Nirvana Sutra

Appreciation of the "Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra"

The All-Creating King Tantra

The Kunjed Gyalpo ("All-Creating King") is a Buddhist Tantra preserved in Tibetan which centres upon the direct teachings of the primordial, ultimate Buddha (Adibuddha), Samantabhadra. Samantabhadra is presented as bodhi-citta, the Awakened Mind, the "mind of perfect purity". There is a remarkable panentheist flavour to the teachings communicated by this scripture.

Samantabhadra tells of how he, the All-Creating King, is the essence of all things, beings and all Buddhas and that to know him, the Awakened Mind, is to attain the essence of Reality:

"I am the existential ground [gnas chen] of all Buddhas" and "... the root of all things is nothing else but one Self ... I am the place in which all existing things abide."

For a being to recognise their own indwelling Samantabhadra Buddha (eternally existent) is to be liberated. Because sentient beings and all other phenomena arise from the Mind of Perfect Purity [i.e. Samantabhadra Buddha], Samantabhadra refers to them in his teaching as his "children". Samantabhadra Buddha states:

"Oh all you sentient beings of this threefold world [i.e. the entire universe, both visible and invisible]! Because I, the All-Creating Sovereign, have created you, you are My children and equal to Me. Because you are not second to Me, I am present in you ... Oh all you sentient beings of this threefold world, if I were not, you would be non-existent. ... Because all things do not exist outside of Me, I firmly declare that I am all - the All-Creating One."

Samantabhadra also insists: " ... everything is Me, the All-Creating Sovereign, mind of perfect purity ... I am the cause of all things. I am the stem of all things. I am the ground of all things. I am the root of all things ... There is no other Buddha besides Me, the All-Creating One."

It belongs to the nature of the unconditioned primal Awareness of Awakened Mind that it is eternal, indestructible and radiant with light: "The characteristic of the self-originated pristine awareness is indestructibility, which is known as 'the place where all is light' [kun tu 'od kyi sa]". Also: "The three aspects of My nature are to be known as follows: (1) unborn, (2), without termination, and (3) the source for the wonder of ceaseless creation ... My own-being [svabhava, essence] is the sole Reality." (The Sovereign All-Creating Mind, tr. by E. K. Neumaier-Dargyay, Sri Satguru publications, 1992, pp. 111, 157 and passim)

This ultimate basis of reality, Samantabhadra Buddha, is taught to reside in all beings and to be realisable - it is wisdom, the immortal essence, that is beyond thinking and which permeates the nature of mind and all things. It is the spontaneous, thought-transcending instant presence of all-encompassing Awareness. It might be linked to the notion of Tathagatagarbha, which (e.g. in the Angulimaliya Sutra) is stated to be the pure essence at the very heart of mind.

The scripture does not promulgate the centrality of the “Emptiness” teachings found in some Mahayana Buddhism, but focusses instead on the fullness and all-fulfilling perfection of Buddhic Mind and virtue as constituting the heart of all that is.

Samantabhadra Buddha states:

"From the three aspects [i.e. the Unborn; no ending; source of the wonder of ceaseless creation] of My nature, i.e. that of the All-Creating One, [comes] the fullness which fulfills all needs." And: "What is known as the revealed Buddha is this evidence of My own being. Because it has the centre, the central vigor, it is the Self of everything. As it does not need any deeds, it is the Buddha since the beginning. As it is free of striving and achieving, it is since the beginning known as great. The Great Self is known as the Great Buddha. This evidence which is unborn and non-conceptual is the dimension of Reality [dharmadhatu] ...".

This Reality is utterly unconditioned, non-dependent, and full of bliss. It alone knows itself:

"There is not one thing which is dependent on another. This great self-perfected bliss will intuitively be understood by the strength of the Self which is incomparable pristine awareness."

In this recondite realm, all speculation, conceptualisation and clutching at notions of "Emptiness" prove utterly misplaced and inadequate, and only direct perception of Samantabhadra Buddha can disclose the ultimate Truth:

" All that exists is My own being. The entirety of the animate and inanimate world is My own being. Not one thing exists that does not consist in Me."

And there is no bondage to causes and conditions, no ensnarement within causation and result. There is only oneness, a single undivided Truth of boundless, omnipresent Wisdom or Buddhic Consciouness, and thus no need to search for Wisdom as though it lay outside - it is already at the heart of all that is: 'My nature transcends the duality of cause and effect: as there is no duality whatever between Buddhas and sentient beings, enlightenment is not something that the mind needs to obtain. I, the supreme source, am the nature of consciousness, self-arising wisdom.' (The Supreme Source, by Chogyal Norbu and Adriano Clemente, Snow Lion Publications, New York, 1999, p. 201).

And if there be any doubt that a genuine and real Essence of Univeral Mind is being proclaimed as resident in all beings, the text reiterates that no person or creature is excluded from dwelling in this vast and great Buddha Mind - the Awareness of a Buddha:

"I, the supreme source, abide in everybody as the essence of enlightenment. The nature of pure and total consciousness is the palace of the ultimate dimension of reality: in this immense universe of mind there abide all the Buddhas of the three times and all the beings of the three worlds, none exluded.' (ibid, p. 191).

'My nature, the fundamental condition that gives rise to the appearance of the animate and inanimate world, directly manifests everywhere ...

'The manifestation of my essence is the innermost core of everything and is thus its ultimate substance. Without needing to carry out any action, it is the original state of enlightenment. Without needing to strive in one's practice, it is a "quality" that has always been present. This is the "greatness" of enlightenment ...' (ibid, p. 154).