Word of the Buddha
Ka (bka) the teachings that the Buddha gave from his own mouth.
Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche has said:
- From a Buddhist point of view, teachings [given by enlightened beings] have two aspects: One is called ka, which is the teaching that Buddha, for example, gave from his own mouth. The other aspect is ten gyur, which consists of commentaries based upon the Buddha's own teachings.
- Further, the teachings called ka, or the Buddha's own utterances, have three aspects: The first, shal nay sum pe ka, are the teachings given by the Buddha himself. The second, jin gyi lap pe ka, are teachings given with the Buddha's blessing and in his presence. When the Buddha encouraged or inspired someone else, such as Avalokiteshvara, to act as his mouthpiece, such a teaching had the same authority as if it were given by the Buddha, and such teachings are also called ka . Finally, we have je su nang we ka, which means teachings that are bequeathed to later generations. These teachings were not presented while Buddha was alive, but were invoked and, in a sense, rediscovered and given a new impetus for another generation by the Buddha himself.
- Now the ten gyur, or the commentaries, are teachings that are embodied, and they all have two aspects: One is the doctrinal aspect, and the other is the experiential aspect, and these two must correspond. In other words, if one has studied and learned something intellectually, those teachings must correspond with inner experiences. As far as the teachings themselves are concerned, there is not one single thing that we can call the standard presentation of Buddhism, because the Buddha, in his infinite wisdom and compassion, and through his exercise of skillful means, was able to devise many methods and many interpretations.
- The teachings that come to be known as the Dharma or Buddhism cannot be encapsulated within one particular format. There are many levels of interpretation and many levels of understanding. As Nagarjuna says, "The Dharma of the Buddha is immense, like the ocean. Depending on the aptitudes of beings, it is expounded in various ways. It can speak of existence or nonexistence; eternity or impermanence; happiness or suffering; the self or not self." He goes on to say, "Such are the manifold and diverse teachings."