Tsong Kha Pa (1976)

Great Teacher Series @ Theosophy Trust


TSONG-KHA-PA


As the Teacher visited this world.
His Teaching illumines like rays of the sun.
By brotherly accord between followers of the Teaching,
May there be the good fortune that the Teaching stays long.

TSONG-KHA-PA (1357-1419)

Spiritual teachers have accompanied mankind on its pilgrimage to self-conscious godhood since Manas came to be activated through the sacrifice of the Agnishwatha Pitris eighteen million years ago. Every ancient culture and archaic race preserves dim memories of Divine Instructors, Solar Dynasties of King-Initiates and Masters of Wisdom who once walked openly among men and who ever extend their benediction over struggling humanity. As the burden of unrectified mistakes obscured the spiritual vision of evolving races, reaching its climax in the loss of the Wisdom Eye and culminating in the destruction of Atlantis, those who know the arcana of nature and her cycles threw veils over the wisdom to preserve and protect it for the humanity of the future. When and how they taught, the history of their withdrawal to secret sanctuaries and their public appearances, the language in which they dispensed or veiled Gupta Vidya, all became a function of collective karma and the consciousness of individuals.

The great chain of gurus passes unbroken into the present. Although its activities, reaching far beyond the limits of exoteric history and archaeology, are fully recorded only in secret annals, the human mind remains indelibly impressed by their efforts. The work proceeds in cycles, some so large as to challenge the highest powers of human imagination, and others small enough to be recapitulated in a single lifetime.

The Pythagorean-Platonic tradition, dedicated to the idea that deity is inexpressible and humanity is indivisible became eroded by the rise of a materialist and mechanistic science which encouraged a utilitarian and selfish ethic. Misappropriating the message of the Nazarene Teacher, narrow-minded and manipulative men sought in his name to deny natural law and anthropomorphize deity. Though the Church grew as strong as it was superstitious, loftier doctrines persisted. Gnostic teachers preserved the highest ethics and the most exalted cosmogonies, pointing to ethical causality and reincarnation as the keys to gnosis, omniscience through self-knowledge and self-transcendence. Persecuted and hounded out of the Mediterranean, their doctrines nevertheless quietly passed through Armenia and Persia into Egypt, Greece, and Byzantium. Through the Balkan peoples they spread as far as France, giving rise to the Albigenses, Cathari, Paterins, Bogomils and Paulicians. Pope Innocent III, however, determined to make the papacy the absolute spiritual and temporal authority, launched the crusade in Europe which carved its way to the fulfilment of this policy. While offering an order to the good but gullible St. Francis, he also established the dreaded Inquisition subjecting human thought to papal authority by rooting out the doctrines of responsibility and reincarnation from the European mind. With the conquest of Beziers in 1209, the Abbot Arnold uttered the chilling words, "Slay all; God will know his own," and a night of darkness spread across Europe.

Far from this tragic turmoil, an emanation of the Buddha Amitabha manifested in 1357 to modify the destiny of the world. In Amdo, eastern Tibet, in Tsong-Kha, the onion region, Tsong-Kha-Pa was born. When very young, this mysterious being entered a Buddhist monastery under the spiritual name Lobsang Drakpa and mastered the doctrines of the Wisdom-Religion through the Vinaya and Abhidharma and the writings of Asanga. His intense meditation on Madhyamika, the Buddha's middle way, led to a profound exaltation of consciousness in which he received instructions from Manjusri, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom.

Tsong-Kha-Pa undertook two great tasks: the purification, preservation and promulgation of the Wisdom-Religion, and the initiation of the Seven Century Plan to prepare the world through mental and spiritual revitalization to be the seed-ground for the formation of the distant sixth sub-race.

Tsong-Kha-Pa purified Buddhist thought of the superstitious and power-seeking tendencies of the indigenous Bon sorcery which had adopted Buddhist symbols and crept into Buddhist practice. In renewing the spiritual currents of Tibet, he founded the Ganden Monastery in Lhasa and established the Gelugpa or 'yellow-hat' order. The third successor to Tsong-Kha-Pa became the first Dalai Lama and was recognized as an incarnated aspect of Avalokiteshvara, 'the divine SELF perceived by Self.' The present Dalai Lama is the fourteenth incarnation in this unbroken succession.

As an agent of the Lodge of Mahatmas, Tsong-Kha-Pa knew that esoteric doctrines reveal the true sevenfold nature of man, and that correlations between principles, planes and beings gave the key to tremendous spiritual and physical power. "Every sacred truth," he taught, "which the ignorant are unable to comprehend under its true light, ought to be hidden within a triple casket concealing itself as the tortoise conceals his head within his shell; ought to show her face but to those who are desirous of obtaining the condition of Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi" – the most compassionate and enlightened heart. His wish was not that truth should be hidden, but that the degradation of truth through abuse should not be allowed for fear of the terrible attendant karmic consequences during a cycle of spiritual darkness.

In The Three Principles of the Path he taught that the Path of Perfectibility is tread in the triple light of renunciation, Bodhichitta and right view. This is "the light of daring, burning in the heart," ignited by taking and assimilating Tsong-Kha-Pa's pledge:

Through whatever merit I have accumulated
By love immortal, harmony in act, patience, effort,
meditation and wisdom,
May I attain Buddhahood for the sake of all living beings.

In The Concise Meaning of the Stages of the Path he taught that unconditioned devotion to the Teacher is the basis of all moral strength and action. "Of all actions, the highest is that of speech; as this is so, it is from this viewpoint that the wise should follow Buddha."

Depend, with effort, in thought and deed,
On the holy spiritual friend, the Teacher of the Path,
Who is the root of the harmony in dependent origination
Giving all excellence in this and future lives.
Having seen this, retain it though it cost your life,
And please your guide by acting as he instructs.

Those aspiring to the spiritual path act in the light of the guru's guidance. The bias and limitation which mark the ignorance of the unenlightened man, and the natural inevitability of karma demonstrate the centrality of mind, motive and the guru in spiritual progress. "An enlightened attitude is the foundation of the finest road. . . . Knowing this, the heroes, the sons of Buddha, treasure this precious jewel of a mind as the source of true spirituality." An enlightened attitude emerges from self-study and meditation.

If you do not try to contemplate the Truth of Suffering –
the afflictions of samsara
You will not produce desire for liberation.
If you do not contemplate the Cause of Suffering –
the stages by which samsara is entered –
You will not know how to eradicate samsara's source.

Tsong-Kha-Pa sounded again the basic message of the Buddha:

All the frailties of the world
Are rooted deep in ignorance.

The spiritual quest is the dissolution of ignorance, a task which can never be accomplished by ratiocination alone. Intellectual understanding is tied to forms, however abstract, and all forms are dependent on the conditions of samsara, the world of conditionality and illusion.

What deeper and more wondrous way
Is there but to say: whatever
Depends upon conditions
Is void of any being.

The awakened Buddhi, which unites the will and intuition of the individual and penetrates the veil of Maya, is the spiritual perception of the fullness of the seeming void.

Producing Bodhi-mind is the kingpost of the
Mahayana path,
The base and support of the Bodhisattva's great deeds,
A philosopher's stone transmuting all into merit and wisdom,
A treasure of merit assembling glorious virtue.

Buddhi alone can penetrate to the core of being.

If by intuition one cannot understand that
which Being is,
However much one may withdraw from the world and
win enlightenment,
One never will cut off samsara's root.
Strive then to understand the relative.

While the chela must develop Buddhi within, the guru gives critical guidance on the Bodhisattva path.

When you don the mantle of Effort that is steady
and unswerving,
The excellence of instruction and insight grows
like the waxing moon;
All actions become significant,
And whatever is begun is accomplished as desired.

The Middle Way involves neither attachment to samsara nor a rush to nirvana, for that enlightenment which fully benefits all beings must move between them.

He who sees that all things in samsara and nirvana
Are infallible in their cause and in their effect
And in whom all preconceived ideas have vanished,
Has set out down the path in which all Buddhas delight.

When the goal is gained, the powers and virtues of all nature are the Bodhisattva's own.

Moral practice is water which cleanses the defilement
of wrongdoing,
It is moonlight cooling the hot torment of passions:
As lofty as Mount Meru in the midst of mankind,
It assembles all beings with no threat of force.
Understanding this, Bodhisattvas guard this Moral Practice
As they would their eyes.

But virtue can no more be shut up within oneself than the waters of Sumeru can be contained. With a compassionate eye upon the progress of humanity, Tsong-Kha-Pa wrote: "I dedicate this virtue that all beings might be upheld by a spiritual teacher." Knowing that the root of all wisdom, self-knowledge, "is of loving deeds the child," Tsong-Kha-Pa laid the foundations for public access to the Path of the Predecessors.

Behind the scenes, and beyond the perceptions of all but the most intuitive disciples, the Lodge of Mahatmas ceaselessly works for the elevation of the Manas and Buddhi of humanity. A Mahatmic agent in this work, Tsong-Kha-Pa assumed responsibility for initiating the Seven Century Plan. The reform which returned Buddhist doctrines to their pristine state and formed the Gelugpa order became the cornerstone as well as the rehearsal for a global renaissance of spiritual freedom and truth, the restoration of the universal Sangha and, for the West, the return of the Mysteries on an unassailable foundation. His decision to renew the current of spirit in the world during the last quarter of each century profoundly affected subsequent history, though the full impact of this great work will become obvious only from the perspective of the coming centuries. His Lamrin instructions are studied by disciples of Gupta Vidya to this day, that those who prepare themselves may serve as companions of the Adepts throughout the world. In one vast vision of human possibility, direct agents of the Mahatmas, in addition to creative geniuses whose deeply-rooted spiritual receptivity allowed Masters to secretly guide their work, simple good men who were open to truth in every quarter, and historical events which gave karmic room for the adjustment of forces were woven together in one master movement throughout the world.

H.P.Blavatsky gave the large perspective when she wrote:

A prophecy of Tsong-ka-pa is current in Tibet to the effect that the true doctrine will be maintained in its purity only so long as Tibet is kept free from the incursions of western nations, whose crude ideas of fundamental truth would inevitably confuse and obscure the followers of the Good Law. But, when the western world is more ripe in the direction of philosophy, the incarnation of Phan-chhen-rin-po-chha – the Great Jewel of Wisdom – one of the Teshu Lamas, will take place, and the splendour of truth will then illuminate the whole world.

Although universal illumination lies far in the future of evolving humanity, the seven impulsions which culminate in the 1975 Cycle are crucial to it. The true history of the movement in the last seven hundred years, like the story of all human evolution, is known only to Adepts whose flashing gaze penetrates the veil of external events on the screen of time. Individuals who have, under karma, earned the privilege of participating in the grand alchemical transmutation of the human spirit can catch glimpses of the logic of the Mahatmic Plan.