Praise of Butön Rinchen Drup
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A Beautiful Lotus Garland
In Praise of the Omniscient Lord of Dharma Butön Rinchen Drup
by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
Lord of Dharma, regent of the mighty Lord of Sages,
Rinchen Drup, guru to beings of the three worlds,
Second Omniscient One for this age of strife,
Butön Lotsāwa, at your feet I bow my head in homage.
In the past, as a merchant you offered a jewel
To the tathāgata Limitless Light;
Then, similarly as the son of the Dharma-king Puṇyapuṣpa,
You served the sugata Vīryakoṭi—to you I bow.
As a supreme friend of the Sage’s teachings in Kashmir
And as Śākyaśrībhadra and others—
To you who manifested in a succession of births
As scholars and as adepts in India and Tibet, I bow.
When you were born as a son to Rigdzin Draktön
And your sublime mother Sonam Bum,
In her dreams she generated maṇḍala circles
And experienced untold bliss, clarity and samādhi.
On the ninth day of the waning phase of the Citrā month in the Iron Tiger,
You blissfully took birth and, in her dreams, your mother
Emanated and reabsorbed hosts of yidam deities,
And auspicious signs appeared throughout the land—to you I bow.
At a young age you read the Wisdom of the Hour of Death
And the Sūtra of the Ten Wheels of Kṣitigarbha,
Mastering reading without tuition and perfecting qualities of learning—
To you in whom the supreme potential fully awakened, I bow.
At the age of seven you requested the generation of bodhicitta
Before the great being Trophuwa, and in your mind
The attitude of cherishing others above yourself took root.
To you who loved all sentient beings maternally, I bow.
From your grandfather, you received empowerment, explanations of tantras,
And pith instructions from the vehicles of the Ancient Translations.
By meditating on generation and perfection, you saw the face of the yidam deity,
And actualized the signs of accomplishment—to you I bow.
Before the disciplined and learned Rinchen Sengé
And Khenchen Drakpa Shönnu Palzang
You were fully ordained as a monk and thereafter
Remained unsullied by disciplinary faults—to you, diligent observer of vows, I bow.
By following Tarpa Lotsāwa, Pakpa Ö,
Palden Sengé and hosts of other learned and accomplished masters,
You traversed an ocean of instruction in the outer and inner sciences,
And in sūtra and mantra—to you I bow.
You reputation for scholarship spread throughout the land,
By expounding scripture and reasoning you defeated opponents,
And you, like a valiant Mañjuśrī, victorious over all,
Were praised as a great orator, Butön Khaché—to you I bow.
During empowerment, you saw the guru as the Vajra Continuum.
You accomplished the supreme six-branch yoga
And realized the primordial nature of clear light beyond concepts—
To you who perfected the great strength of wisdom born of meditation, I bow.
When studying Guhyasamāja, you saw the buddhas and bodhisattvas
Performing various feats of samādhi.
To you who attained limitless doors of samādhi,
Such as the Purification of Realms and Heroic Progress, I bow.
You directly encountered the deities of the outer and inner maṇḍalas,
And you reached the pinnacle of pure vision related to the five stages.
To you, whose realization was one with the experience
Of vajra ḍākinīs, vīras and vīriṇīs, I bow.
The haughty spirits worshipped you at their crowns,
You took your seat on the scholar’s dharma-throne in Shalu’s golden temple,
And from there expounded sūtra and mantra and infinite instructions
That matured and liberated the fortunate—to you I pray.
In commenting on the intent of the Words and Treatises,
You possessed the sublime wisdom of seeing precisely,
And, as inspired by the guru and the supreme deities,
Produced great stores of excellent compositions—to you I bow.
In the great dharma palace of Ribuk,
You meditated on the two profound stages,
And through ripening and liberating, expounding and composing,
Ensured the longevity of the Sage’s teachings—to you I bow.
Guru Padma appeared to you directly
And granted you profound instruction, and you saw the smiling faces
Of buddhas and bodhisattvas and gurus and yidam deities.
To you, the mighty commander of dharmapālas, I bow.
Vinaya, Sūtra, Middle Way, Perfection of Wisdom, Secret Mantra—
Supreme spiritual guide to the Sage’s teachings in their entirety,
Crown jewel among all learned scholars and accomplished adepts,
Great all-knowing lion of speech, to you I bow.
With the three pure criteria you distinguished Dharma from non-dharma,
You translated the teachings of sūtra and mantra, edited earlier translations,
Restored omissions, resolved apparent contradictions and so on,
Rectifying the Dharma of the Buddha’s Word and the Treatises—
Great lotsāwa, eyes of the world, to you I bow.
Immaculate in discipline, your physical form was resplendent;
With limitless samādhi, you knew the minds of others;
Brilliant as the sun in your intelligent discernment of phenomena—
To you who attained the wisdom of a great ārya, I bow.
You bound fast the motion of duality within the avadhūti,
And perfected the essence of unwavering, immutable great bliss—
To you, the Vajra Holder, I bow.
To you who produced a beautiful garland of sun, moon and stars,
Such learned and accomplished ones as Lachen Sogyal,
Chökyi Gyaltsen, and you heart-son the great lotsāwa,
As well as such students as Drakpa Gyaltsen, Tai Situ and others—to you I bow.
You who mastered the great scriptures of Yogatantra,
Great charioteer of an infinite ocean of tantric teachings,
Especially Guhyasamāja, Cakrasaṃvara
And Kālacakra, to you I bow.
In short, it seems as if you spent your entire life on each of the elements
Of study, contemplation and meditation, exposition, debate and composition.
To you, whose life of liberation, that of a great tenth-level ārya,
Is difficult for an ordinary person to comprehend, I bow.
Even now, the fact that the teachings of the vajra vehicle
Have not declined but remain as a maturing and liberating stream
Is due to your kindness, O glorious and mighty Vajradhara.
To you whose enlightened activity is without limit, I bow.
You constructed a wondrous and miraculous array
Of infinite maṇḍalas of the Sugatas’ threefold support,
And inspired the two accumulations through practice and offering.
To you who demonstrated inconceivably vast intent, I bow.
At the age of five and seventy years,
On the second 'joy' of the waning phase
Of the Pūrvāsāḍha month, in the second half of the night,
You temporarily withdrew the maṇḍala of your emanated form,
And travelled to the Dharma assembly in Sukhāvatī—to you I bow.
At that time, there were marvellous, miraculous signs,
And a mass of boundless offerings, human and divine.
To you, who produced a multitude of precious relics
To bring immense, unending benefit to others, I bow.
When you awaken as the Seventh of this Fortunate Aeon,
May I be reborn as a suitable recipient when you turn
The Wheel of Dharma, may I see your enlightened face,
And may I receive from you my prophetic declaration.
All the virtue that I and others gather throughout the three times
I dedicate to the fulfilment of the Dharma Lord Mañjughoṣa’s intentions.
May all beings in their infinity, without a single exception,
Come to attain the supreme jewel that is omniscience.
May the sūtra and mantra teachings never wane but flourish and spread;
May the evil hordes of Māra be entirely and thoroughly vanquished;
May the divine city of the Sage’s teachings reign victorious over all;
And may perfect and stable excellence and magnificence abound.
I, Jamyang Chökyi Lodrö, offered this tribute to Butön Rinpoche, the second Lord of Sages for this age of strife, as a prayer made out of unshakeable faith and devotion on the auspicious first day of the month of the Aśvinī (i.e., ninth) month of the Iron Snake year. Siddhirastu. May it be virtuous!
| Translated by Adam Pearcey with the generous support of the Khyentse Foundation and Tertön Sogyal Trust, 2022.
'Jam dbyangs chos kyi blo gros. "chos rje thams cad mkhyen pa bu ston rin chen grub la bstod pa/" in gsung 'bum/_'jam dbyangs chos kyi blo gros/ (dbu med/). 8 vols. Gangtok: Dzongsar Khyentse Labrang, 1981–1985 (BDRC W21813). Vol. 1: 203–211
'Jam dbyangs chos kyi blo gros. "chos rje thams cad mkhyen pa bu ston rin chen grub la bstod pa/" in 'Jam dbyangs chos kyi blo gros kyi gsung 'bum. 12 vols. Bir: Khyentse Labrang, 2012. W1KG12986. Vol. 2: 679–684
Dratshadpa Rinchen Namgyal. Hans Van den Bogaert, trans. A Handful of Flowers: A Brief Biography of Buton Rinchen Drub. Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 1996
Ruegg, David Seyfort. The life of Bu ston Rin po che: With the Tibetan text of the Bu ston rNam thar. Roma: Instituto italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente, 1966.
Tsering Namgyal, "Buton Rinchen Drub," Treasury of Lives, accessed February 04, 2022, http://treasuryoflives.org/biographies/view/Buton-Rinchen-Drub/2845.
van der Kuijp, Leonard W.J. "The Lives of Bu ston Rin chen grub and the Date and Sources of His Chos 'byung, a Chronicle of Buddhism in India and Tibet" , Revue d’Études Tibétaines, no. 35, April 2016, pp. 203–308.
On the identification of Sempa Chenpo Trophuwa (sems dpa’ chen po khro phu ba) and Trophuwa Sonam Senge see van der Kuijp p. 208. ↩
Nyima Gyaltsen ↩
Yönten Gyatso ↩
rdo rje rgyud, possibly in error for rdo rje shugs (Vajravega), a protector deity associated with Kālacakra. See Ruegg p. 86 & Dratshadpa Rinchen Namgyal p. 17 ↩
Lama Dampa Sonam Gyaltsen (bla ma dam pa bsod nams rgyal mtshan, 1312–1375). ↩
Drakpa Gyaltsen (grags pa rgyal mtshan, 1365–1448) succeeded Butön as abbot of Zhalu. ↩
Changchub Gyaltsen Tai Situ (byang chub rgyal mtshan tAi si tu) ↩
i.e., supports (rten) or representations of enlightened body, speech and mind. ↩
21 October 1941 ↩