Sunday, November 19, 2017

Nagarjuna's "Dream Tale" - Geshe Thupten Palsang

Geshe Thupten Palsang is giving a teaching at Tse Chok Ling Monastery -- translated by Geshe Kelsang Wangmo -- on a short text by Arya Nagarjuna on the Method aspect of the Path.

These Classes Concluded with Class 7 on Sunday, November 12, 2017 


Geshe Thupten Palsang's Malaysian students live streamed these teachings with Tibetan & English audio - on Geshe Palsang's FACEBOOK page created by his students:

Search for Thupten Palsang on Facebook.


Download a PDF of the text here: the Tale of a Wish-Fulfilling Dream or the Dream Tale.

Download Audio for the first class, Saturday, November 4, 2017:

   Track 1 - Geshe Thupten Palsang introduces the text and its purpose, which is to provide support for our efforts to Generate Love & Compassion for all Sentient Beings per the Mahayana Vehicle of Buddhism.

  Track 2 - Arya Nagarjuna explains the purpose of the Tale of a Wish-Fulfilling Dream [Dream Tale] -- to teach us methods/reasonings we can use to generate Loving Compassion for all sentient beings -- in Verse 1.

Since it is that which they achieve, it is like a dream;
Bodhisattvas accomplish that aspect.
In order to benefit samsaric beings
I will teach a few [methods for growing] fond of sentient beings.

Arya Nagarjuna presents five methods or reasonings to use in Verses 2-6. Geshe Palsang explains the reasoning method set out in Verse 2:

I and all sentient beings are equal [with regard to] happiness and suffering.
Being equal [with regard to] happiness and suffering, we are family.
So it is not right to completely abandon
These [beings] and enter Nirvana.

Download Audio for the second class, Sunday, November 5, 2017:

     Track 1 - Geshe Thupten Palsang elaborates Arya Nagarjuna’s Second and and Third Reasoning methods for generating Love and Compassion for all sentient beings in Verse 3 & Verse 4 of the Dream Tale:

Together with these beings I experienced
The sufferings of the lower realms and
All sorts of happiness of the higher realms.
Since we dwelt as one, I am fond of them.

Not just once did I reside in every womb.
Nor is there a single sentient being
Who did not reside in my womb.
Therefore, we are all family.

    Track 2 - Geshe Palsang presents Arya Nagarjuna’s Fourth Reasoning method for generating Love and Compassion for all sentient beings in Verse 5:

Further, I am fond of the Buddha.
As he worked hard for the sake
Of these [sentient beings] for a very long time;
That too makes me fond of sentient beings.

Geshe Palsang responds to students' questions.

Download Audio for the Third class, Monday, November 6, 2017:

     Track 1 - Geshe Thupten Palsang introduces Arya Nagarjuna’s Fifth Reasoning method for generating Love and Compassion for all sentient beings in Verse 5 of the Dream Tale:

In this way, since benefiting and harming
Are the [respective] causes of immeasurable
Happiness and suffering,
Sentient beings are also my gurus.

The five verses are elaborated in the text.  Since this Fifth Reasoning is the most complex or difficult, Geshe Palsang begins an introduction to the working of the Law of Karma, which needs to be understood in order to meditate on this method:
  • Law Cause & Effect vis-à-vis Law of Karma
  • Law of Karma and Concomitant Karmic Results
    Track 2 - Understanding How the Mind Works in order to:
  •  Understand Operation of Karma as primary results of virtuous, non-virtuous and neutral actions are Experiences of Feelings;
  • "Origin" of our Mental Consciousness;
  •  Characteristics of our Mental-Emotional Experiences;
  •  Mind/Body relationship;
  •  How can results of activities of one life be experienced in the next life.
Geshe-la urges us to Meditate on the Five Reasons for Cultivating Loving Compassion for All Sentient Beings given in Verses 2-6 of the Dream Tale and Reviews those Five Reasons.

Geshe Palsang responds to a heartfelt and important question.

Download Audio for the Fourth class, Wednesday, November 8, 2017:

     Track 1 - Geshe Thupten Palsang Introduction - Operation of Karma, cont., the Power of the Mind/Clairvoyance, Bardo & Rebirth, Prophecies.

     Track 2 - Geshe Thupten Palsang presents Dream Tale text:

Verses 7-9 - Negative Karmic Effects Result from Harming Sentient Beings.

(7)  The Sugata said, “In this life, experiencing 
The sufferings of being murdered, beaten
Held hostage, threatened, and so on,   
Those are the result of maltreating sentient beings.” 

(8)  Physical and non-physical harm,
Being destitute, of an inferior caste, and having a shor life,
One’s spouse dying, becoming blind:
These are the result of having harmed sentient beings

(9)  Experiencing the different types of sufferings
On each level of the lower realms, down to Avici hell
That is all from my fault
Of having harmed sentient beings. 
  • Verses 10-11 - Positive Karmic Effects Result from Benefiting [& Not Harming] Sentient Beings.
(10)  Offerings being made to oneself,
Being esteemed, attractive, and having wealth;
Those come through never maltreating
Pleasant or unpleasant sentient beings.

(11)  Being free of disease, of an excellent caste,
Handsome, rich, powerful and having a long life,
Wealth, and so on, and a special spouse
Are the result of benefitting sentient beings.
  • Verses 11-13 - Positive Karmic Effects Result from Benefiting Sentient Beings.
(12)  Through being fond of sentient beings,
One will attain kingdoms, great kingdoms,
Perfect kingdoms of the sublime wheel-turner,
And the dominions of power.

(13)  Through benefitting sentient beings,
One also attains the state of a Buddha.
What is so marvelous about someone attaining
The insignificant state of an inferior celestial being?
  •  Q&A.
Download Audio for the Fifth class, Thursday, November 9, 2017:

     Track 1 - Self-Cherishing is Root of All our Harmful Karmic Acts against Others, which Ripen as our own Suffering:
  • Developing Mind that Cherishes Others Will Benefit Us in Our Daily Life Right Now.
  • How Conjoining Daily Work with Compassionate Motivation to Benefit Others Produces Happiness
  • Self-Cherishing’s Resentments Lead Us to Destroying our own Chances for Happiness
  • Enhancing One’s Feeling of Closeness to All Sentient Beings Frees Us from Self-Cherishing’s Prison of Narrow-mindedness.
  • Benefits of Focusing on Sentient Beings while Practicing the Six Paramitas
  • Value of Practicing Each of the Six Paramitas
     Track 2 - Dream Tale text, Verses 14-18 -  Enumerating How All Sentient Beings Benefit Me.

14)  If those sentient beings did not exist
With whom could one be generous?                        
If living beings did not exist, on what basis
Could one achieve the morality of the Vinaya?

     Track 3 - Verse 15. Without Beings [e.g., those Who Harm Us], We can’t Develop the Perfection of Patience:

15)  For whose sake does a hero meditate 

On patience for those who commit a fault? 
For the sake of whom does he diligently work
To achieve his deeply desired object of attainment? 

Generating Generating Six Types of Clairvoyance

Verse 16.  Without sentient beings, we cannot generate Love, Compassion, Joy, Equanimity & the Bliss of Meditative Absorption

Verse 17.  Without sentient beings of varied types, interests and past life imprints, we cannot develop the Perfection of Wisdom.

Verse 18.  Regard all beings as our Gurus as they are the cause for our Enlightenment

Questions & Answers

Download Audio for the Sixth class, Friday, November 10, 2017:

     Track 1 - How to Practice the 1st-3rd Paramitas of Method, verses 19-22:

  • Verse 19 - Don’t be frustrated by the Five Practices for taking all living beings as the Doorway to Great Bliss as these bring happiness in Samsara & lead to Full Enlightenment.
Vs. 19 - Thus, there will not be the slightest impatience with the difficulty of moving towards Deliberately taking living creatures to be the doorway to great bliss.

  • Verse 20 - Practicing the Perfection of Generosity:  As the Bodhisattva Liberating All, Buddha Gave Away Anything Requested by Anyone:
vs. 20 - WIth regard to the [correct] attitude:
Sentient beings are simply 'me'.
I will not strongly cling to material things
Neither at my spouse [and so forth].

  • Verse 21 - Practicing the Perfection of Morality.
vs. 21 - I admit to having harmed myself,
My parents, and also my
Children and spouses;
Whereas sentient beings should not be harmed. 

    Track 2 - Practice of the Fourth & Fifth Paramitas of Method, verses 23-25 - Without the Practice of the Perfections of Method per the Five Instructions of Nagarjuna's Dream Tale Full Enlightenment cannot be attained:

Download Audio for the Seventh/Final class, Sunday, November 12, 2017:

     Track 1 - Disadvantages of Not Practicing Method Aspect of Mahayana Path per Nagarjuna’s Dream Tale Instructions - verses 26-28:

     Track 2 - Qualities attained through Practicing per Nagarjuna’s Dream Tale Instructions - verses 29-32:

     Track 3 - No Shortcut/Quicker Route to the Qualities of Full Enlightenment:

Friday, May 12, 2017


      Special Announcement:  Classes have moved from the Main Prayer Hall of IBD.  They are held in a classroom in the IBD building located 
on the steep street from the Temple Taxi stand to Chonor House.  
As you walk up that street  from the Taxi stand, go up 
the first exterior metal stairs on your right.
Timing of the WEDNESDAY Class is from 4:00-6:00 p.m.  

Class Materials

Following His Holiness the Dalai Lama's advice, Geshe Wangmo is translating the Second Chapter of Dharmakirti's Pramāņavarttika.  In accord with the methodology for teaching this ancient text at IBD and the great Tibetan monastic universities, Dharmatkirti's terse verses are embedded into Geshe Wangmo's translation of Gyaltsab (Darma Rinchen) Je's commentary.  Additionally, Geshe Wangmo, having received oral teachings on this text by several contemporary masters, has translated selected portions of those and inserted these explanations into the course text.

This SPRING 2017 Term continues the examination [begun in Class 22 of FALL 2016] of logical reasoning in support of & opposition to the verity of PAST & FUTURE LIVES that is presented in the Pramāņavarttika.

The entire text translated by Geshe Wangmo for prior terms with newly translated pages for this Spring term is posted below.  Geshe Wangmo is continue to prepare new pages of text that will be posted here when finalized.



NEW - May 12, 2017 - vs. 3 of Spring 2017 Text - includes 12 new pages [pp. 190-201].



Class PRAYERS (for before and after teaching) in Tibetan & English.

[NOTE:  If you view this PDF in your WEB BROWSER, the Tibetan Fonts may not display properly.  However, those fonts do display properly in the Downloaded PDF.]
Geshe Wangmo spoke about the class prayers at the beginning of the Spring 2015 Term.  The links to the excerpted recordings of her explanation are here:

Background Resources from Earlier Terms

If you are new to the Pramanavarttika, the resources on this blog can provide background for the studies in this Sixth Term. The first section of the text provides a general introduction.  The Diagrams & Charts provided in the Fall 2014 Term, as well as other class recordings, transcripts or class descriptions provided on the posts listed below may be of use.

DOWNLOAD CHARTS & MP3 Recordings of Classes of the FIRST PRAMANA term held in Fall 2014 here.
  See blog posts for Class 1 & Class 2 for an Introduction to the Pramanavarttika

You can find some CLASS [DRAFT] TRANSCRIPTS & AUDIO RECORDINGS on this BLOG from all the earlier Terms: Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016 & Fall 2016. 


CLASS ONE - Monday, 10 APRIL 2017:

CLASS TWO - Wednesday, 12 APRIL 2017:

  •  Track 1.  Introduction to Course Text - Dharmakirti's Pramanavarttika - a commentary on Dignaga's 2-line Homage for his Compendium of Pramana
To the one who has become pramana, the one wishing to benefit migrators
To “the teacher”, “the sugata”, “the protector”, I bow down. 
ཚད་མར་གྱུར་པ་འགྲོ་ལ་ཕན་བཞད་པ། །སྟོན་པ་བདེ་ཤེགས་སྐྱོབ་ལ་ཕྱག་འཚལ་ཏེ།

The homage refers to Five Factors, i.e., the Causes & Results of Enlightenment, and Dharmakirti analyzes those, first, according to their forward sequence, and then in reverse sequence.    

The prerequisite to the Cause of Intention (Bodhicitta - desire to benefit all sentient beings) is the generation, over many lifetimes, of Great Compassion.

Ancient Indian Materialist [Lokayata/Charvaka] Philosophers Objected to existence of Past & Futures Lives & to the possibility of generating Great Compassion.  Contemporary Materialism, which permeates modern society and education, similarly rejects the possibility of Past & Future Lives.  Buddhism requires the existence of past & future lives.  Even the law of Karma cannot operate otherwise.

In order to ascertain the existence of past & future lives, one must examine the relationship between the Mind and the Body:
  • What is the relationship between Mind & Body?  
  • Is the Mind or the Body a more important factor than the other?  
  • Does one give rise to the other?  Is one Part of the other?
Practice Mindfulness of one's own Body & Mind to investigate the Body/Mind relationship.
  • Track 2Discussion and Q&A - Relationship between Mind and Body. 

CLASS THREE - Friday, 14 APRIL 2017:

CLASS FOUR - Monday, 17 APRIL 2017:

CLASS FIVE - Wednesday, 19 APRIL 2017:

  • Track 1.  Introduction & Review:  
    • Hearing, Contemplating & Meditating. 
    • Discussions: Benefits of Watching Our Mind/Awareness; 
      • Body/Mind Relationship; 
      • Out-of-Body & Near Death Experiences. 
      • Is the Mind necessarily Located in the Body?
  • Track 2. Text: Body is Not the Special Base of the Mind:
    • Special Base is Either a Substantial Cause or a Special Cooperative Condition
    • Mind is a special base of the body, i.e., a special cooperative condition of the body. 
    • What about Karma Ripening Instantly?
    • Definitive & Interpretive Teachings.
    • Higher Rebirth, Liberation & Omniscience are only possible with Reincarnation.
    • Importance of certain varieties of Faith.
  • Track 3. Syllogism Through the Power of Fact: 
      • 3 Categories of Phenomena:  
        • Manifest, Slightly Hidden & Extremely Hidden. 
    • Very Hidden Phenomena:  Celestial, Hungry Ghost & Hell Realms of the Desire Realm & the Celestial Beings of the Form Realm.  
    • Hell Realms & the Lack of Any Objective Existence. 
    • Syllogism of Belief.  
    • Considerations for the Next Class

CLASS SIX - Friday, 21 APRIL 2017:

CLASS SEVEN - Monday, 24 APRIL 2017:

  • Track 1.   Q&A, Discussion - Karma

  • Track 2Questions for Study on p. 176 - Answers/Discussion:
    • How does the body serve as the mere base of the mind?
    • Why is it necessary to understand and realize Past & Future Lives in order to work for Liberation and Enlightenment?
    • Syllogism through the Power of Fact & Syllogism of Belief
    • Three Natures:  Hearer Nature, Solitary Realizer Nature & Mahayana Nature (awoken upon generating Great Compassion).  
      • Causes for Great Compassion & Causes for Bodhicitta

  • Track 3Presentation/Explanation of new text material (p. 176-7):

"Setting forth the Establishing Agent of the Existence of Past & Future Lives:
    (1) Setting forth the Reasons:    [Dharmakirti says in the Pramanavarttika:]

When one has thoroughly taken birth,
Inhalations, exhalations, sense powers, and awarenesses
Do [not] exist independently of similar types.

"Regarding the subject, a newly-born ordinary being’s exhalations and inhalations, [his] lucid sense powers and specific awarenesses such as distractedness, etc., they do not – when [that being] has fully taken birth – exist independently of earlier [continuums] of similar types, because of possessing exhalations and inhalations, and so forth." - 1st Syllogism
  • Three Syllogisms to Establish Continuum of Consciousness
  • Explanation of Syllogisms 
  • [Homework - be Mindful of Anger]
  • Exhalation & Inhalation - Energy Winds

CLASS EIGHT - Wednesday, 26 APRIL 2017:

  •  TRANSCRIPT - Rev. 6/25/17 corrects PDF Mis-Print

  • Track 1.  Review:  Mindfulness of Body, Mind, Feelings & Dharma.
    • Approaches to Studying Our Text
  • Track 2.  Three Syllogisms - Establishing Continuum of Consciousness:
    •  Earlier Continuum of a Similar Type - the Substantial Cause of later continuum. 
      • Is whatever is an earlier continuum of something always its cause? 
    • Lucid Sense Powers. 
    • Specific Awareness, e.g., Distractedness.
    • Newly Born Conception. 
      • Respiration & Sense Powers in Newly Born Conception.
    • Clear Light Mind & Post-Death Meditation
  • Track 3Subtle Mind [Clear & Knowing] is One Entity with Its Subtle Energy [Movement]
    • Phenomena Can be Different & Inseparably of One Nature, e.g., 
      •  Consciousness & Its Energy Wind
      •  Color & Taste of Blueberry Cake

CLASS NINE - Friday, 28 APRIL 2017:

  • Track 1Analysis of Emptiness & Continua
    • A Seed & Sprout are a Continuum
    • If there is No Smallest Moment of Time, What is the Last Moment of burning Butter Lamp?
    • Lack of Intrinsically Existent First Moment of Sprout Germination
    • Relative & Ultimate Analysis
      • SPACE - Permanent & Impermanent Space
      • Negative Phenomena
    • If First Moment of Consciousness in the Continuum of a Newly Conceived Person is Not from Physical Ovum & Sperm, does it come:
      • From the Parents’ Awarenesses?  
      • As Part of Matter?  
      • From a Single/Divine/Group Origin?
  • Track 2Positive & Negative Concomitance
    • Presentation of Gyaltsab Je Commentary, p. 178: 
      "It is through the ascertainment of positive and negative concomitance that it is established that the distractedness, etc., of awareness is generated by familiarity with its cause. Were that not to be the case, there would be a logical absurdity: it would follow that there are no causes and results, because there would be no pramana that ascertains them."
    • Positive Concomitance:   positive relationship between a cause and a result:
      • When you have a result, there must have been a cause.
      • When you have a cause, the result can be created.
    • Negative  Concomitance:   negative relationship between a cause and a result:
      • When you don’t have the result, you didn’t have the cause
      • When there’s no cause, the result cannot be generated.
    • Also:
      • Whenever you have a cause, you don’t necessarily have a result.
      • Any result always has more than one cause:
        • You cannot have a result that has not arisen from many causes.
      • You cannot have a cause that gives rise to only one result
    • Imprints, Potentials, Seeds & Karmic Imprints
    • Habituating Ourselves with the Afflictions
      • Our responsibility to be happier for the sake of others.
      • Positive Counterpart Exists for Every Negative Emotional Affliction.
  • Track 3. Establishing that Familiarity with Afflictive Mental States requires Causes (past Habituation in a Former Mental Continuum).
    • Then Dharmakirt says [p. 179]"They are not generated by the body alone,"
    • Gyaltsab Je's commentary:  “Also, regarding that subject, they are not generated by the elemental body alone, because they are generated by an earlier [continuum of] an awareness, etc., that is of a similar type.”
    • Respiration - Mental Effort is Required

CLASS TEN - Monday, 1 MAY 2017:

CLASS ELEVEN - Wednesday, 3 MAY 2017:
  • Track 1.  Review & Discussion:  Feasibility of Rebirth in Lower Realms:
    • Concerns, Worries & Fears about future lower rebirth.  Intention/Motivation of Karma (i.e., Action) Effects Karmic fruit.  Rebirth by a Human into a Lower Realm. How can Carnivore Animals ever attain Human rebirth? Purification of Karmic consequences of negative deeds.
  • Track 2.  Having “proven” existence of Past Lives, Dharmakirti debates with Materialists re Existence of Future Lives:
    • Can Matter [atoms of ovum & sperm] produce Consciousness (Experiencing Minds)
    • Taking Reincarnation as a Working Hypothesis, Supplement Reasoning with Evidence & Personal Investigation
    • Relationship of Mind & Body - Placebo & Nocebo evidence power of Consciousness over matter.

CLASS TWELVE - Friday, 5 MAY 2017:

  • Track 1. Causes & Conditions necessary for rebirth
    • Responses to Doubts about one Syllogistic Reasoning supporting Reincarnation: 'Mind of a Newly Born [i.e.., Conceived] Being, Its Cause is a Preceding Mind Because it was Preceded by a Knower that is its cause, because it is a Knower';
    • Syllogism’s Reasoning; Every Impermanent Phenomenon Is a Continuum.  
    • Can the Law of Karma Provides the Causal Explanation to “Nurture or Nature” Dilemma?
  • Track 2.  Any Mind Is Necessarily Preceded by Its Substantial Cause, a Former Moment Of Awareness.  
    • Every Impermanent Phenomenon Is a Continuum.  
    • How to Establish Pervasion of a Syllogism.  
    • Death & Rebirth in Human & Animal Realms per Buddhism & Expression of Prior Life Traits.

CLASS THIRTEEN - Monday, 8 MAY 2017:

CLASS FOURTEEN - Wednesday, 10 MAY 2017:

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Sunday, March 26, 2017


The 6th term of the study of the Second Chapter of Dharmakirti's Commentary on [Dignaga's] Compendium of Valid Cognition (Skt. Pramāņavarttika; ཚད་མ་རྣམ་འགྲེལ་) in the Advanced Buddhist Philosophy in English program of the Institute for Buddhist Dialectical Studies (IBD) continues the study of the logical reasoning for Past & Future Lives.  This presentation of the continuity of consciousness, reincarnation, began in the 5th Term, Fall 2016, in Classes 22-25.

Dharmakirti's Pramāņavarttika is highly valued and is studied in the Geshe curriculum.  The Second Chapter examines whether or not Buddhist Enlightenment is feasible or even possible -- issues that must be personally resolved by those considering the Bodhisattva path.  Therefore, in May 2015, H.H. Dalai Lama suggested that our teacher, Geshe Kelsang Wangmo teach the Second Chapter and place the multi-year Perfection of Wisdom course (based on Maitreya's Ornament for Clear Realizations (Abhisamayalamkara) on hiatus until completion of the Second Chapter of Pramāņavarttika.

  Spring 2017 Term

The Institute of Buddhist Dialectics (IBD)

McLeod Ganj near the Main Temple Complex

Advanced Buddhist Philosophy Course

Chapter Two of Dharmakirti’s - Commentary [on 

Dignaga's Compendium of] Valid Cognition (Pramanavarttika)

Monday, 10 APRIL – Friday, 9 JUNE 2017

Teacher: Ven. Kelsang Wangmo
Weekly Schedule:  Monday, Wednesday & Friday
4:00-6:00 PM – Mon & Fri / 4:00-5:30 PM – Wed
Fee:  350 Rupees per month
(All proceeds sponsor IBD students’ living expenses)

      Special Announcement:  Classes have moved from the Main Prayer Hall of IBD.  They are held in a classroom up exterior stairs in the IBD building located on the steep street from the Temple Taxi stand to Chonor House, Kirti Monastery, Thar-do-Ling.  

Course Topics: This Spring 2017 term continues the study of the Second Chapter of Dharmakirti's Pramāņavarttika.  The main topic of this term is reincarnation - which was introduced in Classes 22-25 of the Fall 2016 Term 5.

Course Text & Methodology:  The text is prepared by Ven. Wangmo from her translations of Dharmakirti's text along with a commentary by Gyaltsab Je and oral commentaries by contemporary masters.  Handouts of the text will be distributed to the class throughout the term.

Course Teacher:  Ven. Kelsang Wanmo (a Western nun) was awarded a Geshe degree upon her successful completion of the 17-year curriculum.

Students:  The challenging course material is aimed at earnest students of Buddhist philosophy.  If you wish to check out the classes, you are welcome to attend before you enroll.  If you are unable to attend the entire course in person, you may be able to continue by following the classes online.