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Klaus-Dieter Mathes
Mind and its Co-emergent (sahaja) Nature in
Advayavajras Commentary on Sarahas Dohkoa1
Sarahas "Treasure of Dohs" (Dohkoa), usually referred to in Tibet as "The
Peoples Doh" (dmangs do h), was edited and translated into French by M.
Shahidullah (1928). There has followed an annotated English translation by R.
Jackson (2004) and a further English translation of it together with bCom ldan
Rig pai ral gris commentary by C. Schaeffer (2005). Given the difficulty of the
Apabhraa root text and the unusually divergent bsTan gyur versions of its
Tibetan translation, it is surprising that the only existent Sanskrit commentary
has not been exploited up to now. Bagchis first edition (1935) and revised edition (1938) of this Sanskrit commentary (the Dohkoapajik) mention a certain Advayavajra as the author.2 However, the style, numerous flagrant grammatical violations, and, most important, his varying view on the sequence of
the four moments and four joys,3 exclude the possibility that this could be
1

Many thanks to Nirajan Kafle (Kathmandu) for carefully checking the passages from
the Dohkoa and its commentary quoted in this paper.
2
DKP 14821-22: This commentary on the Dohkoa is completed. The number of granthas
in this [text] is eight hundred. This work is by the venerable r-Advayavajra.
(sampteya dohkoasya pajik | granthapramam aaatam asya | ktir iya r-advayavajrapdnm iti |). Unfortunately, this sentence is on the last, now missing folio 121, of
the only available manuscript (NGMPP reel no. A 932/4).
3
In DK 96, Saraha speaks of co-emergent joy and the fourth moment, but simply says
that they are ones natural awareness: In the explanation of the profound there is
neither other nor self. One fully knows that co-emergent joy and the fourth moment
are [ones] natural awareness. DKP 1421-2: gambhra uharaea a para a appa |
sahajandeb cahhackkhaa ia samveaa ja | )
a
N rahale b EB sahajnde N sahajanda c N caha-.
Here, Advayavajra goes against the root text (whose reading is also supported by Vibhticandras Amtakaikoddyotanibandha, AKUN 6320) in that he puts co-emergent
joy in the instrumental and the fourth joy in the locative: That [co-emergent],
which few people, [even] among those who have merit, know, destroys biasedness
immediately the profound is recollected as a result of having analyzed it. In this, the
supremely profound, all [distinctions between] the self and other do not exist at all.
For it (i.e., the profound) lacks them (i.e., self and other) in the first place. Through coemergent joy at the fourth moment, in the middle of which is [only] imagined by the
world, you [come to] know such naturally present awareness. (DKP 1423-6: yat puyeu
viral lok jnanti tat gambhrasya vicrabalena nirantarasmaraataya pakpaka niru-

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Maitrpa (986-1063), who also goes by the name Advayavajra (i.e., the author of
the Tattvaratnval).4
Bagchis edition and revised edition of the Dohkoapajik5 are based on an old
Newar manuscript in a mid-13th-century bhujimogal script, a text printed by
Haraprasd str, and a fragmentary manuscript of the Darbar Library.6 Corrections in the margin show that the Newar manuscript is a copy of an older
one. There is no further information on strs source, but it is very likely that
he used the same Newar manuscript at a time when fewer folios were missing
and less damage had been done to the surviving ones. The colophons of the
Derge and Peking bsTan gyur Tibetan editions indicate that the translator was
r-Vairocanavajra from the land of Koala in South India.7 The colophon in the
commentary of the dPal spungs edition of the Indian mahmudr works states
that the Dohkoapajik was translated by Vairocanarakita of Koala and the
Tibetan translator-monk Ba ri, i.e., Atias famous translator Bari Lo ts ba Rin
dhyate | paramagambhre tatra na para antmanab kicid asti | dv eva rahitatvt | da
sahajnandena caturthakae lokacparikalpitamadhye nijasavedana jnsi |)
a
N -ay b EB ntmana N antmana c EB loka.
First translated in Mathes 2015:33-34.
This interpretation is clearly opposed to Maitrpas presentation of the sequence of the
four moments and joys. Maitrpa argues that it is possible to list the co-emergent in
the third position, for in treatises such as the Hevajratantra the correct sequence has
not been made explicit in order to confuse outsiders who do not rely on a guru. If
Maitrpa himself had been the author of the commentary, he would have argued that
Saraha simply states here that the co-emergent joy and the fourth moment are ones
natural awareness without entering into any technical discussion about the issue of
which moment the co-emergent is realized at. To be sure, like his teacher Ratnkaranti, he clearly follows a tradition which claims that the moment of freedom from
defining characteristics and co-emergent joy are marked or recognized in the third
position (Mathes 2009:99-106). However, the majority of scholarsKamalantha, Abhaykaragupta, Ravirjna, Vibhticandra, and othersput them in the fourth position (Kvaerne 1986:34-35).
4
This finding and a preliminary introduction into Advayavajras commentary were
first communicated at the Sahaja Conference at Visva Bharati, Santiniketan, India on
Feb. 12, 2012 (see Mathes 2015:16-38).
5
NGMPP reel no. A 932/4, fols 17a4-102b5.
6
Bachi 1935:52.
7
The colophon in the Derge (2256, rgyud grel, vol. wi, fol. 207a7) and Peking bsTan
gyur (3101, rgyud grel, vol. mi, fol. 231a4-5) reads as follows: The Dohkoapajik,
composed by the great master Advayavajra, is completed. Translated by the great yogin from the land of Koala in South India, r-Vairocanavajra. (do ha mdzod kyi dka
grel slob dpon chen po dpal gnyis su med pai rdo rjes mdzad pa rdzogs so | rgya gar lho phyogs
yul ko sa lar sku khrungs pai rnal byor pa chen po r bai ro tsa na ba dzras bsgyur bao ||).

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chen grags (1040 - ca. 1110).8 The same colophon mentions that later it was
corrected and finalized by Vairocanavajra.9 Schaeffer (2005:61) takes Vairocanavajra and Vairocanarakita to be one and the same person, who lived in the
11th/12th centuries. The Tibetan translation of the Dohkoapajik is unique in
that it deviates often from the Sanskritsometimes several sentences appear
not to have been translated at all or only summarized.10 It is hard to see how Ba
ri Lo ts ba could have been involved in this. In his Phyag chen rgyal bai gan
mdzod, Padma dkar po (1527-96) questions the attribution of the commentary
to the famous Indian Advayavajra, i.e., Maitrpa, and claims that
the [Doh] commentary of Maitrpa is not by the sovereign master
(mnga bdag); rather, it is similar to what we have from the [likenamed] younger brother of a Nepalese venerable (bhadanta). He only
has the same name, and is not important. The commentary by Paita
Mokkaragupta (Derge 2258) is good[, though].11
A similar doubt was raised by bCom ldan Rig pai ral gri (1227-1305), a famous
master from Narthang Monastery.12 In his Do ha rgyan gyi me tog (fol. 2b-3a) he
writes:
While it appears that [the commentary composed by] the so-called Advayavajra was translated by Vairocana, there is a writing that says that
[the work] was composed by Kor Nirpa.13

Schaeffer 2005:61.
The colophon of the commentary in the dPal spungs edition (DKPT (B) 161a4-5) states:
Translated by the great yogin from the land of Koala in South India, Mar me mdzad ra
ki ta, and the Tibetan translator-monk Ba ri. Later it was corrected a bit and finalized by
Vairocanavajra. (rgya gar lho phyogs kyi yul ko sa lar sku khrungs pai rnal byor pa
chen mar me mdzad ra ki ta dang | bod kyi lo ts ba dge slong ba ris bsgyur ba | slad
kyi be ro tsa na ba dzras cung zad bcos te gtan la phab pao ||).
10
For example, nearly the entire refutation of the aivas (DKP 7810-814), which covers
more than three folios in the Newar manuscript, is not translated. It is possible, of
course, that the refutation is a later interpolation in the Sanskrit text.
11
Phyag chen rgyal bai gan mdzod, 2912-15: mai tri pai grel pa ni | mnga bdag gis
mdzad pa ma yin | de dang mtshan mthun pa bal po bha dantai gcung po zhig kyang
byung ba lta bus | mtshan tsam snying po mi bya pa i ta thar pa byung gnas kyis grel
pa legs so |.
12
Schaeffer 2005:10.
13
Quoted after Schaeffer 2005:66.
9

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Kor Nirpa travelled in his teens to Nepal after receiving monastic ordination
in Lhasa. In Nepal, where he was called Prajrjnakrti (1062-1102), he
received teachings on the seven sections of accomplishment, the six works on
essential meaning, and the Dohkoa. Schaeffer thinks that he was the same as
Prajrjnakrti mentioned as the translator of Advayavajras Mi zad pai
gter mdzod yongs su gang bai glu zhes bya ba gnyug mai de nyid rab tu ston pai rgya
cher bshad pa (Derge 2257), and reports that some Tibetan scholars accused
Prajrjnakrti of being a forger of commentarial literature.14 Still, the
Seventh Karma pa Chos grags rgya mtsho (1454-1506) included Advayavajras
commentary on Sarahas Dohkoa in his collection of Indian mahmudr
works.15 The Nepalese (?) Advayavajra probably belonged to the circle of the
Indian Vajrapi, one of Maitrpas four heart disciples, who brought the Treasure of Dohs to Nepal.16 In his Blue Annals Gos Lo ts ba gZhon nu dpal (13921481) informs us that Vajrapi (b. 1017) settled in Ptan in the Kathmandu
Valley in 1066, where he taught, besides the Dohs, the three cycles of
mahmudr works.17
The Co-emergent (sahaja)
The term sahaja (inborn or co-emergent) most of the time refers to the coemergence or co-existence of the ultimate in the world of relative truth. It is
usually defined negatively as emptiness, but here in Sarahas dohs it is also
referred to as co-emergent joy, wisdom and also great bliss. Such positive descriptions of the ultimate can be already found in Yogcra, whose perfect
nature is taken as the luminous nature of mind. The use of sahaja in the
Ratnagotravibhga is also of interest, where at the end of the presentation of
nine similes for buddha nature existent in all sentient beings, the inseparable
qualities of purification are called co-emergent (sahaja) throughout beginningless time.18 In other words, buddha nature and its qualities co-exist with
the ordinary mind of all sentient beings. Everybody at any time, has the option
to turn away from the conceptually created duality of sasra, and turn to her
14

Schaeffer 2005:66-67.
Phun tshogs rgyal mtshan (ed.): Phyag rgya chen poi rgya gzhung, vol. , fols 121a4161a5.
16
Schaeffer 2005:62-63.
17
Roerich 1949-1953:855-57. The three cycles are (1) the seven sections of accomplishment; (2) the six works on essential meaning; and (3) Maitrpas amanasikra works. For
a description of the three cycles see Mathes 2011:93-98.
18
RGVV on I.129 (6619 671): It has been shown that the properties of the purity of
mind are inseparable [from it] throughout beginningless time and [thus] coemergent. (andicittavyavadnadharmasahajvinirbhgat ca paridpit |). I thank Davidson (2002:55) for this reference.
15

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or his co-emergent qualities. Practitioners of a stra path experience them as
luminosity, and mahmudr adepts as great bliss or co-emergent joy.19 In both
cases sahaja is best translated literally as co-emergent.20
Given the eminent role sahaja plays in the doh traditions of the Mahsiddhas,
Bagchi (1938) even speaks of a Sahajayna. In fact, in the introduction to his
Dohkoapajik Advayavajra expresses his intention to write a commentary in
the Sahaja tradition (sahajmnya).21 The word mnya, sacred tradition, suggests an even more distinguished identity than just being a separate vehicle
within Buddhism. Even though the commentary is clearly Buddhist, the author
lists the Buddhist thought as among the six systems of philosophy (a
daranni).22 There is no attempt to censor or excuse Sarahas critique of nonBuddhist tenets and various forms of traditional Buddhism in the present
commentary. What is refuted in the opinion of Advayavajra are mere conceptual approaches to nirva which are not based on a genuine experience of
sahaja. This is supported by Advayavajras commentary on Sarahas last verse
of criticizing the Buddhists (DK 13), in which Saraha claims that one cannot
cultivate nirva after having neglected the co-emergent. Advayavajra explains
that once the co-emergent has been neglected, there is no other true defining
characteristic of nirva to fall back on. Not knowing this, the Buddhists run
after the nirva of others, confused by what are mere enumerations.23

19

Depending on the means they employ on the path (oral information from Thrangu
Rinpoche, Kathmandu, April 2008).
20
As Herbert Guenther (1993:22) explains, emergence (ja) must be understood, however, as the spontaneous and uncaused manifestation of the principle of complementarity (saha).
21
DKP 723-4: As I continuously pay devoted homage to the gurus, the protectors of the
world, [this] commentary on the treasure of songs (doh) in the Sahaja tradition is
written. (namasktya jagannthn gurn satatam dart | likhyate dohkoasya
sahajmnyapajik ||).
22
DKP 7213-14: atra tvat a daranny ucyante | brahma-vara-arhanta-bauddha-lokyataskhy ca | According to Nirajan Kafle (Kathmandu), ca at the end of the enumeration
is superfluous, and was probably put there on purpose to violate Sanskrit grammar in
order to be provocative.
23
Bagchi (1938:17 & DKP 858): They who [try to] cultivate nirva after having neglected the co-emergentdo not attain the ultimate, none of them. (sahaja parityajya
yena nirva bhvitam | (not available in DKP): au paramattha ekka te shiu |). Advayavajra (DKPT B 128a3-4; D 185a4-5; P 203b4-5; missing in the Sanskrit) comments: The
co-emergent having been neglected, there is no other defining characteristic of nirva
[to fall back on]. Not knowing this, they (i.e., the Buddhists) run after the nirva of
others, confused by what are mere enumerations. (ces gsungs te | lhan cig skyes pa bora
nas mya ngan las das pai mtshan nyid gzhan med do | | de (bni mib) shes pas ming gi rnam

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While Tibetan commentaries tend to rationalize Sarahas critical attitude towards more traditional forms of Buddhism such that the critique is only directed against wrong concepts, Advayavajra fully elaborates on this attitude
without restriction. This is most evident by the fact that he lists Buddhism as
among the six systems of philosophy to be criticized and by quoting a stra
which warns that all future Buddhist monks will belong to the retinue of
Mra.24
Although Advayavajra expresses a critical attitude towards even Buddhist tenets, he stops short of dismissing them altogether. It is clear that he still endorses within a Buddhist context a goal called realization of the co-emergent
nature or simply the co-emergent, while his favored path is the immediate
realization of this goal through the pith instructions of a genuine guru. I would
thus go further than using Bagchis Sahajayna to name this unique system of
instruction, and instead use Advayavajras designation, the Sahaja tradition.
The crucial means to liberation in this tradition is an immediate access to
ones co-emergent nature of mind with the help of a genuine gurus pith instructions. This becomes most clear in his commentary to verses 20d-21b,
where the co-emergent is first taken as the ultimate that is beyond existence
and non-existence. For Advayavajra, the common Madhyamaka negation of
these two extremes means that while the multitude of appearances of the
phenomenal world are only imagined (exclusion of existence), there is a genuine experience of everythings co-emergent nature (exclusion of nonexistence). In support of that, the famous verse I.154 from the Ratnagotravibhga is adduced:
There is nothing to be removed from it
And nothing to be added.
The real should be seen as real;
And seeing the real, one becomes liberated.25
Saraha (DK 21ab) then equates the co-emergent with the tantric concept of
great bliss, which can be realized through the natural blissful state of human
existence through the pith instructions of a genuine guru.26 This resembles the
grangs tsam gyi sgo nas khrul pai phyir gzhan gyi mya ngan las das pa la jug par gyur bas
|). First translated in Mathes 2015:27.
24
See Mathes 2015:26.
25
RGVV 761 reads upaneya instead of prakeptavya (N prakepta), but given the
overall positive description of the ultimate in the Dohkoa and its commentary, it
should be understood in line with tathgatagarbha theory.
26
See Mathes 2012:200-201.

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karmamudr practice of the Caturmudrnvaya. Here the idea is, however, that
the co-emergent nature can shine through at any moment of ones life, and
not only during the sequence of four joys experienced during union. The only
prerequisite is to be natural like a small child,27 because then it is possible for a
realized master to point out ones own ultimate co-emergence which otherwise cannot be defined or related to in any conceivable way.28
The Relation between Mind and Sahaja
One of the most quoted verses from Sarahas Dohkoa compares the relation
between cyclic existence and nirva (lit. calmness) to that between waves
and water. There is no problem when it comes to equating mind with cyclic
existence in the context of the Dohkoa and its commentary by Advayavajra.
As we have seen above, however, the equivalence of sahaja and nirva (or
calmness) can be only accepted if it is taken in terms of an immediate realization which goes beyond anything conceptual. Saraha says:
Are waves and water different?
Cyclic existence and calmness [share] the nature of being like
space.29 (DK 72cd)
Just as the water in a river [is the river, so too] the very [river] itself is
a wave, and not anything else. Given the equal purity of [all] cyclic existence, [cyclic existence] has the nature of calmness, the nature of being like space, and nothing else. What is taught by this? Cyclic existence is precisely nirva. This is in accordance with the pith instruc-

27

See verse 57 (DKP 1183-4): Having completely abandoned thought and no-thought,
one must abide in the [natural] way of a small child. Be firm in devotion to the teaching of the guru! By it will arise the large wave of the co-emergent. (cittcitta vi pariharahua tima acchahu jima vlu |guruvaae dihabhatti karub hoi jac sahaja ullu ||)
a
N parihara b N laru c N ha
It should be noted that DK 57 is also quoted in Atias Bodhipathapradpa (Eimer
1978:183).
28
This is most clear from verse 36 (DKP 981-2): The root of the mind [can]not be
marked [out]. In terms of the co-emergent, the three (i.e., the goal, mark, and marker)
are wrong [notions]. In this [co-emergent,] one lives and dies. Son, you must remain in
it! (cittaha mla a lakkhia sahaje tiaa vitattha | tahib jva vilaa jc vasia tahi phuta
ettha | iti |)
a
N tii b N tahi tahi c N ja
First translated in Mathes 2015:29-30.
29
DKP 12815: aa taraga ki aa jalu bhavasama khasama sara (DK 72cd).

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tions of the genuine guru for those who know. The ignorant ones do
not understand, and reify [the two as different] objects.30
In other words, cyclic existence and nirva are not ontologically different, any
more than the existence of ocean water is not affected when the flat surface of
the ocean is churned into waves, to use an oft-quoted example from the
Lakvatrastra:
In the same way as there is no difference between waves and the
ocean,
A development (i.e., in the sense of a real distinction)31 of the types of
consciousness from within the mind is not found.32
Advayavajras view on the relation between cyclic existence and the coemergent differs from that essential identity of cyclic existence and nirva,
the latter being only a conceptual construct and thus different from the actual
co-emergent. The co-emergent and cyclic existence are best compared with
buddha nature and its adventitious stains, as exemplified by the fourth simile
in the Tathgatagarbhastra, namely a gold nugget that is immersed in excrement.33 However, the two similes are different in that waves are always made
of water, while gold is not found in excrement. Nonetheless, most scholars
have applied Sarahas simile of water and waves to mind and its co-emergent
nature. Sarahas verses 102-106, however, shed a slightly different light on this
issue, especially against the backdrop of Advayavajras commentary:
What is cyclic existence is also nirva.
Do not take them as being separate!
They are [also] free from a single nature.
[This] stainless [non-duality] I have realized.34 DK 102

30

DKP 12816-18: yath nady jala saiva tarago nnya tath bhavasamvauddhitvt
ntirpam eva khasamarpa nnya | etena kim ukta syt | yo bhava saiva nirva
samyaggurpaded iti jninm | aj na jnanti | viaya ynti |
31
For a discussion of parimayati etc., see Schmithausen 1969:165f.
32
LAS 4615-16: udadhe ca tarag yath nsti vieaam | vijnn tath cittea
parimo na labhyate ||
a
According to all manuscripts. Nanjio suggests citte.
33
See Takasaki 1966:272.
34
DKP 14414-15: jo bhava so ivva khalu sa u a maahu aa | ekka sahve virahiaa
immala mab paivaa | (DK 102)
a
N vevirahia b EB ma

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In short, for yogins there are no distinctions whatsoever. This is as
stated in rya Ngrjuna[s Pacakrama], in the [chapter called] Yuganaddhakrama, starting with cyclic existence and nirva35 (i.e., PK
V.2a). What is referred to as cyclic existence and nirva here, for everybody they are two according to [the conventions of] dualistic speech.
Indivisible union and non-duality accompanied by objects of
knowledgethis, it should be known, is another distinction. But are
[sasra and nirva] of a single nature? The final tenet in the treatises
is that [true reality] is without it, that is, the state of the one and the
many. But it is also non-duality, as realized [by me]. The idea is that it
is supreme non-duality.36 In order to make this clear, [Saraha] says:37
Neither remain at home nor go into the forest!
Wherever you are, [simply] look at the mind!
It is entirely and continuously grounded in enlightenment.
Where is [then] cyclic existence and where is nirva?38 DK 103
In this [verse it is taught] that you should not remain in your house or
go to other [places like a] forest. [This,] however, is certain: It is from
spending time at places [conducive] to duality that thoughts arise.
How does this happen? It is explained: Wherever you are, whatever
you do whether walking or eatingyou must look at the mind in
such situations! The mind is false. You must state this39 clearly. It has
been repudiated before because it had not been established. Therefore,
in the entire threefold world [mind] is established as being uninterrup35

PK V.2a: sasro nirvti ceti


The Tibetan simply reads: This is as stated in rya Ngrjuna[s Pacakrama], in the
[chapter called] Yuganaddhakrama, starting with sasra and nirva (i.e., PK V.2a).
Accordingly, the inseparability of sasra and nirva is non-duality and thus called
indivisible union.
37
DKP 14416-1454: nsti yogin vied viea sa]kepataa | yath yuganaddhakramektam ryangrjunapdena bhavanirvetydin ca | iha etad eva yat bhavanirva
khalu sarve dvaya dvayavacaneu | savijeyayuganaddhbdvaya tac ca bhedam anya
vijeyd iti | ki tarhy ekasvabhvena | (cyad streuc) siddhnta tat tasmd virahitamd
eknekabhvam | ki tu advayo pi nirmala pratipanna | paramdvayam iti bhva | etad
eva spahrtham ha |
a
EB kepa b EB a- c EB yad advaya sarvastreu N ya ya streu d EB avirahitam
38
DKP 1455-6: gharahi ma thakku ma jhi vae jahi tahi maa paria | saalu irantara vohihiu kahi bhava kahi ivva |
39
Taking sa in the sense of tat.
36

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tedly grounded in enlightenment. Being self-arisen [wisdom], it is not
generated by anything. It is [falsely] imagined, in their bewilderment,
by those of low intellect. Cyclic existence and nirva being non-dual,
this [mind] should not be [created] through anything, because of said
reasoning. There is neither cyclic existence nor nirva. Why? Because
the manifold [world] has not been produced in the first place. What it
is [can] be seen [in ordinary experience]. It is like an illusion, a mere
appearance caused by delusion. It is like a reflection in a mirror or the
like: upon analysis it is not apprehended [as anything]. It does not truly occur, with such distinct features as [those of] a disk or a ball of definite extent and so forth. From this does it follow then, that cyclic existence and nirva do not truly occur? This is as stated [in Yuktiaik
5-6]:40
Those who think in terms of nirva and sasra
Do not see reality,
[Whereas] those who think in terms of neither sasra nor
nirva
See reality.41 Y 5
Nirva and cyclic existence
Neither of them exists;
Thorough knowledge of cyclic existence
This is called nirva.42 Y 6
40

DKP 1457-17: anena svagheu sthiti m kurvantua | vanntaram api gamana m kuru |
ki tarhi nicita dvayasthneu gamyd vikalpa jyate | katha kriyate ity ucyate | yasmin
yasmin sthitv v cakramaabhakdi ktv tatra manasya paribhvana kuru | alka
mana | sa ca vijapti kuru | tac ca prvab nirktam asiddhatvt | tasmt
sakalatraidhtukeu nirantarvyavacchinnapravht bodhisthita siddham | na kenacid
utpdita svayambhtvt | tad iha kudhbhi mhatvena parikalpita bhavanirvayor
advayo kenedac na syt uktanyyd api | tasmin bhava tasmin nirva na bhavati |
kuta | yata dv eva vivasyotpda nsti | tat kim iti dyate | myvad iti bhrnty
pratibhsamtram eveti | yath darpadiu pratibimba dyate tadvicrn nopalabhyate |
tat bimbapiaparimavattvdibhedan(dsambhavam itid) | kasmd bhavanirvayor asambhavam | tath coktam |
a
EB kurvanti b EB prve c EB keneha d N sa bhavati
41
DKP 14518-19: (asasra caiva nirvaa) manyante tattvadarina | (bna sasrab) na
nirva manyante tattvadarina || (Y 5)
a
EB nirva caiva loka ca N ||| va loka ca b EBN naiva loka
42
DKP 14520-21: nirva ca bhava caiva dvayam etan na vidyate | parijna bhavasyaiva
nirvam iti kathyate ||

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Therefore, it [can] be established that supreme non-duality is the nature of enlightenment.43
Enlightenment depends44 on neither house nor forest;
Thus you understand the distinction.
You [must] become steeped in the stainless nature of mind.
You, too, [can] be non-conceptual!45 DK 104
Here, enlightenment with the above-mentioned defining characteristics46 is [found] in neither a house nor a forest. You [need to] understand the difference of such [words] in terms of intentional language.
The house is [your own] body, and the forest stands for manifold [objects], such as a vase or cloth. There is no enlightenment [that is] in
[state of dependence on] them. Why? Because none of them truly occurs. Everything, the world and so forththat which is seen as having
distinctive featuresis subject to arising and destruction. Enlightenment is not so, for it [can]not be destroyed. Therefore you [must become] steeped in the stainless nature of mind! In short, whatever you
conceptualizeabandon all of it! You will thereby attain enlightenment. This [Saraha] says [in the following]:47
This is the self, and this the other.
Whoever cultivates [this way of thinking]
Has created a bind [even though] he is without this bondage;

43

DKP 1461: tasmt siddha paramdvaya bodhirpa sa cha |


Lit. is based [on].
45
DKP 1462-3: au ghare au vae bohi hiu ehu pariahu bheu | iammalacittasahvatb
karahu avikala seu || (DK 104)
a
N ni- b N -
46
The feminine genitive does not fit into the syntax and is translated on the basis of
the Tibetan.
47
DKP 1464-9: (aiha uktalaka ya) na ghare na vaneu bodhib sthitam | evac bheda
parijnsi sandhybhntare pi gha arra vana vivad ghaapadiu tatra na
bodhi | kuta | sarve hy asambhavt | eva bheda yat dyate lokdi tat sarvam
utpannavinina | ned bodhir avinaatvc ca | teneha nirmalacittasvabhavate kurvati |
yf vikalpan vikalpasi samast sagat tyajasti vistara | tair bodhirpam yti tad ha |
a
EB idam upalakay N iham uktalakay b EBN bodhi- c N eva d EB omits e N t f
EBN yair
44

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28
Even though his [true] nature is free.48 DK 105
Whoever [mistakenly] cultivates [the notion of personhood], saying
This is the self; it is not this, the other, is bound and impaired, even
though he [initially may] not have been bound [by this distinction].
Even though you are liberated, you are not so when you have taken recourse to [the notion of] selfhood. The idea is, not to conceptualize
[two] parts, an own and an other. Likewise,49
Do not confusedly make of self and other [two different
things]!
Everybody has always been a Buddha;
This is the stainless supreme level,
The naturally pure mind.50 DK 106
Do not confusedly make of self and other, which have one nature, two
different things! It is rather that the entire realm of sentient beings
[everybody]has always been a Buddha by nature.51 Being covered by
the limitless stains caused by concepts throughout beginningless time,
[sentient beings] do not cultivate their Buddha identity.52 Truly, in that
he is free from duality, the Buddha is by nature the stainless supreme
mind. [His] form is bodhicitta, free from an own-being.53

48

DKP 14610-11: ehu so app ehu paru joa paribhva kovi | teb viu vandhe vehhic kiu appa
vimukka tovi || (DK 105)
a
N j b N te c N vehi
49
DKP 14612-14: idam tm neda para yena kenacid viparibhvita tena vin ba-ndhanena
tmna viakita vikalkta | mukto pi svabhvayta tad no mukta | tasmt svaparavibhga na kriyata iti yvat | tad iha |
50
DKP 14615-16: para appa ma bhanti karu saala irantara buddha | pahu se immala
paramapa citta sahve suddha |
51
Bagchi reads uddha instead of buddha (N is not available). The corresponding root
text has buddha, however, which is also supported by the Tibetan. It is interesting to
note here, that in a stra from the Anguttara-Nikya titled Loke the word suddho in an
older or original version was replaced by buddho. See Rhys Davis 1933:910-11.
52
Lit.: the Buddha-self.
53
DKP 1471-4: para ctmnaa ca ekasvabhva na dvayarpea bhrntir kuru | ki tarhi
sakalasattvadhturb nirantardv eva svabhvena buddhac taddv eva paribhvanayanantakamalvtt na buddhtmna paribhvayanti | eva dvayarahitena buddha so
nirmala paramacitta svabhvato rpa bodhicitta svabhvarahitatay |
a
EB tmada b EB -tu c EB uddha

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29
First of all, Advayavajra understands Sarahas free from a single nature in
verse 102c (Apa. ekkasahve virahia) to mean that cyclic existence and nirva
do not share a single nature, and are thus beyond one and many. This is similar
to the Sandhinirmocanastra III.4, where the conditioned realm and the ultimate
are defined as being free from identity and difference.54 The stra explains four
reasons each for their identity (which excludes their difference) and their difference (which excludes their identity).55 This freedom from identity and difference (lit. one and many) is for Advayavajra supreme non-duality equated
with the nature of enlightenment at the end of his commentary on the following verse (DK 103). A similar assertion can be found in the Dharmadharmatvibhga, in which the equality of phenomena (dharma) with their true nature
(dharmat) and their difference are both excluded as true. Although dharmas
and their dharmat are indeed equated respectively with sasra and nirva in
this text, their mutual identity is ruled out on the grounds that dharmat exists, whereas the dharmas do not exist. But, since the dharmat is the emptiness
of the duality of a perceived and perceiver (i.e., the dharmas), it is no different
from the non-existent dharmas.56
In his commentary on DK 103, Advayavajra explains at length, however, that
neither sasra nor nirva exists. This must be understood in line with Ngrjunas Yuktiaika 5-6, where we are encouraged to conceptualize neither
sasra nor nirva. The latter is taken, rather, as the thorough knowledge of
cyclic existence. For Advayavajra, this is what establishes supreme nonduality, the nature of enlightenment.
Still, in the commentary on DK 104, a difference between the manifold world
and enlightenment is worked out. The world is subject to arising and destruction, whereas enlightenment is not. The latter is attained by abandoning whatever has been conceptualized. This is then further elaborated in verses 105 and
54

See Mathes 2007:330-331.


See Powers 2004:35-39.
56
DhDhVV 135-145: The two, dharma and dharmat, are taken to be neither identical
nor different. Why is that? Because there is both a difference and not a difference between the existent and non-existent.... The dharmat exists, but the dharmas do not.
How things that differ in terms of existence and non-existence? ... [And] how is it that
they are not different? This is because it (i.e., the dharmat) is not different from the
perceived object and so forth (i.e., the dharmas), the dharmat being characterized by
the mere non-existence of [these] dharmas. (gnyis po dag ces bya ba chos dang chos nyid
dag ni gcig pa nyid dang tha dad pa nyid du mi dod do | | de cii phyir zhe na | yod pa dang med
pa dag kyang khyad par yod pa dang khyad par med pai phyir ro | ... chos nyid yod pa yin la
chos ni med pa yin pas yod pa dang med pa khyad par can dag ci ltar gcig nyid du gyur | ... ji
ltar khyad par med ce na | chos nyid ni chos med pa tsam gyis rab tu phye ba yin pai phyir |
gzung ba la sogs pai khyad par med pai phyir ro |).
55

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30
106. Of particular interest is the notion in the latter of these two verses that
everybody has always been a Buddha. Advayavajra glosses this with the adverbial determinant svabhvena by nature. This buddha nature, or enlightenment, fits much better our existent dharmat in the Dharmadharmatvibhga,
while the dharmas include not only sasra but also the conceptually constructed nirva. They are the same in their sharing the status of being a mere
mental construction and thus non-existent.
As for the relation between the mind and its co-emergent nature, it has become clear by now that the co-emergent (sahaja) cannot simply be equated
with nirva, wherefore the relation of mind and sahaja cannot simply be defined along the lines of the simile of the waves and the water in DK 72cd. Based
on DK 103 and Y 5-6, mind (or cyclic existence) and nirva are only identical
insofar as they both are only mental constructs. When looking for a fit candidate for sahaja in DK 102-106, our choice clearly falls on enlightenment, or
rather Buddha by nature, which defines the whole realm of sentient beings
(sattvadhtu). One could also argue that it is also Advayavajras real nirva
(i.e., sahaja), which is not a mental construct but part of the genuine realization
gained through pith instructions.
Conclusion
It could be shown, that, in the light of Advayavajras commentary, Sarahas
dohs describe the relation between mind and its co-emergent nature along
the lines of the Tathgatagarbhastra, wherein buddha nature and its adventitious stains are illustrated by the simile of the gold nugget that has fallen into
excrement. This goes against the commonly held view that Saraha favours
essential identity suggested by the relation between waves and water (DK
72cd). Essential identity is restricted to their emptiness: both the mind and its
co-emergent nature are empty of a conceptually created true reality, just as
sasra and nirva share the identity of being mere conceptual constructs.
Sahaja, on the other hand, is revealed as the true nature of everything, once all
mental constructs are overcome. It abides as an uncreated, genuine state.

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31
Abbreviations and Bibliography
Apa.
Apabhraa
NGMPP Nepal-German Manuscript Preservation Project
Skt.
Sanskrit
Tib.
Tibetan
Primary Sources (Indian)
AKUN: Amtakaikoddyotanibandha
Ed. by Banarsi Lal in: ryamajurnmasagti with Amtakaikippa by Bhiku Ravirjna and Amtakaikodyota-nibhandha (sic) of
Vibhticandra (Bibliotheca Indo-Tibetica 30). Sarnath, Varanasi: Central
Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, 1994.
DK:
Dohkoa
Contained as pratka in the DKP.
DKP: Dohkoapajik

EB: Ed. by Prabodh Chandra Bagchi. Calcutta Sanskrit Series No. 25c
(1938), 72-148.

N: NGMPP reel no. A 932/4.


DKPT (B): dPal spungs edition of the Phyag chen rgya gzhung, vol. , fols. 121a4161a5 (see Phun tshogs rgyal mtshan).
DKPT (D): Derge bsTan gyur (D), no. 2256, rgyud grel, vol. wi, fols. 180b3207a7.
DKPT (P): Peking bsTan gyur (P), no. 3101, rgyud grel, vol. mi, fols. 199a7231a5.
DhDhVV: Dharmadharmatvibhgavtti
Ed. by Klaus-Dieter Mathes. See Mathes 1996:69-98; Sanskrit fragment
of the DhDhVV: 99-103. [The numbers following the acronym DhDhVV
in the footnote refer to the line numbers of my edition.]
RGV: Ratnagotravibhga Mahynottaratantrastra
Ed. by Edward H. Johnston. Patna: The Bihar Research Society, 1950.
(Includes the Ratnagotravibhgavykhy).
RGVV: Ratnagotravibhgavykhy
See RGV.
Primary Sources (Tibetan)
bCom ldan rig pai ral gri
Do ha rgyan gyi me tog. CPN 007316(4) (according to Schaeffer 2005:212).
Padma dkar po

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32
Phyag chen rgyal bai gan mdzod. Sarnath: Vajra Vidya Institute Library,
2005.
Phun tshogs rgyal mtshan (ed.)
Phyag rgya chen poi rgya gzhung. 3 vols (o, , h). Dpal spungs block
print. No date.
See also Zhwa dmar pa Mi pham chos kyi blo gros.
Zhwa dmar pa Mi pham chos kyi blo gros (ed.)
Rgya gzhung: Phyag rgya chen poi rgya gzhung. In: Nges don phyag
rgya chen poi khrid mdzod, vols. o, and h. Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center, W 23447.
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