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The Infinity of Bliss bDe ba rab 'byams kyi lung, here as bDe 'jam Dead or Alive by Shailendra Singh. The King of the Sky Nam mkha' rgyal po 12 The Wheel of Life Srog gi 'khor lo Boca Raton: When the translators arrived in India they inquired about who was the most learned in the sacred Great Perfection.
Wilson, S. Flanigen, E. Nature , — Moore, P. Barrer, R. Smith, J. Meier, W. Bennett, J. Download references. To obtain permission to re-use content from this article visit RightsLink.
Scientific Reports Reaction Kinetics, Mechanisms and Catalysis Topics in Catalysis Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering To demonstrate that all of samsara and nirvana originates within the expanse of awakened mind, he taught the Variegated Great Treasury Scripture. To demonstrate and epitomize all the vehicles within awakened mind, he 54 Kunsang Thus, he taught eighteen volumes of scriptures.
It is important to note, though, that Nyang ral does not mention the All Sovereign King in the text, which seems to reinforce the argument that the text was probably not around, or was not an important aspect of the tradition until after the 12th century, since none of the great rNying ma scholars of the period Rong zom, Rog ban, and Nyang ral mention it.
The Mask of Bai ro tsa na will also offer a comprehensive list as well as a narrative account, but there are important differences.
The list begins on p. The Mask of Bai ro tsa na, on the other hand, is trying to do the same, but, this time, establishing the Tibetan translator Bai ro tsa na as the central figure for the tradition.
The Mask of Bai ro tsa na seems to operate at two levels.
On the one hand, it offers a biography of the extraordinary life of this unique Tibetan translator and of his trips to India in search of texts and teachings. On the other hand, it is an attempt to establish the legitimacy of the Great Perfection Tradition by offering an incredibly detailed narrative of the uninterrupted lineage of the Great Perfection teachings that goes not only back to the Buddha Sakyamuni himself, but also to their emergence in the celestial land of Akanishta.
According to The Mask, the transmission of the Great Perfection teachings to Tibet begins with the Emperor Khri srong lde btsan, who in a former life had been born in India as a monk called Avadhuti and had practiced Atiyoga. The Emperor realized that the Great Perfection is a teaching that transcends all other doctrines and that it should be brought to Tibet.
The actual account of the transmission, although similar in content to that of Nyang ral, has enough differences that it warrants its full citation here: Every day they listened to the Secret Mantra teachings based on the result from the later seven scholars and others.
He sat inside the pot and had the opening covered with a big lid on which a pan filled with water was placed. A pipe ran through a hole in the pot and crossed through a cleft in the wall outside of the house. At midnight, Vairotsana and Lekdrub listened outside as Shri Singha whispered the teachings through the tube. They each had on a big deerskin hood, carried loads on their shoulders, held walking sticks, wore their clothes backward, and had put on worn-out pairs of boots the wrong way around.
Rig pa'i khu byug. To express that everything is perfect, he taught Shaking of Great Power Tib. To express the meaning of meditation, he taught Sixfold Sphere Tib.
Thig le drug pa. To express the conclusion of the view and conduct of all the vehicles, he taught Soaring Garuda Tib. Khyung chen lding ba. To show the superiority of Ati over the other vehicles, he taught the view of Never-Waning Banner Tib.
Mi nub rgyal mtshan. Yid bzhin nor bu. To show the greatness of the teachings and instructions, he taught Supreme Lord Tib. To indicate the need to recognize earlier and later flaws and qualities, he taught King of Mental Action Tib.
Spyi gcod rgyal po. To indicate the need to rely on the three types of knowledge, he taught All-Embodying Jewel Tib. These are the four minor teachings. To indicate that all knowledge should depend on the teachings, he taught Infinite Bliss Tib. To show that the fruition is included in the body, speech, and mind, he taught the Wheel of Life Tib. To indicate the need to depend on example, meaning, and symbol, he explained Commentary on Mind Tib.
Yang tig rgyal po and King of Space Tib. These are the four medium teachings. Indicating how to help others through the provisional and definitive meaning, he taught Jewel-Studded Bliss Tib. To indicate the need of distinguishing all vehicles, he taught Universal Bondage Tib. Spyi chings. To avoid the arising of logical contradictions, he taught Pure Gold on Stone Tib.
These are the four greater classes. To check whether a teaching is mistaken or valid, he taught the Marvelous Tib. On the way back to Tibet he was killed by border guards and died at the age of forty-four.
The Cuckoo of Awareness Rig pa khu byug 2. Great Potency rTsal chen sprugs pa 3. The Six Spheres Thig le drug pa 4. Chung ba bzhi 6. The Wish-fulfilling Gem Yid bzhin nor bu 7.
The Supreme Lord rJe btsan dam pa 8. The Infinity of Bliss bDe 'byam The Essence of Bodhicitta the Byang chub sems tig, here as Sems gi tig Che phyogs bzhi The Epitome sPyi chings Gold Refined from Ore rDo la gser zhun, another name for the Byang chub sems bsgom pa The Victorious Emergence of the Peak rTse mo byung rgyal The Marvelous rMad du byung ba 59 From Jinba To begin with, The Mask offers a slightly different list of texts from those offered by Nyang ral.
An important aspect for our study of the reception history of the Eighteen Texts is that The Mask does mention twice the All Sovereign King, which signals a key transitional point in the history of the Mind Series literature in which the Eighteen Texts as an independent collection and the All Sovereign King, the tantra that will end up collecting and replacing the Eighteen Texts as the key literature of the Mind Series, are mentioned in the same narrative.
All Hail to the All Sovereign King: Here is the list: Great Potency rTsal chen sprugs pa, here as rTsal chen 3. Meditation on the Enlightened Mind Byang chub sems bsgom pa, here as Byang chub sems bsgom pa Thirteen Later Translations Phyis 'gyur bcu gsum zhes bya'o 6.
Byang chub sems myu gu this text is in Tk. Tig I have not been able to identify this text, which could refer to the Yang tig rgyal po or the Thig le drug pa 8. The Compendium Kun 'dus, here as Kun 'dus 9. The Infinity of Bliss bDe ba rab 'byams kyi lung, here as bDe 'jam Gnas yar 'debs I have not been able to identify this text The King of the Sky Nam mkha' rgyal po, here as Nam ka'i rgyal po The Universally Definitive Perfection rDzogs pa spyi gcod spyod, here as rdzogs pa spyir gcod The Supreme Lord rJe btsan dam pa, here as rJe gtsun dam pa The Wheel of Life Srog gi 'khor lo'i lung, here as Srog gi 'khor lo The most important point made in the text, though, is its statement that among all of the scriptures said to belong to the Mind Section, there is another text that is considered to be central to the tradition, the All Sovereign King: I would argue that by the 13th century the Great Perfection tradition as a whole is evolving and incorporating new teachings and scriptures, particularly those of the Seminal Heart snying thig , which means that the early Mind Series is becoming, gradually, a thing of the past.
Those scriptures are also being compiled into a single, larger text, the All Sovereign King, which will transform a diverse group of poetic exhortations, short in practical details and long in rhetoric, into a more traditional tantric scripture, with a defined Buddha narrative centered around the figure of the All Good Tib.
Kun tu bzang po, Skt. Samantabhadra and a ritual framework.
As the Great Perfection tradition was growing and becoming more diverse, there was a push to organize and structure the diverse groups of early teachings and the All Sovereign King did just that by transforming all of those early texts into chapters of a larger, more cohesive book. Trying to Make Sense of it All: Klong chen pa was a prolific scholar, and he reflects on the nature of the early Great Perfection Tradition and in its literature in many of his works.
Klong chen pa is perfectly aware that there were many discrepancies in the historical description as well as well as the lists of the Eighteen Texts in rNying ma literature. The Cuckoo of Awareness Rig pa'i khu byug 2. Meditation on the Enlightened Mind Byang chub sems bsgom pa, although the title here is rDo la gser zhun 5. The Victorious Emergence of the Peak rTse mo byung rgyal 7.
The King of the Sky Nam mkha' rgyal po 8. The Epitome sPyi chings, here as rDzogs pa spyi chings The Quintessential King Yang tig rgyal po, here as Byang chub sems tig The Infinity of Bliss bDe 'byams, here as bDe bar 'byams The Six Spheres Thig le drug pa The Universally Definitive Perfection rDzogs pa spyi gcod spyod The Wish-fulfilling Gem Yid bzhin nor bu The Compendium Kun 'dus, here as Kun 'dus rig pa The Supreme Lord rJe btsan dam pa The All Creating King Kun byed The Marvelous rMad byung Meditation on the Enlightened Mind Byang chub sems bsgom pa, here as rDo la gser zhun 5.
The Supreme Lord rJe btsan dam pa, here as Ye shes dam pa 7. The Epitome sPyi chings, here as Lhun rdzogs spyi chings The Infinity of Bliss Bde 'byams, here as bDe bar rab 'byams The Quintessential King Yang tig rgyal po The Marvelous rMad du byung ba, here as rMad byung rgyal po The Six Spheres Thig le drug pa, here as Thig le kun 'dus The Tantra of the Edge and the Center of the Sky Nam mkha' mtha' dbus kyi rgyud, this is an unusual text Klong chen pa does not offer a difference between the early and the later translations, and does not add the three additional texts to round the collection up to twenty-one.
In fact, he does not offer a complete list of the eighteen and somehow only mentions seventeen. The contents of the lists are quite similar, although the order of the Thirteen Texts is different, and the Marvelous is here considered one of the eighteen, unlike in the previous list.
How does Klong chen pa, then, reconcile the existence of two different lists within the same text with slightly different titles, a slightly different order, and even expanding the list in one case to twenty-one? He goes on to argue that the lists are different, since, in fact, there are two completely different sets of Eighteen texts: Finding the Needle in the Haystack: As Klong chen pa argued, there may have been titles within the collection with the same names, but with very different contents.
So, when gNubs chen and Rong zom referred to the Never Declining Banner, for example, they may have been talking about two different texts with the same title, something not uncommon in Tibetan culture. After the 14th century, though, after the emergence of different canonical collections of the Collected Tantras of the Ancients, we finally have access to the actual texts of the early Great Perfection tradition and we can add a new layer to our understanding of the nature and transmission of the Eighteen Texts.
What we find is, at first, quite puzzling, since an actual collection of Eighteen Texts is nowhere to be found in any of the Collected Tantras of the Ancients collections. How is this possible? If the texts played such a central role during the early development of the Great Perfection, and the collection is constantly cited by important rNying ma scholars, how is it that we cannot find 72 See Germano, Ibid.
As I pointed out in the introduction to this article, a close examination of the various canons and the lack of a full set of the Eighteen Texts in any of them, gives more credence to the possibility that there never was an established collection of eighteen texts in the first place. His exclusive focus on Great Perfection literature makes it an obvious place to search for a collection so important for its early history.
A version of this text can be found in volume 2 Bg. In volume 1 we find the rTse mo byung rgyal Bg. Volume 2 has also a version of the rMad du byung ba in Bg.
The Supreme Lord rJe btsan dam pa 2. The Wish-fulfilling Gem Yid bzhin nor bu 3. The King of the Sky Nam mkha' rgyal po 4. The Wheel of Life Srog gi 'khor lo 5. The Infinity of Bliss bDe 'byams 7. There are commentaries on some other texts of the Five Early Translations.
The texts are: The Six Spheres Thig le drug pa 9. The Accomplishment of Meditation bsGom don grub pa The Compendium Kun 'dus In most of the other collections, the absence of these texts is not as dramatic as in this collection, but we find a similar pattern of inconsistency, with some texts missing, and also some of them scattered in different volumes and not as a single collection, or as part of other texts, mainly included as chapters of the All Sovereign King.
In the mTshams brag edition, many of the Eighteen Texts are not the earliest versions of the texts but longer versions of them. This is particularly interesting in the Five Earlier Translations, where only one of them is the earlier, shorter version.
The Five Earlier Translations are in volume 1 Tb. Most of the Thirteen Later Translations are also found in the same volume, although three texts with The Marvelous rMad du byung ba in their title are in vol.
The Eighteen Texts as found in the mTsams brag edition are: The Cuckoo of Awareness Rig pa khu byug, Tb. Great Potency rTsal chen sprugs pa, Tb. Meditation on the Enlightened Mind Byang chub sems bsgom pa, Tb. The Supreme Lord rJe btsan dam pa, Tb. The Wheel of Life Srog gi 'khor lo, Tb.
The Infinity of Bliss bDe 'jams, Tb. The Compendium Kun 'dus, Tb. The Marvelous rMad du byung ba, Tb. How can there be constant references in rNying ma literature to this collection of texts, considered central to its early development, only to not have any complete record of it?
When a Number is not a Number: The Eighteen Texts as an Idea The confusion about the nature and actual content of the Eighteen Texts has been as obvious to traditional rNying ma scholars as to modern ones. Samten Karmay, in his groundbreaking study of Great Perfection literature, synthesizes this feeling, stating that: In two articles, she found four of the texts that scholars had not been able to locate, hiding in plain sight, under different titles, or incorporated into larger texts.
But the lack of consistency among the various lists, and the remarkable differences between some of the texts that bear the same title, may also warrant a different approach to our study of this literature.
Perhaps one of the most important and persistent ideas that underlies the tantric traditions of Buddhism is the notion that a complete collection of tantric scriptures [ This notion was advanced as an important legitimating ideology at the initial stage of the development of tantric traditions and their literature, and it has remained a widespread belief up until the present day […] This belief, and the myths that express it, had a significant impact on the ways in which tantric traditions constructed their histories and identities, and in the ways in which they organized and understood their canons of literature.
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