Biography of Master Je Tsongkhapa

So as you remember we have started the great biography of Master Je Tsongkhapa and we are still at the very beginning part and are in the middle of the explanation concerning the purpose of composing such a biography of Master Je Tsongkhapa, explaining what means actually a biography of a great master and what is a purposeful composition of such a text and what is not purposeful, what is purposeful to write and what is not, etc. All these clarifications are made by the author before engaging in the actual biography.

As he said before, such a great master like Master Je Tsongkhapa is not just an ordinary great scholar or just a famous person, but somebody who has been fully confirmed by so many Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and indisputable great masters as being no other than an emanation of the Buddha of wisdom, Manjushri, coming in the world for the sake of the teaching of the Buddha and for the benefit of the sentient beings taking a form of a monk. So we are in the middle of this.

We have stopped where begins a quotation from the omniscient Khedrup Rinpoche:

The omniscient Khedrup Rinpoche says: the name of this (person) is 'The Great Courageous One', thus he is commonly known to all the Buddhas and their sons.

So Khedrup Rinpoche in the praise of Je Tsongkhapa made it very clear that Master Je Tsongkhapa is no other than a great emanation, whose name is a Mahasattva. In which Sutra Buddha has prophesied him being such a person will come later in the actual biography. Here it is just a quotation from this praise of Khedrup Rinpoche where it says that his name being the Mahasattva is known to all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas commonly. That means, this is the name of Master Je Tsongkhapa from the very moment on, when he has generated his very particular mind of enlightenment as a Bodhisattva in the past. Since then he was known to all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as the great courageous one, or Mahasattva.

When Je Tsongkhapa was the Bodhisattva whose name is Mahasattva, he has taken this very special vow in front of a Buddha Wangpö Tok; he has generated a very special mind to work in the future for the benefit of the sentient beings particularly through teaching Dharma, in which the view of the middle way is combined with the Anuttara Tantra. Through that way he would work for the benefit of the sentient beings. By taking this vow or generating such a mind he was named at that time 'The Great Courageous One' and praised by all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas - that is what it is referring to. So as it is said:

In all the fields of the Buddhas of the ten directions this is completely spread.

That means his reputation or his fame as The Great Courageous One has been praised by all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions. That way he is known in all the fields of the Buddhas.

So thus then it says:

That way Je Tsongkhapa as the Great Courageous One is known to all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions, and also his emanations spread in all these Buddha fields.

Therefore it says here:

So it does not depend just upon explaining in design some of the activities, which have appeared in the whole of the mind of this-side-seers.

'This-side-seers' means ordinary beings.

Je Tsongkhapa's real activities spread all through the Buddha fields of the ten directions and do not at all depend upon somebody making explanatory design of some few activities of him as it appeared to the little whole of the mind of an ordinary being. What can be said in such a biography is very little, whatever activities appeared to an ordinary being is what one is speaking about here. But Je Tsongkhapa's real range of activities is not limited by that, does not depend at all on such kind of explanations.

In the biography of Je Tsongkhapa composed by the Lord of the Dharma Lodroe Legsang it says: "In reality his activities are not limited at all by this kind of collection which appeared to the ordinary mind."

This Master Lodroe Legsang also wrote Je Tsongkhapa's biography and in these verses he explains how still one can write a biography:

This completely broad and vast range of the faith of the fit vessels, which is filled with the four rivers of the compassion with great waves, for the sake of some who are endowed with an unbiased intelligence and striving with faith for opening the treasury of the two Siddhis, this garland of the precious speech of the supreme secrets I will tell, by carrying the responsibility with a one-pointed mind of benefiting others.

At the beginning of the biography this master writes that he is going to explain with a mind motivated by one-pointed compassion of taking the responsibility of helping others by going to explain these lines or garlands of precious speech which show the supreme secrets of the activities of the Master Je Tsongkhapa, for the sake of opening that treasure door of the two Siddhis of the two accomplishments for those with an unbiased mind who are endowed with the necessary intelligence to distinguish what is really good and what is not, and what is the real quality and what is false, and also who are really striving to understand and recognise the true qualities of the master, and who are striving to follow the lifestyle and somebody who is endowed with faith and respect to the master, for such a mind of the faith, such a fit vessel, so vast and broad and not a narrow mind, this extensive space to be filled up with the four rivers of the great compassion.

The four great rivers are Ganga, Indus, Sita and Brahmaputra. These four great rivers which are coming from the Kailash run in the four directions: Brahmaputra to the East, Ganga to the South and Indus to the West and Sita to the North. These are compared to the great compassion with the great waves, to fill the mind of such a faithful person with this river of the compassion of the master.
That means all these activities of the master are nothing else than like the rivers coming from the compassion. All these rivers have great waves and all these activities of the masters have also great waves and are all nothing else than the great waves of the compassion. So to fill up that broad space of the faith or that broad ground of this mind of the disciples with deep vast faith with the rivers of the compassionate activities of the master, for the sake of such an unbiased, intelligent, striving, and faithful person, for the sake of opening the door so they can accomplish the common Siddhis as well as highest Siddhis he is going to narrate these lines of this precious speech explaining the secrets of the activities of master, only out of taking the responsibility of benefiting the sentient beings.

So that means he is explaining all these activities like the four rivers of the great compassionate waves of the deeds of the master to fill up this very great broad ground of the faith of the fit vessels who are honest, intelligent, striving and faithful, in order to open the door for them to the attainment of the two Siddhis. He is explaining all these garlands of precious words showing the secrets of the precious body, speech and mind of the master only out of the single-pointed attitude of helping others, and not in order to make himself famous as a great composer, and also not out of a biased mind or prejudice or anything like that, but only in order to benefit the sentient beings.

So like that this author also says here:

The individuals who are the fit vessels of the supreme fortune, who have a broad intelligence, abiding in an unbiased state and striving for the sublime qualities and endowed with faith and enthusiasm, for them, honestly speaking on these wonderful three secrets of a great person like this, such an honest narration of the realisations by arranging in a precious garland, the ocean of the faith and respect will immensely increase. And in dependence upon that in the continuum of those intelligent ones, the compassion and the blessing of the great being will enter and thereby all their incorrect thoughts and actions will gradually stop.

In the same way this author says that he is writing this biography also for the sake of the fit vessels of the disciples with the supreme fortune are somebody who has the possibility to listen to or to read such a biography and who can actually appreciate the qualities of such an extraordinary master, which is so very rare and an extremely fortunate situation.

Therefore he says here: an individual who is a fit vessel with a supreme fortune and whose mind is abiding in an unbiased state, who has this very broadly engaging intelligence, an intelligence which penetrates things in a very broad way; not a narrow intelligence, but a broadly applied intelligence; and who knows how to appreciate the real qualities of the supreme beings and who is striving always, which means is not fascinated by something totally essence-less, but knows how to appreciate the real qualities and is striving for it; and somebody who is endowed with the faith of trust, the faith of aspiration and the faith of admiration; and who is also endowed with this kind of enthusiasm, this kind of joyful state engaging in the wholesome way; for that kind of disciples then it is very meaningful to explain and give this kind of narration by speaking honestly, not exaggerating, not underestimating, but truly about these wonderful qualities or secrets of the body, speech and mind of the master, very beautifully arranged in precious garlands of words expressing these realisations. If one gives such a present then through receiving such a present in the mind of such disciples faith and respect, which is like a lake, like an ocean will increase through hearing more about these qualities even more. When such a faith increases it is very beneficial, because in dependence upon such an increasing faith they will also receive in their mind directly the compassion and blessing of Master Je Tsongkhapa. And through the penetration of the blessing of the master in their minds, on the basis of their ever increasing faith, then all their mistaken, wrong, incorrect thoughts and actions will gradually cease by themselves.

Such respect and enthusiasm to follow after these pure liberating activities will just naturally and continuously increase. And then through applying into practice correctly the path of Sutra and Tantra, which is praised by the Victor, the very vast temporary and ultimate purpose of oneself and others will be accomplished easily.

That means: all these false views will decrease, and through hearing such biographies it will cause in the mind of such a fit vessel, such a disciple, very naturally and continuously that respect and enthusiasm and pleasure to follow in the same pure liberating activities of the master to increase. And since the master has applied the Sutra and Tantra so correctly into practice one will also apply into practice correctly all the parts of the Sutra and Tantra, which is the way praised by the Buddhas.

By doing this then one will easily accomplish the great purpose, the temporary and ultimate purpose of oneself and others. The temporary purpose would be the freedom from unfortunate existence beyond this life or individual liberation from this cyclic existence. The ultimate purpose would be to attain the state of fully enlightenment for the sake of the sentient beings. All these temporary and ultimate purposes will then be accomplished, and not only for the sake of oneself, but also for the sake of all others.

So all this easy accomplishment of all the temporary and ultimate purposes of oneself and others depends on and is rooted in one's devotion to the Guru, seeing and recognising the qualities of such supreme masters and admiring them and also aspiring to attain them. That way one follows this example and applies the Dharma of the combined path of Sutra and Tantra in the same way. If one follows the steps in that way then one will accomplish the result.

That is first of all rooted in knowing and recognising the true qualities of the masters. So is for that sake. And in particular it says:

Nowadays the eyes of the knowledge of most of the people are blinded by the cataract of ignorance. So therefore the wisdom to distinguish what is path and what is non-path (or unsuitable path), and what is holy and what is not holy, or what is sublime and not sublime, becomes like a relative of the sky lotus. (that means it becomes non existent)

That means the reasons for composing such a biography are as mentioned earlier. In particular he emphasises that in this age of degeneration, so nowadays most of the people are deprived of the eyes of the wisdom, because such eyes of the wisdom are completely covered with a cataract, blinded of a clear wisdom eye like someone who has a heavy cataract and cannot see. Therefore they are not able to distinguish what is really a path that one should follow, should engage in, and what is not a good path and should rather be abandoned. And one also cannot distinguish what is really sublime and what is not sublime, and what is really holy or not. That kind of wisdom is like a companion or relative of a sky lotus - there is no such thing as a sky lotus! There is a water lotus or a lotus born on the earth, but there is no lotus which is born out of the space. So sky lotus is another example like horn of a rabbit and means non-existent.

Because the force of the obstacles, the karma and delusions are so strong, let alone the vast and profound qualities which are inconceivable secrets of body, speech, and mind of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, even towards the qualities which are shown completely fitting to our own capacity of faith, the faith and respect by knowing them as a quality is so extremely narrow like the root of the lotus.

On top of first having our mind blinded by ignorance, unable to distinguish what is really good or bad, and having so many strong delusions and karmic imprints in our mind, as a result of these obstacles, we cannot recognise and appreciate at all the very profound and vast, unconceivable qualities, the secret qualities of the body, speech and mind of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. They are beyond our possibilities of conceiving, because they are so vast and profound as it is taught in the great Sutras and Tantras and so forth. But for even those few qualities of the emanations of the Buddhas which are shown to us and which are completely suitable and conceivable to our understanding and our faith, and one can have faith towards these, our recognition as qualities and admiration and faith and respect in us is so very narrow like a lotus root. Lotus flower it has a root which is just like a string, nothing so strong and solid, so like this it is very narrow. And then:

On top of it by the force of acquainting with unwholesome actions from beginning less time and by the weakness of the amount of accumulations of merits, then being completely under the unwholesome power, such people as well as the evil speech of the wrong guides (or wrong friends) and also entering in the wrong behaviours, towards the holy beings who are similar to the real Buddhas, then motivated completely by evil false conceptions with multiple exaggerating and abusive speech, each moment accumulate very serious unmeritorious karma.
Then in the endless state of unfortunate existence one will have to forever wander in those very frightful places. Such individuals appears to be many. So in order to take away from the root such net of evil conceptions of their mind and by the power of producing the seed of faith and respect in this life and in the series of the future lives, one therefore needs to be cared for by the actual unsurpassable guide like this one or emanations of such.

So that means: the reason of composing this text is actually that most of the people in the age of degeneration have all kinds of faults and difficulties of really appreciating and generating faith and respect towards the qualities of the great beings. The faith is so narrow like the root of a lotus and on top of it, by the force of having accumulated in the past from beginning less time so much negative actions on the basis of wrong views, and having so well familiarised with that, and due to the lack of the sufficient accumulation of virtues and wholesome potentialities, then one falls under the power of the influence of all kinds of unwholesome thoughts and behaviours. There are so many beings like that and oneself can also be like that. Some are like this and many others are completely influenced by erroneous wrong explanations, wrong speech of wrong guides and wrong friends etc.

From such wrong guides one will then also get the faulty behaviours, faulty thoughts, faulty views that one follows. Through such influence then instead of appreciating the real qualities of the great beings, one will even express many erroneous things out of a biased mind or out of wrong views, out of anger or dislike, whatever, and thus criticising such holy beings through exaggerating and abusing, purely motivated by evil conceptions and influence by wrong friends.

Through criticising those masters and beings, who are really like an actual presence of a fully enlightened Buddha, through uttering such words, then each moment of such an action becomes nothing else than an accumulation of very serious negative karma very easily. If one speaks during one hour then so many moments have passed during which so much heavy serious accumulations of negative karma are accomplished, which will then become again the cause for oneself to wander around aimlessly for an extremely long time, from one unfortunate existence to another unfortunate existence. These are quite endless and all very terrible states.

There are many beings who commit this kind of actions, who are in that kind of situation. Therefore the author says, it appears there are many like that. So his purpose is to eliminate that kind of net of wrong views, and there seems to be not only just one string of a wrong views, but a completely intertwined web of wrong views, and in order to cut such wrong views and completely eradicate them, and instead produce in the mind of all those people and everybody a very great potentiality and seed of faith and respect towards the holy beings. And by the power of that then to give them the chance to be guided in all their lives by such a perfect spiritual guide like Master Je Tsongkhapa in reality or through his emanations, and always to be cared for. So these are the purposes.

Then it says:

Through being cared for directly or by an emanation of such an unsurpassable master, and through applying correctly the perfect path which is shown by them, then the door of the unfortunate existence is closed (or cut), and the door to the liberation and omniscience is opened, and then achieving in one's own hand in a wish-fulling manner the two aspects of the Siddhis etc., for the sake of those this liberating story is arranged in design, (that means in writing) and printing and teaching it to others etc., extensively propagating it is an activity which is endowed with great meaning, so one should definitely engage oneself in that kind of way.

So for the sake of helping those people to completely eliminate their wrong views and producing in them this kind of faith they will be taken care of by this perfect spiritual guide. Not only that they will apply into practice correctly the path which such great masters like Je Tsongkhapa have shown but by doing so it automatically closes the door to the unfortunate destinies and the door to attain liberation and the state of enlightenment will be open. Then one will also achieve in one's own hand just as one wishes all the Siddhis, all the common and the extraordinary accomplishments. So these are the purposes of writing such a biography, for this kind of purpose this biography is put down in designs, which means written down, published or printed and told to others. That way such extensive propagation is a very wholesome and very meaningful activity one definitely must engage in, because it is something extremely meaningful.