The Tibetan Buddhist teachings on mahamudra are known for their ability to lead to profound realization. Peaceful and infinitely adaptable, these teachings are as useful for today's busy world as they have been for centuries.
Written by the tutor to the seventeenth Karmapa, Essentials of Mahamudra is a commentary on Tashi Namgyal's famous Moonlight of Mahamudra - a text that the sixteenth Karmapa had identified as the most valuable for Westerners. Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche recognized that Western meditators don't just need to know how to maintain our meditation practice - we need to know why we should do it. Unmatched in its directness, Essentials of Mahamudra addresses both these needs, rendering one of the most advanced forms of meditation more easily adaptable to our everyday lives.
Enjoy six key texts on the cornerstone meditation practice of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism by some of its most celebrated forebearers.
The Mind of Mahamudra highlights mahamudra, the central meditation practice of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. The six texts range in date from the twelfth to the seventeenth century and include such celebrated authors as Lama Shang and the Third Karmapa. Mahamudra is essentially a simple, direct method for looking beyond our thoughts to the very nature of conscious experience. Mahamudra literally means "the great seal" and masters of this tradition have explained it to mean that everything is sealed with buddhahood, and there is no liberation to be attained other than what is already present. Mahamudra, it is said, is not attained not because it is too difficult, but because it is too easy; not because it is too far, but because it is too close; and not because it is hidden but because it is too evident. Because of its universality and directness, mahamudra meditation is particularly suited to the modern West. Eminent scholar Peter Alan Roberts draws on his thirty-plus years of experience of translating for Tibetan lamas to illuminate these benchmark translations.
Mahamudra and Dzogchen are perhaps the most profound teachings within all of Tibetan Buddhism. The experience of Mahamudra, or "great symbol," is an overwhelming sense of extraordinary clarity, totally open and nondualistic. Dzogchen, or "great perfection," is the ultimate teaching according to the Nyingma tradition and also represents the pinnacle of spiritual development. These are the two paths that provide practitioners with the most skillful means to experience the fully awakened state and directly taste the reality of our mind and environment. And yet these concepts are notoriously difficult to grasp and challenging to explain. In Wild Awakening, Tibetan Buddhist master Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche presents these esoteric teachings in a style that reveals their surprising simplicity and great practical value, emphasizing that we can all experience our world more directly, with responsibility, freedom, and confidence. With a straightforward approach and informal style, he presents these essential teachings in a way that even those very new to Tibetan Buddhism can understand.
This guidebook for cultivating the meditative practices of stability and insight—the first major work from the Drukpa Kagyu lineage to become available in English—stands out among works of its kind as one of the clearest and most comprehensive presentations of coemergence, or mahamudra. In it, the eighteenth-century Tibetan master Ngawang Kunga Tenzin, the Third Khamtrul Rinpoche, details a step-by-step program of spiritual exercises that bring the meditator directly to clear realization of the fully perfect, ever-present, nondual nature of mind.
Beginning with the close relationship between phenomena and mind and the immense benefits of meditating on the nature of mind, the Third Khamtrul Rinpoche offers careful instructions on the four yogas of mahamudra together with advice on how to recognize genuine progress and how to remove obstacles that arise during meditation. Characteristic of the Drukpa Kagyu approach is that, even from the earliest stages of training, the author explains how all experience, thoughts, and perceptions may be used as the path to enlightenment from the perspective of insight into the nature of mind.
In this new book, Khenchen Thrangu provides an exhaustive commentary on the longest and most comprehensive of the three classic treatises on Mahamudra composed by the sixteenth-century scholar Wangchuk Dorje, the Ninth Karmapa. Khenchen Thrangu's teachings encompass the entire path of Mahamudra, including the preliminaries, the main practice, removing obstacles, and attaining the result of buddhahood—with detailed instruction in tranquility and insight meditation. This is the only available volume that presents Khenchen Thrangu's detailed commentary on this entire text.
The force of our past actions makes it hard to attain our goals, including success in meditation. And so Buddhism has developed methods for purifying our past, clearing the obstacles to success and fulfillment. One of the most popular methods for karmic housekeeping, one common to all schools of Tibetan Buddhism, is the preparatory practice of visualizing the buddha Vajrasattva and reciting his hundred-syllable mantra. It is considered an essential foundation for the success of spiritual endeavor. The practice of Vajrasattva is often the first experience practitioners have of trying to perform tantric ritual. Combining prayers, visualizations, mantra recitations, and multiple styles of meditation, it can be hard for those who did not grow up in the tradition to know how to proceed. This friendly volume by a young Tibetan lama with many followers in China lays out the practice step by step accompanied by sixty color illustrations.
Following Je Tsongkhapa's (1357-1419 C.E.) text Having the Three Convictions, Lama Yeshe introduces the renowned Six Yogas of Naropa, focusing mainly on the first of these six, the practice of inner fire (tummo). Mastery of inner fire quickly brings the mind to its most refined and penetrating state--the experience of clear light, an extra-ordinarily powerful state of mind that is unequaled in its ability to directly realize ultimate reality.
Lama Yeshe felt that twentieth-century Westerners could easily grasp the often misunderstood ideas of this esoteric tradition: "We really need tantra these days because there is a tremendous explosion of delusion and distraction.and we need the atomic energy of inner fire to blast us out of our delusion."
Lama Yeshe's aim was for his students to actually taste the experience of inner fire rather than merely gain an intellectual understanding. Lama's own realization of the transformative power of these practices comes through, inspiring his students to discover for themselves their own capacity for inexhaustible bliss.
All lineages of Mahamudra meditation have their source in a verse teaching—a “song of realization”—sung by the Mahasiddha Tilopa to his disciple Naropa on the banks of the Ganges River more than a thousand years ago. Since that time, the meaning of Tilopa’s instructions has been passed directly from master to disciple in a continuous stream that exists unbroken to this day. This book offers the reader a rare glimpse into the Mahamudra oral transmission, given in a traditional Tibetan context by one of the lineage’s most learned and accomplished contemporary masters.
Mahamudra meditation, while highly advanced, is yet simple, practical, and accessible for anyone, because what is identified and meditated upon is the very nature of one’s own mind. In Sangyes Nyenpa Rinpoche’s words, “The distinction between deception and liberation lies in whether we understand the ever-present nature of our own mind or not. Knowing our own face is liberation; not knowing our own face is samsara. This is not something far distant from us.”