It is in the Nature of Emptiness. By Arya Nagarjuna

A Commentary on the Awakening Mind
composed by Arya Nagarjuna.

Homage to glorious Vajrasattva!

Bodhisattva Vajrasattva 8th century, India, Kashmir ©️ The Metropolitan Museum of Art

It has been stated:


Devoid of all real entities;
Utterly discarding all objects and subjects,
Such as aggregates, elements and sense-fields; Due to sameness of selflessness of all phenomena, One’s mind is primordially unborn;
It is in the nature of emptiness.

Just as the blessed Buddhas and the great bodhisattvas have generated the mind of great awakening, I too shall, from now until I arrive at the heart of awakening, generate the awakening mind in order that I may save those who are not saved, free those who are not free, relieve those who are not relieved, and help thoroughly transcend sorrow those who have not thoroughly transcended sorrow.


Those bodhisattvas who practice by means of the secret mantra, after having generated awakening mind in terms of its conventional aspect in the form of an aspiration, must [then] produce the ultimate awakening mind through the force of meditative practice. I shall therefore explain its nature.


A Commentary on the Awakening Mind composed by the great master Arya Nagarjuna. It was translated and edited by the Indian abbot Gunakara and the translator Rapshi Shenyen, and was later revised by the Indian abbot Kanakavarma and the Tibetan translator Patsap Nyima Drak.

© English translation. Geshe Thupten Jinpa, 2006; revised 2007. This translation was prepared on the basis of reading the Tibetan root text against Smriti Jnanakirti’s commentary (Tengyur, Derge, rgyud ‘grel Ci, p.117a-142b) and Gomchen Ngawang Drakpa’s commentary entitled Jewel Garland (The Collected Works of Gomchen Ngawang Drakpa, vol.ka).

With thanks to Tibetanclassics.org.


Image: The Bodhisattva Vajrasattva
8th century
India, Kashmir

©️ The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Esoteric Buddhist deity Vajrasattva holds a stylised thunderbolt and a bell and sits in royal ease on a stylised mountain, with his pendant foot supported by a lotus bloom. Two snake deities, a naga and nagini, emerge from the mountain’s waters and raise their hands in veneration of Vajrasattva’s transcendent wisdom.

Image: Three Tibetan Mahāyoga sādhanās
Tibetan Tantric Ritual Manual. ©️ British Library

This Tibetan Buddhist manuscript provides instructions for tantric meditation practice. These practices include visualisation of Buddhist deities and their mandalas, chanting mantras, and forming hand gestures known as mudrā. The three tantric meditation practices (sādhanā) in this manuscript were probably practiced together in a single sitting.

What are the rituals for?

In tantric Buddhist meditation, the practitioner meditates on a specific Buddhist deity with the ultimate aim of achieving enlightenment. Depending on the practitioner’s circumstances, different deities may be selected as the focus of meditation. The three practices here begin with a visualisation practice for purification involving sacred Sanskrit syllables, followed by a practice focussed on the deity Vajrasattva and his mandala, and concluding with a ritual for the wrathful deity Vajrakīlaya.

How do you read the manuscript?

The manuscript is in the loose leaf paper format known as pothi, which developed from Indic palm leaf manuscripts. The Tibetan script, here in a calligraphic form popular in the 10th century, is read from left to right. In between the main lines of text, notes have been added in smaller writing, probably by the same scribe. These give further details about visualisation and other aspects of the practice.




Categories: Buddhist Insights, Mahayana, Tibetan Buddhism

Tags: , , ,

1 reply

  1. Exquisite brass sculpture! Awakening mind. Thank you for sharing. 🙏🏼✨

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