Monday, April 09, 2012

Class 1 - Introduction to 2012 Spring Term

Download PDF's of Class materials and MP3 Tracks from the 1st class of Spring 2012 term held on Monday, April 9:

DOWNLOAD Handouts - text for Class 1:

2012 Handout 1 - Introduction to the Three Objects of Refuge:  Review basic contextual information on Perfection of Wisdom Sutras (e.g., Three Wheels of Dharma) & Ornament for Clear Realizations.

2012 Handout 2 - cont., Introduction to the Three Objects of Refuge:  Review basic contextual information re: OrnamentOrnament's Homages (a) by Tibetan translators of the Sanskrit text; (b) (verse 1) Maitreya's Homage to the Mother of the Three Knowers (of the) Three Types of Wisdoms:  1) Knower of Bases - Arya Hearers & Solitary Realizations.  2) Knower of Paths - Arya Bodhisattvas.  3)  Exalted Knowers of All Aspects, i.e., Omniscient Mind of Buddhas.

2012 Handout 3 - cont., Aspirational Prayers of Solitary Realizers.  Meaning of Maitreya's statement of Purpose for composing the Ornament (verses 2-3).  Summary of the Ornament - two verses listing the Eight Clear Realizations (verses 4-5).  13 Verses list the 70 Topics of the Ornamentt (verses 6-9 are in Handout 3).

PDF Handouts from Prior Years of Course that Relate to this Class:


Complete List of 21 Indian Commentaries on the Ornament translated into Tibetan.

Ornament for Clear Realizations - Preface & Chapter 1.

ALL SPRING 2012 PDF Handouts are HERE.


Track 1 - Handout 1 -  What are we studying? - Introductory Review of Perfection of Wisdom Course.

Three Wheels of Dharma:
Teaching the First Wheel, Buddha spent more time on the First and Second Noble Truths (Suffering and Origin). During the Second Wheel, Buddha taught the Truth of Cessation; and during the Third Wheel the Truth of the Path.  It is too simplistic to say, e.g., during the Second Wheel he taught the Perfection of Wisdom; that was the main genre.  The main genre of the First Wheel is the Four Noble Truths.  
Another way of conceptualizing the Second and Third Turnings of the Wheel:
        During the Second Wheel, Buddha taught Buddha Nature from point of view of Emptiness (lack of inherent existence of the mind).
       During the Third Wheel, Buddha taught Buddha Nature in terms of the mental consciousness, itself, being Buddha Nature.
Second Wheel - Perfection of Wisdom Sutras = Sutras of the Venerable Mother
     The good news is that the Second Wheel actually contains everything.  For instance, last year, we studied the Perfection of Wisdom by way of one of its topics, the Four Noble Truths.  The Perfection of Wisdom Sutras explicitly teach Emptiness and implicitly teach the entire path . . .
     Thus when we study the Second Wheel, we get the entire package.  That is why there is so much time and emphasis is given in this tradition to studying the Perfection of Wisdom.  First we study the implicit meaning (in this course) and then the explicit meaning.  We spend about six or seven years of study (at IBD, etc.) on the implicit meaning of the Perfection of Wisdom and three years on the explicit meaning of the Perfection of Wisdom.
Perfection of Wisdom Sutras translated into Tibetan are known as the Seventeen Mother and Son Sutras -  ཡུམ་སྲས་བཅུ་བདུན་གྱི་མདོ།

Maitreya's Ornament for Clear Realizations (Abhisamayalamkara)
The Ornament for Clear Realizations is a key that opens up the hidden/implicit meaning of the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras.  
The hidden meaning of the Perfection of Wisdom Wheel is studied in this course in reliance on Maitreya's Ornament which pithily sets out the varieties of topics on its implicit meaning - the Path to Enlightenment.  The explicit meaning of this Wheel (Wisdom of Middle Way / Madhyamika) is the subject of the next course (Uma) taught in reliance on Nagarjuna's Fundamental Wisdom & Chandrakirti's Commentary on it.
  • Principal Sutra Sources of the Ornament - ངོན་རྟོགས་རྒྱན་གྱི་བཤད་བྱ་རྩ་བའི་མདོ།
  • Meaning of the Title in Sanskrit: 
    • Abhisamaya-alamkara-nama-prajnaparamita-upadesha-shastra-karika
  • Meaning of the Title in Tibetan:
    • ཤེས་རབ་ཀྱི་ཕ་རོལ་དུ་ཕྱིན་པའི་མན་ངག་གི་བསྟན་བཅོས་མངོན་པར་རྟོགས་པའི་རྒྱན་ཞེས་བྱ་བའི་ཚིག་ལེའུར་བྱས་པ།
Track 2 - Handout 2 - cont.

Meaning of the Title in English The Verses and Chapters of the So-Called 'Ornament for Clear Realization', a quintessential instruction treatise on the Perfection of Wisdom.

HOMAGE (མཆོད་བརྗོད།) by Maitreya:
 I prostrate to the Mother of Buddhas and of the groups of Hearers and Bodhisattvas 
Who through the knower of bases leads Hearers seeking pacification to complete peace; 
Who through the knower of paths causes those helping migrators to achieve the aims of the world; And who through possession of which (exalted knower of aspects) the Subduers set forth the varieties having all aspects.   [verse 1]  
Knower of Bases refers to the paths (i.e., special mental consciousnesses cultivated by  Arya Hinayana trainees (Hearers and Solitary Realizers) to attain goal of the complete peace of self-liberation (liberation from samsara/cyclic existence) order to overcome afflictive obstructions - the obstructions to self-liberation.

Knower of Paths refers to the paths of Arya Bodhisattvas. Their main goal is the full enlightenment of a Buddha which causes them to help sentient beings to achieve Buddhahood. Therefore, Bodhisattvas cultivate the Knower of Paths in order to overcome cognitive obstructions - the obstructions to omniscience.

Exalted Knower of All Aspects refers to the omniscient minds of Buddhas, the possession of which enables Buddhas to give the varieties of different teachings according to disciples' interest and predispositions.

Ordinary Paths & Arya Paths

ORDINARY PATHS (Paths in the continua of practitioners who have not directly realized the emptiness of inherent existence yet):   Path of Accumulation & Path of Preparation
ARYA PATHS (Paths in the continua of those who have directly realized the emptiness of inherent existence):  Path of Seeing, Path of Meditation & Path of No More Learning.

Distinctions between Hearers (Shravaka, ཉན་ཐོས།)
Handout 3 - cont. Solitary Realizers (Pratyekabuddha, རང་སངས་རྒྱ།).

Once Solitary Realizers and Hearers realize Emptiness directly, their Path is called the Knower of Basis so their vehicle is known as the Fundamental Vehicle.

Track 3 - Questions and Answers.

In response to a question about the presentation in this course compared to the Tibetan geshe curricula studies in IBD and other monastic universities, Geshe-la indicates that she is not truncating the material nor does she wish to "present a 21st century version of this course.  Rather, I teach it the way I was taught; the way the Tibetans have been teaching this course for centuries."

NOTES of Class 1 (April 9) - rough draft transcript of class offered for what it's worth.

If any of the LINKS don't work, please leave a COMMENT or notify us by E-Mail.
This is the 1st class of the Spring 2012 term Perfection of Wisdom course
which addresses Refuge, the 3rd sub-topic of the 2nd Topic
(Mahayana Practice Instructions) of Chapter 1 of Maitreya's
Ornament for Clear Realizations - Abhisamayalamkara.

1 comment:

Pema-Karen said...

Thank you, Nordron, for your time, energy & dedication. Not being able to attend the class, these compilations are exceedingly helpful and much appreciated. P-K