2 H.H. Dalai Lama Commentary on Gyalwa Gyatso

Second 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


Now the Dharmakaya, the only one who can have direct bare perception of the dharmakaya is a Buddha. The main ones who can have direct bare perception of Sambhogakaya are Arya Bodhisattvas, and those ordinary persons who have the karma to meet with it can see the Nirmanakaya. Deep sleep, dream-body and rough body, it is like that. The actual transformation of the three bases into Buddha’s three kayas takes place in the second stage of practice, Dzog-rim. In Deity Yoga there must be a preparation for it.

There is the taking of Death as the path for the Dharmakaya, and the Bardo as the path for the Sambhogakaya and Birth as the path for Nirmanakaya. The main three kayas of the basis are Death, Intermediate State and Rebirth. The other one which I mentioned is…Furthermore, in twenty-four hours, within a day, there are three kayas. The basis is Death because when we are dying all the grosser consciousnesses cease to function and only the innermost subtle consciousness remains. That we call Buddhanature, Buddhaseed, and that level of consciousness always remains. That we call primordial, and that consciousness will go to Buddhahood, the other, grosser consciousness will not go. That we call the Dharmakaya. Then, like the special dream-body, the Intermediate State body is not a solid one, like Sambhogakaya, and the grosser body that takes rebirth is the Nirmanakaya. In the Deity Yoga of Maha-anuttarayoga, these three practices must be done.

There was Maitri Zoki who was a very learned person and came from Eastern India. As a small boy he recited some MANI. He has a special relation with Avalokiteshvara. Later in his life he came to Tibet and remained for some time. His main Tibetan disciple was Trophu Lotzawa, about 800 years ago or two generations before Buton Rinchen Dub. He had invited this yogi to Tibet and he built …Jamchon Monastery. With his guidance Trophu Lotzawa built a big image of Maitreya Buddha. Now everything is destroyed, no one is there. He promised Trophu Lotzawa that as long as the Shakyamuni Buddha of the main Cathedral in these remained, he would visit Tibet annually. He promised like that. I don’t know if he has been since 1959 or not. I don’t think so but may be to bless the Chinese, may be! Of course that is very necessary, isn’t it? We believe that this yogi is still in India, or somewhere else. Much later, this yogi actually saw certain lamas and received certain teachings. This is the story of Maitri. He received teachings or initiations from Avalokiteshvara himself and with his permission, his blessing he composed about a hundred different mandala initiations. Usually we call them Maitri gyatza. Now Thugje Chenpo Gyalwa Gyatso is one of the main deities since he himself achieved Buddhahood through this practice. Within the Maitri gyatza, Gyalwa Gyatso is regarded as one of the most important deities, mandalas.

Now I follow the text.

I am not going to explain the preliminary praises and steps. In terms of practice, the main point is the person who is the basis. The person needs to have great faith, great renunciation, compassion, love, and particularly, Bodhicitta, at least some experience of it. He also needs to have some sort of understanding of voidness. This is the basis to receive the initiation.

Such a person needs to be in a place which is pleasing and if one has a statue of Chenrezig Gyalwa Gyatso, one arranges that but if one does not have one, it does not make too much of a difference as the practice is mainly through the powers of the mind. You should then arrange offerings that are pleasing and, as it comes later in the text, an offering of tormas to the worldly ones and the ones beyond the worldly, you can set up biscuits, fruit etc. for torma. The torma being of the Anuttarayoga class should have some meat and alcohol. The reason is that, in order to practice the Completing Stage Practice, the body needs to be very health and strong. These things help to strengthen the body. This is explained from the point of view of necessity. These are called the substances of Samaya, the close-bonded substances.

Generally there seems to be an increase of vegetarians among the Westerners. I heard recently in BBC that in England the number of vegetarians is increasing. That is very good. If there are no physical problems, then remain vegetarian, I think that is best. If there are problems, then you know that the general Mahayana Buddhist practice is to eat meat that is free of doubt, witness and information (nangsum dagpai sha) that the animal was not killed for you, that is free of those three recognitions – that is our usual excuse! – I think the main idea is if there is meat available, already there, then take it. While you are eating it you pray with strong motivation for that animal, that kind of practice. When someone who consumes that meat does some special mental practice and has some special motivation, some prayers, then as the animal is already killed there is some usefulness for that being there also.

Then you have the Bell, the Vajra and the Damaru. There are two meanings to the damaru; one is being very clever, having a two-faced head, the other is the actual ritual object. Usually we regard people as having two faces who talk something at this side and something else at that side, that we usually call damaru. During the Cultural Revolution, the people of Lhasa regarded an old government official as a damaru person. During a criticism meeting, a damaru was put into a hand of that gentleman and he was led around the circumambulation path. The Vajra, Thunderbolt, symbolizes Method, upaya, the Bell symbolizes pure Wisdom, and the Damaru symbolizes Union. I think one side of the Damaru is the skull of a female, the other side the skull of a male, joined, combined, that symbolizes Union. We believe that it arouses the inner heat. For that reason it should generally be held at the level of the navel but there are exceptions. Another meaning is that the sound of the damaru, trem phem, trem phem, trem phem, trem phem, arouses the Dakinis. That is the explanation of the damaru.


The most important thing to have is the Inner Offering. In Maha-anuttara Tantrayana the main offering is the Inner Offering. The offerings are Outer Offering, Inner Offering, Secret Offering and Thusness Offering. The Inner Offering is the most important because its material comes from the bodies, five meats and five liquids, all the dirty things are there. The five kinds of meat and the five kinds of liquid, all these are dirty things. How can we distinguish between dirty and pure? This is mainly subjective, e.g. in tsog the Brahman, the dog and the outcasts are all the same, there is no difference between these three. In ancient India there were big differences between the Brahman, the highest, and the outcaste, and the dog of course. But this view is subjective and to a person who has developed a certain mental attitude and understanding there is no difference. The special meaning is that black and white exist only on the level of grosser consciousness. When one develops the innermost subtle consciousness then on that level there is no difference in these things. When a person deliberately utilizes that consciousness, transforms it into realizations for the path, then that stage we call to have control over the mind and the winds, utility of winds and consciousness. At the present stage, this body (His Holiness pointed to His body) seems solid and acts as a solid. Now we cannot control our inner five elements. Once we have reached the stage where we can fully control the inner five elements, then these external five elements cannot act as solids or as liquids. These differences remain as the subjective side at a certain stage. This does not mean that good and bad do not exist on the conventional level. Things are there, good and bad are there, Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, these things do exist. Buddha and suffering people and enlightened people are there, aren’t they? These are the main reasons why we consume these dirty things. The five meats and five liquids, the substances of the Inner Offering, are connected with the mind stream of living beings, and when a person consumes these things, his own five elements are affected and that helps to control our inner elements.

At the actual offering we first offer to the Gurus, the Toot and Lineage Gurus, then to Deities, then to all sentient beings and finally we take ourselves. The external, Outer Offering is simply an offering to the Deities. The internal, Inner Offering is the greatest festival, not the other one, it is the most important element in the practice of Maha-anuttara Tantrayana. Whether you have the other substances or not – it is absolutely necessary to have an Inner Offering. You should have a pill which contains cultures of nectar-substances from previous pills and is blessed through meditation and recitation of mantras or something like that. These are preparations.


Now the seat. You need a very comfortable seat with a cushion, that is best, the Japanese style. That is very comfortable and very helpful.


Then you examine your own motivation. If your motivation is not pure then you should change it. If your mind is neutral, again you should change it and transform it into the strong motivation that ‘I am going to practice this Sadhana for the benefit of others,’ not a plain recitation of the mantra but you must develop a strong feeling or even emotion. Then, if there is time, visualize at that moment all Gurus, Root Gurus, Lineage Gurus or one Guru who is the main Guru. In reality your Guru appears as a Deity. In some cases from your main Guru who appears as a Deity in the centre of your heart come all your Gurus from whom you received teachings. Visualize and practice if you have time. Then practice relying on Guru Yoga, a Spiritual Master, train in deep respect and feeling of gratitude. Finally, all the Gurus disappear in the heart of the Deity, then that Deity comes on top of your head (it might slip off if you are bald). Generate great faith and great joy and happiness and imagine that the liquids and nectars descend. Then the guru absorbs into yourself and then your own body disappears gradually. At that moment you should realize the nature of emptiness and concentrate on it. With this bliss your dearest Guru absorbs into yourself and imagine yourself transformed or completely mixed with your Deity or guru and with that kind of enjoyment or bliss try as much as you can to feel shunyata, Emptiness, try to understand the meaning of Emptiness. That Wisdom or Mind is the actual causal substance to work with, for later appearing deities, mandalas, everything including offerings comes from that source. Without this kind of realization, if you cannot generate at least a little bit in terms of fervent regard and imagination, what follows will not have any point.

Last year in Bodh Gaya a question was put to me, very correct. One Buddhist monk I think from Ceylon made a comment on Tibetan Tantric teachings. He said the visualization or the practice of the mandala is very useful and very attractive, and is good to pass the time with. Actually this kind of practice helps distraction and conception but it will never help to destroy ignorance. This is a very good point. This is not only a question of the present generation but also a question of the ancient Indian practitioners. Because the question arose, the answer was also there. Buddha Sangye Yeshe, the Teacher Buddhajnana, mentioned that when there is no understanding of shunyata, the mere visualization of Deity Yoga can not help to destroy ignorance. The answer is that the visualization of the Deity or Mandala is not mere imagination but that wisdom, that consciousness actually fully understands the nature of the ultimate reality, shunyata. As I already explained, one consciousness acting as Method and Wisdom combined. How can we produce at this moment a strong feeling of understanding shunyata? Without losing the feeling that consciousness transforms into the form of a deity. Nothing is not something like that kind, try as much as you can to understand shunyata, that feeling, that wisdom itself now transforms, although now only in imagination, like some modern actor.

Just a few days ago I met an American actor (Richard Gere). Out of curiosity I asked him some questions. When an actor cries in a film or on television, tears come, in some cases actors really weep. When you perform, do you actually starve or fast for a few days, do you put chemicals in your eyes, or how do you perform? He said that first he familiarized himself with the story, the words, and then he actually experienced that thing, that situation, and because of that strong feeling he actually passed through that kind of moment, story. Similarly, this rough physical form actually disappears and the consciousness which has realized emptiness itself transforms into the Deity of Gyalwa Gyatso. The appearance is the Deity Gyalwa Gyatso, the reality is wisdom with strong motivation. Now at that moment the form of the Deity as an object, as the basis and the realization of shunyata of that Deity, now combine. That is the instantaneous arisal.

Then there is the blessing of vajra and bell, and remembering the meaning of it. One holds the vajra and bell of being mindful of this.

After that comes the blessing of the Inner Offering. Now here is one question. In order to bless the Inner Offering, the imagination of the emptiness and again in the same way the consciousness which understands shunyata of the substance, you put there the five meats and five liquids, with those things as the object, now understand shunyata of these things, then again the wisdom which understands shunyata of these things transforms into nectar. There is no connection with the other appearance. So, you can practice without these things, so why should you have these substances?

The actual offering is just a play with the appearance of the deep awareness that understands voidness. Here, I think, on the initial stage, just like us, now, until we control the inner five elements, the external five elements act very strongly, very forcefully. Therefore we have to rely on external things, matters, five elements. When we reach the stage of full control over the inner five elements, then nothing depends on the external five elements. So here at the initial stage we need the external substances. When we reach certain experiences, when we actually produce certain new things, then external substances are not necessary. I think this may be the answer. The actual procedure for the blessing of the Inner Offering is just as in the text, there is nothing special to remark on it.

After the blessing of the Inner Offering is the blessing of the preliminary Outer Offering. This is an outer offering made to the worldly protectors requesting the various types of action from them, and before you can offer it to them you have to bless it. So your mind understanding voidness is aimed at these objects as its basis and then out of that understanding of voidness you generate the pure appearance of the Outer Offering.

After that is the blessing of the preliminary torma. It is the same as the blessing of the Inner Offering above. The difference is that the basis at which one aims with the understanding of voidness for accomplishing the Inner Offering is something to drink and here the basis is something to eat.

Now follows the invitation of the guests for the torma. When you are inviting the guests, the directional protectors and the protectors of various fields and areas, you can have the white side, the black side and also the unspecified side, and within the white side of whom you are inviting there are those who are worldly and those who are transworldly, and among the transworldly ones there are those with learning still to be done and those with no more learning or training to be done. You draw forth these directional and field protectors and arrange them in the eight cardinal and intermediary directions and they dissolve into Clear Light, and from that they take on the aspect of a deity and specifically here the Deity of the Great Compassionate Gyalwa Gyatso. Then reciting the mantra you make the offerings. Then you request their virtuous activities. Then you recite the hundred-syllable mantra and request patience for any mistakes. Then is the blessing of the offerings for the self-generated deity, then the meditation of Vajrasattva. If you have time you can do it here, if you have no time you can do the meditation at another place.

When you do the Vajrasattva meditation it is necessary to have the four forces complete in it: Taking refuge and reaffirming the Bodhicitta, which is the force of the basis. When at the beginning of this you think in terms of the various negative actions and obstacles and karmic obscurations you have accumulated in the past, you generate great regret for these negative actions of the past and motivated by this regret you do the actual practice of using a remedial force which is here the opponent power of reciting the mantra. You do this to purify yourself of these negative potentials.

You can either generate yourself as Vajrasattva or generate Vajrasattva on your head and here you generate him on your head. The generation of the Deity is exactly as it is described in the text. Recite the hundred-syllable mantra as often as you can. Here it says twenty-one times but in terms of the blessing of the four initiations you recite it twenty-eight times. You imagine purifying yourself of the obstacles of body, speech and mind individually and of body, speech and mind altogether in conjunction with receiving the four initiations. At the end when you recite the verse after the recitation of the mantra, held by the regret that you had before you give the opponent power of the promise to turn away from repeating these negative actions in the future.

How long does it take to recite 100,000 Vajrasattva mantras? Recently you did retreat here, how long did it take to recite 100,000 Vajrasattva mantras? Answer: We have not finished yet.

And generally? (The answer was inaudible).

Then there is the making of offerings to the Tree of Merit. For meditation on the generation stage in general there is the basis to be purified which is Death, Bardo, and Rebirth. The result of doing the purification is the attainment of the Three Bodies of the Buddha.

How is the purification done? There is the purification with thusness or voidness, which is making manifest the voidness which was not manifest before. Making manifest what was not manifest before accomplishes the purification. When you do a purification of various delusions or disturbing attitudes the purification is done in terms of applying opponent forces, e.g. you use a way of approach which is completely different from the thing which is to be abandoned. So if you want to abandon grasping for true existence then you use an understanding which is the complete opposite of the way of grasping at things as being inherently existent. That purifies it.

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.


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