Unraveling the Intent
Degé Kangyur, vol. 49 (mdo sde, ca), folios 1.b–55.b
Translated by the Buddhavacana Translation Group (Vienna)
under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha
First published 2020
Current version v 1.0.16 (2022)
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In Unraveling the Intent, the Buddha gives a systematic overview of his three great cycles of teachings, which he refers to in this text as the “three Dharma wheels” (tridharmacakra). In the process of delineating the meaning of these doctrines, the Buddha unravels several difficult points regarding the ultimate and relative truths, the nature of reality, and the contemplative methods conducive to the attainment of complete and perfect awakening, and he also explains what his intent was when he imparted teachings belonging to each of the three Dharma wheels. In unambiguous terms, the third wheel is proclaimed to be of definitive meaning. Through a series of dialogues with hearers and bodhisattvas, the Buddha thus offers a complete and systematic teaching on the Great Vehicle, which he refers to here as the Single Vehicle.
Translation by the Buddhavacana Translation Group.
The text was translated by Gregory Forgues and edited by Casey Kemp. With special thanks to Harunaga Isaacson, Matthew Kapstein, Klaus-Dieter Mathes, Jonathan Silk, Lambert Schmithausen, Tom Tillemans, and William Waldron for their helpful comments and advice.
The translation was completed under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha.
The generous sponsorship of Qiang Li (李强) and Ya Wen (文雅), which helped make the work on this translation possible, is most gratefully acknowledged.
Homage to all buddhas and bodhisattvas!
Thus have I heard at one time. The Blessed One was dwelling in an unfathomable palace, built with the blazing seven precious substances,34 that emitted35 great light rays suffusing countless universes.36 Each of its rooms was well arranged and its design was infinite. It was the undivided maṇḍala, the domain transcending the three worlds. Arising from the supreme roots of virtue of the one who transcends the world,37 it was characterized by the perfectly pure cognition of the one who has achieved complete mastery.38 Abode of the Tathāgata where the assembly of innumerable bodhisattvas gathered, it was attended by countless gods, nāgas, [F.2.a] yakṣas, gandharvas, demigods, garuḍas, kinnaras, mahoragas, humans, and nonhumans. Supported by the great joy and bliss of savoring the Dharma and designed to accomplish the complete welfare of all beings, it was free of any harm caused by the stains of afflictions and clear of any demon. Surpassing all manifestations, this unfathomable palace was displayed by the sovereign power of the Tathāgata. Mindfulness, intelligence, and realization were its pathway;39 mental stillness and insight were the vehicle leading to it; the great gates of liberation—emptiness, appearancelessness, and wishlessness—were its entrance. It was set on foundations adorned with an infinite accumulation of excellent qualities, which were like great kings of jeweled lotuses.40
The Blessed One had a perfectly realized mind and was free from dualistic behavior. Absorbed in the Dharma of the nonexistence of defining characteristics, he was residing in the domain of the buddhas. He had attained equality with all buddhas. His realization was unobstructed and his qualities41 were irreversible. He could not be overcome by objects of experience.42 His abode was inconceivable.43 Perfectly skilled in the sameness of the three times,44 his five bodies were present in all worlds. His knowledge of all phenomena was free from doubt. He understood all practices. His knowledge of phenomena was without uncertainty. [F.2.b] His body was unimaginable. He possessed the gnosis bodhisattvas vow to accomplish.45 He had attained the nondual abode of the buddhas, the sublime perfection, the supreme indivisible gnosis of the Tathāgata’s liberation.46 He had realized the sameness [of all phenomena], the state of a buddha in which there is neither a center nor a periphery,47 and reached the ultimate within the domain of truth, the point where the sphere of space ends.48
The Blessed One was accompanied by the entire immeasurable assembly of hearers. Children of noble family, they were the heirs of the Buddha. Their minds were liberated, their wisdom was emancipated, and their discipline was completely pure. They happily gathered with those who longed for the Dharma. They had heard much, kept in mind what they had heard, and accumulated [merit from] what they had heard. They excelled in thought, speech, and deeds. Their wisdom was swift, quick, sharp, emancipating,49 discerning,50 vast, extensive, profound, and unequaled. They possessed the jewel of wisdom and the three forms of knowledge. They had attained the supreme state of happiness in this life. The purity of their merit,51 the excellence of their peaceful conduct, their patience, and their gentleness were vast.52 They were fully engaged in the teaching of the Tathāgata.
The Blessed One was also accompanied by all the innumerable bodhisattvas assembled from various buddha realms. Firmly settled and engaged in a vast state, they had gone forth through the Dharma of the Great Vehicle. Impartial toward all beings, they were free from all conceptions, conceptualizations, and fabrications. Victorious over all demons and opposition, they were not involved with the considerations of the hearers and solitary realizers. [F.3.a] Steadfast through the great joy and happiness of savoring the Dharma, they were free from the five great fears. Solely progressing toward the stages from which there is no regression, they had perfectly actualized the stage in which one pacifies the torment of beings. Among them were thus the bodhisattva mahāsattvas Gambhīrārthasaṃdhinirmocana, Vidhivatparipṛcchaka, Dharmodgata, Suviśuddhamati, Viśālamati, Guṇākara, Paramārthasamudgata, Āryāvalokiteśvara, Maitreya, and Mañjuśrī.
|Bd||Bardan (Zanskar) canonical collection|
|C||Choné xylograph Kangyur|
|Cbeta||Chinese Electronic Buddhist Association, (www.cbeta.org)|
|D||Degé xylograph Kangyur|
|Do||Dolpo canonical collection|
|F||Phukdrak manuscript Kangyur|
|Go||Gondhla (Lahaul) canonical collection|
|H||Lhasa xylograph Kangyur|
|He||Hemis I Kangyur|
|J||’jang sa tham/Lithang xylograph Kangyur|
|Kʙ||Berlin manuscript Kangyur|
|Kǫ774||Peking 1737 xylograph Kangyur|
|L||London (Shelkar) manuscript Kangyur|
|Lg||Lang mdo Kangyur|
|N||Narthang xylograph Kangyur|
|Pj||Phajoding I Kangyur|
|Pz||Phajoding II Kangyur|
|S||Stok manuscript Kangyur|
|Saṃdhdh||Dunhuang manuscript: Stein Tib. n°194 (49 folios) and Stein Tib. n°683 (1 folio) (Hakamaya 1984–1987)|
|T||Tokyo manuscript Kangyur|
|Taishō 676||解深密經, translated by Xuanzang (596–664 ᴄᴇ)|
|U||Urga xylograph Kangyur|
|V||Ulaanbaatar manuscript Kangyur|
|VD||Degé; xylograph of the Viniścayasaṃgrahaṇī of the Yogācārabhūmi from the Tengyur|
|VG||Golden; xylograph of the Viniścayasaṃgrahaṇī of the Yogācārabhūmi from the Tengyur|
|VP||Peking; xylograph of the Viniścayasaṃgrahaṇī of the Yogācārabhūmi from the Tengyur|
|VinSg||Viniścayasaṃgrahaṇī of the Yogācārabhūmi|
|X||Basgo manuscript Kangyur|
|YBht P ’i||Tibetan translation of Acarya Asanga’s Yogācārabhūmi from the Peking Tengyur (n°. 5540, sems-tsam, ’i 143aI-382a5 (vol. I l l : 121-217)|
|Z||Shey Palace manuscript Kangyur|
’phags pa dgongs pa nges par ’grel pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo (Āryasaṃdhinirmocananāmamahāyānasūtra). Toh 106, Degé Kangyur vol. 49 (mdo sde, ca) folios 1.b–55.b.
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Other Canonical Sources for Samdh.
Bd3.7 vol. 3 (ta) pha, folios 1.b–84.a
C747 vol. 29 (mdo sde, ca), folios 1.b–71.a
Dd031-001 (mdo ca), folios 1.b–69.b
Dk034-001 (mdo na), folios 1.b–87.b
Do (mdo sde, da), folios 196.a–246.b
F156 vol. 68 (mdo sde, tsha), folios 1.b–72.a
Go19,01 vol. 19 (ka), folios 1.b–36.a
Gt028-001 (mdo na), folios 1.b–72.b
H109 vol. 51 (mdo sde, ca), folios 1.b–87.b
He64.6 (mdo, wa), folios 62.b–125.b
J51 vol. 44 (mdo sde, ca), folios 1.b–59.b
Kǫ774 vol. 29 (mdo sna tshogs, ngu), folios 1.b–60.b
L82 vol. 42 (mdo sde, na), folios 1.b–80.b
N94 vol. 51 (mdo sde, ca) folios 1.a–81.a.
Np012-001 (mdo na), folios 1.b–87.a
Pj043-001 (mdo ca), folios 1.b–62.b
Pz045-001 (mdo ca), folios 1.b–61.a
R106 vol. 49 (mdo sde, ca), folios 1.b–55.b
S106 vol. 63 (mdo sde, na), folios 1.b–80.b
U106 vol. 49 (mdo sde, ca), folios 1.b–55.b
X (mdo sde, wa), folios 66.a–132.a
Z137 vol. 59 (mdo, na), folios 1.b–93.a
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