Mahayanasutralamkara September 14, 2007Posted by Karen in IBA news.
In an intensive schedule over the last two months, Khenpo Dr. Ngawang Jorden has just completed bestowing the full transmission of Maitreya’s Mahayanasutralamkara, (including the “lung”), to a group of IBA students who consider themselves extremely fortunate to have received the blessing of hearing this highly inspiring work.
Our base text was a recently published English translation (from a committee headed by Dr. Robert Thurman) of Maitreya’s root text, accompanied by Vasubandhu’s commentary. The root text is compact and often cryptic, and at all times extremely profound. Since the use of more than one commentarial support proves to be highly beneficial, Khenpo Jorden kindly gave us a full English translation directly from a beautifully clear and detailed Tibetan commentary by Gyalsay Togme Sangpo. This excellent commentary was an invaluable resource throughout our study.
Among the five treatises of Maitreya, transmitted through Asanga, this one possesses the broadest range of topics, actually encompassing all aspects of the Mahayana teachings. The Mahayanasutralamkara “ornaments” the vast scriptures of the Mahayana sutras (approx. 30 vol.).
Among the vividly presented and extensive teachings recurring in the Mahayanasutralamkara, each time within a different context or from a new level, are clear explanations of ( just to name a few) The Six Perfections, The Five Paths of the Bodhisattva Vehicle, The Three Natures, The Kayas, Suchness, The Four Seals, and The Four Reliances.
Maitreya himself summed up the entire Path of the Higher Trainings in this verse from the root text (which was used as a guide by Sakya Pandita for his work on the Foundation, Path and Result aspects of the Mahayana teachings: Clarifying The Sage’s Intent. ):
“The Universal Vehicle is summarized as awakening the spiritual “gene”,
having faith in the Dharma, the conception of the spirit, the practice of
generosity and so forth, the advance to predetermination, the evolutionary
development of beings, the purification of the universe, the unlocated
Nirvana, the supreme enlightenment, and the manifestation of the Buddha deeds.”
Some student comments at the conclusion of this course:
“This text would be wonderful to study again and again, and with
“I think it’s incredibly important, as a student, to get these basics.
Without a foundation, a house can’t be built.”
“I was amazed at how motivating this whole course was. I thought it
might be pretty dry stuff, but I actually had tears in my eyes sometimes,
because it was so powerful and inspiring”
“By studying it, you realize that it is the basis and essence of the
Mahayana path, without which Tantra doesn’t make sense.
It (Tantra) has to be based on that. The MSA is so rich and complex
and beautiful all at the same time and it’s something I want to spend
years re-studying because I can really sink my teeth into it, with
subject matter that’s just beyond this world!”
“This teaching is a great treasure, I had no idea it even existed before!”