The Buddha’s Single Intention

1. The Vital Points of the Dharma Wheel

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1. The Vital Points of the Dharma Wheel

Vajra statement 1.1

In general, people claim that since the Tathāgata is the Lord of Dharma, he teaches things as he holds them, and thus they are like that.

All the teachings of the Buddha reveal the original state of the fundamental nature (babs kyi gnas lugs).

[7v] Since the Buddha, the Exalted One, attained buddhahood within the essence of the complete purity of all phenomena,

1. He is not a supreme agent like a divine magician or a god.

2. He reveals the fundamental nature of all phenomena out of great love.

3. That fundamental nature, which is the inevitable effectiveness of virtue and nonvirtue, namely dependent origination, cannot be changed by the Buddha.

4. Cause and result deceive no one, whether of high or low rank.

5. He possesses the gnosis that perceives what is and what is not appropriate.

What is established through this fivefold reasoning is the original state of the fundamental nature, the pure teaching of the Buddha, possessor of the ten powers, which has only one position. As it is said:

Nondual, teaching nondually . . .119


The fundamental nature, as just explained, is nothing other than the sphere of reality of sentient beings’ natural continuum (khams rgyud), since the Madhyāntavibhāga says:120

If we summarize emptiness,

true reality (Skt. tathatā), limit of reality,121

absence of conceptual signs, absolute truth,

and sphere of reality (Skt. dharmadhātu) are its synonyms.

Therefore, that all the Buddha’s teachings reveal the original state of the fundamental nature of the sentient beings’ thoughts,122 the absolute reality, is established through many authoritative quotations and reasonings.

Notes 1.1

The Dharma exists independently from the Buddha. He has not created it; he is only the one who reveals it. This idea is already present in the Dhamma Niyāma Sutta (Aṅguttara Nikāya i 286) of the Pāli canon, according to which the properties of the teachings exist whether a Tathāgata is present or not:

Monks, whether or not there is the arising of tathagatas, this property stands — this steadfastness of the Dhamma, this orderliness of the Dhamma. . . . The Tathagata directly awakens to that, breaks through to that. Directly awakening and breaking through to that, he declares it, teaches it, describes it, sets it forth. He reveals it, explains it, and makes it plain.123

Furthermore, that the fundamental nature exists whether a tathāgata appears in the world or not (and thus “cannot be changed by the Buddha,” as Chökyi Drakpa states) is an ancient theme. The Śālistamba Sūtra (7–14), for instance, which is among the earliest Mahāyāna sūtras (Potter 1999, 195), says that 51“[w]hether or not tathāgatas arise . . . the nature of the factors (Skt. dharmatā), suchness, reality, truth is constant.” That the Buddha likened his discovery of the truth (Skt. dharma) to the rediscovery of a city hidden in the jungle has been noted by Frauwallner (1997, 192).124 Chökyi Drakpa concludes that since the Buddha did not create but awakened to the Dharma, “he is not a supreme agent like a divine magician or a [creator] god.”

Regarding the fact that the Buddha cannot change the fundamental nature, Jikten Sumgön speaks of the “inevitable effectiveness of virtue and nonvirtue” (dkar nag zang thal). Sakya Paṇḍita criticized this term (Clear Differentiation 1.156a–157b), and Chökyi Drakpa responds to the critique in his comments on vajra statement 3.13.

An aspect of the law of the inevitable effectiveness of virtue and nonvirtue is that the fundamental nature does not differentiate between high and low beings: the nature is the same for all. Consequently, all beings, whether high or low, have to experience the results of their activities. Moreover, since the Exalted One became a buddha within the complete purity of all phenomena, he “possesses the gnosis that perceives what is and what is not appropriate,” which is one of the ten powers of the Tathāgata.125 It is explained as the knowledge that karma and defilement are a cause for the beings’ birth, that a Self126 and a creator (Skt. īśvara) are not such a cause, and that it is possible that higher realms arise through virtue but impossible that lower realms arise through it. This is the fundamental nature that the Buddha discovered and revealed, which even he cannot alter. Concerning this fundamental nature, no alternatives and “only one position” is possible. Chökyi Drakpa aims this remark at views held by Sakya Paṇḍita (Clear Differentiation 1.46):


White actions may ripen into black results

and black actions may ripen into white results.

Vajra statement 2.1 will discuss this particular topic in more detail.

Vajra statement 1.2

People claim that — since a collection of 84,000 teachings has been taught — by entering any one of these entrance gates one would attain great awakening.

The 84,000 collections of the teachings are all one as a method of achieving buddhahood.

[8v] [The Buddha] taught the 84,000 collections of the teachings as an antidote to the 84,000 afflictions that arise from the three afflictions, or poisons, or from cognitive misorientation alone in the natural continuum of beings. It is not the case that apart from teachings that are well suited to a particular being and that one must practice, one must not practice other collections of teachings. Moreover, it is also not the case that, except for an essence that combines all the subtle and coarse afflictions in the natural continuum of the beings, there would be other afflictions, such as a delusion existing only in some beings and a desire existing only in some others. As Ācārya Vīrya says:

Since the sicknesses of absolutely all the desires and so forth

are continuously intertwined [with the continuum], they pervade the constituents of the body.127

As antidotes to all the afflictions, all the collections of the Dharma that are one as a method that awakens a person are such that the root of all Dharma collections is the method that realizes the two Selflessnesses. Moreover, the two Selflessnesses are the antidote to the core affliction, that of cognitive misorientation and delusion. Therefore it is like in the example where one needs to assemble all the medicines if with one of the principal diseases, such as wind, arise phlegm and bile together with heat, because with even a single antidote lacking, one cannot remove the corresponding thing that is to be abandoned. Therefore, since there is no case in which all the other individual afflictions 53are absent, nothing but all the Dharmas in their entirety have to be practiced, and one should never reject one of them. Moreover, since all Dharmas [ultimately] boil down to the root, mahāmudrā, it is said:

Whichever of the 84,000 collections

of Dharma have been taught,

they all boil down to true reality.128

Still furthermore, the Bhadrakalpika Sūtra and the Vidyutprāpta Sūtra [of the Ratnakūṭa] say that these Dharma collections are again differentiated into 84,000 perfections. By practicing them, one discovers the respective number of samādhis, dhāraṇīs, powers, and so forth, and having accomplished one’s benefit, one teaches for the benefit of others the 84,000 collections of Dharmas to the trainees. Moreover, if one abbreviates these, they are included in the six perfections, and these again are included in the perfection of discriminative knowledge. Therefore, by practicing all six perfections, which include the 84,000 perfections, without [differentiating them into] those that are necessary and those that are not, their respective qualities must arise. The Sañcayagāthā (32.1d–4d) says:

Through generosity, the suffering beings are brought to maturation;

through disciplined conduct [births in] the essential [six groups of the] many beings such as animals,

and the eight states lacking freedom129 are abandoned, and thereby one finds continuous freedom;

through patience one obtains a flawless body, vast excellences,

a beautiful golden complexion, and one becomes worthy of being looked at by beings;

through perseverance one’s good qualities do not diminish,

and one attains limitless gnosis, the treasure of the Victor;

through dhyāna one forsakes the sense pleasures as that which one must condemn,

and one thoroughly accomplishes awareness, supernatural perception, and concentration (Skt. samādhi);

and through discriminative knowledge, the nature of phenomena is thoroughly understood,

and one quickly transcends all three realms of existence.


The supreme one among all men turned the precious wheel

and taught the Dharma to beings to exhaust their suffering.130

Moreover, “from this cause arises this result,” which accomplishes the major and minor marks of a perfect buddha and so forth — namely, the inexhaustible body, speech, and mind, the wheel of ornaments — is infinitely taught in the various collections of sūtras. Therefore, to accomplish buddhahood that carries the twofold purpose, it is necessary to practice the 84,000 collections of teachings as antidotes to the 84,000 afflictions, and except for that alone, there is nothing that one must abandon or accept. If these are differentiated, there are 21,000 Vinaya teachings as antidotes to the 21,000 desires, and likewise there are the Sūtra teachings against hatred, the Abhidharma against cognitive misorientation, and all the three piṭakas equally against all three combined.131 If one summarizes these, there are Vinaya, Sūtra, and Abhidharma as antidotes to desire, hatred, and delusion. If one summarizes these even further, there is the Prajñāpāramitā as an antidote to delusion. Therefore you must understand that, to train your mental continuum, all the Dharma collections are indispensable.

Notes 1.2

Some people say that any single one of the 84,000 antidotes could serve as a means for awakening and that the variety of the Dharma teachings is primarily an expression of the Buddha’s skill in offering a teaching for each and every kind of temperament. Jikten Sumgön, however, teaches that all 84,000 afflictions exist in each and every being and that therefore every single antidote has to be applied by every single person. Only as a whole are these antidotes an effective method for achieving buddhahood: “The 84,000 collections of the teachings are all one as a method of achieving buddhahood.”

At the beginning of his discussion, Chökyi Drakpa cites the opening lines of the Aṣṭāṅgahṛdaya, an encyclopedia of the eight branches of medicine:

Since the sicknesses of absolutely all the desires and so on

are continuously intertwined [with the continuum], they pervade the constituents of the body.132


These lines continue in that treatise:

I pay homage to the physician, who did not previously exist

and who removes desire, delusion, and anger.

This is to show that all afflictions are part of beings’ exterior nature. To remove each one of them requires all 84,000 antidotes. Jikten Sumgön did not adhere in any literal sense to the opinion that a single antidote can be a cure for all afflictions, i.e., the acceptance of a white panacea (dkar po gcig thub). His adherence to a multifactorial and multilayered approach that aims to use the full variety of means is, in fact, apparent in several of his statements. According to vajra statement 5.9, for example, beings with the highest faculties must practice the full range of detailed rituals to cultivate the qualities necessary to initiate buddha activities for the sake of beings. Although in vajra statement 6.6 he teaches only a single means for generating realization, namely guru devotion, this is the final culmination of guru devotion, where the guru is realized as the dharmakāya (Sobisch 2011). To reach this point of breaking through to the realization of mahāmudrā requires a vast number of means of cultivating merit.

Another medical illustration is a sickness that Chökyi Drakpa describes as being principally a wind disease. Wind is the foremost problem, but all the other disorders — such as those of bile, phlegm, and heat — are also present as its aspects. If the doctor does not carefully prescribe a medicine that includes antidotes against all disorders, he will not cure the patient. Similarly, cognitive misorientation and delusion are the chief afflictions, and realization of the two kinds of Selflessness their principal antidote, yet the other afflictions are never totally absent. One must practice Selflessness with recourse to all other antidotes, i.e., all the collections of Dharmas. Thus “all the Dharmas in their entirety have to be practiced, and one should never reject one of them.”

Although it is possible to boil down all the Buddha’s teachings to true reality, the perfection of discriminative knowledge, or the like, this does not imply that such a reduction would not include all the original ingredients. Each ingredient has a specific purpose, and each Dharma element fulfills a specific quality — namely, the major and minor marks of a perfect buddha, the 56“inexhaustible wheel of ornaments.” From this wheel arise spontaneously the buddha activities that benefit all sentient beings.

Vajra statement 1.3

People claim that the three baskets and the four tantra classes are paths that accord with the dispositions of the trainees.

The three baskets and the four tantra classes are the stages of the arising of the path.

[10r] The Rinjangma says: “The three baskets and the four tantra classes are the stages of the arising of the path in the mental continuum”; and the Dosherma says: “The three baskets and the four tantra classes are the stages of bringing forth the path.” Even though there appear to be slight differences, since this is not the time to investigate whether or not a way to maintain the vajra statements and the commentaries is acceptable, I will leave this aside and explain the intention of the actual vajra statement. Now, for one person to become a buddha, we maintain that all the Dharmas of sūtra and mantra such as the three piṭakas and the four tantras are one as a means for the arising of the qualities of the paths and stages in the mental continuum. The Mahāyānasūtrālakāra says:

Sūtra, Abhidharma, and Vinaya

are, in brief, held to be four topics each.

The intelligent ones understand these

and obtain omniscience.133

Moreover, the Hevajra Tantra says:

First, they should offer the “sustenance and purification ceremony” (Skt. poṣadha),134

then they ought to train in the ten topics of the training,

[then they ought to be taught the Vaibhāṣya teachings,

and then the Sautrāntika,

after that the Yogācāra,

and then the Madhyamaka].


Then, when they know all stages of mantra,

they should begin with Hevajra.135

These [elements of a gradual path] are no different for anyone, from ordinary people to those who possess the three vows in their mental continuum. [The Buddha] taught that having obtained full ordination in the Vinaya, one trains — due to having obtained that — in all the three baskets such as Vinaya, Abhidharma, and Sūtra. Moreover, concerning the resolve for awakening, Śāntideva says:

There is not the least thing [in which]

the sons of the Victorious Ones do not train.136

Moreover, the mantra teachings say:

Uphold the excellent teachings of the

outer, inner, and secret vehicle

as the samaya of the lotus family!137

Therefore for those — beginning with possessors of any of the three vows up to possessors of all three vows together, or for any ordinary being up to those who possess a mind that wishes to attain perfect awakening — the arising of both sūtra and mantra in the path continuum is the same. Both are taught to be indispensable. In this manner, there are many authoritative quotes and reasonings, but since these are the ones that are well known, they should suffice. In brief, what one must obtain through the practice — such as practicing the Dharmas of the vehicle of characteristics or pāramitā [i.e., Sūtrayāna] and the path of highest mantra, namely the stages of cultivation and completion — is emptiness: the realization of absolute truth. Since there is nothing else apart from this, [sūtra and mantra] are one. The Madhyāntavibhāga says:

Supported by observation of objects (Skt. upalabdhi),

nonobservation of objects arises (Skt. anupalabdhi).


Supported by such nonobservation,

there arises nonobservation [of an apprehender].138

Thus it has been taught through many systematic presentations.

Notes 1.3

To show that the three baskets combined are a complete set of teachings and form, along with the four tantra classes, the stages of the path, Chökyi Drakpa quotes the Mahāyānasūtrālaṅkāra (11.2) and Hevajra Tantra (2:8.9–10). The first says that omniscience is attained by understanding the respective four topics of the three baskets: Sūtra, Abhidharma, and Vinaya. In the two following verses (11.3–4), these four topics are listed for each basket:

1. Context (of the discourse)

2. Nature (i.e., relative and absolute truths)

3. Teaching (i.e., contents of the discourse)

4. Meaning (i.e., its implication)139

The second quote, Hevajra Tantra (2:8.9–10),140 prescribes a gradual path in the form of the teachings of the “sustenance and purification ceremony”141 and so forth.

Chökyi Drakpa shows that the elements of the gradual path named in this verse are not separate trainings for people with different interests or capabilities. He establishes that the full range of practices is necessary and intended for each vehicle, whether Śrāvaka, Bodhisattva, or Mantrayāna. All elements have to be implemented sequentially from the first to the last by all disciples. Only the supreme disciples practice in a simultaneous manner. In particular, those who practice mantra in any form are required to maintain the practices and vows of śrāvakas, pratyekabuddhas, bodhisattvas, and of the gradual 59stages of mantra. The tradition associates this vital point with the yoga tantra pledges of the lotus family of Buddha Amitābha, since he represents the family of awakened speech — that is, all the 84,000 teachings — and hence all the Dharmas without any exclusion.142

This discussion is one of the many instances where the Single Intention emphasizes the unity of all teachings. Chökyi Drakpa concludes that since both aim at the realization of emptiness — the absolute — the teachings of sūtra and mantra are both indispensable for attaining buddhahood. He cites Maitreya’s famous words from the Madhyāntavibhāga (1.6) to show that the Yogācāra sūtra tradition establishes the nonexistence of both the external object and the internal object-apprehender. According to Vasubandhu, based on a pure perception, “the perception of the objective world disappears. Then, when the perception of the (pluralistic) objective world has disappeared, taking one’s stand on this nonperception of all objects, the perception of Pure Awareness itself (in the role of a perceiving subject) disappears. Such is the method of (gradually) realizing the (ultimate) reality that represents the merger of the apprehended object and the apprehending subject.”143 A real existence of an observed object and an observing apprehender is only a false imputation, and outer objects only arise based on the propensities or habitual traces in one’s mental continuum. Once this is understood, substantial outer objects can no longer be established through observation. Based on that, one realizes that one cannot observe the apprehender either.

Vajra statement 1.4

People claim that the Buddha taught the three Dharma wheels for the different types of families.

The three wheels of the Dharma show that the realizations144 of the retinues are dissimilar.


[11r] The reason is the following: Generally, the turning of the wheel of Dharma is such that different ways of understanding occurred by virtue of the retinues’ conceptions. This is also exactly established through the Uttaratantra quotation whereby the rain falling from the sky is undifferentiated, yet by virtue of the place upon which it falls, it is different. Moreover, in particular, the statement that the Buddha taught three sequential wheels of Dharma was made from the point of view of gradually guiding the retinue. The Buddha said to the retinue of five and so forth:

Monks! Since this is nonvirtuous in the beginning, middle, and end, one must abandon it! Since this is virtuous in the beginning, middle, and end, it is to be accomplished.145

Since the Buddha taught the training of eliminating and accomplishing twelve times by uttering the Dharma of the four truths three times, those śrāvakas [present at the first teaching attained] arhatship, and immediately afterward a particular samādhi arose, such as in the case of Ārya Kauṇḍinya.146 After bringing beings to maturity in this way, the Buddha turned the middle wheel of the absence of characteristics, which is the establishment of all Dharmas and dharmatā in the manner of nonexistence. Moreover, he taught that one establishes the samādhis mentioned above through the discriminative knowledge of insight (Skt. prajñā-vipaśyanā). The Exalted One proclaimed to his retinue: “As I am an arhat, you too are arhats.”147 The retinue thought: “We are the same in being arhats, but why do we not have equal qualities?” and thereupon they gained certainty. In that way, they became greatly matured through the second wheel because they realized the discriminative knowledge of vipaśyanā. Then the Buddha negated emptiness as nonexistence of all phenomena, and he dismissed the Lower Vehicle by saying to his retinue: “You are not arhats!” and so forth. Finally, to introduce them to the cause of the buddha qualities just as they are and in their various instances, he taught the final wheel, the perfect analysis of the definitive meaning, establishing the ultimate state, the pure direct perception: the Buddha’s gnosis. Causing them to reach the yonder shore of purity, true Self, bliss, and permanence he bestowed 61predictions regarding the retinue’s great unsurpassable awakening. [The Buddha said]: “They are brought to greatest maturation through the third wheel!” The great Lord Drigungpa said:

The wheel of Dharma of the Sage appears as three

because he caused [disciples] to mature through the first wheel,

he caused them to mature greatly through the second wheel,

and he caused them to mature very thoroughly through the third.148

Moreover, as the Sūtra Piṭakas say:

When the teacher turned the wheel of Dharma, the gods proclaimed from the sky: “Oh! The Buddha, the Exalted One, has turned the first wheel of Dharma in Jambudvīpa, . . . the second wheel . . . the third wheel . . . !”

Furthermore, at first the members of the retinue had their minds converted through the four truths. Similarly, being conceited regarding permanence was stopped through the middle wheel, the nonaffirmative negation. To negate that — namely, the extreme of the view of nihilism — the final wheel was established as that which determines freedom from extremes, the inseparable union, through the view of luminosity-emptiness. The Madhyamakāvatāra says:

To redirect those who hold

the belief that nirvāṇa is an entity,

the knower of the absolute

taught the absolute, emptiness.149

Thus, to redirect those who have the mental attitude of substantialism, within the first wheel the Buddha taught the middle wheel. The Madhyāntavibhāga says:

Neither empty nor not empty,

thus everything was explained.


Through existence, through nonexistence, and again because of existence,

that is the middle path.150

Thus, to redirect those within the second wheel with a mental attitude of the empty in the form of nonaffirmative negation, the Buddha taught the freedom from extremes as an inseparable union. Therefore these three stages of the wheel are such that the Buddha led the retinues such as the retinue of the five [first disciples] higher and higher with a Dharma conforming with their respective intellectual capacities and then taught a final single supreme vehicle. Through that vital point, it is indispensable that the wheel is threefold.

Notes 1.4

The key point of the present statement is that the Buddha’s retinues, or followers, had different ways of understanding the teachings; the Dharma, however, is only one. It is like the rain falling from the sky, which, by virtue of the different qualities of the ground upon which it falls, acquires different tastes.151 Yet there is also an element of gradual guidance in the three wheels. The Dosherma says: “The three wheels are such that, in order to lead the realization of the trainees to higher and higher stages, and to enhance it, the Buddha taught stages of instructions that are in harmony with the disciples.” The wheels are, however, not different Dharmas, leading to different forms of realization. Instead, they pick up the disciples where they are and lead them all into an ultimate single supreme vehicle. Three aspects are visible in Jikten Sumgön’s understanding of the wheels:

1. They are different because of the retinues’ different capacities.

2. They gradually lead upward into a single supreme vehicle. (These are the two key points made in the present vajra statement.)

3. The lower teachings or vehicles are not replaced by the higher ones, since all teachings and vehicles have the same topics, namely profound peace, freedom from proliferation, luminosity, and the unconditioned state of absolute truth. Moreover, in the final analysis, they all teach the definitive meaning. (These are the key points of vajra statements five to seven, nine, and ten of the present chapter.)


With this in mind, let us return to the aspect of gradual guidance discussed in the present vajra statement.

The first wheel

The retinue of the first turning of the wheel of Dharma consisted of the five ascetics who accompanied Siddhartha during the six years of ascetic practice. Having abandoned asceticism152 and finally attained awakening, the Buddha taught that nonvirtue is to be abandoned, and virtue is to be accomplished.153 According to the tradition, the teaching of the training of abandonment and accomplishment was disseminated twelve times by uttering the four truths three times.154 Those who were present became arhats, and a particular samādhi arose in them, as in the case of Ārya Kauṇḍinya.155 Those who developed “the mental attitude of substantialism” through this teaching needed redirection through the teaching of the second wheel.


The second wheel

The Buddha taught the absence of characteristics, establishing all dharmas and dharmatā in the manner of nonexistence. Samādhis must be cultivated through the practice of the discriminative knowledge of insight (Skt. prajñā-vipaśyanā), and the disciples become “greatly matured.”

The third wheel

An emptiness as a mere nonexistence of all phenomena, however, had to be rejected, and the causes of the Buddha qualities’ arising had to be introduced. The Buddha taught a perfect analysis of the definitive meaning, established the ultimate state, the pure direct perception, which is his gnosis (Skt. buddhajñāna), and he caused the disciples to reach the yonder shore of true purity, true Self, true bliss, and true permanence.156

Briefly put, these four transcendent qualities function as an antidote to the śrāvakas’ and pratyekabuddhas’ reversal of (ordinary) purity, Self, happiness, and permanence, into impurity, non-Self, suffering, and impermanence, which is merely an imputed reversal. A similar logic is at work when Chökyi Drakpa writes that being “conceited ” regarding permanence — merely imputing impermanence — which is the characteristic of the śrāvakas, was first stopped through the middle wheel, which teaches the nonaffirmative negation, a negation that is believed not to impute something else in place of the 65negandum.157 Then, to negate this extreme form of nihilism,158 “the final wheel was established as that which determines freedom from extremes — the inseparable union — through the view of luminosity-emptiness.” It seems to be a common understanding in the Tibetan tradition that the fine details of an understanding of the third wheel require meditative practice.

To recapitulate, the wheels are established here as a progressive purification. (1) By abandoning nonvirtue and accomplishing virtue one abandons clinging to ordinary notions of purity, Self, happiness, and permanence and establishes impurity (of the body), non-Self, suffering, and impermanence. (2) By establishing the nonexistence of phenomena through the nonaffirmative negation, and by training in the discriminative knowledge of insight, one eliminates clinging to imputed existence and imputed impurity, non-Self, suffering, and impermanence. (3) Through practicing the inseparable union of emptiness and luminosity free from all extremes, one removes the extreme of annihilation in the form of nonaffirmative negation. However, one neither abandons the trainings of the lower wheels nor the lower wheels themselves but only the false imputations that arise in the context of these teachings due to the initial incapacities of the respective retinues.

Vajra statement 1.5

People claim that the three Dharma wheels are separate and unmixed since their topics are different.

Within each of the wheels of the teachings, all three are complete.


[12r] Within the first of the three successive wheels of Dharma, the four truths, there are many presentations of the middle and final wheel, and likewise it is to be known and understood for the other two. Within the first wheel, the four truths, the Buddha teaches cause, result, suffering, and the origin of suffering of saṃsāra, and cause, result, cessation, and the path of nirvāṇa.

Within the middle wheel, the absence of characteristics, there are, concerning the origin of suffering, two topics, namely “person” and “phenomena.” To be proud on account of the qualities of one’s mental continuum and to abuse others who are inexperienced is the origin of the “Self of the person.” Moreover, wishing to accomplish happiness in this life, the seven qualities of the higher realms in the next life, and so on through guarding one’s disciplined conduct and so forth is the “origin of phenomena,” which is like a “self of phenomena.”159

From the state of the nonduality of saṃsāra and nirvāṇa, where all phenomena are emptiness, arise cause and result as dependent origination. Then, when they finally attain definitive meaning, the bodhisattvas who dwell on the pure stages abandon the origin of suffering and practice the inseparable two truths of the path. Thereby the state of the three supreme jewels is accomplished within the single vehicle as permanent, stable, and peaceful, and the result — the measureless qualities of the buddhakāya and gnosis — is achieved.

Through the illustrative words, too, all three wheels are shown to be complete within each wheel. While teaching the first wheel, the Buddha proclaimed: “Because I have understood the four truths, I have accomplished all deeds,” and so forth. [During the teaching of the origin of] suffering, he said: “It is nothing one must abandon,” and so forth. This signifies the “absence of characteristics” from the three gates of complete emancipation, and the revelation of the qualities of buddhahood, such as the supernatural powers of a buddha, swiftness of the mind, and the ten powers, are the definitive meaning.

While teaching the middle wheel, the Buddha said: “Desires are like leaves of poison,” and so on.160 He said: “Remember that form is impermanent!” and so on.161 He said: “You have to understand the cause for the hell of beings,” and so on.162 All this refers to the origin of suffering. “Generosity is virtuous,” and 67so on, “through generosity one obtains birth in high families such as that of a king,” and so on,163 and teaching the thirty-seven factors of awakening refers to the truth of the path. He taught the truth of the cessation of the bodhisattva’s eight fruits,164 such as stream enterer. Furthermore, he teaches that the arising of one’s mind in a nonvirtuous state is the origin of suffering; that its result — to experience suffering as one of the six beings — is suffering; that the arising of the mind in a virtuous state through cause, condition, and dependent origination, together with its karma, is the truth of the path; and that the result of that, the arising of happiness, is the result referred to in the truth of the path — namely, the truth of cessation and so on. All of this is the topic of the first wheel [taught on the occasion of the middle wheel].

That the fundamental nature of that cause and result [as just mentioned] is taught to be primordially free from proliferation, free from extremes, and to be emptiness is the topic of the middle wheel. Moreover, to teach that the qualities within that state of emptiness, namely the buddhakāya and gnosis — the result of separation — are purity, true Self, bliss, and permanence is the topic of the [final wheel of] definitive meaning.

Concerning that, if there is a teaching chiefly about cause and result, no matter whether the Buddha reveals a high or a low aspect, that is a topic of the first wheel. Any teaching that chiefly concerns the sphere of reality, emptiness, and the three gates of complete emancipation is a topic of the middle wheel. Any teaching that chiefly concerns the result, the three kāyas, and the wheel of permanence, is a topic of the wheel of definitive meaning.

Moreover, anything that teaches the ground that is to be purified, the consciousnesses of the five gates, is the first wheel. Anything that chiefly teaches the mind consciousness (Skt. manovijñāna) is the middle wheel. Anything that teaches the ground to be purified — namely, the afflicted mind (Skt. kliṣṭamanas) and the basic consciousness (Skt. ālayavijñāna) — is a topic of the final wheel of definitive meaning.

Furthermore, predominantly teaching the path of śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas is the first wheel. Predominantly teaching the sameness of saṃsāra and nirvāṇa is the middle wheel. Predominantly teaching the buddhakāya, the qualities of separation [from veils], is the final wheel. In agreement with that, all three wheels are ascertained as one wheel through the two aspects “topic” and “means of expression.” Now, immediately after the teacher achieved buddhahood, he said:


I have obtained that which is profound peace, free from proliferation,

luminous, and unconditioned — the Dharma that is like a nectar.

Thereby he taught the topic of all three wheels together. In brief, the first wheel is what one calls “the four truths,” the middle is “the absence of characteristics,” and the final “the definitive meaning.” Moreover, in each of the Vinaya, Sūtra, and Abhidharma, and so on — which are the essence of the words that are the means of expression and of the topics that are the meaning — all three are complete, and all three are nothing but a single topic. Therefore the Vinaya teaches the essence

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