The Unifying of Rdzogs Pa Chen Po and Ch'an
Chung-Hwa Buddhist Journal
By A. W. Barber
The traditional accounts of the early history of Tibetan
Buddhism are far from unbiased. They do not portray
accurately the history of Buddhism as it first moved into
that country. The political/social context was far more
complex than traditional accounts would lead one to believe.
Ch'an Buddhism was introduced into Tibet in three main
currents. These are: from Kim Ho-shang's teachings, from Wu
Chu's teachings and from Mo ho yen's teachings. The various
forms of Ch'an gained wide popularity. So much so that the
first Tibetan born abbot of the most important monastic
center, bSam yas, was a Ch'an master. At the same time the
rDzogs pa Chen po teachings from India were being introduced
by Vimalamitra and Vairocana. Doctrinally there are
considerable similarities between these two teachings. The
teachings of Vimalamitra became very popular in the central
district of Tibet. The teachings of Vairocana became popular
in the areas of Tibet near the Chinese border.
The rNyingma master Rong Zom lived at the time of Atisa.
Two generations before him the Ch'an teachings that survived
after the suppression of Ch'an (in Tibet), were unified with
the rDzogs pa Chen po teachings of Vairocana. Rong Zom
received the entire teachings of both Vimalamitra and
Vairocana. He was the first person to do so. After the time
of these two masters. Because the Ch'an teachings were
already preserved in the system of Vairocana, with Rong Zom
the whole of the rDzogs pa Chen po and Tibetan Ch'an were
This information is well documented in early rDzogs pa
Chen po texts and histories. Further references are to be
found in The Blue Annals. as well as material from Tun
THE UNIFYING OF RDZOGS PA CHEN PO AND CH'AN
In the past few years, there has been some attention paid
to the topic of rDzogs pa Chen po and its connections with
Ch'an.(1) Although the material that has been published has
exhibited excellent scholarship, it has not been very
extensive. There remains considerable work to be undertaken
in developing this area of research.
In the following paper, I hope to build on my other
published papers on this topic and add to our knowedge in
two ways.(2) First, I would like to show how the important
figure of Rong Zom played a key role in bringing the two
traditions together. Second, 1 would also like to show how
Ch'an thought was preserved and incorporated into the
structure of Tibetan Buddhism with its strong Indian based
gradualistic path approach. It will be shown that Rong Zom
was indeed instrumental in the uniting of these traditions
and that Ch'an, although having to go underground for a
period, emerged at the very pennicle of one school of
THE EARLY SPIRITUAL ARENA IN TIBET
As is well known, Buddhism first started filtering into
Tibet at the time of Srong Sum Gam po who married both a
Chinese princess and a Nepalese princess. As legend has it,
both brought with them a statue of the Buddha. These statues
were duely enshrined and preceeded to become important
religious treasures of lasting inspiration.
Previous to this event, there were undoubtedly some
contact between central Tibet and Buddhism. Legend holds
that a copy of the Karandavyuha Sutra fell from the sky.
While the validity this story may have is undetermined, yet
it was used repeatedly to show the close connection of
Tibetan rulers with Buddhism and notably with
Avaiokitesvara. There is also a report of some Khotanese
monks having gone to Tibet. It seems reasonable to assume
that wondering monks and yogis were not altogether unknown
on Tibetan soil. Yet, at best these minor incidents, perhaps
only set the stage for the more official introduction of
Buddhism in the late 8th and 9th century A.D. However,
it is logical these minor incidents developed among the
population and, more importantly, among the various
chieftains, a base for Buddhism to grow. Although Tibetan
history prefers to portray the great kings of Tibet as
enlightened Bodhisattvas, who intrinsically knew the value
of Buddhism and were thus willing to risk all in order to
establish it in Tibet, the reality of such a portrayal is
The Kings of Tibet most likely saw in Buddhism several
advantages. The first and formost was probably the belief
that by adopting it, the important religious base of the
"Kings right to rule," could be completely under the kings
control. Politically, this had further ramifications. Some
of the more remote chieftains living in areas that boardered
Buddhist countries were already coming under the influence
of Buddhism. This allowed the kings in central Tibet to have
some critical alliances in their continuing problems with
neighboring regions such as Zhan Zhung. Also, it allowed for
better relationships with the surrounding Buddhist countries
such as China and Nepal. Mention must be made of the fact
that some Tibetans considered that Buddhist magic was by far
more powerful than their native shamanistic magic. Finally,
the primitive Tibetans could not but be impressed by the
sophistication of thought, religious practices, and other
cultural dimensions, such as education, that Buddhism
brought with it. Thus,it was to the kings every advantage to
foster Buddhism and promote its wide diffusial. The larger
the base of Buddhism in the country, the more secure was the
kings base of power.
Given this environment, wondering monks were permitted,
religious teachers were invited and the financing of Dharma
projects of various sorts were undertaken. We know from
Chinese sources that China was very much aware of Tibetans
for many years before the 8th century A.D. These encounters
were probably beneficial and some were reportedly military in
nature. The Tibetan have no source of comparable information.
Tibetans seem to have had only vague information about India
proper. There had been some contact with parts of India that
bordered Tibet such as Kashmire.(3) Further, it is safe to
assume that Tibet had some knowledge of what is now Nepal.(4)
but accurate information of the Gangatic Plane and the heart-
land of Buddhism seems to have been lacking. Therefore, it
was not at all suprising to find that
the Tibetans first looked to China, including Khotan and Tun
Huang, for its importation of Buddhism.(5)
The earliest translations made, the earliest training in
Buddhism undertaken by Tibetans, and the largest contingent
of masters all were Chinese in origin. Of important
consideration was the Tibetan occupation of Tun Huang in 780
A.D. At this famous site, many manuscripts were translated
from the Chinese originals into Tibetan. Thanks to the large
find of such preserved material made in the beginning of
this century, we now have become aware of these manuscripts.
However, a detailed study of the translation system used for
translating Chinese into Tibetan has not come to light so
far. Be this as it may, the available information indicates
that at the earliest stages, the Tibetans were spending far
more time in trying to understand and to transmit Chinese
Buddhism to their native soil, than they were Indian
Buddhism per se. This of course would change.
As is now well known, Ch'an monks and Ch'an teachings
gained popularity in Tibet early in their adaption of
Buddhism. Of course, the various states of Tibet that were
closest to China and Central Asia (where Ch'an had also
become popular) were the most influenced, such as Kham. But
this popularity had affected the whole of the Tibetan world.
In China at this time, Ch'an was coming into its own and
many different schools were developing. However, at Tun
Huang various Ch'an schools were represented.(6) This
assortment of Ch'an teachings allowed for some unique mixes
of schools as is represented by Mo Ho Yen 和尚摩訶衍 (Tb.
Hwa shang Mahayana). Mo Ho Yen seems to have blended some
teachings of the Northern school of Ch'an with the Pao T'ang
school. It was this hybrid form of Ch'an that was being
propagated in Tibet.(7)
There were three transmission lines of Ch'an into Tibet.
These lines of transmission were supported by several
The first line of transmission was from I chou 益州 -
成都 and came from the master Kim (Chin ho shang) 金和尚
This lineage was brought to Tibet by the son of a Chinese
commissioner named Sang Shi in Tibetan sources. The
second line of transmission was probably from master Wu Chu
無住 of the Pao T'ang school. This lineage was brought to
Tibet by the Tibetan minister Ye shes dbang po. The third
was introduced by the famous master Mo ho yen, who traveled
to Tibet from his residency at Tun Huang.(8)
The first of the above mentioned transmissions took place
in circa 750 A.D. Upon Sang Shi's return from China to a
politically unstable situation, the texts were hidden for
two years before he could translate them. Although these
teachings were to be quickly superseded by the second line
of transmission, Sang shi's teachings were of considerable
importance. Also of importance is the fact that Sang shi
became abbot of bSam Yas Monastery. This monastery was the
central stage for the introduction of Buddhism into Tibet.
The line of teachings stemming from Wu Chu took on far
greater importance than that introduced by Sang Shi. First,
Wu chu or his students claimed that he had received the
transmission from master Kim. Although this is highly
questionable, in the Tibetan eyes, this must have added to
his prestige. Second, the radical teachings of the Pao T'ang
school in someways parallels the more radical approach taken
in the Mahasiddha's teachings which were being introduced
The third line of transmission developed as much
influence as that of the Pao T'ang line, if not more. This
was introduced to Tibet by Mo ho yen of Tun Huang. However,
the actual historical events of his life as well as the
teachings he passed on, are still a subject of study.(10)
According to legend, Mo ho yen was the Chinese representative
at the debate of Lhasa.(11) According to late Tibetan
sources, his teachings seem to be a mixture of both late
Northern Ch'an and the Pao T'ang Ch'an. However, as noted by
other scholars, the historicity of the Lhasa debate is
highly questionable.(12) Also, more study is needed to
determine first, if Mo ho yen was influenced by Pao T'ang
teachings or other Ch'an schools besides the Northern
school. Second, if the Tibetans had inadvertently assigned
teachings to Mo ho yen that were not representative of his
position. Third, to what extent was Mo ho yen influenced by
the other Ch'an teachings available at Tun Huang. Finally,
if Mo ho yen was actually influenced by the Mahasiddha
Slightly after the first introduction of Ch'an in Tibet,
there was the introduction of Indian forms of Buddhism.
Although we read of a natural encounter between Tibetans
interested in Buddhism and Buddhist teachers at Tun Huang
and of wondering Ch'an monks, the introduction of Indian
Buddhism seems to have been totally under the control and by
invitation only of the ruling house. However, it seems
unlikely that this was the case and I would assume that
wondering Indian monks and yogis were not completely unknown
in Tibet. However, Tibetan historians have left us little
information of the earliest contacts between Tibet and
Indian Buddhism except the above picture.
The four people who are of most important for the
introduction of Indian Buddhism on Tibetan soil are: Sangha
Raksita, Padmasambhava, Vairocana and Vimalamitra. Sangha
Raksita is only remembered for his introduction of the
monastic tradition (vinaya rules & ordination). He was
probably involved in more activities than just that. The
famous Padmasambhava has had his name associated with
absolutely everything in Tibetan Buddhism. This is more myth
than fact. Vairocana, a Tibetan monk, and Vimalamitra(14)
both studied under the same master in India.
Because the connection between Ch'an and Tibetan Buddhism
is found in the rDzogs pa Chen po tradition, only those
mentioned above who had a solid connection with this
tradition will be discussed. That would be Vairocana and
Vimalamitra. Padmasambhava is said to have had a major role
in the introduction of this tradition into Tibet but, as
noted by other scholars, this is probably a myth.(15) From
my own research, I have found no solid evidence to support
Padmasambhava being claimed as one of the initial
Vimalamitra was an Indian who lived circa 800 A.D. His
main teacher was Sri Simha. From him he had learned a
tradition known as Ati-yoga or Mahasandhi (Tb. rDzogs pa
Chen po). He later transmitted this tradition to Tibet and
perhaps China.(16) Vairocana was one of the first Tibetans
to become a monk. He lived at the same time as Vimalamitra
and also studied with Sri Simha. He studied with Sri Simha
in India at Dhyanakantaka, located on the Krishna river.(17)
He later brought the tradition of Ati-yoga back to Tibet and
also some of the outlining areas, were Tibet meets Central
Asia/China. Although it is reported that Vairocana only
transmitted a portion of the tradition and that Vimalamitra
was responsible for the section left out, upon scrutiny of
the resources, it has been determined that Vairocana taught
the entire tradition.(18)
The Ati-yoga is more concerned with meditational
techniques than philosophy. In its philosophy, it has
combined components of both
Yogacara and Madhyamaka.One often finds lengthy discussions
of the eight consciousness (Sk.vijnana), Buddha-nature (Sk.
tathagatagarbha) and other such topics. It is also not
unocmmon to find typically, that the Madhyamaka positions
are expanded and claimed to be the highest view. This hybrid
of Yogacara-Madhyamaka was the philosophical vogue in India
during this same time period.(19) Every possible combination
of the various sub-branches of the Yogacara with the
sub-branches of the Madhyamaka was developed. Although
claimed otherwise, present day Tibetan Buddhism is still
strongly influenced by these hybrids in one way or another.
Further, unlike most of the other traditions in India the
Ati-yoga accepted the idea of sudden enlightenment.
Meditationally it put forth the idea of seeing the mind in
its nakedness. Finally, it promoted a non conventional
approach to life as a Buddhist.
One can see from the above paragraph that there is
considerable common ground between the Ati-yoga and Ch'an.
Ch'an also had developed a hybrid of Yogacara and Madhyamaka.
This is based on the Lankavatara Sutra and the Diamond Sutra
(Sk. Vajracchedaka). Although at present this hybrid appears
to have formed solely due to the internal dynamics of Chinese
Buddhism, particularly in Ch'an,it seems that no research
has been undertaken to investigate the connection of the
hybrid movements in India and China where they occurred at
about the same time. Further, Ch'an also teaches sudden
enlightenment, non-conventionality and original face
(roughly equalivent to naked mind).
In addition to the hybrid philosophical position held by
the Ati-yoga tradition, its metaphysical base is firmly in
the Tantras. Thus, explanations of meditational mechanics,
modus operandi, metaphors and the such are all drawn from
tantric literature. In contrast to this, Ch'an is firmly
based in the Sutras.
Both Vimalamitra and Vairocana transmitted the teachings
of Sri Simha in Tibet and set up seperate lineages. However,
there must have been some crossing over of the two lines even
during their life time, as they stem from the same cycle of
teachings and the same teacher. If we follow Tibetan history,
these two lines seem to have remainded separate until the time
of Rong Zom.
In summary then, the picture of Buddhism in Tibet at the
time of Rong Zom was far more complex than later Tibetan
sources would have
us believe. Ch'an in three different forms had been
introduced and had gained considerable popularity. This is
examplified by the fact that a number of Ch'an works were
translated into Tibetan, one of its representatives was
selected as abbot of the most famous monastery in Tibet at
the time and that the various representatives (either
Chinese or Tibetan)of Ch'an had gained royal support in
Tibet. The rDzogs pa chen po (or Ati-yoga) of the Mahasiddha
Sri Simha, which has considerable elements in common with
Ch'an had also been introduced.
By the time of Rong Zom, these sudden teachings of Ch'an
and rDzogs pa Chen po were receiving less emphasis and the
gradualistic approach of Indian Buddhism was beginning to
make itself felt.
HAGIOGRAPHY OF RONG ZOM
The most important thing to note here is that Rong Zom
brought together within himself both lines of Ati-yoga
originating from Vimalamitra and Vairocana. Vairocana was
instrumental in the establishing of these teachings in the
Kham area. Though he had worked in central Tibet, his line
of transmission was much stronger in Kham. Vimalamitra,
however, had spent his time mostly teaching in central Tibet
and therefore, his line was stronger there. That these two
lines of Ati-yoga would come together is not at all
suprising. Once Buddhism had grown to be national in Tibet,
various small groups were no longer isolated from one
another. Whatever traditions and practices they were
following could be easily known by others. This would allow
for someone like Rong Zom to collect various traditions.
What is of considerable interest to us here is the
connection of the Ch'an teachings with the rDzogs pa chen po
Rong Zom was the son of Rong ban Rin chen Tshul khrims.He
was famous as a great Tibetan Pandita. He was born at Khungs
rong on the border of Lower gTsang. Shortly before this a
scholar called Acarya Smritijnanakirti came to Khams, and
translated several tantras.
After his death, he was reborn as Rong Zom. Others say, that
a pandita named Acarya Phra la Ring mo came to Khams. He
also translated a commentary on the gSang sning rGyud (sk.
Guhya garbha Tantra),he further taught this tantra. After
his death, he was reborn as Rong Zom. When lord Atisa had
met Rong Zom he said: "This Lord is the incarnation of the
Indian Acarya Krisnapada the Great. How shall I be able to
discuss the Doctrine with him."
Rong Zom studied the sutras at the age of seven. From
thirteen onwards, he became a great scholar, who had
completed his studies and became known as the "one
unobscured in all branches of knowledge." Endowed with the
faculty of prescience, knowing the proper time and measures
(to be adopted) in the disciplining of living beings, with
the view of establishing in Bliss in this and future lives
ordinary living beings, and those who had entered religion,
he produced well-written treatises. All the treatises
composed by him did not contradict scriptures, reason and
the explanations given to him by his teacher. They were free
from blemishes in words and meaning, and they were known to
be unrefutable by other famous scholars. In addition, he
also was a great translator. He translated the: Sri
Vajramahabhairava nama Tantra, the
Sarvatathagatakayavakcittakrsnayamari nama Tantra, the 'Jam
dpal sNgags don, the Abhidhana uttaratantra and other texts.
His commentaries and translations covered the entire range
of Buddhist learning. Of considerable importance was his
work on the rDzogs pa Chen po entitled: rDzogs pa Chen po'i
lTa sgom Man ngag... Precepts on the Theory and Meditative
Practice of the Great Achievement.
During this period there took place a religious debate
attended by all of the scholars from the four districts of
Tibet. They intended to debate with him, holding the opinion
that it was improper for persons born in Tibet to compose
treatises. After they had gone over one of his treatises and
after debating the subject matter with him, they all felt
amazed, and each of them honoured him and then listened to
his exposition of the Doctrine.
He heard the secret precepts of the Acarya Padma
(sambhava) transmitted through the Spiritual lineage of sNam
mKha rDo rje bDud Joms and mKhar chen dPal gyi dBang phyug
and so forth till Rong ban Rin chen Tshul khrims. Further,
the (Lineage) which originated with Vairocana (was also
received). This is one of the Lineages of the "Mind
Class (Sems sde)"(of the rDzogs chen teachings). At 1Dan
gLong thang sGron ma there appeared an ascetic named A ro Ye
shes 'Byung gnas, who possessed the secret precepts of the
seventh link in the chain of the Indian Lineage, as well as
those of the seventh link of the Chinese lineage of Hwa
shang (=ho shang). He preached the system to Cog ro Zangs
dKar mDzod khur and to Ta zi Bon ston. These two taught it
to Rong Zom. This (Lineage) is called the "(Lineage) of the
Great Achievement (rDzogs chen) according to the Khams
method." Again, Vimala (mitra) taught the Doctrine to Myang
Ting dzin bZang po as well as bestowed the secret precepts
on rMa Rin chen mChog and gNyags Jnanakumara. These two
transmitted them gradually to Rong Zom.
Though the dates of birth and death of this great man
are, as stated above, not to be found, it is said that
Atisa, on his arrival to Tibet, met him. Therefore, he
should be regarded as being almost a contemporary of (him)
and 'Gos Lo tsa ba.(20)
The important point to note in the above are that Rong
Zom received a hybrid form of the lineage of rDzogs pa chen
po that originated with Vairocana as well as the lineage of
rDzogs pa chen po that originated with Vimalamitra. The
lineage originating with Vimalamitra has been traditionally
been associated with the two higher classes of teachings
found in rDzogs pa chen po; i.e., the great expanse and
instruction classes. the teachings of Vairocana are
traditionally held to be only the mind class. Although one
will, from a proper historical research, find that both
teachers actually taught all three classes of the rDzogs pa
chen po, the traditionally ascribed affiliation should not
be overlooked in viewing the development of the line of
Of considerable concern to our investigation are the
following lines taking from the hagiography: "Further, the
(lineage)which originate with Vairocana (was also received).
This is one of the lineages of the "Mind class (sems
sde)"(of the rDzogs pa chen po teachings). At lDan gLong
thang sGron ma there appeared an ascetic named A ro Ye shes
'Byung gnas, who Rossessed the secret precepts of the
seventh link in the chain of the Indian Lineage, as well as
those of the seventh link of the Chinese lineage of Hwa
shang (=ho shang). He preached the system to Cog ro zangs
dKar mDzod khur and to Ta zi Bon ston. These two taught it
to Rong Zom.".
Here we see that the lineage of the "Mind class" or the
rDzogs pa chen po that was taught in Kham by Variocana (the
Indian lineage) had been united with a form originating in
China with its teacher identified as Hwa shang. Although it
is tempting to associate this Hwa Shang with the famous Mo
ho yen Hwa Shang no evidence has come to light for this
direct identification. Mo Ho yen was a teacher of Ch'an from
Tun Huang. These two lines of teaching were already
associated with each other when Rong Zom received the
teachings. Thus showing that Ch'an and rDzogs pa chen po
were united only two generations before Rong Zom. However,
if we accept the traditional view that Vairocana system was
only of the Mind class, then, Ch'an had only united with
this level. It was not until Rong Zom, himself, had brought
the teachings of Vimalamitra together with the Kham
teachings, that the whole of rDzogs pa chen po was united
and this would included the Ch'an teachings.
DOCTRINE OF RDZOGS PA CHEN PO
As with most of the later forms of Mahayana Buddhism the
rDzogs pa chen po teachings represent a form of Yogacara-
Madyamaka in their doctrinal position. The Yogacara forms
the working models for understanding the mind. The
Madhyamaka is used in the formation of statements of truth.
In addition to this, a developed theory of Tathagatagarbha
emerged as the base for the whole of the doctrinal positions
The rNyingma school, wherein the rDzogs pa chen po
teaching is found, in general, has several unique
philosophical features. In the area of Yogacara, it puts
forth a theory of 9 consciousnesses. It accepts the 6
consciousnesses of mind and 5 senses as well as the manas.
The Alayavijnana is divided into two parts. The first is
called the Alayavijnana and represents the storing capacity
for the karmic seeds. The second, is termed the Alaya and
represents the "all ground" which allows the functioning of
the whole process beginning with the Alayavijnana. Here we
can perhaps understand the Alaya as the unaware aspect
(ignorant) of the Tathagatagarbha.
There is also a distinction made between Tathagatagarbha
and Sugatagarbha. The first is the phenomena possessed by
ordinary unenlightened individuals and the second is the same
phenomena but it is possessed by enlightened individuals. A
clearly distinction of these two is important in
understanding statements made throughout the whole of the
rDzogs pa chen po doctrine.
The ultimate truth is understood in usual Madhyamaka
terms. The fact that only two possibilities are permitted,
i.e., samsara and enlightenment, directly relate to the
conventional and ultimate truth. Nirvana almost always is
used in a negative sense as the small rest taken by Hinayana
followers and not seen as a full and complete enlightenment.
Seeing that only two possibilities exist, one is either in
samsara or one is not. This view allows for no possibility
of a real path to exist. Enlightenment is seen as taking
place suddenly. Liberation of mind and forms are all
natural. Spontanious activity is the correct and appropriate
response to any situation. When the mind is free, then, all
of themselves free, so all is naturally and spontaniously
self-liberated. The initial by-product of the meditational
process is a state of no-thought. Later development allows
one to be in a state of no-thought of no-thought. The texts
continually use the terms relating to no-thought; e.g.
motionless, no-thought, no perception, etc. as indicating
only the by-product of the process of meditation. The
emphasis is given to the idea of "Rig pa." Rig pa means pure
pristine awareness. This pure awareness can be a state
wherein one does not move from the non-dual. The word can
also be used as a verb "to be purely aware" when one is in
the state of no-thought of no-thought, this state is also
without movement from the non-dual.
STRUCTURE OF RDZOGS PA CHEN PO
According to Long chen pa,the rDzogs pa chen po is
divided into two main lines. The first is the rDzogs pa chen
po in relation with other paths and the Great Explanation.
The rNyingma schools divides the whole of Buddhism as
3. bodhisattva (= mahayan sutra teachings)
4. kriya tantra
5. carya tantra
6. yoga tantra
7. mahayoga tantra
8. anuyoga tantra
9. atiyoga tantra (=rDzogs pa chen po)
rDzogs pa chen po in relations with other paths, means to
have the general view as explained in rDzogs pa chen po texts,
while practicing any of the paths 1 through 8. An individual
does not have to begin with the first. Beginning practice is
according to the capacities of each individual. The
important point is to maintain the rDzogs pa chen po view
while doing any practice. The basis of this view is that we
are all already Buddhas. We engage in the activity of any
path because that is the activity of a Buddha. For example,
while Sakyamuni fully realized the rDzogs pa chen po view he
followed the Hinayana systems in order to teach. He
practiced the tantras in order to worship other buddhas as
well as to teach. Therefore. it is important to learn
something of the other paths to be able to engage in the
activity of Buddhas.
The Great Explanation relates to the three divisions of
the rDzogs pa chen po. These are the Mind class the Great
Expanse class and the Instructions class. The Mind class
teaches the seeing the mind in its
nakedness. The Great Expanse class teaches the openness of
being(=experiential aspect of sunyata). The Instruction
class teaches the techniques for stablizing and total
incorporation of the overall view and experiences of
There are of course many fine points that are not presented
here in our brief outline. Basically, the various
meditations are aimed at producing a state of no-thought and
later no-thought of no-thought. There are visionary
techniques used which make for a close contact with other
tantra classes. The metaphors used are usually drawn from
the tantras. However, even the visionary meditations are
considerably simplified when compared with other classes of
tantras. The highest levels of practice are that of the
direct viewing of the non-dual state.
Rong Zom had inherited, from the teachings of Kham, a
system of rDzogs pa chen po that had already mixed the Ch'an
of China with the Indian teachings on sudden enlightenment.
As noted these teachings were introduced by Vairocana. Also,
as noted, Ch'an was associated with the mind class of the
rDzogs pa chen po. When Rong Zom had brought these Kham
teachings together with the teachings of Vimalamitra, Ch'an
maintained its association with the Mind class.
We have seen that it was the famous scholar/yogi Rong Zom
who had brought the teachings of Vimalamitra and Vairocana
together and there by forming a comprehensive whole to the
teaching of rDzogs pa chen po. Previous to this, the Mind
class of teachings had become associated with the Ch'an
teachings coming from China.
Seeing that the Ch'an teachings had a very close doctrinal
affilitation with the rDzogs pa chen po, the mixing of the
two was a natural event. Later Tibetan teachers forgot about
this connection and went on to teach Ch'an in association
with other teachings of rDzogs pa chen po. This association
was so completely forgotten that in later years, when the
rNyingma were accused of spreading teachings similar to
Chinese thought (a maior religious crime in Tibet), they
would strongly deny such charges. In defence, they would
point to the Indian origin of the rDzogs pa chen po.
1. see a; Norbu, Namkha. "rDzogs Chen & Zen." Zhan Zhung
Press 1985. b; Broughton, Jeffrey."Early Ch'an Schools
in Tibet" c; Gomez, Luis O."The Direct & Gradual
Approach of Zen Master Mahayana..."/ b&c in: Studies of
Ch'an and Hua Yen Univ. of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1983.
d; Lancaster & Lai.: Early Ch'an in China & Tibet.
Berkeley Buddhist Stds. Series 1983. e; my previous
publications are under the name of Hanson-Barber. 1.
"No-Thought in Pao AT'ang Ch'an & Early Ati-yoga" JIABS #2,
vol. 9. 1986; The Life & Teachings of Vairocana Ann
Arbor. Microfilm Int. 1985.
2. For general rDzogs Chen see: Norbu & Lipman. Primordial
Experience. Shambala. Boston 1987; Lipman & Peterson.
You are the Eyes of the World. Navato. Lotsawa Pub.
1986. Guenther, H.V Kindly Bent to Ease Us. Emeryville,
Dharma Press, 1978; Dowman, K. "The Three Incisive Precepts
of Garab Dorje." Diamond Sow Pub. 1982; Hanson-Barber,
A.W. "The Two Other Homes of Ati-Yoga in India." JISIBS
vo1.4; "The Identification of dGa' rab rDo rje." JIABS
#2. vol. 9. 1986.
3. The first official envoy was Thomi Sambhota who went to
4. Large tracks of what is now Nepal were part of Tibet at
5. The Tibetan manuscripts found at Tun Huang are an
6. We find writings from: northern Ch'an, Pao T'ang Ch'an,
Southern Ch'an, Ox head Ch'an and more, preserved there.
7. ibid. Hanson-Barber. "No-Thought in Pao T'ang Ch'an...".
8. see note l. b & c.
9. op cit. Hanson-Barber
10. op cit. Studies in Ch'an & Hua Yen.
11. Tucci, G. Minor Buddhist Texts I & II. Delhi, 1986.
Motilal Banarsidass. and Bu Ton History of Indian
12. Although it is questionable, the symbol of the debate is
important. It represents Tibet's official policy of
rejecting Chinese influence on a high level. The political
importance of this is unquestionable.
13. Master Wu Chu may have had some connection with Tantra.
He is quotated as talking about a "Dharani Gate (pg.13.
op cit. Studies in Ch'an & Hua Yen). Mo ho yen is
closely associated with Wu Chu in Tibetan sources. Tucci
(op cit.) holds that some of the Ati-yoga masters were
on Mo ho yen's side at the debate.
14. There were two Vimalamitras. One was a layman and the other
a monk. The historical problems have not been sorted
15. see: Dargyay, E.M. The Rise of Esoteric Buddhism in
Tibet Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1976. and Hanson-Barber.
The Life & Teachings of Vairocana, ibid.
16. Vimalamitra and other tantric masters are said to have gone
through Tibet and on to Tun Huang as well as Wu Tai
Shan. Some rDzogs Chen texts were found at Tun Huang.
see Norbu & Lipman, op cit, pg. 7 & 137 n. 19
17. see Hanson-Barber op cit. "The Two Other Homes of Ati-yoga..."..
18. Hanson-Barber, op cit. The Life & Teachings of Vairocana.
19. Sangharaksita also taught a hybrid form of the two schools.
Yet he was not associated with the rDzogs Chen.
20. Ruegg. S. The Blue Annals.
中國禪法被介紹進西藏者有三派, 它們是: 金和上的禪法、無住
西藏地區廣泛流行。這可以從西藏最重要的佛教中心 --bSam yas 寺
受過法難, 但在他住世的兩代之前, 逃過法難的禪法已漸跟毘盧遮那
到了Rong Zam, 他本人接受了維摩密多與毘盧遮那兩人所傳的全
所傳的教理系統中本來就早已有了中國禪法的成分。 再通過 Rong
Zam 的融匯貫通, 這兩派的大圓滿之學便跟中國禪學融合了。