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Library: Sacred Texts

The Stanzas on the Practice of Holy Transcendental Wisdom

Arya Prajna-Paramita Carya Gatha

Stanza I

1. vara-prema-gauravu-prasadu upasthapitva
2. prajahitva avarana-klesa malatikrantah
3. srutam jagartham abhiprasthita-suratanam
4. prajnaya paramita yatra caranti surah

1. Draw forth extreme love, yearning, and devotion;
2. Making confession, eradicate the obstructing defilements.
3. Listen, ye of the world, to that which is taught by the sages,
4. Which they received from the divine ones, concerning transcendental wisdom.

Stanza II

1. yavanti nadya pravahant' iha jambu-dvipe
2. phala-puspa-ausadhi-vanaspati rohayanti
3. bhujagendra-niga-pati nigray anovatapte
4. tasyanubhava-sriyasa bhujagadhipasya

1. The water of all the rivers of india
2. Which causes the flowers, fruits, vegetables and trees to grow,
3. Is said to spring from the dragon-lord of lake manasarowar,
4. Through the great power of his grace.

Stanza III

1. yavanti dharma jina-sravaka desayanti
2. bhasanti yukti-sahitams ca udirayanti
3. paramarya-saukhya-kriya tat-phala-praptita ca
4. sarvo ayam purusa-karu tathagatena

1. Just so, whatever dharma the disciples of the victor affirm,
2. Whatever reasoning they authoritatively reveal, inspired by the great one,
3. Concerning the acquisition of the fruit that is supreme holy bliss,
4. That revelation springs from the personal presence of the tathagata!

Stanza IV

1. kim karanam ya jinu bhasati dharma-netri
2. tatrabhigiksita nara-rsabha-gisya-bhutah
3. saksat-karitva yatha-iiksita desayanti
4. uddhanubhava na punatma-balanubhava

1. For that which the victor has taught concerning the dharma,
2. His authentic students have all thoroughly practiced.
3. From direct experience born of such practice, they teach:
4. Thus their teaching comes not from their personal power, but from the grace of the buddha.

Stanza V

1. yasmin na prajna-vara-paramitopalabdhi
2. na ca bodhisattva-upalabdhi na citta bodhe
3. evam srunitva na ca muhyati ni sti traso
4. so bodhisattva carate sugatana prajnam

1. Know that absolute transcendental wisdom is not something to be developed;
2. There is no enlightened-being to be evolved, no mind of enlightenment.
3. Thus, when this is proclaimed, if not confused and not fearful,
4. Then shall the bodhisattva engage in the wisdom of the blissful ones.

Stanza VI

1. na ca rupa-vedana na samjna na cetana ca
2. vijnana-sthanu anu-matr' a-labhonti tasya
3. so sarva-dharma a-sthito a-niketa-cari
4. a-pariggrhitu labhate sugatana bodhim

1. Not in form, feelings, thought, volition,
2. Nor in consciousness do they find a locality to rest on.
3. Held not by universal phenomena, they wander homeless.
4. Grasping not at anything, they win the enlightenment of the blissful ones.

Stanza VII

1. atha srenikasya abhuti parivrijakasya
2. jnanopalambhana hi skandhu-vibhavana ca
3. yo bodhisattvu parijanati eva dharma
4. na ca nirvrtim sprsati so viharati prajnam

1. Just as the ascetic srenika in his realization,
2. Through meditating on the complexes, discerned nothing concrete:
3. Just so, the bodhisattva, intuiting the real nature of phenomena,
4. Abides in wisdom, not striving for cessation.

Stanza VIII

1. vyupariksate punar ayam katar' esu prajna
2. kasmat kuto va imi sunyaka sarva-dharmah
3. vyupartksamanu na ca liyati nasti traso
4. asannu so bhavati bodhayi bodhisattvo

1. Enquiring whose is this wisdom and from whence,
2. He comes to see that all phenomena are empty (sunya).
3. Through that direct examination, without confusion or fearfulness,
4. The bodhisattva approaches unto enlightenment.

Stanza IX

1. saci rupa samjna api vedana cetana ca
2. vijnana-skandha carati a-prajanamano
3. imi skandha sunya parikalpayi bodhisattvo
4. carati nimitta an-upada-pade a-sakto

1. To be engaged in form, thought, feelings, volition
2. And consciousness, and not to wisely cognize
3. That these complexes are empty, for the bodhisattva is
4. To engage in images (nimitta), while ignoring creation's non-origination.

Stanza X

1. na ca rupa-vedana na samjna na cetanaya
2. vijnani yo na carati a-niketa-cari
3. caratiti so na upagacchati prajna-dhiro
4. an-upadu-dhi sprsati santi-samadhi srestham

1. Not in form, thought, feelings, volition
2. Nor consciousness does he engage—homeless he wanders;
3. Without grasping for wisdom, so he proceeds.
4. Seeing non-origination, the peace of contemplation is his.

Stanza XI

1. evatma-santa viharant' iha bodhisattvo
2. so vyakrto puramakehi tathagatehi
3. na ca manyate ahu samahitu vyutthito
4. kasmartha dharma-prakrtim parijanayitva

1. The bodhisattva abides in the peace of his own self,
2. His future marked out by those tathagatas who have gone before.
3. Whether absorbed in quietude or not,
4. He knows the ground of existent phenomena.

Stanza XII

1. evam carantu carati sugatana prajnam
2. na so labhati yatra carati dharma
3. caranam ca so a-caranam ca prajanayitva
4. esa sa prajna-vara-paramitaya caryi

1. Thus engaged, he engages in the wisdom of the blissful ones,
2. Yet he apprehends no phenomena in which he engages.
3. Thus engaging, he wisely knows this to be a non-engagement.
4. And that is the practice of the absolute transcendental wisdom!

Stanza XIII

1. yo 'sau na yidyati sa esa a-vidyamano
2. tam balu kalpayi a-vidya karoti vidyam
3. vidya-avidya ubhi eti a-santa dharma
4. niryati yo imi prajnati bodhisattvo

1. Of that which is not, unwisely one conceives it to be;
2. Trying to manufacture knowledge out of ignorance.
3. Both knowledge and ignorance are fluctuating phenomena.
4. Wisely recognizing this, the bodhisattva goes forth.

Stanza XIV

1. mayopami ya iha janati panca skandhan
2. na ca maya anya na ca skandha karoti anyan
3. ni nanatva-samjna-vigato upasanta-cari
4. esa sa prajna-vara-paramitaya carya

1. He realizes that the five complexes are an illusion,
2. Yet he makes not illusion one thing and the complexes another.
3. Freed from the concept of diversity, he enters into peace.
4. And that is the practice of the absolute transcendental wisdom!

Stanza XV

1. kalyana-mitra-sahitasya vipasyakasya
2. traso na bhesyati srunitva jnana matram
3. yo papa-mitra-sahito ca para-praneyo
4. so ama-bhajana yathodaka-sprsta bhinno

1. Those who have good spiritual friends and clear insight
2. Are without fear when they hear of the mother gnosis.
3. But those with evil friends and who are easily misguided,
4. Are ruined thereby, just as an unbaked pot is ruined by moisture.

Stanza XVI

1. kim karanam ayu pravucyati bodhisattvo
2. sarvatra sanga-kriya icchati sanga-chedi
3. bodhim sprsisyati jnana a-sanga-bhutam
4. tasma hu nama labhate ayu bodhisattvo

1. For what reason do we use the term "bodhisattva"?
2. By means of breaking through attachment, of cutting attachment,
3. Having arrived at non-attachment, he knows enlightenment.
4. Therefore he is named an bodhisattva.

Stanza XVII

1. maha-sattva so atha kinocyati karanena
2. mahataya agru ayu bhesyati sattva-rase
3. drsti-gatan mahacchedi sattva-dhato
4. maha-sattva tena hi pravucyati karanena

1. For what reason then do we use the term "mahasattva" (great being)?
2. Since he evolves to greatness by evolving through the multitude of beings,
3. While adopting a view of great severance from the world of beings (bodhisattva),
4. We define him by the term "great-being" (mahasattva).

Stanza XVIII

1. maha-dayako mahata-buddhi mahanubhavo
2. maha-yana uttama jnana samabhirudho
3. mahata-sanaddhu namucim satha dharsayisy
4. maha-sattva tena hi pravucyati karanena

1. Great giver, great intelligence, great source of grace,
2. He rides the mahayana of the supreme victors,
3. And clothed in the great armour, he subdues the artful demon (mara).
4. Thus we define him by the term "great-being".

Stanza XIX

1. maya-karo yatha catus-pathi nirminitva
2. mahato janasya bahu chindati sirsa-koti
3. yatha te ca maya tatha janati sarva-sattvan
4. nirmanu sarva jagato na ca tasya traso

1. It is like a magical illusion projected in a courtyard
2. Of a great crowd of people having their heads cut off.
3. In that all those beings are merely a magicians illusion,
4. Just so he knows that everything is a creation, and he has no fear.

Stanza XX

1. rupam ca samjna api vedana cetana ca
2. vijnana-bandhu na ca mukta a-sanga-bhuto
3. evam ca bodhi kramate na ca lina-citto
4. samnaha esa vara pudgala-uttamanam

1. Form, thoughts, feelings, volition
2. And consciousness, are not bound and [therefore] cannot be liberated.
3. Thus, with an intrepid mind, he enters upon enlightenment.
4. For the superior person, that is the best of armours.

Stanza XXI

1. kim karanam ayu pravucyati bodhi-yano
2. yaktraruhitva sa nivapayi sarva-sattvan
3. akasa-tulya aya yana maha-vimano
4. sukha-saukhya-ksemam abhiprapuni yana-srestho

1. And what is this vehicle of enlightenment?
2. It is that whereby one guides all beings to nirvana.
3. This vehicle is like a great spaceship in space,
4. Capable of carrying all who are on it to safety, happiness and bliss.

Stanza XXII

1. na ca labhyate ya vrajate disa aruhitva
2. nirvana ukta gamanam gati nopalabdhih
3. yatha agni nirvrtu na tasya gati-pracaro
4. so tena nirvrti pravucyati karanena

1. Traveling beyond our world, he escapes our grasp;
2. "Gone to nirvana," and yet no one can describe what he attains.
3. Like a fire extinguished, no one can say where he has gone.
4. So, how can we define him who has attained cessation.

Stanza XIII

1. purvantato na upalabhyati bodhisattvo
2. aparantato pratiupanna triy-adhva-suddho
3. yo suddha so an-abhisamskrtu nisprapanco
4. esa sa prajna-vara-paramitaya carya

1. A bodhisattva's past, present, and future elude us;
2. Time's three aspects no where affects him.
3. He is pure, beyond conditioning and differentiation.
4. And that is the practice of the absolute transcendental wisdom!

Stanza XXIV

1. yasmims ca kali samaye vidu bodhisattvo
2. evam carantu an-upadu vicintayitva
3. mahatim janeti karuna na ca sattva-samjna
4. esa sa prajna-vara-paramitaya carya

1. At that time when with insight the bodhisattva
2. Thus engaged, reflects upon non-origination,
3. He engenders great compassion without any concept of beings.
4. And that is the practice of the absolute transcendental wisdom!

Stanza XXV

1. saci sattva-samjna dukha-samjna upadayati
2. karisyami duhkha jagati karisyami artham
3. so atma-sattva-parikalpaku bodhisattvo
4. na ca esa prajna-vara-paramitaya carya

1. But when the concept of beings and the concept of suffering leads him to think:
2. "Suffering I shall remove, the salvation of the world I shall accomplish!";
3. Then the bodhisattva constructs a self and beings.
4. This is not the practice of the absolute transcendental wisdom.

Stanza XXVI

1. yatha atmanam tatha prajanati sarva-sattvan
2. yatha sarva-sattva tatha janati sarva-dharman
3. an-upad'-upadu ubhaye a-vikalpamano
4. esa sa prajna-vara-paramitaya carya

1. He should wisely realize that beings are like his own self,
2. And all beings are like all phenomena, in that
3. Both origination and non-origination are inconceivable.
4. And that is the practice of the absolute transcendental wisdom!

Stanza XXVII

1. yavanti loki parikirtita dharma-nama
2. sarves' upadu-samatikramu nirgamitva
3. a-mrtam ti jnanu paramam na tu yo parena
4. etartha prajna ayu paramiteti nama

1. All words belonging to worldly phenomena must be abandoned,
2. All that has arisen and been created must be transcended.
3. The immortal, supreme, incomparable gnosis is then acquired.
4. That is the sense in which we refer to wisdom as transcendental.

Stanza XXVIII

1. evam carantu na ya kanksati bodhisattvo
2. jnatavya so viharate sa-upaya-prajno
3. prakrti-asanta parijanayamana dharman
4. esa sa prajna-vara-paramitaya carya

1. Thus the bodhisattva engages, free of misunderstanding.
2. He abides in the gnosis of means and wisdom,
3. Knowing that all phenomena are utterly without a ground.
4. And that is the practice of the absolute transcendental wisdom!

Stanza XXIX

1. rupasmi yo na sthihate na ca vedanayam
2. samjnaya yo na sthihate na ca cetanayam
3. vijnani yo na sthihate sthitu dharmatayam
4. esa sa prajna-vara-paramitaya carya

1. On form he does not take a stand, nor on feelings,
2. On thought he does not take a stand, nor on volition.
3. On consciousness he does not take a stand: in ultimate reality alone he stands.
4. And that is the practice of the absolute transcendental wisdom!

Stanza XXX

1. nityam-anitya-sukha-duhkha-subha-subham ti
2. atmany an-atmi tathata tatha sunyatayam
3. phala-praptitaya a-thito arahanta-bhumau
4. pratyeja-bhumi a-thito tatha buddha-bhumau

1. Changing and changeless, suffering and bliss, ugly and beautiful,
2. Self and no-self are an emptiness just thatness is.
3. Hence he takes no stand on attaining the fruit of a saint,
4. The stage of individual realization, or the obtaining of buddha-hood.

Stanza XXXI

1. yatha nayako 'sthitaku dhatu a-samskrtaya
2. tatha samskrtaye a-thito a-niketa-cari
3. evam ca sthanu-athito sthita bodhisattvo
4. a-sthanu sthanu ayu sthanu jinena ukto

1. The master himself was not stationed in either the unconditioned dimension,
2. Or in the conditioned, but freely wandered without a home.
3. Thus the bodhisattva stands not on locality nor support;
4. A locality without locality is that locality by the victor called.

Stanza XXXII

1. yo icchati sugata-sravaka ham bhaveyam
2. pratyeka-buddha bhaviyam tatha dharma rajo
3. imu ksanty an agami na sakyati prapunetum
4. yatha ara-para-gamanaya a-tira-darsi

1. They who wish to be disciples of the blissful ones,
2. Or individually-realized, or kings of the dharma,
3. Reach not their aim except through resort to this patience.
4. They are moving across, but see not yet the further shore.

Stanza XXXIII

1. yo dharma bhasyati ya srosyati bhasyamanam
2. phala-prapta pratya jino tatha loka-natho
3. nirvana yo adhigato vidu-panditehi
4. sarve to atma ja nidistu tathagatena

1. Teachers of the dharma and students of the teaching,
2. Acquirers of individual-realization and likewise planetary lords (ksanti),
3. Wise and learned beings who obtain nirvana:
4. These [attainments] are merely a dream, says the tathagata.

Stanza XXXIV

1. catvari pudgala ime na trasanti ye 'smi
2. jina-putra satya-kusalo a-vivartiyas ca
3. arhan vidhuta-mala-kleso prahina-kankso
4. kalyana-mitra-paripacita yas caturthah

1. Four types of persons are not alarmed by this—
2. Sons of the victor who are skilled in truth, non-reversible saints,
3. Saints free of sin and neurosis and confusion,
4. And, fourth, those who the spiritual teachers have carefully matured.

Stanza XXXV

1. evam carantu vidu-panditu bodhisattvo
2. narhammi siksati na pratya-Buddha-bhumau
3. sarva jnataya anusiksati buddha-dharme
4. siksa-asiksa-naya siksati esi siksa

1. Thus engaged, the intelligent and learned bodhisattva
2. Studies not for sainthood nor the stage of individual realization.
3. He studies the buddha-dharma solely for [acquiring] omniscience.
4. A non-study is that study, for there is no student who studies.

Stanza XXXVI

1. na ca rupa-vrddhi-prahani-parigrahaye
2. na ca siksati vividha-dharma-parigrahaye
3. sarva jnatam ca parigrhnati siksamano
4. niryayati ya iya siksa gune ratanam

1. The acquisition of more or less forms is not the aim here,
2. Nor the possession of knowledge through the study of various doctrines.
3. Omniscience alone can he hope to acquire by this study.
4. To that he, the student, goes forth, delighting in its quality.

Stanza XXXVII

1. rupam na prajna iti rupi na prajna
2. vijinana samjna api vedana cetana ca
3. na ca eti prajna iti tesa na prajna
4. akasa-dhatu-sama tasya na casti bhedah

1. Form is not wisdom, nor is wisdom found in form,
2. In consciousness, thoughts, feelings, nor in volition.
3. These are not wisdom and wisdom is not found in them.
4. Like the dimension of space, it is without break or division.

Stanza XXXVIII

1. arambanana prakrti sa an-anta-para
2. sattvana ya ca prakrti sa an-anta-para
3. akasa-dhatu-prakrti sa an-anta-para
4. prajnapi loka-vidunam sa an-anta-para

1. The ground of objective experience is unbounded,
2. And likewise the ground of all beings is unbounded.
3. Just as the dimension of space is unbounded,
4. So is the wisdom of the world-knowers unbounded.

Stanza XXXIX

1. samjneti nama parikirtitu nayakena
2. samjna vibhaviya prahana vrajanti param
3. ye atra samjna-vigamam anupraptavanti
4. te para-prapta sthita paramite hu bhonti

1. The masters have taught that concepts are just words.
2. Renounce conceptualization and the way is opened to the supreme!
3. Those who succeed in transcending thought,
4. Having attained the transcendental, fulfill the teaching.

Stanza XL

1. saci ganga-valuka-samani sthihitva kalpa
2. sattveti sabda parikirtayi nayako 'yam
3. sattvay' upadu kutu bhesyati adi-suddho
4. esa sa prajna-vara-paramitaya carya

1. If for ages countless as the sands of the ganges,
2. The master himself were to utter the word "beings",
3. No "being" would arise therefrom—all is pure from the first!
4. And that is the practice of the absolute transcendental wisdom!

Stanza XLI

1. evam jino bhanati a-pratikula-bhani
2. yada ham imaya vara-paramitaya asi
3. tada vyakrto ahu pura purusottamena
4. buddho bhavisyasi an-agatu-adhvanasmin

1. Thus the victor summed up his understanding by saying:
2. "When all I said and did conformed to ultimate transcendence,
3. Then this prediction I received from him who went before:
4. 'In future time thou shalt the Buddha become!'"


These are the forty-two Stanzas of the Practice of Holy Transcendental Wisdom, in 164 verse lines. This translation was completed in San Francisco, 1995, Dharma Fellowship of His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa.

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