A Lamp for the Path and Commentary by Richard Sherburne

By Richard Sherburne

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This set of twenty-seven ma~qalas is unknown to today's lamas. It may have referred to a series of temple-paintings (thang-ka) popular at Tho-ling in Atisa's time, or possibly ;it should be read as "twenty-seven-fold", as the mai]qala of Sitatapatra, the Diamond Crown (~~J4a) of the Tathagata Family in Action Tantra. See Mandala No. 'falas of the Tantra-samuccaya. 3 Ot. 716, Vol. 3ff. The stitra is not actually quoted in Atisa's text since his readers would know it by heart, but is supplied here for convenience in studying his analysis of it.

2 Or again: "As the dove loves her own chicks best, Sitting to brood them beneath her breast; So like her, with aversion overcome, Treat every creature with affection. " 3 And the great scholar, Acarya Vasubandhu: "A lesser man uses his resources to provide for the happiness of his own [conscious] stream. The mediocre man is not happy and so turns aside only [his own] suffering, but thereby remains in suffering. The holy man, because sufferings exist in his own stream, has the sole care to tum aside the very basis for others' suffering and give them happiness; for he suffers on account of their suffering.

10 I entreat the Supreme Wheel's Turning From those who are Lamps throughout this world, Who through their steps to Enlightenment Have reached unencumbered Buddhahood. 11 With folded hands, I petition all those Who long to teach NirvaQa, to remain For all creatures' welfare and happiness, Throughout ages that cannot be counted. THE TRIPLE REFUGE 27 12 Whatever least Merit I have gained In Homage, Worship, or Confession, In Rejoicing or Entreaty or my Petition, I bestow it on all for Enlightenment's sake.

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