Book of Dzyan, Stanza I, Michael Lewis translation/interpretation

By David Reigle on November 4, 2012 at 4:31 am

…..IN THE MATRIX OF THE PRIMORDIAL DEITIES

“…in the night of Sun-chan.”

 

- Michael Lewis and Ken Small

 

 

Blavatskys’ final version of  Stanza one and also her  Tibetan phonetic source is indented from the original in the Secret Doctrine Proem, p. 23.  The earlier version from Blavatsky’s 1886 manuscript is given after the later one under sub a.
(Michael Lewis translation / interpretation and comments follow in bold italics and plain type. I have made the arrangement and editing. K.S.)

1. THE ETERNAL PARENT WRAPPED IN HER EVER INVISIBLE ROBES HAD SLUMBERED ONCE AGAIN FOR SEVEN ETERNITIES

 

1a.  THE Eternal Mother (space) wrapped in her ever invisible robes (cosmic prenebular matter had slumbered for seven Eternities,

 

Tho-ag in zhi-gyu slept seven Khorlo

 

The Potential of Spatiality as the Fundamental Cause [or Causal Ground]  slept for seven cycles

 

Tho-ok = the ‘boundless all’ equivalent to Parmenides apeiron = boundless

 

Tho = above and ok = below (see example of this usage in the Throma sadhana). Tibetan often makes use of two extremes to create a definition, in this case ‘above/below’ giving the meaning of ‘spatiality’.

 

Zhi gyu = uncaused cause or fundamental cause ( Zhi-ma would negate this)

 

2. TIME WAS NOT, FOR IT LAY ASLEEP IN THE INFINITE BOSOM OF DURATION.

 

2a. (identical rendering)

 

Zodmanas zhiba.

 

Patiently the One Mind peacefully  abided

 

Zhipa = patient     Manas = mind in Sanskrit   Yeh Zhi =  primordial ground or original foundation = Dharmakaya. This would be ‘aja-sakti, the unborn, a Dzogchen term which Blavatsky references in her article on ‘Tibetan Teachings’ give ref.)

 

            All Nyug bosom.

 

All was in [the bosom of] the Ultimate Natural State.

 

Nyug is the same as Nyuk. The nyuk that David Reigle is referring to is spelled snug and means quite correctly duration. However gnyug(ma) which is usually short for gnyug ma’i sems means the genuine innate, interrupted ongoing, perpetual, original natural state or nature or the authentic original untouched nature which is virtually synonymous with Dzogchen. It is said to be ‘ma sam gur pay nur lay day’ = inconceivable and ineffable and cannot be an object of intellective consciousness. As Joseph Campbell says “no tongue can soil it with a name.” The secondary meaning is of continuously residing or indigenous = Sanskrit nija. ‘Nyuk me sems’ is a synonym for rigpa, the uncontrived untouched natural complete awareness spontaneously present. The original, indigenous ‘resident’ of the universe, the mandala of Samantabhadra. The ‘ma’ in gnyugma’ = the motherly underlying empty essence and refers directly to the prajna paramita – the motherly wisdom of the Buddhas.  Blavatsky conveys this by her use of the word ‘bosom’ as a poetic metaphor to convey the correct feeling tone for this meaning.

 

  1. 3.     UNIVERSAL MIND WAS NOT, FOR THERE WERE NO AH-HI TO CONTAIN IT.

 

3a. Time was not, for there were no Dhyan Chohans to contain (hence to manifest) it.

 

Konch-hog not;

 

There was no separate existence of Deity;

 

Konchok – when the Moravian missionaries translated the Christian Bible into Tibetan they used the word ‘Konchog’ when translating ‘God’. It could be translated as ‘supreme superiors’.

 

Regarding ‘AH-HI’, the expression ‘Ah-hay’ = ‘hadewa’ which means the awe surprised wondering awareness, uncontained. It is also similar to ‘ATI’

 

            Thyan-Kam not;

 

Everything was non-dual and was absorbed in the primordial state;

 

[alternative] Nor was there meditative absorption with formal substratum

[alternative] The one elemnt was absorbed in the primordial state.

 

Tian Kham = Dhyan = meditative absorption and Kham = formal substratum

or Thyan-Kam = element.

 

Lha-Chohan not;

 

There were no gods or exalted ones;

 

Lha = gods and Chohan = exalted ones

 

  1. 4.     THE SEVEN WAYS TO BLISS WERE NOT.  THE GREAT CAUSES OF MISERY WERE NOT, FOR THERE WAS NO ONE TO PRODUCE AND GET ENSNARED BY THEM.

4a.  (identical  rendering)

 

Tenbrel Chugnyi not;

 

There was no twelvefold chain of interdependent arising

 

 

  1. 5.     DARKNESS ALONE FILLED THE  BOUNDLESS ALL, FOR FATHER, MOTHER AND SON WERE ONCE MORE ONE, AND THE SON HAD NOT AWAKENED YET FOR THE NEW WHEEL, AND HIS PILGRIMAGE THEREON.

5a.  (Identical rendering with only without the ending phrase “and his pilgrimage thereon.” is not in this earlier version.)

 

Dharmakaya ceased;

 

Dharmakaya ceased

 

Cho lon yang me = Dharmakaya also was not

 

“A very profound  view.  I don’t believe this is discussed or elucidated anywhere as a philosophical concept in Buddhist philosophy. Perhaps in Dzogchen, but I do not know of any reference at this time either translated  or in Tibetan.” (M.L.)

 

Tgenchang not become;

 

Anything having specific characteristics had not yet become.

 

Tgenchang  could be rgyen chang = ornament holder. The ‘T’ is not a correct prefix.

 

            Barnang and Ssa in Ngovonyidj

 

The blazing forth of experience and its ground in shear essentiality was what was.

 

Barnang = blazing appearance. Nang = the same meaning as Pleroma in Greek = ‘lighting up’  and implying objects of cognition.

 

6. THE SEVEN SUBLIME LORDS AND THE SEVEN TRUTHS HAD CEASED TO BE, AND THE UNIVERSE, THE SON OF NECESSITY, WAS IMMERSED IN PARANISHPANNA, TO BE OUTBREATHED BY THAT WHICH IS AND YET IS NOT.  NAUGHT WAS.

 

6a.  The seven sublime Truths, and the Seven Srutis—had ceased to be, and the Universe, the Son of Necessity, was plunged in Paranishpanna (absolute perfecton, Paranivwana, which is Jong-grub)—to be outbreathed by that which is, and yet is not. Naught was,

           

Alone Tho-og Yinsin in night of Sun-chan

 

The potential of spatiality alone held existence in the night of Sun-chan

 

 [or alternative  rendering]

 

The matrix from which would arise the primal deities alone held existence

 

Sun – chun – according to Chandra Das quoting de Koros, Sun-chun means ancestral spirit or tutelary deities and chan means possessed of.  It would be useful to look for this term in a Zhang-Zhung dictionary.

 

and Yong-grub (Parinishpanna)

 

and everything was already accomplished there.

Category: Book of Dzyan | 2 comments

  • David Reigle says:

    I think you are right, Jacques, in identifying Sun-chan with Sien-Chan, and this leads to its identification. Although I had noted that Sien-chan was likely to be an error of transcription for Sem-chan in the two printings of the Cosmological Notes (Blavatsky’s Secret Books, p. 64, note 1), I did not connect this with Sun-chan, which I left as “unidentified” (p. 71). Now that you have connected Sun-chan with Sien-chan, I think it is very likely that Sun-chan is Sem-chan, Tibetan sems can, the translation of Sanskrit sattva, a living being. The meaning fits. Thanks to your insight, the word Sun-chan is at last identified!

  • Jacques Mahnich Jacques Mahnich says:

    Sun Chan does not seems to show up in Zhang-Zhung dictionaries (Dan Martin, 1997 or Samtan Karmay, 2008).
    There is a similar word compound close to Sun-Chan which appears in “An unpublished Discourse of Buddha” – HPB Collected Writings, Vol.14, p. 408 :
    ” The Universe of Namkha says :”I am the world of Sien-Chan ;
    The note on the bottom says : The Universe of Brahma (Sien-Chan; Nam-Kha) is Universal Illusion, or our phenomenal world”.
    The night of Sun-Chan may refers to the obscuration of our universe.


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