A Lamp to Illuminate the Five Stages

1. Homage and Introduction

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1. Homage and Introduction

I prostrate with reverence to the lotus feet of Bhagavan Mañjuśrī, lord of all tathāgatas.

Sambhogakāya ablaze with the glory of the wondrous marks and features,

unceasingly enjoying the one-taste union of bliss and emptiness,

with nonapprehending compassion that leaves behind the extremity of peace,

I prostrate to the great conqueror possessed of the seven features.

To the compiler Vajrapāni, who gathered together the secret teachings,

to Indrabhūti, Nāgaḍākinī, Viśukalpa, glorious Saraha, Vajra Nāgārjuna,

Āryadeva, Nāgabodhi, Śākyamitra, Mātaṅgī, Candrakīrti,

and to others of the guru lineage who attained the supreme stage

by the path of Guhyasamāja, the king of tantras,

I prostrate with great joy.

I prostrate constantly to the lotus feet of Guru Mañjuśrī,

who made clear the path of Guhyasamāja, which when understood

brings supreme and fearless confidence in all other scriptures.

Driven by a great force of merit built from prayers

to preserve the teachings of the Buddha and so on,

they traveled with great hardships to the noble land

and spread this practice in the land of snow mountains.

I bow to Rinchen Sangpo, the eyes of the world,

to Lhodrak Marpa, keeper of the treasury of secrets,

to Tanak Gö Lotsāwa, supreme translator, learned in untold scripture.


I will explain this wondrous path of Guhyasamāja,

not clearly understood, no matter how hard they try,

by those who are satisfied with minimal instruction,

who look upon sutra and tantra with blinkered eyes,

for whom scriptural tradition does not arise as instruction,

who seek refuge merely in scripture,

never understanding the subtle path of reasoning

as presented by the adornments of the world,6

the sole entrance into understanding the profound transmissions.

You who are interested in teachings that have arisen from

the bringing together of the Root Tantra and all explanatory tantras

on the path of scripture and reasoning,

through the instructions of the second great Vajradhara,

think how fortunate you are to enter this great secret path [2]

traveled by Indrabhūti, Sukhanātha, Saraha, Nāgārjuna, and so on,

by Nāgayoginī and millions of other ḍākas and ḍākinīs,

and with a radiantly joyful face lit by a smile,

free yourself from distraction of the three pot-like faults,

and listen.

Of all the wonderful teachings that Bhagavān Buddha, the sole beacon of light in the three worlds, supreme guide of gods and men, the source of all excellent teachings, revealed in keeping with disciple’s capacities, the most exalted, the greatest, and the most important is on the glorious Guhyasamāja, a true jewel in this world. The stages of the path that leads to supreme enlightenment for the fortunate person who practices this particular teaching is the topic that will be explained. There are six main outlines:

1.Presentation of the two types of tantras

2.The greatness of Guhyasamāja

3.Commentarial traditions on the meaning of Guhyasamāja

4.Scriptural account of the Ārya tradition

5.How its instructions were transmitted in Tibet

6.The true meanings of these precious teachings

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