Thursday, September 20, 2007

rdo rje tshig rkang - Vajra Verses

The text we will use for presenting how sentient beings, meditators, and enlightened beings experience the world is called rdo rje tshig rkang - Vajra verses. This was orally transmitted from Virupa to his closest disciples, and they in turn kept this tradition around as an oral-only translation until it was time for the Sakya tradition to preserve it in writing.

rdo rje is Vajra in Sanskrit, a term used in Tantric teachings to define various things, but in general it is the indestructable reality as it is.

tshig is word, rkang is pith, kind of the core, or primary stuff, it's also the same word for marrow which kind of annotates the usage of this word.

tshig rkang is actually the term verse, so hence the short title of this text is Vajra Verses.

Speaking of this oral tradition, it's a very beautiful one. The student has to memorize the text, and when they know it inside out, they will get in-depth teachings about the topic. So while memorizing and wondering what it's all about, the seeds to really want to get the knowledge is planted. Compare this with today's Internet world with seconds to knowledge, and with a mouse click the end users move to the next topic.

If you want to learn more about the oral tradition, part of lam 'bras in the Sakya tradition, as rdo rje tshig rkang is the root text to the lam 'bras teachings, I recommend to read Cyrus Stearns book Luminous Lives.

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