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Kyabje Serkong Rinpoche - Teachings on Kalachakra

Kyabje Serkong Rinpoche - Teachings on Kalachakra



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Published by Eyes of Eagle
Teachings about Kalachakra translated by Alexander Berzin.
Teachings about Kalachakra translated by Alexander Berzin.

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Published by: Eyes of Eagle on Jan 15, 2013
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Teachings on Kalachakra
Kyabje Serkong Rinpoche
Deer Park July 1982Trans. Alexander Berzin
 Now you should all set the proper motivation for listening to these teachingsnamely that you wish to achieve a state of enlightenment or clear evolvement in order to benefit all limited beings. So with this pure motivation of the dedicated heart of bodhicitta,listen to the following teachings.Today we will begin the teachings on Kalachakra. These tantric teachings areextremely rare to receive therefore this is a great opportunity. As it says in the root tantraof Kalachakra, "Just as the universal teacher taught the Prajnaparamita Sutras, theExpositions on the Theme of Discriminating Awareness, Far Reaching Discrimination atVulture's Peak, likewise he taught the various everlasting streams of the tantras at thestupa or relic monument called Shri Dhanyakataka or the Glorious Mound of Rice". Thisquotation is saying that at the time after the great universal teacher Shakyamuni becameenlightened, manifested his enlightenment, he taught at the place called Vulture's Peak thePerfection of Wisdom Sutras or the Prajnaparamita Sutras. In this same fashion at another location, there is a stupa or relic monument, which is called Shri Dhanyakataka or "Glorious Mound of Rice". Long ago there were highly realized masters who caused ashower of rice to fall and this rice built up into an enormous mound which became a relicmonument. Inside this relic monument the Enlightened One manifested two mandalas. Inthe upper part he manifested the mandala or round symbolic world system of Kalachakraand underneath he manifested the mandala of Dharmadhatu of Speech, the sphere of reality, a different type of mandala. There inside this relic monument he arose in thesemandalas in the form of the deity Kalachakra and delivered the various tantra teachings or root texts.The person who requested the deliverance of the Root Tantra of Kalachakra wasan emanation of the Lord of All the Hidden Measures, an emanation of Vajrapani namelythe king Suchandra. King Suchandra was the king of Shambala and he went there together with the ninety-six rulers of the ninety-six districts of Shambala. They requested thedeliverance of the root tantra from the clear evolved Buddha. At that time the clear evolved Buddha delivered the Root Tantra of Kalachakra in Twelve Thousand Stanzas or slokas. This king Suchandra himself wrote a great commentary to the root text in sixtythousand verses. Within the collection of translated scriptures there is a commentary to theKalachakra Root Tantra which is written by an emanation of Manjusri namely the Holder of the Caste, Manjusri-Yashas. He wrote a concise commentary abbreviating the mainmeanings in one thousand and thirty stanzas. This Holder of the Caste was the first of theline of twenty-five Holders of the Caste or Kulika kings. His son, Pundarika, was thesecond Holder of the Caste, who was an emanation of Avalokiteshvara. He also wrote acommentary known as the
Stainless Light 
, in twelve thousand stanzas.The commentaries to this Root Tantra are divided into two groups, theabbreviated indications and the extensive explanations. The abbreviated indications consistof three groups of texts. The first is called the abbreviated indications. The second iscalled the fuller abbreviated indications. The third is called the great-abbreviated
indications. The expanded explanations consist likewise of three; the expandedexplanations, the fuller expanded explanations and the great-expanded explanations. TheRoot Tantra itself would fall into the category of expanded explanations and thecommentaries would be constituted by the category of abbreviated indications. Out of these expanded explanations which constitute the Root Text, the shortest, what is knownas just the expanded explanation itself or the least expanded explanation, is constituted of two texts. The first is the Tantra or Everlasting Stream of Definitive Meaning, or thedeepest meaning. The second is the Tantra or the Everlasting Stream of the Interpretiveand Definitive Meanings taken in common. So the first is the Tantra of Definitive Meaningand the second is the Tantra of Common Interpretive and Definitive Meaning.The first of these, the tantra concerning the definitive meaning, is dealing primarilywith the Body of Deep Awareness, the Jnanakaya, and this is constituted by the textknown as the
 Praises to the Names of Manjusri
. This tantra,
 Praises to the Names of  Manjusri,
starts with the line, “ Then the glorious Vajradhara” and ends with the words “ I prostrate to you who are the Body of Deep Awareness”. From the beginning to the endthis text is made up of one hundred sixty-two stanzas. The tantra, which is common interms of the interpretive and definitive levels of meaning, is the actual Twelve Thousand-Verse Root Tantra mentioned above.Today as an auspicious beginning, I will offer you the oral transmission of the firstof these, the tantra dealing with the definitive level namely the tantra
 Praises to the Namesof Manjusri
. There are two different traditions of explanation of this text, one from thetantric view and one according to the Sutra tradition. I will give the one from the tantriclineages. As I have received this oral transmission, you should listen to this carefully andthen the transmission will be received by you.(Rinpoche recites the text).So we will stop here for today. I was offering this as an auspicious beginning. If you are unaware of the meaning of this short root tantra,
 Praises to the Names of  Manjusri
, then you will not be able to understand and know the meaning of the longer Root Tantras. This short text is something, which is very well known and famous. Out of the three levels of expanded explanations, which constitute the root tantras, the leastexpanded explanation, this level is made up of two texts. The first is the tantra on thedefinitive meanings,
 Praises to the Names of Manjusri
The second is the tantra on thecommon interpretative and definitive meanings, which is the Twelve Thousand-VerseRoot Tantra. The great-expanded explanation is the text composed by the KingSuchandra, The Great Commentary of the Root Tantra in Sixty Thousand Verses. Out of the abbreviated indications which had three levels mentioned before, the least abbreviatedindication is constituted of two texts. This is first by Manjusri-Yashas, the first Holder of the Caste who wrote the abbreviated version in one thousand and thirty verses andlikewise he wrote a second text known as the Later Tantra. These two constitute the leastlevel or smallest level of abbreviated indications. The great-abbreviated indication is thetext by his son Pundarika, the second Holder of the Caste, which is known as
Stainless Light 
in twelve thousand verses. It is not indicated explicitly in theliterature exactly what the medium versions of the abbreviated indication and expandedexplanation, namely what was called the fuller abbreviated indication and the fuller expanded explanation, are as far as specific texts. If you know the meaning of this roottantra,
 Praises to the Names of Manjusri
, then you will know all the important andessential points of the tantric practices.
Long ago in the central part of India at the great monastic university of Nalanda,there was the great scholar Chandrakirti. In the east there was the great master Chandragomin. The master Chandragomin came from the east to the place whereChandrakirti was staying. The rule at Nalanda was that except for the really greatest pundits or learned masters no one could explain the teachings outside. Since Chandrakirtiwas such a great learned master he was qualified to explain the teachings or givediscourses outside on these grounds. Chandrakirti was giving a teaching or discourseoutside on the grounds of the great monastic university to a very learned audience whenChandragomin arrived and listened while holding a monk's staff. As he was sitting listeningto this discourse, Chandragomin asked Chandrakirti what he knew in terms of tantra, whatsutras he knew and what languages he knew. He said of the tantras, he knew
 Praises tothe Names of Manjusri
. Of the sutras he knew Prajnaparamita or the Themes onPerfection of Wisdom, in Eight Thousand Verses. Of the languages, he knew Kalaba(SP?) and Dendaba (SP?). Then he asked back to him aren't you Chandragomin thefamous master of the east? He said yes I am known by that name. Chandrakirti said as youare such a famous master, we will lead a procession to welcome you. Chandrakirti was amonk and he led the various monks in this procession and they carried Chandragomin on a platform. In front of the palanquin on which they were carrying Chandragomin, they placed a statue of Manjusri. As they carried him, Chandragomin composed various praisesto Manjusri. Chandragomin was such a great poet and author that as he was composingthese various praises to Manjusri, the statue of Manjusri turned his head around to listento the beautiful verses he was composing.When they arrived back they had a debate since Chandrakirti was a holder of thePrasangika tenets while Chandragomin held to the Svatantrika tenets. Chandrakirtidebated frequently with Chandragomin at this occasion and set him many questions.Chandragomin said that he would come back the next day with the answers. SinceChandragomin was coming back each following day during this debate with very goodanswers, Chandrakirti suspected that he might be receiving his answers from someone sohe went to his house one night to eavesdrop. There was a great statue of Avalokiteshvarawere Chandragomin was staying and he heard the statue saying that Chandrakirti will saythis or that and you should give this and that answer. Chandrakirti then went inside andgrabbed Avalokiteshvara by the throat and asked him why he was showing favoritism.Avalokiteshvara said no I am not showing favoritism, but for many lifetimes Manjusri hascared you for and now I am giving a little inspiration here to Chandragomin, but it's notthat I am playing favorites. When Avalokiteshvara was pointing out the different answershe was pointing out with his hands like this indicating on his hand that he wasn't able todraw his hand back (?). Then Chandrakirti put Avalokiteshvara on his shoulders and he paraded him around the area of Nalanda to show him to everyone. Nobody was able tosee Avalokiteshvara on Chandrakirti's shoulders as no one had the karmic connection to be able to see him. They all said that Chandrakirti had been too deeply immersed in theDharma and that he had gone mad.From this account of Chandrakirti and Chandragomin, you can see from theanswer which Chandrakirti gave when he was asked what tantras he knew, he answeredthe
 Praises to the Names of Manjusri
. This indicates that knowing this tantra enables youto know all the essential points of the Tantras. This tantra,
 Praises to the Names of  Manjusri
, is in the Kalachakra literature. Specifically it is in the category of least expandedexplanations, tantras dealing with the definitive meaning. Therefore as an auspicious beginning, I have transmitted to you the oral transmission of this text. As His Holiness had

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