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.
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 volume contains forty-four individual texts, including the most important works of the mind training cycle, such as Serlingpa's well-known Leveling Out All Preconceptions, Atisha's Bodhisattva's Jewel Garland, Langri Thangpa's Eight Verses on Training the Mind, and Chekawa's Seven-Point Mind Training together with the earliest commentaries on these seminal texts. An accurate and lyrical translation of these texts, many of which are in metered verse, marks an important contribution to the world's literary heritage, enriching its spiritual resources.
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.
When it first appeared in 1986, Mahamudra: The Moonlight - Quintessence of Mind and Meditation was the first presentation in English of a major Tibetan Buddhist work on meditation. This classic guide was composed in the sixteenth century by an eminent lama of the Kagyu school and is so comprehensive and practical that it is still widely used today as a manual. Divided into two major sections, it presents first the common approach and then the mahamudra approach to tranquility (shamatha) and insight (vipashyana) meditation.
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Here, the late Dudjom Rinpoche provides his authoritative commentary on the role of ethics and morality in Buddhist practice, outlining in detail the meaning and scope of the vows, and giving practical advice on maintaining the vows as supportive tools in the journey toward enlightenment.