Jâbir, the Buddhist Yogi. Part II Winds and Immortality

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Jâbir, the Buddhist yogi. Part Two. Winds and Immortality by Michael L Walter
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  MICHAEL WALTER JABIR, THE BUDDHIST YOGIPART TWO “Winds” and Immortality Control, purification, and other procedures dealing with the “winds”and “elements” within the body are prerequisites for spiritual progressin both Hindu and Buddhist Tantra. To particular traditions withinBuddhism these practices lead to the transformation of these “coarse”and “impure” constituents into subtle, glowing elements. Perfection ofthis practice leads to a physical body which diminishes, or disappears, atdeath, leaving only a few remainders behind. In the domain of Rnying-ma and Bon yogic practice, as well as among the Nathas, as we herelearn, this transformation leads to a ‘rainbow body’. The followingis an edition and translation, accompanied by commentaries, of themost significant (at least to Tibetan yoga) of Jabir’s teachings, his‘extraordinary teaching’ (Gdums pa thun mong ma yin pa) on controlof these “winds” and “elements”,in particular the bhru wind, as it iscalled, to facilitate longevity to help the yogi pursue his practice ofBuddhism and eventually to achieve this ‘rainbow body’. I have chosenthis text because of its interest to later practitioners, and because itaddresses some main points of hathayogic practice. However, this is atechnical and specialized teaching (as are all texts in these cycles), andshouldn’t be taken as a comprehensive, practical guide to the practicein general.This revelation to Mkhyen-brtse’i-dbang-phyug, rendered into aforty-two verse text (numbering supplied by me), is accompaniedby Ml&yen-brtse’i-dbang-phyug’s commentary2 in the BRGYUD PABAR PA and GDAMS PA editions. Bzhad-pa’i-rdo-rje’s edition, inthe SROG BCUD BUM BZANG, also contains the root text, alongwith his own commentary, which is likewise based on the tradition ofMkhyen-brtse’i-dbang-phyug.The format of Bzhad-pa’i-rdo-rje’s commentary differs from thatof Mkhyen-brtse’s; it shows the former’s desire to both present theteaching and arrange it for practice in a written form. (See bracketed Journal of Indian Philosophy 24: 145-164, 1996. @ 1996 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.  146 MICHAEL WALTER paragraph below.) Bzhad-pa’i-rdo-rje’s commentary opens with a lorgyus, by which here is meant, among other things, a justification3 ofthe correct Buddhist character of the teachings through a recitation ofthe generations of its teachers after the vision of Jabir was received byMkhyen-brtse’i-dbang-phyug. (See the partial translation of this eventin footnote 31 of Part One of this article.)In the second part of his commentary, Bzhad-pa’i-rdo-rje presents,as Mkhyen-brtse had, his “text” of Jabir’s teaching, and then reordersit to comment upon it as it is actually used in s&zana. He opensby presenting, as do the Mkhyen-brtse versions, the root verses as“Arranging the text of the basic teaching to put the substance of theinstructions into practice, and the method of putting them into practicein accordance with that goal, (here is,) first of all, from the mouth ofMkhyen-brtse’i-dbang-phyug . . . ” [gdams pa dngos nyams su blangba la rtsa ba’i gzhung bkod pa dang I de’i don ji ltar nyams su blangba’i tshul lo / dang po ni I khyad bdag Mkhyen-brtse’i-dbang-phyuggi zhal nas. . .]. The second part is a method for its practice whichdivides it into three stages, Preliminaries, Fundamentals, and Closing(sngon ‘gro, dngos gzhi, mjug). Bzhad-pa’i-rdo-rje describes them asfollows, quoting the appropriate root verses.Preliminaries are composed of:Meditatively creating the protecting circle (bsrung ‘khorbsgom pa) (vv. 28-3 1)Performing sddhana on the guru (bla ma’i rnal ‘byor) (Bzhad-pa’i-rdo-rje here depends on Mkbyen-brtse’s visualizationprocedure.)Clearing up the “flavor” of the winds (rlung ro bsal ba) (vv.5-6)Adopting the “skeleton”fisana (keng rus gdan gyi ‘dugstangs) (vv. 7-9)Fundamentals are covered by root vv. 10-19.Closing practices are composed of:Clearing up headaches (vv. 20-23)Clearing up illnesses of sight and the other senses (vv. 24-27)Clearing up illnesses of the stomach (also depends upon usingthe teaching in v. 20)Please remember this presentation of the teaching when readingBzhad-pa’i-rdo-rje’s commentary. The entire text of his commentary is  JABIR, THE BUDDHIST YOGI 147given here, and all but his commentary to verses 5 and 6, which arebasically a conflation of Mkhyen-brtse’s, are translated.[Bzhad-pa’i-rdo-rje’s presentation of this teaching and its use maybe seen as - like the collection it is found in - a more “organized”approach to presenting Tantric teachings. This is seen in structured,written, collections of teachings, a trend which developed especially inmid-phyi dur (15th-17th centuries) Tibet. One purpose served by thistrend was the archiving and preservation of practices representative ofspecific Tantric lineages, often along with one or more commentaries;these could then be disseminated to far-flung monastic centers, yogis,and lay practitioners. Among the Rnying-ma-pa and Bon-po, thiswas further stimulated by the need to compete with other, expandingtraditions (most notably, of course, the Sa-skya-pa and Dge-lugs-pa)which stressed structured, written transmissions of teachings (e.g., theiryig cha or ‘required readings’). Examples of such collectanea includethe Rin then gter mdzod, Sgrub thabs kun btus, Lam ‘bras slob bshad,collected rgyud of the Rnying-ma and Bon tradition, and the efforts ofindividual authors such as Bzhad-pa’i-rdo-rje. Of course, the need topromote Jabir’s ‘rainbow body’ teachings as truly Buddhist may alsohave prompted Bzhad-pa’i-rdo-rje to include them here. This must havebeen particularly important considering their Nathist srcins and theprominence of non-Buddhist teachers in their transmission lineages.4]It goes without saying that a translation of a technical yogic text bya phyi pa such as myself cannot adequately deal with all the varioussignificances and oral interpretation that accompany these teachings.The following translation merely tells something of what the text says,not all that it intends.The root verses of Jabir’s ‘extraordinary teaching’ and the accom-panying commentary are found in the following texts:GDAMS PA, root text on pp. 113.2-l 14.2; commentary on115.4-129.2 of v. 11 of the Sgrub thabs kun btus.BRGYUD PA BAR PA, root text on pp. 406.2-407.2; com-mentary on 408.3-414.1 of v. 48 of the Rin then gter mdzod.SROG BCUD BUM BZANG, root text on pp. 405.5-408.2;commentary on 409.4-421.5 of v. 7 of the Gsang ba ye sheskyi chos skor.  148 MICHAEL WALTER vv. 1-4 gang zhig ‘chi med sgruba ‘dod pas Irnam shes gzhon pab dbang du bya Ide yi tshul yang bsam yas las Itshegs chung donC the ‘di nyid long& Ia BRGYUD PA BAR PA & GDAMS PA: bsgrubb GDAMS PA adds as note: rlung’ BRGYUD PA BAR PA & GDAMS PA: ‘dond SROG BCUD BUM BZANG: longWhoever desires immortality should control the immatureconsciousness.5 Although the means to accomplish this areinnumerable, take this one - it is only a little difficult, andoffers great benefits.Neither author comments on the first four verses.v. 5rang nyid kun tu bzang por bsgom IMeditate upon yourself to be Samantabhadra. MKHYEN-BRTSE’S COMM.: rung gi lus gnas khang lung pa yul phyogs thamscad mi dmigs par stong par sbyang I stong pa’i ngang Eas rang Kun-tu-bzang-po{mchan rnying pa zhig tu: stong par bsgom pa yin gyi zhal phyag med ces snag)sku mdog sngon po gcer bu rgyan med pa zhig bsam pa’i spyi bor {mchan rnyingdu: rang the ma1 pa[r?] gsal ba’i spyi bor} drin can rtsa ba’i bla ma grub thobDza-ha-bhir sku mdog smug nag sha rgyas shing brjid chugs pa I nyi ma bye ba’igzi ‘od can I gcer bu rgyan med zhabs gnyis mnyam pa’i mthil sbyar ba’i mthebthen gnyis rtse sprad pa I rang gi tshangs bug zug pa I phyag gnyis spyi bor thalmo sbyar ba I dbu skra ral pa’i thor cog beings pa skyabs gnas kun ‘dus su mosla rang gi tshe ‘khor ba thog ma med pa nas bsags pa’i nad gdon sdig sgrib ltungba nyes pa myong bar nges pa’i las sgrib thams cad byang zhing dag par mdzaddu gsol I snyam pas lus ngag yid gsum ‘jug pa gcig tu bsgril nas gsol ba ‘diltar ‘debs so / om ah hum I dus gsum kun mkhyen Padma-sam-bha-wa lgrub pa’i‘khor 10s sgyur ba Dza-ha-dhir I dngos grub brnyes pa Bhra-ma-n&tha la I gsol ba‘debs so ‘chi med dngos grub stsol / snyan brgyud mdzod ‘dzin Ma-ni-nn-tha dangI nges par thams cad mkhyen pa Mkhyen-brtse’i zhabs f ‘phags mchog Byams-paSkal-ldan-bzang-po la I gsol ba ‘debs so ‘chi med dngos grub stsol I ‘chi med grubbrnyes Dbang-phyug-rab-brtan dang I Rdo-rje-‘chang dngos Khyab-bdag Zha-lu-paI Ngag-gi-dbang-phyug Blo-bzang-rgya-mtsho’i-sder / gsol ba . . .I Rig-‘dzin-grub-pa’i-gtsug-rgyan Padma’i mtshan I Slob-bshad-‘dzin-mkhas Kun-dga’-blo-gros dangI Rig-‘dzin Chen-po Phyogs-las-rnam-rgyal zhabs I bka’ drin mtshungs med rtsaba’i bla ma la I gsol ba ‘debs so ‘chi med dngos grub stsol I sngon ‘gro gsum gyisrang rgyud legs sbyangs nas /dngos gzhi stong pa rngubs pa’i rnal ‘byor gyis / tha ma1 snang ba’i sgrib pa kunbyang nas I tshe ‘dir mkha’ spyod ‘grub par byin gyis rlobs I zhes brgya stong nas langsum yan chad brjod I de nas lag g.yas pa’i thal mo smin mtshams su dengs byas nasI na mas Dza-ha-bhir I zhes lan gsum brjod pas bla ma dges shing ‘dzum pas ‘od zerdmar po bde ba then po’i rang bzhin snum pa I ‘tsher ba / ‘dril ba zhig tu gyur nasrang gi spyi bor thim pas bla ma’i sku gsung thugs Mkhyen-brtse nus gsum dang rang
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