Singing the Praises of Great Compassion
GSUM PA LA BZHI, BSTAN BCOS RTZOM PA LA ‘JUG PA’I THABS MCHOD PAR BRJOD PA, BRTZAMS PA’I BSTAN BCOS KYI LUS DNGOS, BSTAN BCOS JI LTAR BRTZAMS PA’I TSUL, BSTAN BCOS BRTZAMS PA’I DGE BA BSNGO BA’O,,
This brings us to the third section from above—the meaning of the body of the text. This section itself covers four different topics: the offering of praise, which functions as a means of initiating the composition of this classical commentary; the actual body of the commentary which is then composed; a description of how it was that the commentary was first composed; and a dedication of the virtue of having completed the composition.
DANG PO LA GNYIS, SNYING RJE CHEN PO LA SO SOR MA PHYE BAR BSTOD PA DANG, SNYING RJE CHEN PO LA SO SOR PHYE STE PHYAG ‘TSAL BA’O,,
The first of these—the offering of praise—has two parts: singing the praises of great compassion without dividing out the components; and bowing down to great compassion while making this division.
DANG PO NI, DGOS PA [@4b] DBU MA’I BSTAN BCOS LA ‘JUG PAR BYA BA’I PHYIR DU, GANG ZAG DBU MA LA ‘JUG PA RTZOM PAR BZHED PA ZLA BA’I ZHABS KYIS, GZHUNG GZHAN LAS MCHOD BRJOD KYI YUL DU MDZAD PA’I NYAN RANG GNYIS, MCHOD BRJOD KYI YUL DU MA BKOD PAR MA ZAD,
Here is the first. Let’s consider the venered Chandrakirti: the person who has agreed to compose the text of Entering the Middle Way, so that we may enter into the Classical Commentary on the Middle Way. When he writes the traditional offering of praise at the beginning of his work, he decides not to take—as the objects of this praise—the listeners and self-made buddhas which other such classics do make the objects of this offering.
SANGS RGYAS DANG BYANG SEMS RNAMS LAS KYANG THOG MAR SANGS RGYAS KYI RGYU PHUN SUM TSOGS PA DANG PO, SEMS CAN ‘KHOR BA’I BTZON RAR BSDAMS PA SKYABS MED PA MA LUS PA YONGS SU SKYOB PA’I MTSAN NYID CAN, RGYU’I GTZO BO LA ‘BRAS BU’I MING GIS BTAGS PA’I BCOM LDAN ‘DAS MA, SNYING RJE CHEN PO LA BSTOD BAR ‘OS PAR BSTAN PA’I PHYIR, NYAN THOS ZHES SOGS TSIGS SU BCAD PA GNYIS SMOS SO,,
And he even goes further: rather than bowing to both the Buddhas and the bodhisattvas, he instead composes the four verses which start with “The listeners…” The reason that he does so is to indicate that great compassion is a worthy object for us to sing the praises of; for this compassion is the “Lady of Conquest”—this expression itself being a case where we use the name of a result in reference to its principal cause. This Lady is the first and foremost cause of every Enlightened Being; and her very identity is to be that force which protects, perfectly, each and every living being who is confined in the prison of the cycle of life, bereft of an any savior.
[,NYAN THOS SANGS RGYAS ‘BRING RNAMS THUB DBANG SKYES,
,SANGS RGYAS BYANG CHUB SEMS DPA’ LAS ‘KHRUNGS SHING,
,SNYING RJE’I SEMS DANG GNYIS SU MED BLO DANG,
,BYANG CHUB SEMS NI RGYAL SRAS RNAMS KYI RGYU,]
[From Entering the Middle Way:
The listeners, and the medium Buddhas,
Are born from the Lords of the Able;
And Buddhas take their holy birth
From the bodhisattvas.
The causes which create
These children of the Victors
Are the attitude of compassion;
A state of mind beyond duality;
And the Wish for enlightenment.
,GANG PHYIR BRTZE NYID RGYAL BA’I LO THOG PHUN TSOGS ‘DI’I,
,SA BON DANG NI SPEL LA CHU ‘DRA YUN RING DU,
,LONGS SPYOD GNAS LA SMIN PA LTA BUR ‘DOD GYUR PA,
,DE PHYIR BDAG GIS THOG MAR SNYING RJE BSTOD PAR BGYI,]
And so here at the beginning,
I shall sing the praises of compassion—
For I believe that love, and only love,
Is like the seed which produces
Those excellent crops of the Victors;
And like the water which makes them grow,
And like the ripened fruit
Which then long afterwards
Is something we can enjoy.]
‘DI LA GNYIS, SNYING RJE BYANG SEMS KYI GTZO BO’I RGYUR BSTAN PA DANG, BYANG SEMS KYI RGYU GZHAN GNYIS KYI YANG RTZA BAR BSTAN PA’O,,
We will cover this compassion in two different sections: describing how it is that compassion is the principal cause of a bodhisattva; and then describing how it is the very root of the other two causes of a bodhisattva as well.