimitta), is said to have a unique non-conceptual form, characterized by non-pronounceable consonants and vowels. It is reduced to the single syllable a, referred to as a supreme syllable (paramak˝ara), a sublime emptiness (maha–Ÿunya), the dharmadhatu, the vajra-womb, and the cause of the body, speech, and mind of all the Buddhas. As such, it is likened to formless, non-embodied (arupa) space and is characterized as inexplicable (anirdeŸya) and ungrounded (aprati˝˛ha) in anything.36 On account of being reduced to the single letter, it transcends the subject-object duality and is thereby self-cognizant in the sense that it is an indivisible union of the discourse, its subject matter, and the author. In contrast, the embodied, conceptual text, consisting of many letters, exists as an object of knowledge in relation to the reader as its subject. Furthermore, the embodied, conceptual text, which is composed of a complex set of systems, exists in dialectical relationship with other sets outside its boundaries; whereas, the non-embodied and non-conceptual text is seen as free from controversial relations due to being non-localized. Although the disembodied tantric text is not characterized by form, it is said not to be characterized by formlessness either, since it exists in the vowel a, which is its empty form.37 The discussed revisional methods and their results suggest that a tantric text is always productive of what it denotes. Arising from the syllable a, the source of all expressions and gnosis in the body, a sublime tantra takes on various phenomenal forms. In order to elucidate the mundane and transcendent truths and paths, it takes on the form of a book, consisting of mantra symbols, characterized by articulation. It also assumes the form of the text embodied in a human figure, consisting of the nadıs, psychophysical aggregates, and the like. Due to sharing a common source (yoni), these two phenomenal forms of a sublime tantra – the book and the body – are fundamentally nondual. In this regard, they are not just mere metaphors of each other, but two different manifestations of the same reality. A reader of a tantra who knows this truth also knows that he is not a mere consumer of the text but also its producer. He knows that it is his mind alone that links all the letters together into a single text and gives it different meanings until it finally absorbs them into its own gnosis, from which they initially arose. By knowing himself to be all of these—the text itself, its author and revisionist, and its subject matter—one is said to become liberated from the mind’s ideation and spiritual ignorance. One’s impermanent body, subject to illness, aging, and disease becomes altered into the blissful body of gnosis.
Although all of the anuttara-yoga-tantras agree that a single-syllable text of the gnosis of sublime and imperishable bliss is fundamentally same in all sentient beings, they offer different transcriptions for it. For example, in the Hevajratantra,38 it is transcribed as thesyllable he, standing for Hevajra, in the Kalacakra tradition as the syllable ka, or Kalacakra, and so on. Its different transcriptions are determined by differing forms in which it may appear and not by any other factors. Thus, in the context of the anuttara-yoga-tantras, just as the evolution of the physical body corresponds to the creation of a canonical tantra, so the closing of the physical body corresponds to the closing of the canonical tantric text. In the case of the Kalacakratantra, which is the latest Indian Buddhist tantra, the closing of the body intimates the closing of Indian tantric tradition. The implications of these notions are intriguing. One of the implications that is significant for the Indian Buddhist tantric tradition is that a canonical tantric text and the body, which are seen as ultimately nondual and functional as a vehicle to spiritual awakening, are like a raft that is discarded when its purpose is accomplished. In that respect, a canonical tantric text and the body can be understood as the Vajrayana itself. Moreover, while being closed and cast aside in the case of the individual who has reached his final goal, a canonical tantra continues to be open and functional for those who have not yet reached spiritual awakening. Thus, being simultaneously closed for one person and open for another, a tantric text calls for diverse hermeneutical approaches.
1Sa˙yuta Nik›ya, III.
2Pa˛isambhidamagg› A˛˛hakath› cited in the Encyclopaedia of Buddhism, 1979-1989, Vol. 4, pp. 371-372.
3Ugraparip¸cch›sÒtra, 2003, Ch. 7, pp. 319–320.
4Saddharma-pu˚˜arıka or The Lotus of the Good Law, 1963, Ch.18, pp. 349-353.
5Lalitavistara SÒtra, 1983, Vol. 2, pp. 673-674.
6See the Guhyasam›jatantra, 1965, Ch. 18, v. 34, the Mah›m›y›tantram with Gu˚avatı˛ık›, 1992, p. 2, Am¸taka˚ik› commentary on the MañjuŸrın›masa˙gıti, 1994, p. 200, the Yogaratnam›l›, 1959, p. 105:
tantra˙ prabandham, tantram iti prabandha¯.
7The Am¸taka˚ik› commentary on the MañjuŸrın›masa˙gıti, , 1994, p. 9, v. 13: tantra˙ prabandham ›khy›ta˙ sa˙s›ra˙ tantram i˝yate/tantra˙ guhya˙ rahasay›khyatam uttara˙ tantram ucyate//
8Hevajrapañjika-muktavalı, 2001, p.
9. 9Guhyasam›jatantra, 1978, Ch.18, p. 115, vs. 34-35: prabandha˙ tantram akhyata˙ tat prabandha˙ tridha bhavet/ adh›ra¯ prak¸tiŸ caiva asa˙h›ryaprabhedata¯// prak¸tiŸ cak¸ter hetur asa˙haryaphala˙ tatha/ adharas tadupayaŸ ca tribhis tantrarthasa˙graha¯//
10tantram iti prabhandham/ trividha˙ tantra˙—hetutantra˙ phalatantram up›yatantra˙ ca/ tatra prak¸tiprabh›svaram an›dinidhana˙ citta˙ bodhicittam/ sa hetus tadbıjam/ kasya bıjam/ bodhe¯/
11The Am¸taka˚ika, 1994, pp. 9, 21.
12The Am¸taka˚ika, 1994, p. 200, the Vimalaprabh› commentary on the K›lacakratantra, Ch. 4, v. 7, Ch.1, v. 1. Cf. the Hevajrapañjika-mukt›valı, 2001, p. 29: “It is a mantra due to protecting the world from cogitating on reality.” (tattv›rthamanan›j jagat tra˚ac ca mantra¯.)
13The MañjuŸrınamasa˙gıti, vs. 28–29, cited in the Vimalaprabh› commentary on the K›lacakratantra, 1986, Ch. 1, v. 3. Cf. the Hevajrapañjika-muktavalı, 2001, p. 24: A mantra itself is reality (tattva), the letter a, and so on. Gnosis itself is reality, free from mental elaborations (ni˝prapañca) and unexcelled (anuttara) gnosis of bliss (sukha-jñana).
14The Vimalaprabh› commentary on the K›lacakratantra, Ch. 4.
14SekoddeŸa: A Critical Edition of the Tibetan Translations With an Appendix by zRaneiro Gnoli on the Sanskrit Text, 1994, 131, vs. 6-7. For the commentary on these verses see Raniero Gnoli, ”La SekoddeŸa˛ippa˚ı di Sadhuputra ⁄rıdhar›nanda: Il Testo Sanscrito,” in Rivista degli Studi Orientali, Vol, 70, fasc. 1-2 (1996), 1997, p. 119, and Francesco Sferra, The SekoddeŸa˛ıka by Naropa (Param›rthasa˙graha), 2006, p. 69.
15According to the SekoddeŸa˛ippa˚ı of S›dhuputra, 1997, p. 119, and the SekoddeŸa˛ık› of N›rop›, 2006, p. 69, the six points (˝a˛ko˛i) refers to the sixfold division of the K›lacakratantra discourse, which is classified into the uddeŸa (the abridged K›lacakratantra) and nirdeŸa (the root, extensive K›lacakratantra), each of which is of three kinds: pratyuddeŸa, mahoddeŸa, and pratinirdeŸa.
16The yogas of the body, speech, mind, and gnosis, which eliminate the four states of the ordinary mind—the waking, dreaming, deep sleep, and the fourth state—and which are of the nature of the four bodies of the Buddha on account of being free of the afflictive and cognitive obscurations (avara˚a).
17The two truths refer to conventional (sa˙v¸ti) and ultimate (paramartha) truths.
18eva˙ ˝a˛ko˛ibhi¯ Ÿuddha˙ vajrayogaiŸ caturvidhai¯ catu¯sa˙bodhibhi¯ ksandhadh›tv›yatana˝a˛kulai¯. pa˛alai¯ pañcabhi¯ Ÿuddha˙ lokadh›tv›dikair matai¯ saty›bhy›˙ ›dubuddha˙ sy›t k›lacakr›bhidh›nakam.
19Raniero Gnoli, “Le SekoddeŸa˛ippa˚ı di S›dhuputra ⁄rıdhar›nanda,”in Rivista degli Studi Orientali, Vol. 70, fasc. 1-2 (1996), 1997, p. 6.
20The SekoddeŸa˛ıka by Naropa, 2006, p. 73.
21The SekoddeŸa˛ıka by N›rop›, 2006, p. 74.
22The SekoddeŸa˛ıka, 1941, p. 3.
23The Vimalaprabh› commentary on the K›lacakratantra, 1976, Ch. 2, vs. 56-57.
24According the Vimalaprabh› commentary on the K›lacakratantra, these two texts are traditionally considered to consist of 60,000 lines and 12, 000 lines, respectively.
25The Vimalaprabh› commentary on the Kalacakratantra, Ch. 2, v. 53.
26The Vimalaprabh› commentary on the Kalacakratantra, 1976, Ch. 2, v. 55.
27The Vimalaprabh› commentary on the Kalacakratantra, 1976, Ch. 2, v. 52.
28The Vimalaprabh› commentary on the Kalacakratantra, 1976, Ch. 2, vs. 56-57.
29According to the Vimalaprabha commentary on the Kalacakratantra, 1976, Ch. 1.v. 1, the six classes of consonants with their individual fivefold divisions are:
ka kha ga gha ºga
ca cha ja jha ña
˛a ˛ha ˜a ˜ha ˚a pa pha ba bha ma
ta tha da dha na sa ¯pa ˝a ¯ka
The vowels are listed as these: a › i ı u Ò ¸ ∂ ˘ ∑ a˙ a¯ e ai ar ›r o au al ›l ha h› ya y› ra r› va v› la l›.
30The Vimalaprabha commentary on the Kalacakratantra, 1994, Ch. 5, vs. 7-8.
31The Vimalaprabh› commentary on the Kalacakratantra, 1994, Ch. 5, v. 9: kha–vajr›dika˙ tantram ucyata eka–vyañj›n›tmaka˙ ˝a˚tri˙Ÿan–m›tr›–bhinnam iti.
32The Vimalaprabh› commentary on the K›lacakratantra, 1994, Ch. 5, v. 10.
33The Vimalaprabh› commentary on the K›lacakratantra, 1994, Ch. 5, v. 9.
34The Vimalaprabh› commentary on the K›lacakratantra, 1994, Ch. 5, v. 10:
A, i, u, ¸, ˘, a˙––or Ak˝obhya, Amoghasiddhi, Amit›bha, Vairocana, RatneŸa, and Vajrasattva–for the transformation of the body. ˘, u, ¸, i, a, for the speech, or pr›˚a o˙, ›¯, hÒ˙ for the mind (citta) a for gnosis (jñ›na).
35The Vimalaprabh› commentary on the K›lacakratantra, 1976, Ch. 1, v. 1.
36The SekoddeŸa˛ık› of Na˜ap›da, 1941, pp. 57–58.
37The Vimalaprabh› commentary on the K›lacakratantra, 1976, Ch. 1, v. 1.
38See the Hevajratantra, 2001, Ch. 1, v. 7, and the Hevajrapañjik›-mukt›valı, 2001, p. 9.
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