Kirti Tsenshap Rinpoche explains the distinctive features of the four classes of tantra--action tantra, performance tantra, yoga tantra, and highest yoga tantra--by describing the way to progress through their paths and levels. He illuminates key issues in tantric practice that are still a matter for debate within the tradition. Finally, he gives a special treatment of the unique methods of Kalacakra tantra, which is regularly taught around the globe by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The Treasury of Knowledge: Book Six, Parts One and Two: Indo-Tibetan Classical Learning and Buddhist Phenomenology
Jamgön Kongtrul’s encyclopedic Treasury of Knowledge presents a complete account of the major lines of thought and practice that comprise Tibetan Buddhism. Among the ten books that make up this tour de force, Book Six is by far the longest—concisely summarizing the theoretical fields of knowledge to be studied prior to the cultivation of reflection and discriminative awareness.
The first two parts of Book Six, contained in this volume, respectively concern Indo-Tibetan classical learning and Buddhist phenomenology. The former analyzes the traditional subjects of phonology and Sanskrit grammar, logic, fine art, and medicine, along with astrology, poetics, prosody, synonymics, and dramaturgy. The principal non-Buddhist philosophical systems of ancient India are then summarized and contrasted with the hierarchical meditative concentrations and formless absorptions through which the “summit of cyclic existence” can genuinely be attained. Part Two examines the phenomenological structures of Abhidharma—the shared inheritance of all Buddhist traditions—from three distinct perspectives, corresponding to the three successive turnings of the doctrinal wheel.
In the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, the Great Perfection is considered the most profound and direct path to enlightenment. The instructions of this tradition present a spiritual shortcut—a radically direct approach that cuts through confusion and lays bare the mind's true nature of luminous purity. For centuries, these teachings have been taught and practiced in secret by some of the greatest adepts of the Buddhist tradition. Great Perfection: Outer and Inner Preliminaries contains detailed instructions on the foundational practices of this tradition, from "The Excellent Chariot," a practice manual compiled by the Third Dzogchen Rinpoche.
Distilling the teachings of the Heart Essence of the Dakinis into an accessible, easy-to-practice format, The Excellent Chariot leads the reader through the entire Buddhist path, starting with basic Buddhist contemplations that work to dislodge deeply ingrained patterns of thinking and behaving, and continuing on to the most advanced and secret meditative practices of the Great Perfection. The teachings in this volume are drawn largely from the writings of the great Nyingma master Longchenpa and the root texts of the Heart Essence of the Dakinis itself. The Third Dzogchen Rinpoche begins by discussing the correct way to study and practice the Great Perfection teachings before presenting an overview of the Great Perfection lineage and an explanation on the meaning and importance of empowerment. In the chapters that follow, he presents practical instructions on the outer and inner preliminaries, the so-called "ng�o" practices. These practices enable the practitioner to transform and purify the mind, preparing it for the advanced Great Perfection meditation of Trekch�d T�, the breakthrough and direct leap.
In addition to the translation mentioned above, Great Perfection: Outer and Inner Preliminaries contains a beautiful introduction by the Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, a contemporary Great Perfection master, and an extensive glossary of key Great Perfection terminology.
The Treasury of Knowledge: Book Seven and Book Eight, Parts One and Two: Foundations of Buddhist Study and Practice
Jamgön Kongtrul’s ten-volume Treasury of Knowledge is a unique encyclopedic masterpiece embodying the entire range of Buddhist teachings as they were preserved in Tibet. Tibetan Buddhist teachers expected their students to study Buddhist philosophical texts as well as practice reflection and meditation; present-day students have also realized that awakening has its source in study as well as in reflection and practice.
Foundations of Buddhist Study and Practice comprises Book Seven and Book Eight, Parts One and Two of the Treasury of Knowledge. Book Seven elucidates the various keys needed to correctly interpret, understand, and contemplate Buddhist teachings, including the secret teachings of the Vajrayana. Parts One and Two of Book Eight explain how the teachings are to be integrated into one’s life through the practice of meditation, which unites a state of one-pointed attention with profound insight into emptiness. Jamgön Kongtrul’s evenhanded, elegant, and authoritative statement of such controversial doctrines as unqualified emptiness (“self-empty”) and qualified emptiness (“other-empty”), provisional and definitive meaning, and conventional and ultimate truth as presented in the various schools of Tibetan Buddhism will appeal to both serious Dharma practitioners and advanced students and scholars.