Biography of Master Je Tsongkhapa

Homage - part two

The verses of homage started with a homage requesting for the blessing of the Guru and then secondly a homage to all the lineage masters, starting with Buddha Shakyamuni, then Maitreya, Manjushri, Nagarjuna, Asanga and masters such as Aryadeva, Vasubandhu and so on, who are the holder of the lineage of the vast and the profound teachings. Then a homage to the early pioneers of Buddhism in Tibet, such as the great Dharma kings and the Pandits and Siddhas and translators. So we have reached to there.

Now we continue with this verse:

The view of the middle way which is free from the extremes, in which arises the non-fallible dependent related appearance and then emptiness of the inherent nature, and all the essential, difficult points of the union of the clear light and the illusory body, which is the ultimate essential meaning of the profound and secret path, loosening simultaneously all the knots without exception, etc.

With the unprecedented well explained nectar, which enables one
to take all the Dharma only as a practice to attain enlightenment, by remembering the kindness of the second Victorious One, Lobsang Dragpa, who caused the hundred petaled Lotus of the Muni's teaching to open - I bow down hundred times.

That is a homage to Je Tsongkhapa himself. It means that one completely bows down and completely pays all the respects, but not only just once, but hundreds and hundreds of times, because of remembering this extraordinary kindness. Of whom? Of Master Lobsang Dragpa. That is the personal Dharma name of Je Tsongkhapa, who is really like a second Buddha appearing in this world, a second Victorious One. And the most important activities which he has fulfilled cause this teaching of Buddha once again to flourish, just like a lotus once again opened.

With what kind of power, with what kind of method did Je Tsongkhapa cause the teaching of the Buddha once again to flourish or to open in the world? Through his well explained nectar - that means through his teachings which are so well explained, so clear and so decisive and so understandable and illuminating and therefore a teaching which is quite unprecedented. Such a teaching which Je Tsongkhapa has given has also very special qualities. What are these qualities? As it say here: this teaching of Je Tsongkhapa really loosens all the difficult knots of the teachings of the Dharma and in particular the most difficult points of Sutra as well as of Tantra.

One most difficult point as well as most important and essential point in the teaching of the Buddha on the Sutra's side is the middle view, the middle view of the Madhyamika, which is free of all extremes, in which the appearance and the emptiness, in other words the interdependant existence is unmistaken, non-fallible. On one hand the appearance of the conventional phenomena, and on the other hand their ultimate nature - that is their being completely empty and lacking any kind of inherent nature - these two truths, the conventional and ultimate truth, or this appearance and this emptiness, to understand them not separately, but completely in union, complementing each other in a way where each is the essence, the reason and the support of the other and thus being of one nature with the two different aspects, that non-contradictory nature of the appearance and the emptiness is the most essential and most difficult point of the middle way, where even many great scholars and many great Pandits had difficulties, could not understand it and could not really fathom the depth of it. However, the teaching of Je Tsongkhapa had illuminated this point so clearly and had loosened this particular knot completely. So that is with regards to the essence of the Sutras.

With regards to the Tantra the ultimate essential point of the secret path of the Anuttarayoga Tantra is the union of illusory body and clear light. Although explanations are given by many about what is clear light and what is illusory body and how they are united, there has been nobody like Je Tsongkhapa who has commented so well and explained this point so clearly. So one of Je Tsongkhapa's greatest contributions are his great commentaries to the Tantra, such as Guhyasamaja Tantra. These commentaries explain these most important tantric points in such a clear and precise manner that is completely unprecedented. So that again is loosening a very great knot. For these reasons it is an unprecedented well explained nectar.

And also his teachings like the Lamrim, which contains the essence of all, the Sutra and Tantra, and which enable one to take every teaching of the Dharma, everything as an individual practice for one person. There is nothing to be left aside, everything has to be integrated into the path in order to attain enlightenment. These secrets, these methods have been shown by Je Tsongkhapa in his teachings.

That is why it is called here unprecedented well explained nectar with which he has caused the Lotus of the teaching of the Buddha completely to open, all its petals to completely open and to flourish. That kindness is the greatest kindness, as well as the greatest activity, the greatest power, completely transcending any other kind of miraculous deeds whatsoever. Therefore, through remembering these deeds of the master then here the author says: 'I bow down hundreds of times, I make hundreds of prostrations'.

These contributions Je Tsongkhapa has made to the teachings, as it says here, ' once again has caused the hundred petaled lotus of the teaching of the Buddha to completely open.'

Once again means that Buddha came into the world and set such a lotus which is completely opened and then through the cause of time it may close a little bit and then such great masters as Nagarjuna, Asanga came and caused it again to open. And then due to again negligence or misunderstandings of the disciples such a lotus may once again close.

Then great masters like Je Tsongkhapa came into the world - and especially Je Tsongkhapa came into the world and made that lotus open completely, blossom totally. And that has shown to everybody how to take all the teachings of Sutra and Tantra into one's individual practice for attaining enlightenment, without leaving even one little aspect aside. And these kinds of methods are extraordinary and so that kindness is also extraordinary, and through remembering that kindness we prostrate many times to the Guru.

Then after that it says further:

That state of the element of the undefiled refined gold of the Sutra and Tantra teaching of that supreme Lord, the One who illuminated it throughout the entire world, polishing it with teaching and practice, starting with the two chief sons, all the matchless leaders of the transmission of the teaching of the Geden virtues and those who came and will come there – the feet of all of them I keep as a crown of the head.

So that means he also pays homage to all those successors of Master Je Tsongkhapa, all those other great disciples of Je Tsongkhapa who actually through their teaching and through their practice have kept this teaching of Je Tsongkhapa, which is like refined gold, without any defilement. They always took very well care of his teaching of Sutra and Tantra and just like polishing a golden vase, polishing it with their effort of teaching and practicing, they are also causing it to flourish all through the world.

All those great spiritual sons, especially the two chief ones. There are two ways of counting the two chief ones. The general way is Gyältsab and Khedrup, but sometimes also Dülzin and Gyältsab are counted as the two chief disciples, because Dülzin and Gyältsab were the two most senior disciples.

However, here as it is generally known, it is referring to the Gyältsab and Khedrup, and then further all his other direct disciples and also many great masters who came after him who actually carried on this Geden Kagyü. Geden Kagyü does not mean Gelugpa or Kagyü. Geden Kagyü is the teaching of Je Tsongkhapa, also the Virtuous, the joyous One and Kagyü means the transmission of the teaching; so the transmission of the teaching of the Joyous One or the Geden. Those masters who came in the past, and not only those who came in the past, but, as the author says, also those who will come in the future, all of them, whoever makes such a contribution, such a service to the Dharma, are worthy of veneration and respects and prostration. So therefore the author says he keeps their feet always on his head like the crown.

So this is very true when he says 'all who came and who will come', because before this author so many great lineage holders, great masters and scholar Siddhas who have practiced and held the teaching and practiced it and propagated it, so many of them had come before him and so many of them came even after him. After this author came many extraordinary great masters including our precious masters, extraordinary great leaders of the Dharma who came and through whose activities such teachings flourished. Then really as it says here 'into the entire world'. So the author is saying that all those great masters are his object of veneration.

Then it says further:

This all-pervading Lord Bagavana, the Akshovajra, and Vajrabhairava and the Mahasukhadeva and the Venerable Tara, who is the mother of all the Victorious Ones, etc., all the Yidams, peaceful and wrathful, bestow the supreme and common Siddhis.

After that there is a homage to the Yidams - all the deities are asked for their blessing. Yidams which are mentioned here are the all pervading Lord Bhagavana, the fully enlightened Akshovajra, that means Guhyasamaja. The three principle tantric deity of Je Tsongkhapa are Guhyasamaja (Akshovajra), which is the all pervading Lord, as well as Vajrabhairava, that is Yamantaka, as well as Mahasukhadeva or Chakrasambhara. These three are three principle Anuttara tantric deities of Master Je Tsongkhapa, because the Tantras linked with these three deities contain all the essence of the mother and father Tantras and so therefore they are indispensable paths to attain the state of enlightenment. Therefore Je Tsongkhapa considered these three Anuttara-tantric deities as the principle tantric deities. So he is referring to Guhyasamaja, Yamantaka and Chakrasambhara as well as the deities such as Venerable Arya Tara who is like the mother of all the Buddhas, etc. and includes all the other tantric deities of the four classes of the Tantra.

To all those meditational deities who are in the peaceful or wrathful forms, he pays homage and at the same time asked for their supreme and common blessings.

Then it follows:

The Speedy Lord and the Action Yama - outer, inner, secret and Palden Lhamo (the deity of battle and torma) peaceful and wrathful, the five Dharma kings, etc., those who have the Vajra force to destroy the Mara's force, the ocean of the teaching protectors - may you fulfil the four-fold activities.

So this is a homage and also request for the action of the ocean of Dharma protectors, that means all those who have the Vajra force. 'The one who has this Vajra force' always means enlightened force, not some kind of ordinary worldly spirit or something, but those with the Vajra force. Vajra in Sanskrit means enlightenment or enlightened. So with enlightened force to overcome all the negative forces. Some which are mentioned here are the Speedy Lord, that is Mahakala, and the Action Yama, that is Kalarupa which is also outer, inner and secret. And then there is a peaceful and wrathful deity of battle, that is Palden Lhamo, and then the five Dharma kings. These five Dharma kings particularly refer to the 'ku nga'. These last two, the deity which is the deity of battle and 'sor', that is Palden Lhamo, and Chöje Ku-nga are like the special protectors of Tibet. So he is requesting all those protecting deities, who are also protectors of the teaching to overcome the evil Mara's forces with their Vajra force.

Je Tsongkhapa's principle protecting deities are Mahakala, Kalarupa and Vaisravana. Vaisravana is not mentioned here, here is mentioned Mahakala and Kalarupa as well as two deities which are like the protectors of Tibet as a whole, that is Palden Lhamo and Ku-nga, the five emanations of Ku-nga etc., so all those protectors of the teachings, who work with the Vajra force, he pays homage to them and also asks for their four-fold activities, that means their peaceful activity, increasing activity, dominating activity and destroying activity, corresponding to whatever is needed for the sake of the sentient beings, for the sake of the Dharma, to fulfil their responsibilities.

So here this word Vajra force, although it looks like he is referring in general to this ocean of Dharma protectors to destroy the forces of Mara with the Vajra force, one can also interpret it in a more specific term. Then it refers very clearly specifically to Dorje Shugden. However, we can take it either explicit or implicit. But anyway it is there.

Those who are the precious worthy objects of prostration, who are the supreme fields, by bowing and diligently taking the respectful things, then with the wholesome speech which makes the effort meaningful, with this beautiful Garland of Flowers, I will decorate the crown of the head.

So that means Lord Guru, Lord Yidam, Dharma Protectors etc. all of these in short, all those precious Three Jewels which are objects of veneration which are also the supreme field, through bowing oneself completely to these Three Jewels or everybody included in the Three Jewels and then completely diligently taking the respectful things, that means respectful manners, such as with folded palms, etc. through all these respectful manners very diligently decorate or ornament the crown of one's head with this Beautiful Flower Garland, which is the name of this text, which is a wholesome speech which makes one's effort meaningful.

That means he is going to write now this text which is called the Beautiful Flower Garland, which is a wholesome speech which is worthy of making effort. He will do it in such a respectful manner through bowing down respectfully to the Three Jewels. So he is going to decorate the crown of one's own head and the head of everybody else with the Beautiful Flower Garland of the wholesome speech narrating Je Tsongkhapa's life story. So we can stop here for today.