“Instructions on the Garland of Views”

20 Rongbuk Monastery Main Chapel Wall Painting Of Padmasambhava Guru Rinpoche

THE GARLAND OF VIEWS:

AN INSTRUCTION

Attributed to Padma Sambhava
Tibetan title: man ngag lta ba’i phreng ba
A note summarizing the different views, vehicles and so on.
Homage to the Blessed Manjushrikumara and Vajradharma!
The Worldly paths
The countless erroneous views that exist in the realms of the world may be subsumed into four
categories: (i) the unreflective, (ii) the materialists, (iii) the nihilists and (iv) the extremists.
The unreflective do not understand whether or not all things and events have causes and conditions;
they are thoroughly ignorant. The materialists do not understand whether or not there exist previous
and subsequent lives and, relying upon the words of mundane secrets, they acquire wealth and power
[only] for this one life. The nihilists view all phenomena to be devoid of cause and effects and
maintain all elements of existence that have come about in this one life as having done so
accidentally. Thus they uphold nihilism. The extremists uphold the existence of an eternal self for
they reify all phenomena through conceptual imputation. [The extremists comprise of] those who
view the presence of effects where there is no cause; those who view cause and effects erroneously;
and those who view the absence of effects where there is a cause. All of these are views of ignorance.
The Path Transcending the World
The path that transcends the world too consists of two categories: (i) the dialectical vehicle and (ii)
the indestructible vehicle [of Vajrayana]. The dialectical vehicle in turn is threefold: (a) the vehicle of
the Disciples, (ii) the vehicle of the Self-Realised Ones, and (iii) the vehicle of the bodhisattvas.
DIALECTICAL VEHICLE
Disciple’s Vehicle
Of these the view of those who have entered the vehicle of the Disciples is as follows. They maintain
that the nihilistic view denying everything and the eternalistic view asserting the existence of eternal
realities, which are postulated by the extremists by means of reification and denigration, are as untrue
as perceiving a [coiled] rope as a snake. [In contrast] they view the aggregates, the elements and the
sources, [which are composed of] the four great elements, as well as the consciousness to be
ultimately real. [And] it is by means of meditating on the four Noble truths that, in due course, the
four kinds of results are realized.
Self-Realized One’s Vehicle
The view of those who have entered the vehicle of the Self-Realized Ones is as follows. With respect
to viewing the eternal self and so on that are postulated by the extremists by means of reification and
denigration to being non-existent, they are similar to the Disciples. The difference is that they
understand the aggregate of form and one aspect of the reality-element to be devoid of self-existence.

Also, at the time of attaining the fruit of Self-Realized One’s state, unlike Disciples, they do not
depend upon a spiritual mentor. [Rather] due to the force of their past habituation, they realize the
profound ultimate reality (dharmata) by means of the twelve links of dependent origination and attain
the fruit of Self-Enlightenment.
Bodhisattva Vehicle
The view of those who have entered the vehicle of the bodhisattvas is as follows. All phenomena of
thoroughly afflicted and enlightened classes are on the ultimate level devoid of intrinsic nature while
on the conventional level they possess their individual characteristics in clearly distinctive manner.
The bodhisattvas aspire to seek the unexcelled enlightenment, which is the culmination of traversing
the ten levels and the fruit of practicing the six perfections one by one.

INDESTRUCTIBLE VEHICLE OF VAJRAYANA
The indestructible vehicle [of Vajrayana] has three classes: (i) the vehicle of Kriya-tantra, (ii) the
vehicle of Ubhaya-tantra and (iii) the vehicle of Yoga-tantra.
Kriya-tantra Vehicle
The view of those who have entered Kriya-tantra is as follows. Whilst there are no origination and
cessation on the ultimate level, on the conventional level one visualizes [oneself] in the form of a
deity and cultivates the deity’s image, the attributes – the hand implements – and the mantra
repetitions on the basis of the power of the coming together of the necessary ritual articles and other
conditions, such as observance of purity laws, performance of rituals on specific days and
[auspicious] star constellations and so on.
Ubhaya-tantra Vehicle
The view of those who have entered the vehicle of Ubhaya-tantra is as follows. Whilst there are no
origination and cessation on the ultimate level, on the conventional level one visualizes [oneself] in
the form a deity. This is cultivated on the basis of both the practice of meditative absorption
endowed with four aspects as well as the [necessary] ritual articles and conditions.
Yoga-tantra Vehicle
The view of those who have entered the vehicle of Yoga-tantra is twofold: (i) the view of outer yoga,
the tantra of the Sages, and (ii) the view of inner yoga, the method tantra.

 

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