The lineage of the reincarnated line of Dalai Lamas has held primary spiritual authority and, until recently, temporal power in Tibet since the beginning of the fifteenth century. The translations in this book represent a curated set of their writings specifically on tantra, the advanced path of Tibetan Buddhism in which practitioners use a variety of methods and techniques to directly overcome delusion and conflicting emotions. If one has the proper training in sutra and tantra, it is said that the path to enlightenment can be traversed swiftly. Glenn H. Mullin, one of the foremost translators of the Dalai Lamas, has selected key texts from eight of the Dalai Lamas that clearly elucidate the proper understanding and context of the tantric system in this lineage.
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.
The original text, beautifully translated and introduced by Sara Harding, is further brought to life by an in-depth commentary by the contemporary master Thrangu Rinpoche. Key Tibetan Buddhist fundamentals are quickly made clear, so that the reader may confidently enter into tantra's oft-misunderstood "creation" and "completion" stages.
In the creation stage, practitioners visualize themselves in the form of buddhas and other enlightened beings in order to break down their ordinary concepts of themselves and the world around them. This meditation practice prepares the mind for engaging in the completion stage, where one has a direct encounter with the ultimate nature of mind and reality.
Tsongkhapa's commentary entitled A Book of Three Inspirations: A Treatise on the Stages of Training in the Profound Path of Naro's Six Dharmas is commonly referred to as The Three Inspirations. Anyone who has read more than a few books on Tibetan Buddhism will have encountered references to the Six Yogas of Naropa, a preeminent yogic technology system. The six practices—inner heat, illusory body, clear light, consciousness transference, forceful projection, and bardo yoga—gradually came to pervade thousands of monasteries, nunneries, and hermitages throughout Central Asia over the past five and a half centuries.