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The Buddhist Archives of Dr. Alexander Berzin

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The Throwing Star Weapon

(2006 Literal Translation and Reading of The Wheel of Sharp Weapons)

(A Mahayana Attitude-Training)
(Theg-pa chen-po'i blo-sbyong mtshon-cha 'khor-lo)
by Dharmarakshita
translated by Alexander Berzin, September 2006

I make prostration to the Three Rare Supreme Gems.
“The Throwing Star Weapon
Striking the Vital Point of the Foe
.”
I make prostration to forceful Yamantaka.

(1) In the case of peacocks
Strutting in jungles of poisonous plants,
Although medicine gardens have been finely decked out,
The masses of peacocks don’t find (them) enjoyable.
Rather, peacocks thrive on the nutriment of poisonous plants.
Similarly,

(2) In the case of brave (bodhisattvas)
Engaging themselves in the jungles of recurring samsara,
Although glorious gardens of delights and pleasures
have been decked out,
The brave ones are never attracted.
Rather, the brave-hearted thrive in the jungles of suffering.

(3) Thus, it’s the case that, despite our gladly
Taking on delights and pleasures,
We bring sufferings (onto ourselves)
through the power of our cowardice.
But those brave hearted ones take sufferings on gladly,
And always are blissful
through the power of their bravery.

(4) Now here, longing desire is like the poisonous plant jungles.
Brave ones, like peacocks, can take it under their control,
Whereas to the lives of cowards, it would be deadly,
Similar to the case of crows.
How could those with selfish desires
Take this poison under their control?

(5) And if they similarly tried to apply (this method)
To the other disturbing emotions,
It would take the life of their liberation,
(Also) similar to the case of crows.

(6) Thus, it’s the case that
Brave hearted (bodhisattvas), like peacocks,
Transform into a nutriment the disturbing emotions
– which are like the jungles of poison –
And (thereby) engage themselves
in the jungles of recurring samsara.
In having gladly taken it on themselves,
They’re able to destroy this poison.

(7) So now, while we’re circling (in samara) without control,
We must cast away our selfish desires,
Our desires for pleasures, our delights
– these messengers of the demon of grasping at a “true self” –
And gladly take on, for the purposes of others,
What’s difficult to do.

(8) We must pile on top of (this) “true self”
That has desires for pleasures
The sufferings appropriate to each
of the nine kinds of beings,
Due to the push from their karmic impulses
And their habituation to disturbing emotions.

(9) At times if we’ve come under the enthrallment
of our selfish desires,
We must turn from them and give our own pleasures
And happiness to wandering beings;
Just as, at times, if wrongs befall us from our circle,
We need to compose our hearts
With a sense of contentment, feeling,
“(This is) in return for having been distracted
about my ‘true self.’”

(10) At times when unbearable sicknesses befall our bodies,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From having inflicted harms to the bodies of wandering beings.
Now, let’s take on ourselves (all their) sicknesses, barring none.

(11) At times when sufferings befall our minds,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From having deeply disturbed the mind-streams of others.
Now, let’s take on ourselves (all their) sufferings, barring none.

(12) When we ourselves are tormented by terrible hunger and thirst,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From having taxed, plundered, stolen, and acted miserly (toward others).
Now, let’s take on ourselves (all their) hunger and thirst, barring none.

(13) At times when, powerless, we’re enslaved by others
and are maltreated,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From having been hostile toward the lowly
and exploited them as servants.
Now, let’s use our bodies and lives for the service of others.

(14) When only nasty words befall our ears,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From our misdeeds of speech, such as slander and the likes.
Now, let’s discredit all faults in our speech.

(15) When we’re born in lands that are completely impure,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From having always been habituated
to (seeing) appearances as impure.
Now, let’s habituate ourselves
to (seeing) appearances exclusively as pure.

(16) At times when we’re parted from helpful and loving friends,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From having lured away to ourselves those in the circles of others.
Now, let’s never cause (anyone) to withdraw from the circles of others.

(17) When all hallowed ones are displeased with us,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From having forsaken the hallowed ones
And entrusted ourselves to bad circles.
Now, let’s rid ourselves of bad friends.

(18) At times when others (falsely) accuse us of the wrongs
Of having done or of having not done something,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From ourselves having denigrated the hallowed ones.
Now, let’s not denigrate others (falsely)
For having done or for having not done something.

(19) At times when our material goods of necessity fall apart,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From having considered of no value the necessities of others.
Now, let’s help them acquire their necessities of life.

(20) At times when our minds are unclear and our hearts are unhappy,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From having caused other people to build up negative force.
Now, let’s give up (providing) conditions
for others’ negative karmic force.

(21) At times when we’re frustrated from the depths of our minds
That our works are never accomplished,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From having caused interference to the hallowed ones’ deeds.
Now, let’s rid ourselves of all our interference-making.

(22) At times when no matter how we’ve acted,
It never pleases our gurus,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From having acted two-facedly regarding the hallowed Dharma.
Now, let’s minimize being two-faced regarding the Dharma.

(23) At times when people find fault with everything (we do),
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From having belittled moral self-dignity
And care for how our actions reflect on others.
Now, let’s be shy with respect to uncivilized (behavior).

(24) At times when, as soon as we gather a circle,
disagreements (arise),
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From having peddled all around our bad ugly characters.
Now, let’s act kindly toward anyone at all as our human characters.

(25) At times when all who are close rise up as our enemies,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From having harbored inside us bad thoughts (about others).
Now, let’s continually minimize our pretense and cunning.

(26) At times when we’re sick with consumption, tumors, or dropsy,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From having had no morals and having commandeered
religious offerings without caring.
Now, let’s give up confiscating monastic property and the likes.

(27) At times when, all of a sudden, infectious diseases
strike our bodies,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From having committed actions causing
our spiritual bonds to decline.
Now, let’s rid ourselves of destructive actions.

(28) At times when our intelligence becomes murky
regarding everything knowable,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From having made Dharma matters
Into things that are fit to be left to the side.
Now, let’s habituate ourselves to discriminating awareness,
Such as from listening (to teachings) and the likes.

(29) At times when sleep overwhelms us while practicing the Dharma,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From having accumulated (acts of) defilement
toward the hallowed Dharma.
Now, for the sake of the Dharma, let’s practice what’s hard.

(30) At times when our mental wandering is great,
Delighting in disturbing emotions,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From not having meditated on impermanence
and the drawbacks of samsara.
Now, let’s maximize disgust with recurring samsara.

(31) At times when no matter how we do things,
They go astray, never working out,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From having made light of karma and behavioral cause and effect.
Now, let’s make effort to build up positive karmic force.

(32) At times when the measure of our having performed rituals
Is that things work out contrary (to what we had wished),
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From having placed our hopes and reliance on the side of black (magic).
Now, let’s turn away from the side of black (magic).

(33) At times when our requests to the Three Precious Gems
Do not reach fulfillment,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From not having had confidence in the Buddhas.
Now, let’s entrust ourselves exclusively to the Precious Gems.

(34) At times when superstition, strokes,
And possession by harmful spirits befall us,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From having built up negative force
With respect to the tantric deities and mantras.
Now, let’s destroy all our bad understandings.

(35) At times when we have to wander about,
Like people not under their own control,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From having kicked out gurus and others
from where they are staying.
Now, let’s never expel (anyone) from any place.

(36) At times when unwished for things happen,
Like frost, hail, and the likes,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From not having safeguarded properly
The morality of our spiritual bonds.
Now, let’s keep our spiritual bonds clean and so forth.

(37) At times when our desires are huge,
But we’re poor in our wealth,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From not having made donations or offerings to the Supreme Gems.
Now, let’s make efforts regarding offerings and donations.

(38) At times when our faces and bodies are ugly,
and our circle insults us,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From having made ugly images
And disturbed (others) with our anger.
Now, let’s make (beautiful images of) deities
And be long-suffering in temperament.

(39) At times when, no matter how we try,
Attachment and anger upset us,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From having stubbornly harbored
Unseemly bad streams of (self-centered) thought.
Now, let’s pull out from the root
(Concepts of) a “true self” and a “true you.”

(40) At times when no matter what we practice,
It does not reach its aim,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From having held a bad outlook inside.
Now, no matter what we’re doing, let’s make it
Something for the purposes of others.

(41) At times when, although we’ve performed constructive actions,
Our own mind-streams are untamed,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From having gladly taken on grand ambitions for this life.
Now, let’s hold tightly onto the wish for liberation.

(42) At times when, no sooner do we plan (to do something),
We reconsider and regret it,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From running after those in lofty positions as our new friends,
Without caring how this reflects on our old ones.
Now, let’s take care about how and with whom we make friends.

(43) At times when we ourselves have been swindled
by others’ cunning,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From our selfish desire, arrogance, and greed having been great.
Now, let’s minimize our trying to make profit off of anyone.

(44) At times when attachment or hostility have led us astray
while listening or explaining,
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From not having thought about the demonic faults in our hearts.
Now, let’s examine (these) adverse conditions
And then rid ourselves of them.

(45) When everything good that we’ve done
Has elicited a bad (response),
This is the sharp weapon of negative karma circling back on us
From having counterbalanced in an opposite manner
All our repayments of kindness.
Now, let’s accept on the crown of our heads repaying kindness.

(46) In short, the strikings, like lightning on our heads,
of (disasters) never wished for
Are the sharp weapons of negative karma circling back on us,
Like the murder of a sword smith by his own (fashioned) sword.
Now, let’s take care about our negative deeds.

(47) Our experiences, as well, of sufferings in the worse rebirth states
Are the sharp weapons of negative karma circling back on us,
Like the murder of an arrow smith by his own (fashioned) arrow.
Now, let’s take care about our negative deeds.

(48) And the strikings, too, like lightning on our heads,
of the problems of family life
Are the sharp weapons of negative karma circling back on us,
Like the murder of parents by a son they have raised.
Now, it would be fitting forever to go forth (as monastics).

(49) That really is the way that it is!
So, I’ve caught the enemy!
I’ve caught the thieving bandit,
Who laid in ambush and deceived me,
The fraud who, disguised as “me,” then cheated me!
Aha! This is grasping at a “true self!”
There is no doubt!

(50) Now, (Yamantaka,) raise over your head
The sharp weapon of your actions!
Circle it three times round your head in a forceful way!
Plant your two feet wide apart for the two truths!
Glare with your eyes wide open for method and wisdom!
Bare your fangs for the four forces, and pierce the foe!

(51) O King of Pure Awareness Mantras
that torment the enemy,
Draw out the spoiler of our spiritual bonds,
Who brings to ruin ourselves and others
– that vicious savage, called
“The Demon of Grasping at a ‘True Self’” –
Who, causing us to get struck by the sharp weapons of karma,
Has been making us run through the jungle of samsara,
without any control.

(52) Draw him out! Draw him out! Forceful Yamantaka!
Batter him! Batter him! Pierce the enemy, a “true self,”
right in the heart!
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(53) Hum! Hum! Produce miraculous emanations,
O great Buddha-figure!
Dzah! Dzah! Bind this enemy up tightly!
Phat! Phat! Free us, I beseech you, from all our fetters!
Slash! Slash! I beseech you, cut the knot of our grasping!

(54) Come here, fierce Yamantaka, you Buddha-figure!
Pray burst, right now,
– pow! pow! –
This bag of karma and five disturbing emotions of poison,
Which keeps us stuck in the swamp of samsaric acts.

(55) Though having brought on ourselves the sufferings
of the three worse rebirth states,
We rush toward their cause, not knowing to be alarmed.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(56) Our wish for happiness is enormous,
Yet we fail to build up a network of its causes.
Our tolerance for unhappiness is little,
Yet our ambitious desires and greed are great.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(57) Our expectations for speedy success are high,
Yet our perseverance in spiritual practice is low.
The projects we engage in are abounding,
Yet we never bring any of them to their end.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(58) Our new friendships are copious,
Yet the future of our concern
and sincerity in them is short.
Our longing for food is tremendous,
Yet our hard work goes toward striving
to plunder or steal (for it).
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(59) We’re experts at flattery and indirect pressure,
Yet the gloom of our dispositions is thick.
We’re hard-working to gather and accumulate (wealth),
Yet despite what we have, we stingily clutch it.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(60) What we’ve done for everyone is little,
Yet our boasting about our hardships is great.
What we’ve been responsible for (accomplishing) is nothing,
Yet our imposing posture is grand.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(61) Our spiritual teachers are numerous,
Yet our ability to carry the load
of our spiritual bonds is minute.
Our disciples are abundant,
Yet it being time to nurture and help them is rare.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(62) Our spiritual promises are grand,
Yet our practice of helping (others) is tiny.
Our spiritual renown is tremendous,
Yet when it’s examined, (even) worldly gods and demons
would be ashamed.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(63) The extent of our listening (to teachings) is miniscule,
Yet our bragging and showing off with empty words is huge.
The extent of our scriptural knowledge is tiny,
Yet, understanding nothing, we (pretend that we) understand a lot.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(64) Our circle (of followers) and attendants is vast,
Yet those who bear (in mind what we say) include none.
The officials (we know) are plentiful,
Yet when we need backing and support,
We’re bereft of protectors.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(65) Our status is lofty,
Yet our qualifications are less than those of a ghost.
We’re (considered) great gurus,
Yet our attachment and anger are coarser
than those of a demon.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(66) Our philosophical view is the highest,
Yet our conduct is worse than that of a dog.
Our good qualities are abundant,
Yet we cast to the wind their (ethical) base.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(67) All our innermost longings,
We keep (hidden) inside us.
While all our affairs that have gone crooked,
We blame on others, contrary to fact.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(68) We’ve clothed ourselves in robes of saffron,
But then sought protection and refuge from ghosts.
We’ve taken on vows (of ethical discipline),
But then made our behavior comparable to that of a demon.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(69) Our joy and happiness have been provided
By (entrusting ourselves to) the heavenly (Buddhas),
But then we’ve made offerings to mischievous ghosts.
Our guidance has been fashioned by the Dharma,
But then we’ve deceived the Rare Supreme Gems.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(70) We’ve entrusted ourselves to monastic seclusion forever,
But then we’ve been carried away by distractions.
We’ve requested hallowed Dharma and the spiritual sciences,
But then nurtured (others) with prognostications with dice.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(71) We’ve discarded our ethical discipline
(As homeless monastics) – the path to liberation –
And then grasped onto a home.
We’ve thrown joy and happiness into the river,
And then run after woes.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(72) We’ve discarded the ford (to cross) to liberation,
And then wandered about to the ends of the earth.
We’ve found precious human bodies,
And then (used them to) accomplish (rebirth
in) the joyless hell realms.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(73) We’ve set aside the special (benefits)
that come about through the Dharma,
And then tried to make profit through business transactions.
We’ve set aside the Dharma schools of our gurus,
And then wandered about the area of towns.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(74) We’ve set aside our own livelihood,
And then stolen for our income.
We’ve set aside the sustenance (inherited) from our parents,
And then robbed it from others.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(75) Wow! Our fortitude for meditation is little,
Yet (we expect) our advanced awareness to be sharp.
We’ve not taken the first step of the spiritual path,
Yet our legs are rushing after meaningless things.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(76) We’re given advice for our benefit,
And then, with angry minds, take (the persons) as foes.
We’re fooled by deceitful (flattery),
And then, without a brain, we repay their kindness.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(77) We’re trusted as intimates (by others),
And then reveal their innermost secrets to their foes.
We’re befriended in goodwill,
And then, without care for how it reflects on them,
Rob them of their inner strength and courage.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(78) Our short temper is perfect,
Yet our prejudices are coarser than those of anyone.
We have difficulty in being friends,
Yet we continually arouse (others’) bad characters.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(79) When asked to do something (for others), we don’t listen,
But rather covertly try to cause (them) harm.
When we’re agreed with, we don’t bow (and accept),
But rather distance ourselves and seek to argue on.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(80) We get mentally upset at (others’) advice,
And then always have difficulty in being friends.
Things that cause us offence are aplenty,
Yet our holding on (to them) is always tight.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(81) Our put-down of high ones is heavy;
We hold holy beings to be our foes.
Since our lust is enormous,
We eagerly take on young people (as partners).
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(82) Since the future duration (of our friendship) is short,
We cast off at a distance former friends.
Since our new friendships are copious,
We lay out before all of them empty promises of fun.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(83) Since we lack clairvoyance,
We must readily accept deprecation for our lies.
Since we have no compassion,
We snatch away the trust (in us of others) in their hearts.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(84) Since our listening (to teachings) is negligible,
We must scratch around and guess about everything.
Since the extent of our scriptural knowledge is tiny,
We generate distorted views about all.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(85) Since we’ve habituated ourselves to attachment and anger,
We berate all our opponents.
Since we’ve habituated ourselves to jealousy,
We libel and discredit others.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(86) We haven’t made proper studies,
And so we’re dismissive of the vast (teachings).
We haven’t entrusted ourselves to gurus,
And so we berate their oral transmission.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(87) We can’t explain The Three Baskets,
And so we feign (teachings) that we have made up.
We haven’t gained mastery through (genuine) pure visions,
And so the gauge (for the authenticity) of our discourse
Is that we speak, reprimanding.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(88) Toward non-Dharmic actions,
We don’t make any censure.
But toward all excellent explanations (of the Dharma),
We spout forth with insult.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(89) Toward situations to be ashamed of,
We don’t hold any shame.
But toward what isn’t to be ashamed of,
We distortedly hold them as shameful things.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(90) What’s proper to have been done,
We don’t do even once.
But what’s not fitting to be done,
We do them all.
Crash, really crash down, right on the head
of (this) ruinous concept!
Deal the death blow to the heart of this butcher,
a “true self,” our foe.

(91) (O Yamantaka),
Endowed with a Blissfully Gone (Buddha’s) Dharmakaya,
Destroyer of the demon, the view of a “true self”
– oh, wow –
(O you,) with strength and force,
And possessing a skull-headed bludgeon,
– the sharp weapon of your actions of no “true self” –
Circle it three times round your head, with no indecision.

(92) We beseech you, free us from this enemy,
with your great ferocious force!
We beseech you, smash this bad thought,
with your great discriminating awareness!
We beseech you, protect us from karma,
with your great compassion!
We beseech you, demolish (this) “true self,”
once and for all!

(93) As much suffering that there is in samsaric beings,
Heap it, definitely, I beseech you,
on my grasping at a “true self!”
As much of the five poisonous disturbing emotions
that there are in anyone,
Heap it, definitely, I beseech you, on this one,
who’s the same class!

(94) Although we’ve identified, through reason,
beyond any doubt,
The root of our faults, like this, barring none,
If you can expose (any part of us that’s) still taking its side,
We beseech you, demolish that very one who’s taking it!

(95) Now, having placed all the blame on one thing,
Let’s meditate strongly on kindness toward all beings.
Having taken on our own mind-streams
what others never wished for,
Let’s dedicate to every wandering being
The roots from our constructive acts.

(96) By having taken on ourselves, like that,
(The negative consequences) of what others have done
Over the three times through their three gateways (of action),
May the disturbing emotions be transformed
into aids for enlightenment,
Like peacocks having radiant color
through (feeding on) poisonous plants.

(97) And by having given to wandering beings
The roots from our constructive acts,
And, like curing with medicine
crows who have eaten poisonous plants,
Having saved (then) the life of liberation for all beings,
May they quickly attain Blissfully Gone Buddhahood.

(98) Till the time when we and all who have been
our fathers and mothers
Attain enlightenment in Akanishta, the Realm Beneath None,
May we mutually (help) one another to uphold but one mind
( – the bodhichitta aim – )
Although, through our karma, we may roam
Through the six wandering states of samsara.

(99) During that time, when we’ve undertaken
To enter the three worse rebirth states,
Even for the sake of a single wandering being,
May we lead out of the sufferings of the worse rebirth states
(everyone there),
Never letting our great bodhisattva behavior decline.

(100) As soon as (we’ve landed there),
May the guardians of the joyless hell realms
Come to recognize us as their gurus.
May even the (rain of) sharp weapons
Turn into a shower of flowers,
And may peace and happiness flourish,
With there being no more harm.

(101) Then, when even those in the worse rebirth states
Have attained advanced awareness
and retention power (for the Dharma),
And, having taken on heavenly or human bodies,
They’ve developed bodhichitta,
May they repay, with their Dharma (practice),
The kindness received from us.
May they entrust themselves (to us),
Having taken us as their gurus.

(102) At that time, may all wandering beings
In higher status rebirths as well,
Having meditated supremely
on no “true self” (of all things),
Similar to that regarding the “true self” (of persons),
Then meditate with absorbed concentration,
Nonconceptually, on the equal nature
of compulsive samsara and tranquil nirvana.
And may they recognize themselves
as being in this equal nature.

(103) If we’ve done like that, this enemy will be destroyed.
If we’ve done like that, the concept (of it) will be destroyed.
Having meditated on no “true self,”
with nonconceptual deep awareness,
How could we not have attained the causes for the effect:
a Buddha’s Form Body?

(104) Hey, those like me!
All of those are things that dependently arise,
And what relies on dependently arising
cannot be self-supporting.
Changing into that over there
and changing into this over here,
Their false appearances are an illusion.
They are reflections that (merely) appear,
Like a whirling firebrand.

(105) Like a plantain tree, our life force has no core.
Like a bubble, our life span (too) has no core.
Like a fog, having descended, they’re things that disperse.
Like a mirage, they’re things that are beautiful (just) from afar.

(106) Like reflections in a mirror,
They seem so real, so real.
Like a cloud or a mist on a mountain,
They seem to stay and to stay.

(107) This butcher, a “true self,” the enemy, is like that.
Seeming like it exists and exists,
It never has existed at all.
Seeming like it is true and true,
It’s never been experienced as true anywhere.
Seeming like it appears and appears,
It’s beyond being an object that can be added or taken away.

(108) Whatever sharp weapons of karma that
that (butcher) possesses,
Although they, too, lack self-establishing natures,
like this (enemy) does,
They dawn like the reflection of the moon
in a full cup of water.
These karmic causes and effects are assorted displays
that are false,
Yet, while being mere appearances
Hey, I tell you,
“We must accept and reject (the appropriate actions).”

(109) When, in the dream world, there blazes
an eon-ending fire,
Though it lacks a self-establishing nature,
Yet we’re still terrified.
Likewise, though what occurs
in the joyless hell realms and the likes
Lack self-establishing natures,
Yet because of fear of being boiled, burned, and so forth,
We need to abandon (their karmic cause).

(110) When we’re delirious with a fever,
Even though there’s no darkness,
(We feel like) we’re passing into a deep, long cavern
and suffocating.
Likewise, although unawareness and so on
Lack self-establishing natures,
We must clear away their delirium
with the three types of discriminating awareness.

(111) When musicians are playing a beautiful song,
And we analyze, there’s no self-establishing
nature of the sound.
Yet when we don’t analyze, a melodious sound,
Which is an accumulation, has been produced
And then has relieved the torment in people’s minds.
Similarly,

(112) When we thoroughly analyze karmic cause and effect,
Although they lack self-establishing natures
as being the same or as being different,
Yet, seemingly appearing and appearing,
Phenomena are made to arise and perish.
And seemingly existing and existing,
We experience various (things) arising and perishing.
Yet, while being mere appearances,
Hey, I tell you,
“We must accept and reject (the appropriate actions).”

(113) When a vase has been filled by drops of water,
The vase wasn’t filled by the first drop, and likewise
Not by each (of the others) – the last one and so on.
But rather the vase is full
Through a dependently arisen accumulation.
Similarly,

(114) When we experience any happiness or suffering
as a karmic result,
It isn’t by means of the first instance of its cause,
And it isn’t by means of the last instance and so forth.
We experience happiness and suffering
Through a dependently arisen accumulation.
Yet, while being mere appearances,
Hey, I tell you,
“We must accept and reject (the appropriate actions).”

(115) Wow! These appearances of pleasant things which,
Unexamined (seem to exist as if) all alone, have no core,
And yet these things (still) appear as if truly existing!
That’s profound!
But, it’s difficult for the lesser-minded to see.

(116) Yet now, when we totally absorb on this (voidness),
What is there even that is definitely merely appearing?
What is there that is existent (at all)?
What is there that’s even nonexistent?
What is there anywhere that can be asserted as
existence or nonexistence?

(117) But if we place our intelligence,
without any contriving,
Serenely in its primordial state,
Which doesn’t contain
Objects and what have those objects
(both) having actual true natures,
And which is parted from all accepting and rejecting
and parted from mental fabrication,
We shall become great beings.

(118) By practicing conventional bodhichitta
And deepest bodhichitta like that,
And bringing to completion, without interruption,
Our buildup of the two enlightening networks,
May we attain the splendor (of enlightenment,
Fulfilling) the two aims.

(Colophon:)
In a jungle retreat where various fearsome beasts of prey roamed, Dharmarakshita, a great yogi (endowed with) scriptural knowledge, logic, and realization, composed (this text) called “ The Throwing Star Weapon, Striking the Vital Point of the Foe” in accord with the words of his hallowed gurus. Then he practiced it in that fearsome jungle retreat during his degenerate age.

He imparted it to Atisha, and then Atisha, as well, practiced it, never just partially in this direction or that, in order to tame the many limited beings that were difficult to tame. When he developed realization, he proclaimed these verses in fact:

When I abandoned royalty and practiced difficult austerities,
I built up the positive force so that I was able
to meet my superlative guru.
In showing me this nectar-like teaching,
He conferred upon me the power of the Dharma.
Having obtained an opponent for the present day (problems),
I committed it to memory.

When, having spread my intelligence out
And studied all around,
Without being partisan toward any system,
Although I saw fathomless wonders (in all of them),
This teaching (in particular) has brought benefit
in these degenerate times.

From among the many unimaginable disciples he had in India and Tibet, Atisha imparted this teaching to Upasaka Dromtonpa – who had been prophesied by fathomless Buddha-figures, such as the Vanquishing Lady Tara, to be their most fitting vessel – so that it could tame the uncivilized disciples of remote Tibet. The triumphant fatherly (Atisha) and his spiritual son (Dromtonpa) themselves served as the pandit teacher and translator for it.