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The Uttaratantra

excerpted from the Uttaratantra-vyakhya,
a commentary on the Uttaratantra by Aryasanga

from a block print edition issued
by the Aga Monastery

translated from Tibetan by E. Obermiller

[Note, I am still in the process of doing all the data entry necessary to publish this text. Therefore the text below is not complete.]

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  1. The Buddha, the Doctrine, the Congregation,
    The Germ of Buddhahood, Supreme Enlightenment,
    The attributes of the Buddha and last of all his acts, -
    These are the seven adamantine topics,
    In which the compass of this treatise can be summarised.

  1. Their essential character and mutual connexion
    Is, in gradual order, shown in the Dharanisvara-raja-sutra.
    The first 3 topics are to be known from its introduction,
    And the remaining 4 - from the analysis of the Buddha's
    and the Bodhisattva's attributes.

  1. From the Buddha comes the Doctrine, from the Doctrine – the
    Congregation of the Saints,
    From the Congretation – the desire of purifying the Germ till
    the attainment of the quintessence of Wisdom.
    This Wisdom being attained, one comes to Supreme Enlightenment,
    Becomes endowed with it and the other attributes, through
    which one acts for the sake of all living beings.

  1. I bow before him, who has neither beginning , middle, nor end,

    Who is quiescent and fully enlighted, perceiving his own

    Cosmical Essence of Buddhahood,

    Who, himself illuminated, shows to the ignorant

    The Path sure and free from danger, in order that they might

    know the Truth,

    Who, raising high the sword and the thunder-bolt of Mercy

    and Wisdom

    Cuts down the sprout of Phenomenal Life,

    And breaks the wall of Doubt surrounded

    By the dense thickets of the different heresies. -

  1. Immutable, free from effort,

    Incognizable from without,

    Endowed with Wisdom, Love, and Power,

    And pursuing a twofold aim – such is Buddhahood.

  1. Having by nature no beginning,

    Middle, nor end, the Buddha is immutable.

    Being, in his Cosmical Essence, quiescent,

    He is spoken of as acting without effort.

  1. Being perceived through inward conviction

    He is incognizable from without,

    He is the personified Wisdom as he knows himself in these 3 forms,

    Commiseration, - as he shows the Path,

  1. And Power, since through Wisdom and Love

    He puts an end to Phenomenal Life and Defilement.

    In the latter 3 – the aim of the others.

  1. I bow before that which cannot be investigated

    Neither as a non-ens, nor an ens,

    Nor both ens and non-ens together, nor neither of both,

    Which has no name, is revealed by introspection, and perfectly quiescent;

    And before the sun of the Highest Doctrine, immaculate,

    Shining with the lustre of Divine Wisdom,

    And vanquishing the darkness of Ignorance, Hatred,

    And the Attachment toward all wordly objects. -

  1. Unthinkable, free from both the causes of Phenomenal Life and from Differentiation,

    Pure, illuminating, and the Antidote of defilement,

    The deliverance from passions and that which leads to such,

    Contained in the 2 last Truths – such is the Doctrine. -

  1. The freedom from passions consists

    In the Truths of Extinction and of the Path;

    These 2, taken respectively,

    Are each known by 3 distinctive features. -

  1. It is unthinkable, since it cannot be analysed,

    Is unutterable and revealed only to the Saint,

    It is quiescent by being devoid of the two causes of Phenomenal Existence;

    The other 3 attributes, purity and the rest

    Suggest a resemblance with the sun.

  1. I bow before those who perceive the pure, radiant essence of the Spirit and the nullity of all defilement,

    Who, knowing the background of the unreality of all that exists,

    the Absolute in its quiescent nature,

    Perceive in all living beings the reflex of the Supreme Buddha,

    The powerful minds free from Obscuration and endowed with

    the sight of Divie Wisdom,

    The object of which is the immaculate and infinite essence of

    all that lives.

  1. Through the perfect purity of their insight,

    The Absolute and the Empirical, both being Introspective,

    The Congregation of the Sages abiding in the Irretrievable State

    Is endowed with the highest merits. -

  1. As they know the quiescent nature of all that exists,

    They have the intuition of the Absolute Truth,

    This owing to their knowledge of the pure nature of the Spirit,

    And of the essential nullity of the defiling forces.

  1. Through the Wisdom which penetrates into the background of

    everything cognizable,

    They percieve the Essence of the Omniscient

    As it exists in all living beings.

    This is their knowledge of the Empirical Reality.

  1. Thus, the intuition of the Bodhisattvas

    Is their direct Transcendental Introspection.

    It is perfectly pure, being free from attachment

    Within the plane of the Immaculate Absolute,

    And completely free from all impediments. -

  1. Through their immaculate Transcendental Intuition,

    They are near to the Divine Wisdom of the Buddha.

    Therefore the Saints that have attained the Irretrievable State

    Are the refuge of all living beings. -

  1. In order to make known the virtues

    Of the Teacher, the Teaching, and the Disciples,

    For the sake of the adherents of the 3 Vehicles

    And for those devoted to the three forms of religious observance, -

    The 3 Refuges have been proclaimed by the Lord.

  1. The Doctrine in its two forms and the Congregation of the Saints

    Are not by themselves the highest, absolute Refuge.

    Indeed, the former is ultimately given up, is illusionary and

    of a negative character,

    And the latter is not devoid of fear and error. -

  1. In the absolute sense, the refuge

    Of all living beings is only the Buddha.

    Indeed, the Lord is possessed of the Cosmical Body,

    And the multitudes of Saints, too, have their issue in the latter.

  1. They appear rarely, they are immaculate,

    Are powerful, are an ornament of this world,

    Are the highest point of excellence, and cannot change, -

    Therefore they have the character of jewels.

  1. The Absolute mingled with defilement,

    The Absolute free from all the stains,

    The immaculate attributes and the acts of the Buddha,

    These elements from wich the 3 illustrious Jewels arise,

    These 4 items are only accessible to him who perceives the

    Absolute Truth.

  1. The source of these 3 Jewels

    Is accessible only to the Omniscient;

    It has four varieties

    And is inconceivable for four motives, respectively.

  1. The Absolute as the Germ is pure, but nevertheless is contact

    with the defiling worldy elements,

    The Absolute as the Cosmical Body is on the other hand

    quite free from every defilement,

    The attributes of the Buddha are essentially identical with the

    Absolute as contained even in every ordinary being,

    And the Buddha's acts are free from effort and dialectical


  1. The object to be intuited, the intuition,

    The distinctive features of the latter,

    And the acts which bring it about, -

    As such respectively appear the said 4 subjects,

    One as the cause of purification and the other 3 as its conditions. -

  1. The Body of the Supreme Buddha is all-pervading,

    The Absolute is one undifferentiated Whole

    And the Germ of Buddhahood exists in every living being.

    Therefore, for ever and anon, all that lives

    Is endowed with the Essence of the Buddha.

  1. The Spirit of the Buddha manifests itself in the multitudes of

    living beings,

    It is immaculate by nature and unique with all,

    And Buddhahood is the fruit of the Germ.

    Therefore the whole animate world bears the Essence of the Buddha.

  1. The essence of the Germ.

    The causes and the result of its purification,

    Its functions, relations, and manifestations

    Its different states, its all-pervading character,

    Its eternal, unchangeable, and indivisable nature, -

    Such are the 10 points with respect to the Absolute Essence.

  1. The Essence of Buddhahood in its 3 aspects

    Is, respectively, like a jewel, like space, and like water,

    And always, by its nature, undefiled.

    It arises to life through faith and the Doctrine, through

    Highest Wisdom,

    Through concentrated trance, and Great Commiseration. -

  1. Being essentially powerful,

    Unalterable and moist by nature,

    It has a resemblance, in its distinctive features,

    With the wish-fulfilling gem, with space, and water.

  1. Enmity toward the Doctrine, views clinging to Ego and Mine,

    Fear caused by the sufferings of Phenomenal Life,

    And want of care for other living beings, -

    Such are the 4 impediments, respectively,

    With the worldlings endowed with great desires, with the


    The Sravakas and those of self-sprung Wisdom.

    As to the cause of purity, such is great faith,

    And the other virtues, all of them being four.

  1. Those are the sons of the Lord,

    Whose seed is the faith in the Highest of Vehicles,

    Whose mother is the Wisdom that gives birth to the properties

    of the Buddha,

    Who abide in the blissful womb of meditative trance and are

    nursed by Great Commiseration.

  1. The result are the Absolute, Transcendental Properties

    Of Purity, Unity, Bliss, and Eternity.

    And the functions of the Germ manifest themselves

    In the aversion toward this worldly life,

    In the desire of Quiescence and the will of attaining it.

  1. In short, the fruit of these 4 virtues

    Is contained in the Cosmical Body,

    Representing its properties which are antidotes

    And the reverse of the 4 kinds of error.

  1. The Cosmical Body of the Buddha is perfectly pure,

    Being immaculate by nature and free from all the defiling forces.

    It represents the Unity of the Cosmos, the perfect Quiescence

    Of all Plurality, of the Individuals as well as their impersonal


  1. Through the extirpation of even the non-physical elements

    And of their causes, it is the Supreme Bliss,

    And, through the intuition of the indentity of Samsara and Nirvana,

    It is eternal being free from the limits of both.

  1. The Saint by his great wisdom rejects all selfish worldly


    But, being merciful and attached to the cause of the living

    beings, he does not attain Quiescence.

    Thus, having his stand in Wisdom and Love, these means of

    Supreme Enlightenment,

    The Saint neither resides in this world, nor does he depart to egoistic peace.

  1. If the Germ of the Buddha did not exist,

    The aversion to the suffering of this world would not arise;

    There would be no desire of Nirvana,

    And there would be no effort for attaining it.

  2. This contemplation

    Of the sufferings of Phenomenal Life and the bliss of Nirvana,

    Of the defects of the former and the advantages of the latter

    Is conditioned by the existence of the Germ. Therefore,

    With those in whom there is no Germ, this contemplation

    does not exist.

  3. The Essence of the Buddha is like the Great Ocean

    Being the inexhaustable repository of jewels – its sublime pro-


    It is moreover like a light, since, by its nature

    It is endowed with properties indivisable from it.

  1. As it contains the sources

    Of the Cosmical Body, of the Buddha's Wisdom and Commi-


    It appears as being akin to the ocean,

    Since the causes of purity to which it relates

    Bear a resemblance with a receptacle, with jewels, and with


  1. When the state of Perfect Purity is attained,

    One is possessed of the supernatural faculties,

    Of the Wisdom bringing about the extirpation of defilement,

    And this extirpation itself, which are indivisable.

    Therefore the Essence of the Buddha in the aspect of the result

    Suggests a resemblance with the rays, the heat, and the colour

    of a light.

  1. The Absolute manifests itself differently

    In the worldlings, the Saints, and the Supreme Buddha.

    Having perceived this, the Lord has declared

    That the essence of Buddhahood exists in all that lives.

  1. With the ordinary beings the Absolute is obscured by error,

    And with those who percieve the Truth it is the reverse.

    As to the Buddha who has the full and perfect intuition, -

    With him it is completely free from error and differentiation.

  1. Impure, partly pure and partly impure,

    And perfectly pure – the Absolute

    Is called the Germ of ordinary beings, that of the Bodhisattvas,

    And the Perfect Supreme Buddha, repsectively.

  1. The Germ of the Buddha considered

    From the 6 points of view beginning with its essence,

    Is, in accordance with its 3 states,

    Designated by 3 different names.

  1. Just as, being essentially free from all dialectical thought-construction,

    The element of space is ubiquitous,

    In the same way the Immaculate Essence which is of spiritual

    nature, pervades all that exists.

  1. It penetrates, in its general essence,

    The defective, the virtuous, and the ultimate point of perfection,

    Just as space embraces all visible forms,

    The base, the intermediate, and the sublime.