The Tibetan ‘Pravartana’ Version of the Dharma Wheel Discourse (chos kyi ‘khor lo rab tu bskor ba’i mdo):

A New Translation into English by Erick Tsiknopoulos (2013)

 

The Mighty Turning of the Dharma Wheel Sūtra

In the Indian Language: Dharmachakrapravartana Sūtra [dharmacakrapravartana-sūtra]

In the Tibetan Language: Chhö kyi Khorlo Raptukorway Do [chos kyi ‘khor lo rab tu bskor ba’i mdo]

In the English Language: The Mighty Turning of the Dharma Wheel Sūtra [The Sūtra on the Mighty Turning of the Dharma Wheel]

 

RESPECTFUL ADORATION TO THE NOBLE TRIPLE GEM.

Thus have I heard these words: At one time, the Sublime Master was staying in the Park of Frolicking Deer, at the Site of Sagely Descent, in the region of Vārāṇasī. It was from there that the Sublime Master called out to, and then bestowed teaching upon, the five-fold group of spiritual mendicants:

“O seekers of virtue, one who is transcendent should not abide in these two extremes: In the case of those who are full of wants and obsessed with pleasure, they will become unseemly and low; those who wrongly praise the suffering connected with fatigue of the body because ordinary individuals are steeped in meaninglessness, are by that [themselves] steeped in meaninglessness. O seekers of virtue, these are the extremes of the two extremes, and one should not become involved with them. The Middle Way is taught by the Tathāgata, the manifestly complete Buddha. It genuinely leads to the activation of insight, the activation of wisdom, the activation of serenity, lucid understanding, authentic comprehension, and Absolute Peace.”

“O seekers of virtue, what is the Middle Way taught by the Tathāgata, by the manifestly complete Buddha? It is that which genuinely leads to the activation of insight, the activation of wisdom, the activation of serenity, lucid understanding, authentic comprehension, and Absolute Peace.”

“The Middle Way is the Noble Eight-Factored Path, and as for those eight, they are as follows:

1)      Right View

2)      Right Thought

3)      Right Speech

4)      Right Action

5)      Right Livelihood

6)      Right Application

7)      Right Mindfulness

8)      Right Meditation

“This Middle Way too is taught by the Tathāgata, the manifestly complete Buddha. It genuinely leads to the activation of vision, the activation of wisdom, the activation of serenity, lucid understanding, authentic comprehension, and Absolute Peace.”

“And this, O seekers of virtue, is the Noble Truth of Suffering, that is, birth is suffering, aging is suffering, sickness is suffering, death is suffering, the suffering of meeting with the unappealing, the suffering of parting from the appealing, and pursuing but not obtaining what is desired is also suffering, in brief, the five aggregates of grasping are suffering.”

“And this, O seekers of virtue, is the Noble Truth of Suffering’s Origination, that is, all that which constitutes the arising of craving, fixation on pleasure, and enthrallment with this and that, namely, the craving of attachment, the craving for cyclic existence, and the craving for separation from cyclic existence.”

“And this, O seekers of virtue, is the Noble Truth of Suffering’s Stopping, that is, in regard to all that comprises such craving without exception, being free from desire for it, stopping it, relinquishing it, becoming detached from it, liberated from it, and unrestrained in freedom from it.”

“And this, O seekers of virtue, is the Noble Truth of the Path Leading to Suffering’s Stopping, and this too is the Noble Eight-Factored Path, namely, Right View, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Application, Right Mindfulness, and Right Meditation.”

“O seekers of virtue, in regard to the Noble Truth of Suffering, concerning things not heard before, vision arose, insight arose, wisdom arose, awareness arose, and illumination arose. Moreover, the Noble Truth of Suffering, O seekers of virtue, must be comprehensively understood. O seekers of virtue, in regard to this itself, concerning things not heard before, vision arose, insight arose, wisdom arose, awareness arose, and illumination arose.”

“In regard to the Noble Truth of Suffering’s Origination, O seekers of virtue, concerning things not heard before, vision arose, insight arose, wisdom arose, awareness arose, and illumination arose. Moreover, the Noble Truth of Suffering’s Origination, O seekers of virtue, must be fully eradicated. O seekers of virtue, in regard to this itself, concerning things not heard before, vision arose, insight arose, wisdom arose, awareness arose, and illumination arose.”

“In regard to the Noble Truth of Suffering’s Stopping, O seekers of virtue, concerning things not heard before, vision arose, insight arose, wisdom arose, awareness arose, and illumination arose. Moreover, the Noble Truth of Suffering’s Stopping must be actualized. O seekers of virtue, in regard to this itself, concerning things not heard before, vision arose, insight arose, wisdom arose, awareness arose, and illumination arose.”

“In regard to the Noble Truth of Suffering’s Stopping, O seekers of virtue, concerning things not heard before, vision arose, insight arose, wisdom arose, awareness arose, and illumination arose. Moreover, the Noble Truth of the Path Leading to Suffering’s Stopping must be cultivated. O seekers of virtue, in regard to this itself, concerning things not heard before, vision arose, insight arose, wisdom arose, awareness arose, and illumination arose.”

“O seekers of virtue, these four aspects which have been thus explained are ennobling truths. Thus enumerated into their three phases and consequent twelve modes, they are a wisdom-vision which is extremely pure.”

“O seekers of virtue, aside from me, in the universe with its Devas, with its Māras, with its Brahmās, with its spiritual contemplatives, with its lords of living beings, with its humans and gods, there is no other unsurpassable authentically complete Buddha.”

“O seekers of virtue, in every way, this, the wisdom-vision of the Four Noble Truths, with their enumerated three phases and consequent twelve modes, is extremely pure. In this manner, O seekers of virtue, I, having manifestly, perfectly awakened to unsurpassable, authentically complete Buddhahood, realized them one by one. And this wisdom I came to behold; I attained unprecedented liberation, and I, leaving nothing behind, and without again grasping at conditioned existence, attained Absolute Peace.”

The Sublime Master bestowed teaching with those words, and the five-fold group of spiritual mendicants was deeply overjoyed at that spoken by the Sublime Master. As soon as the transmission had been taught thus, the Venerable Kauṇḍinya gave rise to the dust-free and stainless Dharma Eye:

ALL THINGS, HOWEVER SLIGHT, WHICH BEGIN ARE THINGS WHICH CEASE.

The Sublime Master having mightily turned and set into motion the Wheel of Dharma, the gods of the earth proclaimed announcements of praise:

That which has not been able to be turned by anyone, whether spiritual contemplatives, priests, gods, demons, almighty gods, or anyone else in the universe, the unsurpassable Wheel of Dharma, which has gone unturned, has been powerfully turned by the Bhagavān, after residing in the Grove of Frolicking Deer, at the Site of Sagely Descent, in the region of Vārāasī!

Thereupon, having heard the uproar of the earth gods, the gods in the heavens of the Four Great Kings also proclaimed announcements of praise:

That which has not been able to be turned by anyone, whether spiritual contemplatives, priests, gods, demons, almighty gods, or anyone else in the universe, the unsurpassable Wheel of Dharma, which has gone unturned, has been powerfully turned by the Bhagavān, after residing in the Grove of Frolicking Deer, at the Site of Sagely Descent, in the region of Vārāasī!

Thereupon, having heard the uproar of the gods in the heavens of the Four Great Kings, the gods of the Thirty-Three also proclaimed announcements of praise:

That which has not been able to be turned by anyone, whether spiritual contemplatives, priests, gods, demons, almighty gods, or anyone else in the universe, the unsurpassable Wheel of Dharma, which has gone unturned, has been powerfully turned by the Bhagavān, after residing in the Grove of Frolicking Deer, at the Site of Sagely Descent, in the region of Vārāasī!

Thereupon, having heard the uproar of the gods of the Thirty-Three, the gods of Conflict-Free also proclaimed announcements of praise:

That which has not been able to be turned by anyone, whether spiritual contemplatives, priests, gods, demons, almighty gods, or anyone else in the universe, the unsurpassable Wheel of Dharma, which has gone unturned, has been powerfully turned by the Bhagavān, after residing in the Grove of Frolicking Deer, at the Site of Sagely Descent, in the region of Vārāasī!

Thereupon, having heard the uproar of the gods of Conflict-Free, the gods of Joyous also proclaimed announcements of praise:

That which has not been able to be turned by anyone, whether spiritual contemplatives, priests, gods, demons, almighty gods, or anyone else in the universe, the unsurpassable Wheel of Dharma, which has gone unturned, has been powerfully turned by the Bhagavān, after residing in the Grove of Frolicking Deer, at the Site of Sagely Descent, in the region of Vārāasī!

Thereupon, having heard the uproar of the gods of Joyous, the gods of Emanation Delight also proclaimed announcements of praise:

That which has not been able to be turned by anyone, whether spiritual contemplatives, priests, gods, demons, almighty gods, or anyone else in the universe, the unsurpassable Wheel of Dharma, which has gone unturned, has been powerfully turned by the Bhagavān, after residing in the Grove of Frolicking Deer, at the Site of Sagely Descent, in the region of Vārāasī!

Thereupon, having heard the uproar of the gods of Emanation Delight, the gods of Mastery Over Others’ Creations also proclaimed announcements of praise:

That which has not been able to be turned by anyone, whether spiritual contemplatives, priests, gods, demons, almighty gods, or anyone else in the universe, the unsurpassable Wheel of Dharma, which has gone unturned, has been powerfully turned by the Bhagavān, after residing in the Grove of Frolicking Deer, at the Site of Sagely Descent, in the region of Vārāasī!

Then and there, ten thousand world-systems thoroughly shook as well; they thoroughly, intensely shook. They thoroughly, intensely quaked. They became heedful, became wondrous, and became illuminated; thus did it occur in the worlds. Thus did the worlds become; Brahmā heard the teaching of the Dharma, and the gods each went to their own abode.

And then as well the Sublime Master decisively expressed confirmation thus:

Kauṇḍinya has thus understood all.

Kauṇḍinya is one who understands all.

Thus, the venerable Kauṇḍinya

Has achieved the name “All-Understanding Kauṇḍinya”.

THE SŪTRA ON THE TURNING OF THE DHARMA WHEEL IS COMPLETE.

Translated by Erick Tsiknopoulos, November 2013, in the Sanctuary of Yearning for Release (Thardö Ling), McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, India. Special thanks to Géshé Lobsang Chögyël Rinpoché for his profound and powerful teachings and commentary on this discourse on the holy day of Chhökhor Düchhen, the ‘great time (celebration) of the Dharma Wheel’, using the other ‘Missing Translator’s Colophon’ version (Tib: ‘gyur byang med pa), for which I had the good fortune to interpret for a group of about ten people in Rinpoché’s room. Also special thanks to Dr. Lobzang Gyamtso for his insightful and erudite commentary on the Tibetan text, and to Gésheyma candidate Ven. Zangmo for her kind and lucid explanation of Illuminating Emancipation’s Path: An Exposition on the Four Noble Truths & Dependent Arising (bden bzhi dang rten ‘brel gyi rnam par bzhag pa thar lam gsal byed ces bya ba bzhugs so) by Choné Jetsün Drakpa Shaydrup (co ne rje brtsun grags pa bshad sgrub).

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