Three kinds of ignorance 三無明

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An old blind man groping for his way with a cane, the image for ignorance in the Wheel of Life

Three kinds of ignorance (Tib. མ་རིག་པ་གསུམ་, Wyl. ma rig pa gsum) are mentioned in the Dzogchen teachings:

1. Causal ignorance of single identity (Tib. རྒྱུ་བདག་ཉིད་གཅིག་པུའི་མ་རིག་པ་) (Rigpa Translations)
or: Ignorance that is virtually the same as the ground itself, (Tib. བདག་ཉིད་གཅིག་པུའི་མ་རིག་པ་, བདག་ཉིད་གཅིག་པའི་མ་རིག་པ་)
2. Coemergent ignorance (Tib. ལྷན་ཅིག་སྐྱེས་པའི་མ་རིག་པ་)
3. Imputational ignorance (Tib. ཀུན་ཏུ་བརྟགས་པའི་མ་རིག་པ་)

Alternative Translations

  • 1. Causal ignorance of single identity, 2. Innate ignorance, Imputational ignorance (Rigpa translations, alternative)
  • 1. unenlightenment of the single self-cause, 2. innate unenlightenment, 3. unenlightenment of imaginings (Thondup)
  • 1. ignorance of individual selfhood, 2. co-emergent ignorance, 3. ignorance of the imaginary (Dorje & Kapstein)
  • 1. catalytic dimmed awareness of the single identity, 2. coemergent dimmed awareness, 3. dimmed awareness of rampant reification (Germano)
  • 1. single-nature ignorance (Erik Pema Kunsang)

Further Reading