What would be the practical implications of caring more about others than about yourself? This is the radical theme of this extraordinary set of instructions, a training manual composed in the fourteenth century by the Buddhist hermit Ngulchu Thogme, here explained in detail by one of the great Tibetan Buddhist masters of the twentieth century, Dilgo Khyentse.
In the Mahayana tradition, those who have the courage to undertake the profound change of attitude required to develop true compassion are called bodhisattvas. Their great resolve—to consider others’ needs as paramount, and thus to attain enlightenment for the sake of all living creatures—carries them beyond the limits imposed by the illusions of “I” and “mine,” culminating in the direct realization of reality, transcending dualistic notions of self and other.
This classic text presents ways that we can work with our own hearts and minds, starting wherever we find ourselves now, to unravel our small-minded preoccupations and discover our own potential for compassion, love, and wisdom. Many generations of Buddhist practitioners have been inspired by these teachings, and the great masters of all traditions have written numerous commentaries. Dilgo Khyentse’s commentary is probably his most extensive recorded teaching on Mahayana practice.
Shantideva says at the beginning of the final chapter of his Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life: "All branches of the Buddha's teachings are taught for the sake of wisdom. If you wish to bring an end to suffering, you must develop wisdom." Shantideva's ninth chapter is revered in Tibetan Buddhist circles as one of the most authoritative expositions of the Buddha's core insight, and all other Buddhist practices are means to support the generation of this wisdom within the practitioner. In Practicing Wisdom, the Dalai Lama reaffirms his reputation as a great scholar, communicator, and embodiment of the Buddha's Way by illuminating Shantideva's verses, drawing on contrasting commentaries from the Nyingma and Gelug lineages, and leading the reader through the stages of insight up to the highest view of emptiness. These teachings, delivered in southern France in 1993, have been masterfully translated, edited, and annotated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa, the Dalai Lama's primary translator and founder of the Institute of Tibetan Classics.
The key to happiness is not the eradication of all problems but rather the development of a mind capable of transforming any problem into a cause of happiness. Essential Mind Training is full of guidance for cultivating new mental habits for mastering our thoughts and emotions.
This volume contains eighteen individual works selected from Mind Training: The Great Collection, the earliest compilation of mind-training (lojong) literature. The first volume of the historic Tibetan Classics series, Essential Mind Training includes both lesser-known and renowned classics such as Eight Verses on Mind Training and The Seven-Point Mind Training. These texts offer methods for practicing the golden rule of learning to love your neighbor as yourself and are full of practical and down-to-earth advice.
The techniques explained here, by enhancing our capacity for compassion, love, and perseverance, can give us the freedom to embrace the world.