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Vimalamitra's Six Limbs of Refuge and Lochen Dharmaśrī’s Commentary
Going for refuge Tibetan Empire (Yarlung Dynasty) Mindröl Gönpa Tibetan Empire སྐྱབས་འགྲོ འགྲེལ

Despite his popularity in the lore and cult of Tibetan Buddhism, relatively few texts are actually attributed to the hand of Vimalamitra in its canon of scholarly works, the Translated Treatises (བསྟན་འགྱུར་, Tengyur).1 Among these texts is a versified explanation of the rite of going for refuge in the Three Jewels—the Buddha, the Dharma or Doctrine, and the Sangha or Community. This short but well-known work consists of ten verses explaining six subtopics concerning the refuge rite. In the last verse, he says that the motivation for writing the text was to show the king Trisong Detsen (ཁྲི་སྲོང་ལྡེ་བཙན་, 742-797 ce) and his ministers, who apparently had no confidence in him, that he was a good Buddhist, and he instructs his disciple, Nyag Jñānakumāra (གཉགས་ཛྙཱ་ན་ཀུ་མཱ་ར་, 8th cent.), to write it down for him. This detail is strong evidence for the authenticity of the attribution of the verses to Vimalamitra, and it is for reason of comparison that its translation has been included here, since Vimalamitra’s authorship of The Object of Non-Conceptual Meditation for Instant Engagement (the topic of this collection) has been called into question by some modern scholars.

     Versified teachings are often terse and obscure, difficult to understand without oral instruction from a member of the tradition or a written commentary. Thus, The Six Limbs of Refuge (སྐྱབས་འགྲོ་ཡན་ལག་དྲུག་པ་) has been here translated along with a line-by-line commentary by Lochen Dharmaśrī (1654-1717/8), the great Nyingma exegete, co-founder of the Mindrölling Monastery. While the explanation is written in the formal style of a scholastic commentary, Lochen Dharmaśrī clarifies much about the root verses that would otherwise be obscure.

Vimalamitra’s Root Verses

The Six Limbs of Refuge

by Vimalamitra
translated by Than Grove, 2020

From Degé bsTan ’Gyur, vol. 112, 253b.2-254a.1.2

In Sanskrit, षडङ्गशरणं.3

In Tibetan, སྐྱབས་འགྲོ་ཡན་ལག་དྲུག་པ།

[In English, The Six Limbs of Going for Refuge].

I bow down to the Three Jewels!4

I will explain the six limbs of going for refuge:

How does one go [for refuge]? The purpose, the object, the duration,

The benefits, the precepts, and adopting [the rite]:

These will be explained as a summary of the fundamentals.

One goes with fear and remembrance of good qualities,

To the object taught [as] the three bases,5

From here on out until the attainment of enlightenment.

Being the opposite from the activity of the Forders,

Not being born in the three [lower migrations], being a base [for vows],

Not being interrupted, little sickness, long life,

Being purified and amassing [the collections]—these are the benefits.

The precept for the first of the three refuges [the Buddha]

Is do not revere or bow down to demons.6

[The precept for] the second [the Doctrine] is to abandon harm toward and

Have mercy for all sentient beings.

[The precept for] the third [the Community] is do not assist in sinful

Things for oneself or others.

By way of faith and belief, have a nature that can rely on7

A statue [of the Buddha], a verse [of the Doctrine],

And a cast-aside patch of [a monk’s] yellow cloth.

Toward all the statements from [his] holy mouth

Do not sow deprecation but hold them on the crown [of one’s head].

Pure and impure individuals [of the community]

Should all be viewed as excellent.

Even for the sake of [one’s] body and life never abandon the Three [Jewels].8

Whatever conditions arise in this time,

Do not search elsewhere for a protector and refuge.

With food of the highest quality

Make offerings and always remember [them].

One should say [the rite of] going for refuge regularly.

     This is a regular entreaty six times [a day].

     One should initially know the adoption [of the rite].

     [Then] when fear arises, there is [this] entreaty.

Even though I know many things,9

The king and [his] advisors have no confidence [in me].

Therefore, I have explained [this] rite for going for refuge.

Write it down well, Kumāra.10

The merit is moreover dedicated to migrators.

This completes The Six Limbs of Going for Refuge by the master Vimala.



Lochen Dharmaśrī’s Commentary

A Commentary or Notes for Remembering
that Explain [Vimalamitra’s]

Six Limbs of Going for Refuge

by Lochen Dharmaśrī (1654-1717/8)11 
translated by Than Grove, 2020

Namo Ratnatrayāya12 — Homage to the Three Jewels!

Concerning the explanation of The Six Limbs of Going for Refuge written by the great Paṇḍit Vimalamitra, the exalted one born in [the city of] Elephant Ridge in western India,13 there are three parts: the beginning, the main part, and the end.

The Beginning [156.2]

The first has homage and promise. As for the first [homage], there are four possible [questions] referring to the context of the statement:

I bow down to the Three Jewels.

When applied in this context, they are: Who is the one bowing? To whom does he bow? How does he bow? For what greater purpose does he bow? First, when [one asks], who? [It is done] by the Paṇchen Vimala at the beginning of composing [this] treatise. When [one asks], to whom? In accordance with the topic of the treatise, [157] it is to the Three Jewels. When [one asks], how? By way of devotion of the three doors—[body, speech, and mind]. If [one asks], on account of what greater purpose? For the sake of himself being in concordance with the noble way and in order to obtain the special good qualities for himself and others.

The second [the promise to compose is found] in the context of the statement:

I will explain the six branches of going for refuge.

Who [will explain]? Vimala. What will be explained? He will give an explanation of the nature of going for refuge and the precepts just as they are, summarized into six topics.14 Why? For the sake of the composition that is to be brought to completion. [158]

The Main Body of the Text [158.1]

The second topic [the explanation of the main text is divided into]: a brief teaching by way of an outline and an extensive teaching by way of commenting on the meaning of the words.

A Brief Outline [158.1]

Since he says:

How does one go [for refuge]? The purpose, the object, the time,

The benefits, the precepts, and adopting [the rite]:

These will be explained as a summary of the fundamentals.

There are six [limbs or topics]: the purpose because of which one goes for refuge, the object to whom one goes for refuge, the time when one goes for refuge, the benefits of having thus gone for refuge, the precepts in which one has gone for refuge, and the rite of how one adopts going for refuge.

Extensive Explanation of the Words [158.3]

In terms of the second [the extensive explanation of the words], in general the entity of going for refuge is the intention together with [its] seeds that promises to rely on a supreme object. As for the meaning of the word, [in Sanskrit it is] “शरणगच्छमि(śaraṇagacchami, “I go for refuge”). Since it protects, [it is called] refuge. Since one approaches reliance on that [object], [it is described as] going.

When divided, there are two [types]: worldly and transcendent.15 The first [mundane refuge] has two [versions]: [going for refuge] which has a mundane awareness and that which has a mundane object. The second [transcendent refuge also] has two [versions]: [refuge according to] the small vehicle and [refuge according to] the Great Vehicle.16 Thus, there are four [types altogether].17 In terms of delineating those, there are six [aspects: purpose, object, time, benefits, precepts, and adopting the rite].

1. Purpose of Going for Refuge [158.6]

The first is the purpose because of which one goes for refuge. In the context of the statement:

One goes with fear and remembrance of the good qualities [159]

The cause of going for refuge is being pressed by fear, because if one was not terrified but was self-possessed, there would be no need to seek refuge in anyone. In order to protect [oneself] from fear, one goes [for refuge] by remembering the good qualities that can protect.

Also in this regard there are three [types of] people. The least go [for refuge] in a manner similar to [seeking] an escort, because—fearing bad rebirths—they desire [to be escorted to] the bliss of high-estates18 as the result [of going for refuge]. The middling—fearing cyclic existence—go [for refuge] with the desire for their own personal happiness. The best—since they fear [both] peace and existence—go for refuge because they have a fundamental19 desire for non-abiding nirvāṇa. As for the first, these are people whose fear is the cause and are predominantly desirous. These are the type of people who either have not entered [a system of] tenets or, if they have entered, they are non-Buddhist or are barely included within a Buddhist [system]. The second are the type [of people who are] Hearers and Solitary Realizers, who in terms of the second cause above [seeking mainly their own happiness], are predominantly faithful [to the Buddhist doctrine].20 The third are the type [of people who] belong to the Great Vehicle and, in relation to the third cause above [seeking non-abiding nirvāṇa], are predominantly compassionate. Thus, the Lamp for the Path says:21

For one, there is the [difference of] method. Those beings

Who seek their own welfare

In the mere happinesses of cyclic existence,

They are known as inferior. [160]

Those beings who seek just their own peace,

Who have turned their back on the pleasures of existence and

Eschewed sinful activities,

They are called “middling”.

Those beings who by the suffering realized in their own continuum

Completely desire to truly extinguish

All the suffering of others,

They are supreme.

2. The Object to Which One Goes for Refuge [160.2]

As for the second, the object to which one goes for refuge, this is the context where [Vimalamitra] says:

To the object taught [as] the three bases,

The features of an object [of refuge] have two types: worldly and transcendent. With regard to the first [worldly objects] there are two [types]: inferior objects and supreme ones. The first [inferior objects of refuge] are inanimate objects such as mountains, fortresses, and so forth; non-humans such as powerful gods and so forth, and mighty human migrators such as kings and so forth. Since they are unable to protect one from cyclic existence, they are worldly. Along those lines Sūtra says,

People who are overcome with fear

Commonly seek refuge in mountains,

Groves, forests and so forth.

That [kind of] refuge is not the main one, and

Relying on those for refuge

One will not be liberated from fear. [161]

The second [supreme worldly objects of refuge] are for instance the Three Jewels taken as an object by one whose awareness is based in fear and who relies merely on prayer wishes for protection from suffering.

The second [are the transcendent objects of refuge]. These are the Three Jewels [taken as] objects of refuge by those seeking liberation. [They are transcendent objects of refuge] because they are a non-deceptive22 refuge, since—having protected one from fear in the context of cyclic existence—they can establish one in the final definite goodness.23 For, as the Great Master24 said:

Chieftains of this world, however good, are deceptive.

There is nothing deceptive in the Three Jewels, the bases of refuge.25

Also in terms of how they go [for refuge], Hearers go for refuge to the Three Jewels with the Community serving as the main one; Solitary Realizers go, with the Doctrine serving as the main one, and [practitioners of] the Great Vehicle go, with the Buddha serving as the main one.

The greater and lesser vehicles even have different ways for identifying the objects of refuge. In the lesser vehicle, the phenomena that is taken as the Buddha is the true path of the Great Vehicle’s [stage of] no-more-learning; the phenomena that is taken as the Community is the true path which is [both] the Great Vehicle’s [path of] learning and the Hearer’s [path of] no-more learning, [and the phenomena taken as] the Doctrine is true cessation which is included within nirvāṇa.26 As [Vasubandhu’s] Treasury [of Higher Doctrines] says: [162]

What are the three objects to which one goes for refuge?

One goes to refuge to the phenomena that serve as the Buddha and the Community,

[Those on the stage of] no-more-learning and [those on] both—27

And to the passing beyond sorrow.

Furthermore, according to the Vaibhāṣikas the Form Body that is the support for both the Buddha[’s consciousness] and the Community is not asserted as a place of refuge. The Sautrāntikas assert the true path [consciousness] which is being supported along with the Form Body that supports it as places of refuge.

Even within the Great Vehicle there are different ways it is asserted, but here when it is done in the common, general way, both Sūtra and Tantra are the same. With regard to that, there are three: the objects [of refuge] for clear realization, the objects [of refuge] for placing one’s aspirations, and the real objects [of refuge].

As for the first [the objects of clear realization], the Buddha jewel is the marvel of having fulfilled the two purposes [of self and others], identified with the three bodies,28 that has the two types of purity.29 With regard to the Doctrine jewel, in terms of the excellent doctrine of realization, its entity cannot be described, thought of, or expressed. Its nature is a path [consciousness] that progresses toward Buddhahood. In aspect, it has the characteristic of a path of cessation. In terms of the excellent doctrine of transmission, it has the aspect of the wholesome, good explanations—appearing in names, words, and letters—that teach what is to be expressed, the excellent doctrine of realization. The Community is [composed of] the purified superiors who have entered the great levels,30 [163] those who abide in the Great Vehicle [paths of] accumulation and preparation that accord [with the great levels], and the four pairs, or eight types, of people in the lesser vehicle.31

As for the second [or the object for placing one’s aspiration], this is believing that the form body [of the Buddha], the volumes [of the Doctrine], and the ethical monks who are ordinary beings are the actual Three Jewels. As for the third [the real object of refuge], only the Buddha is the final refuge, but the other two are not. The Sublime Continuum says:

Because they are abandoned [in the end], because they are controvertible subjects,

Because they do not [ultimately] exist, because they have fear,

The two types of doctrine and the community of superiors

Are not the supreme, perpetual refuge.

The refuge that serves as the best object

Is solely the Buddha.

Also Buddha [here means] only the Truth Body. As it says:32

Because the sage has the Truth Body

Because that is the final [point] of even the collections.

That Truth Body having already arrived in other continuums is the causal refuge. The refuge that is the effect is the reality of one’s own mind abiding as the nature of the Three Jewels. The Achievement of Primordial Wisdom says:33

The mind free from purity and attainment is the Buddha.

Immutable stainlessness is the Doctrine, and

Spontaneously complete good qualities are the Community. [164]

As that is the case, one’s own mind in and of itself is supreme.

As for the etymology of [the Tibetan] “Supreme Rarity” [or Jewel], from the [Sanskrit] word “रत्न (ratna)” they are posited as supreme rarities by way of six qualities they have in common with jewels. As the Sublime Continuum says:

Because their arising is rare, because they are stainless,

Because they have power, because they are

Ornaments of the world, because of their supremacy,

Because they are changeless, [they are called] just supreme rarities.

3. How Long One Goes For Refuge [164.2]

In the context of [Vimalamitra] saying:

From here on out until the attainment of enlightenment.

There is the feature of the general duration. It is asserted that in this life of a worldly one goes [for refuge] until one attains the finest external welfare for oneself, and when one is a Hearer or Solitary Realizer, for as long as one is alive.34 Here in the Great Vehicle, one goes until one has attained enlightenment. The Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life says,35until there is the essence of enlightenment.”36

4. The Benefits of Going for Refuge [164.5]

In terms of the benefits of going for refuge, since he says:

Being the opposite from the activity of the Forders,

Not being born in the three [lower migrations], being the base [for vows],

Not being interrupted, little sickness, long life,

Being purified and amassing [the collections]—these are the benefits.

There are seven [benefits]: entering in line with the Buddhist insiders, not falling into bad migrations, being the base for all vows, [165] humans and non-humans are unable to interrupt [one’s practice], little sickness and long life, purifying previously done karmic afflictions, and quickly becoming enlightened by completing the two causal collections. The first is due to holding on to the three jewels as bases of refuge, having turned away from the activities of the Forders, those who seek refuge in Brahmā and Indra, because the wise assert a difference between going for refuge as an insider [Buddhist] and going for refuge as an outsider.

Concerning the second [not being born in bad migrations], in the same way it is said that a devaputra37 reversed being born as a pig through having gone for refuge, it says in the Biography of Buck:38

Those who go for refuge in the Buddha

They will not go to bad migrations.

The third [benefit is that refuge serves as the basis for all other vows], because one makes the cause, which is the vow of going for refuge, into the firm intention to pass beyond sorrow [i.e., attain nirvāṇa]. The Seventy Rites of Refuge says:39

A layperson going for refuge in the three [Jewels],

That is the root of the eight vows.

As for the fourth [benefit that humans and non-humans cannot interrupt one’s practice], the Essence of the Sun Sūtra says:40

The sentient being who goes for refuge in the Buddha

Cannot be killed by ten million demons.

As for the fifth [benefit that one has little sickness and long life], the Ornament of Mahāyāna Sūtras [166] says:41

The Buddha also thoroughly protects one

From all harmful activities,

Aging, sickness, and death.

There is the sixth [benefit of purifying past karmic obstructions] because previously accumulated karmic obstructions will be lessened and extinguished. As for the seventh [benefit of quickly becoming enlightened], the Sūtra on the Great Passing says:42

The one who goes to refuge in the three [Jewels]

Will attain Buddhahood

Through the collections of merit and excellent wisdom

Which spread the doctrine of the Conqueror [throughout] the world.

In short, by going to refuge in the Three Jewels, there will be the dependent arising of sequentially attaining final Buddhahood, turning the wheel of the Doctrine, and gathering an irreversible Community.

5. The Precepts in which One Goes for Refuge [166.4]

The fifth, the precepts in which one goes for refuge, has two [parts]: the uncommon precepts and the common precepts. As for the first [the uncommon precepts], there are negative precepts and precepts to be achieved. Regarding the first, [Vimalamitra] says:

The precept for the first of the three refuges

Is do not revere or bow down to demons.

[The precept for] the second is to abandon harm toward and

Have mercy for all sentient beings.

[The precept for] the third is do not assist in sinful

Things for oneself or others. [167]

Having gone for refuge in the Buddha, do not resort to refuge in or bow down to worldly gods, trusting them with [one’s] expectations, but there is no harm in merely saluting and making offerings to them in order to seek protection for pious activities in certain situations. Upon going for refuge in the Doctrine, abandon thoughts and activities that do harm to sentient beings such as beating and binding, and love them. When one has gone to refuge in the Community, do not befriend companions who are actually Forders or those conceited in their Buddhism, who have bad views that undermine one’s conviction in the Three Jewels. Along those lines, the Sūtra on the Great Passing says:43

Those who go for refuge to the Buddha,

Are the authentic laypeople.

Never do they go

To other gods for refuge.

Those who go for refuge in the Doctrine

Are free from mischief and harmful thoughts.

Those who go for refuge in the Community

Do not befriend Forders.

As for the second [the precepts to be achieved], [Vimalamitra] says:

By way of faith and belief, view as the teacher44

A statue [of the Buddha], a verse [of the Doctrine],

Or a cast-aside patch of [a monk’s] yellow cloth.

Toward all the statements from [his] holy mouth

Do not sow deprecation but hold them on the crown [of one’s head].

Pure and impure individuals [of the community] [168]

Should all be viewed as excellent.

If one must respect even a mere shard of a statue, just a single verse of scripture, or a mere shred of yellow cloth from a monk’s robe, what need is there to mention other [forms of the Three Jewels]? Therefore, having gone for refuge to the Three Jewels, one should abandon disrespect and contempt for any form of the Buddha whatever it is like —[whether made] well or poorly—and hold it in a field of respect as though it were the teacher [himself]. [Nāgārjuna’s] Friendly Letter says:45

Just as the wise venerate a statue of the One Gone To Bliss

However it is made, even from wood…

Having gone for refuge to the Doctrine, one should abandon activities such as deprecating, etc., and have respect toward all the volumes of [the Buddha’s] Word along with the commentaries on his thought. As the Ear Ornament [Sūtra] says:46

When it is the last five hundred [years],

I will abide in the form of letters.

Take them to mind thinking it is me, and

In that time, worship that.

Having gone for refuge to the Community, one should abandon contempt and bias47 and have respect, generating a discrimination that they are the actual Community, toward not only pure people who observe the precepts and memorize the [three] baskets, but even toward impure people who merely have the trappings of an ascetic. [169] As the Sūtra Encouraging the Highest Intention says:48

Do not analyze the faults of others

Who are found among the Buddhists desiring good qualities.

Do not generate a mind thinking thus,

“I am special” and “I am superior!”

This kind of vanity is the root of all carelessness.

Never despise lesser monks.

As for the second [subtopic], the common precepts, there are four: 1) never abandon the Three Jewels, however great the profit, 2) never search for another refuge whatever the outcome,49 3) always remember their good qualities and make offerings, and 4) remembering the benefits and good qualities, go for refuge six times [a day]. Regarding the first, [Vimalamitra] says:50

[Either] due to cherishing [one’s] body and life or for reward,

Never abandon the Three Jewels.

In the transmission of the Discipline it says:51

You should never abandon the Three Jewels for [one’s] life, [one’s] kingdom, or even as a joke.

In terms of the second [common precept, to never search for another refuge whatever the outcome], [Vimalamitra] says:

Whatever conditions arise in this time,

Do not search elsewhere for a protector and refuge.

Thus, whatever conditions arise—sickness, suffering, and so forth—do not search for other worldly methods [of refuge] apart from focusing [one’s] awareness on the Three Jewels. [170] [One] might ask, “Nevertheless, is it not proper to recite mantras, read aloud [scripture], and do medical examinations for those struck by disease?” There is no fault in that. Because these things are branches of the Doctrine Jewel, one should strive at them without belittling them.

Regarding the third [common precept, to always remember their good qualities and make offerings], [Vimalamitra] says:

With food of the highest quality

Make offerings and always remember [them].

This has two parts: remembering their good qualities at all times and making offerings with food. Concerning the first, from among the Three Jewels, the good qualities of the Buddha are [spoken of] in Sūtra:52

It is like this. A Buddha-Transcendent Destroyer is a One Gone Thus, a Foe Destroyer, a Thoroughly Complete Buddha, a Scientist,53 a Venerable One, One Gone to Bliss, Knower of the World, a Charioteer who Tames Beings, Unsurpassed, and Teacher of Gods and Men. [Such is] a Buddha-Transcendent Destroyer.

About the good qualities of the Doctrine, [Sūtra] says:54

The doctrine of the Transcendent Destroyer is well-spoken, correctly perceives, is without illness, is continuous, focuses closely. Seeing this, the wise should individually know [the Buddha’s doctrine] to be meaningful. [171]

As for the good qualities of the Community, it says:55

The Transcendent Destroyer’s Community of Hearers engages well, enters the straight [path], engages in knowledge, and enters concordant [paths]. They are worth of the namasté salute.56

Through being mindful of that, no matter what one is doing, one should train in revering the Three Jewels, and one should strive to bow to the Buddha in whichever direction one is going and so forth.

As for the second [making offerings of food], through remembering their kindness, one should always make offerings, and one should even train at offering the first taste of anything one is eating or drinking.

The fourth [common precept is going for refuge six times a day]. With the statement:

One should say [the rite of] going for refuge regularly.

This is a regular entreaty six times [a day].

[Vimalamitra is saying that] by way of remembering the benefits and good qualities, one should go to refuge three times during the day and three times during the night, and in whatever way possible one should encourage one’s family and friends57 to go for refuge.

6. The Rite of Taking Refuge [171.6]

As for the sixth, the rite of taking refuge, one should initially know what is to be adopted. [Vimalamitra] says:58

One should initially know [the rite] to be adopted.

It should be adopted from a place of purity.

When fear arises, there is the entreaty.

At the beginning, [172] one must adopt [the rite] from a virtuous friend who is a place of purity. Thus, one should request that [virtuous friend to give the rite.] When they have agreed, arrange an offering in front of a representation of the [Three] Jewels. As the object in which one will place the aspiration, generate a perception of the actual Jewels and then beginning to prostrate, beseech them. With this as the preliminary, make the following statement three times, “I who go by this name from this time forward until I am at the essence of enlightenment go for refuge in the Buddhas. Similarly, I go for refuge in the Doctrine and also the assembly of Bodhisattvas!”

That is the causal going for refuge59 obtained through language that observes conventional objects. After that, one internalizes the meaning of non-production by placing the mind itself in a state that is without any observed objects and free from elaborations where all things gone to and goers are [merely] a display of one’s own mind. This is the ultimate going for refuge.60 The attainment of the level of reality61 where there are no more wishes is the resultant going for refuge.62 Along those lines the Middle [Length] Mother [Perfection of Wisdom Sūtra] says:63

Subhūti, when the Buddha is not seen anywhere and there is not even a thought of Doctrine and Community, this is the authentic going for refuge.64 [173]

Furthermore, initially one adopts it from a friend who is an object of virtue. Later, with fear serving as the motivation, one takes up [the rite] spontaneously, and when taken up six times [a day], it is brought to one’s attention by one’s own awareness.

The Meaning of the End [173.2]

The third, the meaning of the end [of the text] has four [parts]: expressing the author’s colophon, entrusting it to the translator, dedicating the virtue, and the finishing colophon or that which brings [the text] to a conclusion. As for the first [the author’s colophon], [Vimalamitra] says:

Even though I know many things,

The king and [his] advisors have no confidence [in me].

Therefore, I have explained [this] rite for going for refuge.

Although there was much knowledge in his mind because he was a master, which is a paṇḍit who knows the five topics,65 here [in Tibet] the king and ministers formed doubts [about him] wondering whether he was a Buddhist insider or an outsider paṇḍit. In order to dispel [those doubts], he briefly explained this little bit.

As for the second [part of the end of the text, entrusting the text to the translator], [Vimalamitra] says:

Write it down well, Kumāra.

Thereby, he entrusted it to the great translator Nyak,66 and having translated it well, he [Nyak] taught it to the king and ministers, whereby their doubts were dispelled.

Regarding the third [dedicating the merit], [Vimalamitra] says:

The merit is dedicated to all migrators.67

Thereby, he dedicates the merit of composing [this text] to the welfare of others so as not to stray from the [proper] conduct of a being [who belongs to] the Great Vehicle.

As for the fourth [or finishing colophon], [Vimalamitra] says: [174]

This completes the Six Limbs of Going for Refuge.

Since this merely finishes [the text], there is nothing to explain here.

Thus, having commented with my own awareness as far as I dare on the meaning of the text of the initial treatise that the great paṇḍit Vimala composed in Tibet, I, Dharmaśrī, have disseminated them as notes of a memorandum while explaining the doctrine to a large gathering. Śubhaṃ! [May it be auspicious!].


This statement was in the middle of the collected works of the great translator of translators, the great scholar, Dharmaśrī. Since the transmission of the text had not spread very far, on the order of the pervasive lord Pelkyi Senggé it came to be the crown of the cycle, whereupon in the Orgyan Mindröling Monastery, the pervasive lord Gyurmé had it printed. May this be the cause for the spread and dissemination of this precious teaching that realizes the transmission.68


These are the texts translated, referred to in notes, or quoted by Lochen Dharmaśrī. The sigla, D, stands for Degé edition of the Kangyur Tengyur (see below). The acronym, TBRC, stand for Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (, now Buddhist Digital Resource Center.

Asaṅga. Ornament of Mahāyāna Sūtras (མདོ་སྡེ་རྒྱན་, महायानसूत्रालंकर). See Asaṅga, Maitreyanātha, and Mi-pham-rgya-mtsho ʼJam-mgon ʼJu. A Feast of the Nectar of the Supreme Vehicle. An Explanation of the Ornament of the Mahāyāna Sūtras : Maitreya’s Mahāyānasūtrālaṅkāra / with a Commentary by Jamgön Mipham. Translated by the Padmakara Translation Group. Boulder: Shambhala, 2018.

Atiśa. ཐེག་པ་ཆེན་པོའི་ལམ་གྱི་རིམ་པའི་གཞུང་བྱང་ཆུབ་ལམ་གྱི་སྒྲོན་མ། Tsadra Tibetan Collection. Vol. 3, Text 1.'i_lam_gyi_rim_pa'i_gzhung_byang_chub_lam_gyi_sgron_ma. Accessed August 15, 2020.

Buddha. Discipline (འདུལ་བ་ལུང་). Probably D.1, vols 1-4.

Buddha. Ear Ornament Sutra (སྙན་གྱི་གོང་རྒྱན་). This is the Avataṃsaka or Flower Ornament Sūtra. Cleary, Thomas F. The Flower Ornament Scripture. A Translation of the Avatamsaka Sutra. Boulder, New York: Shambhala Publications, Distributed in the U.S. by Random House, 1984. (The translation is from Chinese, I believe.)

Buddha. Essence of the Sun Sūtra (མདོ་ཉི་མའི་སྙིང་པོ་). D.27, vol. 34, 175b.7-176b.6, (accessed August 20, 2020).

Buddha. Middle Length Perfection of Wisdom Sūtra (ཡུམ་བར་མ་). Possible the Perfection of Wisdom Sūtra in 8,000 Lines. D.13, vol. 33, 1b.1-286a.6, (accessed August 29, 2020).

Buddha. Sūtra Encouraging the Highest Intention (ལྷག་བསམ་བསྐུལ་བའི་མདོ་). D.70, vol. 43, 131a.7-153b.7, (accessed August 29, 2020).

Buddha. Sūtra on the Great Passing (མྱང་འདས་). Probably D.120, vol. 52-53, (accessed August, 29, 2020).

Chandrakīrti. Seventy Rites of Refuge (སྐྱབས་འགྲོ་བདུན་ཅུག་པ་). D.3999, vol. 214, 251a.1-253b.2, (accessed August 20, 2020).

Degé Kangyur and Tengyur, སྡེ་དགེ་བཀའ་འགྱུར་དང་བསྟན་འགྱུར།. Edited by Situ Paṇchen Chökyi Jungné, སི་ཏུ་པཎ་ཆེན་ཆོས་ཀྱི་འབྱུང་གནས་. Degé, Sichuan, PRC: Degé Publishing House, n.d. (This is abbreviated as D in the text and bibliography.)

Garry, Ron. “Nyak Jñānakumara.” (sic.) The Treasury of Lives. Treasury of Lives: 2007. Accessed August 19, 2020.

Indrabhūti. Achievement of Primordial Wisdom (ཡེ་ཤེས་སྒྲུབ་པ་, ज्ञानसिद्धि). See Two Vajrayāna Works. Edited by Benoytosh Bhattacharyya. Baroda: Oriental Institute, 1929. (Accessed August 29, 2020).

Lochen Dharma Śrī. “སྐྱབས་འགྲོ་ཡན་ལག་དྲུག་པ་བཤད་པའི་བསྐྱུད་བྱང་ཟིན་མ་ཊཱི་ཀIn བཀའ་མ་ཤིན་ཏུ་རྒྱས་པ་ (Kaḥ thog). TBRC W25983. 1: 157-176 / 155-174. [Chengdu]: [KaH thog Mkhan po ’Jam dbyangs], [1999].|O003JR1984CZ291679$W25983.

Maitreya. Sublime Continuum (རྒྱུད་བླ་མ་, उत्तरतन्त्र). Kong-sprul Blo-gros-mthaʼ-yas, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, and Rosemarie Fuchs. Buddha Nature. The Mahayana Uttaratantra Shastra. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications, 2000.

Nāgārjuna. Friendly Letter (བཤེས་སྤྲིངས་). Translated by Alexander Berzin. Albequerque, New Mexico: Rikdzin Dharma Foundation, 2006. (accessed August 16, 2020).

Phun tshogs tshe ring. “ཐོག་མར་གཉགས་ཛྙ་ན་ཀུ་མཱ་ར་ལ་བབས་པའི་སྐོར།In ཆོས་འབྱུང་མཁས་པའི་དགོངས་རྒྱན། TBRC W25995. : 144 – 145. Lhasa: བོད་ལྗོངས་མི་དམངས་དཔེ་སྐྲུན་ཁང་།, 2003.|O1LS50811LS5178$W25995

Rangjung Yeshe Wiki - Dharma Dictionnary contributors. “Vimalamitra.” Rangjung Yeshe Wiki - Dharma Dictionnary. (accessed August 8, 2020).

Śāntideva [active 7th century], and Stephen Batchelor. A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life (སྤྱོད་འཇུག་, बोधिसत्त्वचर्यावतर). Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan Works & Archives, 1979. (Accessed August 29, 2020).

Unknown. Biography of Buck (བག་གི་རྟོགས་བརྗོད་). I have not been able to identify this text. “Buck” is a phonetic rendering of the Tibetan work, བག་

Vasubandhu. Treasury of Higher Doctrines, ཆོས་མངོན་མཛོད།, अभिधर्मकोश. Abhidharmakośa-Bhāṣya of Vasubandhu. The Treasury of the Abhidharma and Its (Auto) Commentary. Translated by by Étienne Lamotte. Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 2012.

Vimalamitra, “སྐྱབས་འགྲོ་ཡན་ལག་དྲུག་པ་in Bstan ’gyur (Sde dge), ed. Tshul khrims rin chen, TBRC W23703 (Delhi: Delhi Karmapae Choedhey, Gyalwae Sungrab Partun Khang, 1982-1985), vol. 112, 508-509.|O1GS60111GS36235$W23703.

Some of the Texts in Degé Edition of the Translated Treatise Attributed to Vimalamitra

This not an exhaustive list but represents a quick search of an incomplete index of the Translated Treatises.

Commentary on the Cycle of Nine Mirrors, མེ་ལོང་དགུ་སྐོར་འགྲེལ་པ།, D.4476, vol. 313, 365b.1-373a.2.

Explanation of the Formula for Vajravidāraṇa, རྣམ་འཇོམས་གཟུངས་ཀྱི་རྣམ་བཤད།, D.2702, vol. 173, 186b.1-193a.7.

The Extensive Commentary on the Formula for Vajravidāraṇa, རྣམ་འཇོམས་གཟུངས་ཀྱི་རྒྱ་ཆེར་འགྲེལ་པ།, D.2703, vol. 173, 193a.7-211b.2.

The Extensive Explanation of the Noble Essence of the Perfection of Wisdom, འཕགས་པ་ཤེས་རབ་ཀྱི་ཕ་རོལ་ཏུ་ཕྱིན་པའི་སྙིང་པོའི་རྒྱ་ཆེར་བཤད་པ།, D.3845, vol. 197, 267b.1-280b.7.

Lamp Clarifying the Meaning of the Names, a Commentary on “Correctly Expressing the Names [of Mañjuśrī], མཚན་ཡང་དག་པར་བརྗོད་པའི་འགྲེལ་པ་མཚན་དོན་གསལ་བར་བྱེད་པའི་སྒྲོན་མ།, D.2112, vol. 151, 1b.1-38b.2.

The Meditative Object for Gradual Engagement, རིམ་གྱིས་འཇུག་པའི་བསྒོམ་དོན།, D. 3966, vol. 212, 340b.7-358a.7.

The Non-Conceptual Object of Meditation for Instance Engagement, ཅིག་ཅར་འཇུག་པའི་རྣམ་པར་མི་རྟོག་པའི་བསྒོམ་དོན།, D.3938, vol. 212, 6b.1-13b.4.

The Six Limbs of Refuge, སྐྱབས་འགྲོ་ཡན་ལག་དྲུག་པ།, D.4000, vol. 214, 253b.2-254a.1.

1A very informal, rough count—tabulated by going to (accessed August 23, 2020), searching on “bi ma”, and eliminating translations, texts with “bi ma” (= vi ma) in their Sanskrit title, as well as texts written by other Vimala-s, such as Vimalaśrībhadra (e.g., D.1194)—gives eight, mostly small, texts attributed to Vimalamitra. See Bibliography. This is by no means definitive as the THL catalog is still incomplete, but it gives some sense of the scope of works attributed to him in the canon.

2The BDRC citation is: Vimalamitra,Skyabs ’gro yan lag drug pa” in Bstan ’gyur (Sde dge), ed. Tshul khrims rin chen, TBRC W23703 (Delhi: Delhi Karmapae Choedhey, Gyalwae Sungrab Partun Khang, 1982-1985), vol. 112, 508-509.|O1GS60111GS36235$W23703. The pagination I will use however is the Tibetan which is 253b.2-254a.1. The text is in verse.

3The Tibetan is: ཥཌཾཨགཤརཎཾ (253b.2), but I am assuming the first anusvāra is misplaced and should be over the .

4བཀོན་མཆོག་གསུམ་ (253b.3). While “Three Jewels” is the most commonly used translation of this phrase, the reader should bear in mind the literal translation of the Tibetan words which is “three supreme rarities” or “three supreme precious things”, as these meanings are referred when discussing the etymology of the term.

5གནས་གསུམ་ (253b.4).

6གནོད་སྦྱིན་, यक्ष (253b.4).

7བརྟེན་པར་བདག་ (253b.5-6). However, Lochen Dharmaśrī quotes this as སྟོན་པར་བལྟ་ (167.6), which would translate “views as the teacher”.

8ལུས་སྲོག་ཕྱིར་ཡང་གསུམ་མི་སྤང་། (253b.6). Lochen Dharmaśrī either glosses this or is working from a different edition. He has two lines here: ལུས་སྲོག་གཙིགས་དང་བྱ་དགའི་ཕྱིར། །དཀོན་མཆོག་གསུམ་པོ་མི་སྤང་ངོ་། (169.4): “Due to cherishing one’s body and life or for reward, never abandon the Three Jewels.”

9རྒྱུད་ལ་ཤེས་བྱ་མང་མཆིས་ཀྱང་། (253b.7). Literally, “even though there are many objects of knowledge in [my] continuum.”

10ཀུམཱར། (254a.1). As Lochen Dharmaśrī confirms (173.5), this refers to Nyak Jñānakumāra (གཉགས་ཛྙཱ་ན་ཀུ་མཱ་ར་), the famous translator of the early transmission who was a student of Vimalamitra. He was initially ordained by Śāntarakṣita, but mainly studied under Vimalamitra, Padmasambhava, Vairocana, and Yudra Nying po. He is known as combining four streams of oral transmission (བཀའ་ཆུ་བབས་ཆེན་པོ་བཞི་)—textual commentary, oral instructions, empowerment, and achievement—in one person. Among other things, he helped Vimalamitra translate the Secret Essence Tantra (गुह्यगर्भतन्त्र, རྒྱུད་གསང་བའི་སྙིང་པོ་). See Ron Garry, “Nyak Jñānakumara,” The Treasury of Lives (Treasury of Lives, 2007), (accessed August 19, 2020).

11Lochen Dharma Śrī. “Skyabs ’gro yan lag drug pa bshad pa’i bskyud byang zin ma ṭī ka,” in Bka' ma shin tu rgyas pa, Kaḥ thog Edition, TBRC W25983 (Chengdu: Kaḥ thog Mkhan po ’Jam dbyangs, 1999), vol. 1: 157-176 / 155-174.|O003JR1984CZ291679$W25983. (The BDRC listing gives pages 157-176, but the numbers on the scans of the pages begin with 155 for the title page and end on 174. References in this translation will be to the latter numbers.)

12नमो रत्नत्रयाय. Given in Tibetan transliteration: ན་མོ་རཏྣ་ཏྲ་ཡཱ་ཡ། (156.1).

13རྒྱ་གར་ནུབ་ཕྱོགས་གླང་པོ་སྒང་དུ་སྐུ་འཁྲུངས་པ་ (156.1). According to the Ranjung Yeshé Dharma Dictionary, Vimalamitra was born in an elephant grove. See Rangjung Yeshe Wiki - Dharma Dictionnary contributors, “Vimalamitra,” Rangjung Yeshe Wiki - Dharma Dictionnary, (accessed August 8, 2020). However, Dodrupchen IV’s The Biography of Maha Pandita Vimalamitra (Gangtok, Sikkhim: Dodrup Chen Rinpoche, 1967), p. 1, gives the name of the place as གླང་པོའི་སྒང་ which loosely translates as “Elephant Ridge”. The Sanskrit equivalent could possibly be हस्तगिरि (?).

14ཡན་ལག་དྲུག་ (157.4). Literally, “branches” or “limbs”.

15འཇིག་རྟེན་དང་འཇིག་རྟེན་ལས་འདས་པ་གཉིས་ (158.5). More literally, “of the world and of that which has passed beyond the world.” Here the word “transcendent” refers simply to the standard English definition, i.e. beyond human experience, and not to any of the more elaborate definitions given by some schools of philosophy.

16ཐེག་པ་ཆུང་ངུ་དང་ཆེན་པོ་གཉིས་ (158.6). As a Mahāyānist, or practitioner of the Great Vehicle, Lochen Dharmaśrī refers to earlier monastic Buddhism (which can loosely be equated with Theravada Buddhism) by the pejorative label of the “smaller” or “lesser” vehicle, which includes Hearers and Solitary Realizers. This unfortunate phraseology is hard to avoid, and in the notes that follow I have adopted it merely because this translation seeks to convey Lochen Dharmaśrī’s worldview. In no way should this be taken to imply that I agree with the description of Theravada Buddhism as a lesser form of practice than Mahāyāna Buddhism.

17These four are described in more detail in the next two sections.

18ཐོས་རིས་ (159.3). That is, any rebirth in a god realm or as a fortunate human.

19ཉེན་ནས་ (159.4). Dan Martin gives as theOld Tibetan” word རྨངས་ (“foundation” or “basis”) as one equivalent for ཉེན་. See (accessed August 9, 2020).

20In a Buddhist context, someone “seeking their own happiness” is a practitioner looking to achieve personal nirvāṇa in order to escape the suffering-filled cycle of rebirth.

21ལམ་སྒྲོན་ (159.6). This is Atiśa’s Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment (ཐེག་པ་ཆེན་པོའི་ལམ་རིམ་གྱི་རིམ་པའི་གཞུང་བྱང་ཆུབ་ལམ་གྱི་སྒྲོན་མ་), Tsadra Tibetan Collection, Volume 3, Text 1,'i_lam_gyi_rim_pa'i_gzhung_byang_chub_lam_gyi_sgron_ma (Accessed August 15, 2020). The quote is found in paragraph 2 on that page.

22བསླུ་བ་མེད་པའི་ (161.2).

23མཐར་ཐུག་ངེས་ལེགས་ (161.2). That is, liberation from the cycle of existence.

24སློབ་དཔོན་ཆེན་པོ་ (161.3).

25འཁོར་བའི་དཔོན་འདི་ཇི་ལྟར་བཟང་ཡང་བསླུ༔ སྐྱབས་གནས་དཀོན་ཆོག་གསུམ་ལ་བསླུ་བ་མེད༔ (161.3).

26This sentence requires a little unpacking. Here, he is using the nomenclature of the path to talk about different levels of practitioners. When he talks of a “path of no-more-learning”, he means the consciousness of a person at the stage of no-more-learning or the final stage of that path. The “lesser” vehicle adherents believe only certain special people can become Buddhas, so their path of no-more-learning is not Buddhahood but the level of an Arhat, or Foe-Destroyer, one who has escaped the cycle of rebirth. On the other hand, the Great Vehicle’s path of no-more-learning is Buddhahood, which they say all can attain. So to say that the lesser vehicle’s Buddha is the Great Vehicle’s path of no-more-learning is a precise (or some could say convoluted) way of saying, “the lesser vehicle’s Buddha is someone who has reached the level of Buddhahood as defined in the Great Vehicle.” Similarly, the Community—in this interpretation—is made of Arhats, who in terms of the Great Vehicle are on a path of learning but in terms of the lesser vehicle are on the path of no-more-learning. Hence, they are both. I think here Lochen Dharmaśrī is also making distinction between the general Buddhist community that includes all practitioners and the Community Jewel within the Three Jewels to which one goes for refuge. It seems, according to his thinking, the Community Jewel for the lesser vehicle is only made up of the Arhats. (However, see the following note.) The Doctrine to which one goes for refuge in this case is the truth of cessation included within nirvāṇa.

27It seems unlikely that this famous “lesser vehicle” text, The Treasury of Higher Doctrines, would be referring to a Great Vehicle path in the context of using the word “both”. More likely, Vasubandhu sees the Community Jewel as composed of both Arhats and non-Arhats, i.e. those on the path of no-more-learning and those on the paths of learning within that vehicle. As mentioned above, Lochen Dharmaśrī apparently wants to limit the Community Jewel to realized practitioners and so takes Vasubandhu’s use of the word “both” to mean these are people who are on both the path of learning (in the Mahāyāna) and the path of no-more-learning (according to the “lesser vehicle”). All that said, there may be philosophical fineries here of which I am unaware.

28སྐུ་གསུམ་ (162.4). These are the Form Body (གཟུགས་སྐུ་), the Complete Enjoyment Body (ལོངས་སྤྱོད་རྫོགས་སྐུ་), and the Truth Body (ཆོས་སྐུ་).

29དག་པ་གཉིས་ (162.4). These are purity that is freedom from afflictive obstructions (ཉོན་མོངས་ཀྱི་སྒྲིབ་པ་) and purity that is freedom from obstructions to omniscience (ཤེས་བྱའི་སྒྲིབ་པ་).

30ས་ཆེན་པོ་ (162.6). These are the famous 10 Bodhisattva Grounds whose locus classicus is the Sūtra on the Ten Ground (दशभूमिकसूत्र, ས་བཅུ་པའི་མདོ་).

31ཐེག་ཆུང་གི་གང་ཟག་ཟུང་བཞི་ཡ་བརྒྱད་ (163.1). These are the pairs of one who is approaching and one who has achieved in terms of the four levels of Hearer realization: Stream Entrant (རྒྱུན་ཞུགས་པ་), Once Returner (ལན་ཅིག་ཕྱིར་འོང་བ་), Non Returner (ཕྱིར་མི་འོང་བ་), and Arhat (དགྲ་བཅོམ་པ་).

32Presumably also the Sublime Continuum, it is unclear where this second quote starts. I have put the two lines together because they both are composed of the standard seven syllables. However, both lines end (which in Tibetan means begin) with “because”, which implies a larger context to this quote.

33ཡེ་ཤེས་གྲུབ་པ་, ज्ञानसिद्धि (163.6). This is the famous meditation manual written by Indrabhūti.

34ཉན་རང་གཉིས་ཚེ་ཇི་སྲིད་འཚོའི་བར་དུ་ (164.4).

35སྤྱོད་འཇོག་ (164.4).

36བྱང་ཆུབ་སྙིང་པོར་མཆིས་ཀྱི་བར་ (164.4-5).

37ལྷའི་བུ་ (165.3). A “son of the gods”, a generic term for younger or lesser gods.

38བག་གི་རྟོགས་བརྗོད་ (165.3-4). “Buck” is merely a phonetic render of what is possibly a name, though the title of this text is not clear and most likely abbreviated. I have been unable to locate anything remotely similar in name.

39སྐྱབས་འགྲོ་བདུན་ཅུག་པ་ (165.5). This is a short text written by one of the Chandrakīrti’s and translated by Atiśa (982–1054) and Rinchen Zangbo. See THL’s Catalog of the Degé Tengyur, D.3999, vol. 214, 251a.1-253b.2, (accessed August 20, 2020).

40མདོ་ཉི་མའི་སྙིང་པོ་ (165.6). This is the འཕགས་པ་ཤེས་རབ་ཕ་རོལ་ཏུ་ཕྱིན་པའི་ཉི་མའི་སྙིང་པོ་ཐེག་པ་ཆེན་པོའི་མདོ་, D.27, vol. 34, 175b.7-176b.6, (accessed August 20, 2020).

41མདོ་སྡེ་རྒྱན་ (165.6).

42མྱང་འདས་ (166.2)

43མྱང་འདས་ (167.4).

44སྟོན་པར་བལྟ་ (167.6). However, the Degé version of the text has བརྟེན་པར་བདག་ (167.5-6), which is difficult to translate but could be “have a nature that relies on”.

45བཤེས་སྤྲིངས་ (168.3). Translation based on Alexander Berzin, tr., “Text of Letter to a Friend”, (accessed August 16, 2020).

46སྙན་གྱི་གོང་རྒྱན་ (168.5). This is an alternative (Old School?) title for the Flower Garland Sūtra (आवतंसक सूत्र, མདོ་ཕལ་པོ་ཆེ་).

47རིས་སུ་གཅོད་པ་ (168.6).

48ལྷག་བསམ་བསྐུལ་བའི་མདོ་ (169.1). D.70, (accessed August 18, 2020).

49ཅི་ལ་ཐུག་ཀྱང་ (169.3). This could also mean “for whatever reason”.

50ལུས་སྲོག་གཙིགས་དང་བྱ་དགའི་ཕྱིར། །དཀོན་མཆོག་གསུམ་པོ་མི་སྤང་ངོ་། (169.4) Lochen Dharmaśrī is either glossing the original here or is using a different version. For, the Degé edition (253b.6) of Vimalamitra’s text has simply a single line, ལུས་སྲོག་ཕྱིར་ཡང་གསུམ་མི་སྤང་། which translates as “Even for the sake of [one’s] life never abandon the three [jewels].”

51འདུལ་བ་ལུང་ (169.5).

52མདོ་ལས་ (170.3).

53རིག་པ་ (170.4) to differentiate it from “knower of the world” (འཇིག་རྟེན་མཁྱེན་པ་).



56ཐལ་མོ་སྦྱོར་བའི་འོས་ (171.2). Literally, “worthy of joining the palms”.

57ཉེ་འབྲེལ་འཁོར་གཡོག་དང་བཅས་ (171.5). More exactly, “relatives and attendants”.

58བླང་བྱ་དང་པོར་ཤེས་བྱ་བ། །དག་པའི་ཡུལ་ལས་བླང་བར་བྱ། །འཇིགས་པ་བྱུང་ཚེ་བསྐུལ་མ་ཡིན། (171.6). The Degé version of Vimalamitra’s root verses has a slightly different first line and omits the middle one: བླང་པ་དང་པོར་ཤེས་བྱ་བ། །འཇིགས་བ་བྱུང་ཚེས་བསྐུལ་མ་ཡིན། (253b.7).

59རྒྱུའི་སྐྱབས་འགྲོ་ (172.4).

60དོན་དམ་པའི་སྐྱབས་འགྲོ་ (172.5).

61ཆོས་ཉིད་ཀྱི་ས་ཐོབ་པ་ (172.5). Though it looks more like ཆོས་ཉིད་ཀྱིས་ཐོབ་པ་ or “attainment [of the result] by means of reality”. Either way the meaning is not much different.

62འབྲས་བུའི་སྐྱབས་སྒྲོ་ (172.5).

63ཡུམ་བར་མ་ (172.6).

64ཡང་དག་པའི་སྐྱབས་འགྲོ་ (172.6).

65གནས་ལྔ་ (173.3). Short for རིག་གནས་ལྔ་, the five traditional sciences of Buddhism: 1. Buddhist philosophy (ནང་གི་རིག་པ་), 2. logic (གཏན་ཚིགས་ཀྱི་རིག་པ་), 3. grammar (སྒྲའི་རིག་པ་), 4. medicine (གསོ་བའི་རིག་པ་), and 5. crafts (བཟོ་གནས་ཀྱི་རིག་པ).

66གཉགས་ལོ་ཆེན་པོ་ (173.5). This is Nyag Jñānakumāra (གཉགས་ཛྙཱ་ན་ཀུ་མཱ་ར་), circa 8th century ce. From the Nyag clan of Yarlung, his birth name was Gyelwé Lodrö (རྒྱལ་བའི་བློ་གྲོས་). He studied under Padmasambhava, Vimalamitra, the translator Vairocana, Nub Namké Nyingpo, and Yudra Nyingpo. According to Longchenba, he combined four great rivers of transmission: textual commentary, oral instruction, empowerment, and achievement. Along with Ma Rinchen Chog (རྨ་རིན་ཆེན་མཆོག་), he helped Vimalamitra translate the Secret Essence Tantra and other Mahāyoga works. See Phun tshogs Tshe ring, “ཐོག་མར་གཉགས་ཛྙ་ན་ཀུ་མཱ་ར་ལ་བབས་པའི་སྐོར།In ཆོས་འབྱུང་མཁས་པའི་དགོངས་རྒྱན།, TBRC W25995 (Lhasa: བོད་ལྗོངས་མི་དམངས་དཔེ་སྐྲུན་ཁང་, 2003), 144-145.|O1LS50811LS5178$W25995 (Accessed August 21, 2020).

67བསོད་ནམས་འགྲོ་བ་ཡོངས་ལ་བསྔོ། (173.6). The Degé edition of the root text has བསོད་ནམས་འགྲོ་བ་ཡང་ལ་བསྔོ། (254a.1), or “The merit is moreover dedicated to migrators.”

68The translation of this publisher’s colophon is tentative. The Tibetan is: ཞེས་པ་འདི་ཡང་སྒྲ་བསྒྱུར་གྱི་ལོ་ཆེན་མཁན་ཆེན་དྷརྨ་ཤྲཱིའི་གསུང་འབུམ་ལས་བར་དུ་དཔེ་རྒྱུན་ཆེར་མ་དར་བས་ཕྱིས་ཁྱབ་བདག་དཔལ་གྱི་སེངྒེ་བཀའི་འཁོར་ལོ་སྤྱི་བོར་ཕེབས་པས་ཨོ་རྒྱན་སྨིན་གྲོལ་གླིང་དུ་འགྱུར་མེད་ཀུན་ཁྱབ་ཀྱིས་པར་དུ་བསྐྲུན་པས་ལུང་རྟོགས་ཀྱི་བསྟན་པ་རིན་པོ་ཆེ་དར་ཞིང་རྒྱས་པའི་རྒྱུར་གྱུར་ཅིག། (174.2-4).

Vimalamitra's Six Limbs of Refuge and Lochen Dharmaśrī’s Commentary

This short but well-known work by the Indian master Vimalamitra explains six subtopics concerning the refuge rite. It is a concise ten verses long, but included with it is a commentary by the renowned scholar Lochen Dharmaśrī. In the last verse poem, Vimalamitra says that the motivation for writing the text was to show the king Tri Songdetsen (ཁྲི་སྲོང་ལྡེ་བཙན་, 742-797 CE) and his ministers—who apparently had no confidence in him—that he was a good Buddhist, and he instructs his disciple, the famed Tibetan translator Nyak Jñānakumāra (གཉགས་ཛྙཱ་ན་ཀུ་མཱ་ར་, 8th-9th cent.), to write it down for him.

Collection Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Translations
Visibility Public - accessible to all site users (default)
Author Vimalamitra, Lochen Dharmaśrī
Translator Than Grove
Year published 2020
Original year published 2020
Language Tibetan , English
UID mandala-texts-63786
Creative Commons Licence