Stages of Meditation on the Uttaratantra

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Rongtön Sheja Künrig


Adornment to Invincible Maitreya’s Intent

Stages of Meditation on the Instructions of the Ultimate Continuum of the Great Vehicle (Mahāyānottaratantra)

by Rongtön Sheja Künrig

You inspire hundreds of worldly gods to bow in reverence;
With boundless compassion, you bring beings to maturity—
You who will remain until the very end of existence itself,
Spontaneously enacting compassionate deeds, to you I bow.

The brilliant light of your sun-like wisdom
Wholly dispels the darkness of existence,
And with love you nurture and sustain all beings—
Invincible Protector,[1] at your feet I pay homage.

The efficient cause for attaining perfect awakening is the tainted dhātu. Once the stains are purified, there is the attainment through which the stains become suchness—awakening. The attainment of awakening then brings the qualities such as the strengths and the accomplishment of activity for others’ sake. This is how it is explained when summarising the entire teaching.

The Way to Purify the Dhātu’s Stains

First, the obscuring stains are identified:

Hostility toward the Dharma, the view of self,
Fear of the sufferings of saṃsāra,
Lack of interest in beings’ welfare—
These are the four obscurations of the highly desirous,
Tīrthikas, śrāvakas and the self-arisen.[2]

This presents the stains illustratively, defining what might be included by means of clear examples. Having thus identified the obscurations to be purified, there follows the process of meditating on the stages of the path to purify these stains. This begins with a presentation of taking refuge in the Three Jewels, which demonstrates the necessity of taking refuge in the Three Jewels when practising the path. To show the essence of what eliminates the four obscurations, the text says:

With the seed of inclination toward the supreme vehicle,
The mother of wisdom that engenders buddha qualities,
The blissful, womblike abode of meditative concentration,
And the nurse of compassion…[3]

"The seed of inclination toward the supreme vehicle" shows the necessity of generating bodhicitta for the sake of others and then embarking on the path of the Great Vehicle.

In revealing the actual path that is embarked upon there is a demonstration of the necessity of cutting through the bonds of self-craving through the wisdom that realizes selflessness. As a support for the wisdom that realizes selflessness, the text speaks of the need for perfect calm abiding (śamatha), a reference to the stages of meditation in equipoise.

As for the need to act compassionately in the service of sentient beings, it is essential as a support for completing the main part of the path.

Having thus identified the antidotes to the four obscurations, the text then reveals the result of being free from these four veils:

The fruition is perfection of the qualities
Of purity, self, bliss and permanence.[4]

Essential Summary

The meaning is that having first taken refuge in the Three Jewels, one then sets one’s mind on supreme awakening, cultivates both calm abiding (śamatha) and insight (vipaśyanā) in meditative equipoise, and then, during post-meditation, acts with compassion for the sake of sentient beings.

Having thus purified the stains to the element within one’s own continuum, one attains stainless awakening and accomplishes the welfare of sentient beings.

Through the virtue of succinctly expressing here
The points of this precise and unerring explanation
Of how to practice the Great Vehicle’s Ultimate Continuum,
May all beings swiftly attain unsurpassable awakening.

This Adornment to Invincible Maitreya’s Intent, the Stages of Meditating on the Ultimate Continuum, was composed by the great Rongtön in the monastery of Pal Nālendra during the Rabjung (Fire Hare) year.

| Translated by Adam Pearcey, 2022.


Tibetan Edition

shes bya kun rig. gsung 'bum/ shes bya kun rig. gsung 'bum/ shes bya kun rig. skye dgu mdo: gangs ljongs rig rgyan gsung rab par khang, 2004. (BDRC W28942). Volume 1: 105–107.

Version: 1.2-20230824

  1. Ajitanātha (mi pham mgon po), an epithet of Maitreya  ↩

  2. Mahāyānottaratantra Śāstra I, 32–33a. "Self-arisen" here refers to the pratyekabuddhas.  ↩

  3. Mahāyānottaratantra Śāstra I, 34  ↩

  4. Mahāyānottaratantra Śāstra I, 35  ↩

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