This translation of a fundamental Tantric text reveals the richness and profundity of the intellectual and contemplative traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. The text describes the Four Foundation Practices that all practitioners of Vajrayana Buddhism must complete. The nature of impermanence, the effects of karma, the development of an enlightened attitude, and devotion to the guru are among the subjects treated in this book.
Three eminent contemporary Tibetan Buddhist masters—Kalu Rinpoche, Deshung Rinpoche, and Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche—explain the significance of The Torch of Certainty for modern-day students and practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism.
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.
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.
Definitive in its scope, the ten-volume Treasury of Knowledge stands alone as an encyclopedic masterpiece encompassing the entire range of Tibetan Buddhist teachings. Written by Jamgon Kongtrul, whose writings have been embraced by the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, the set is a vast and inclusive treasure trove of material. This volume, Journey and Goal, focuses on the spiritual path the journey and the resultant state of enlightenment where it leads the goal. Extensively varied perspectives are offered, not only from the different schools of Buddhism, but also from the varying levels of practice and attainments. In fact, this is the most comprehensive treatment of these themes to appear in the English language, and as with all of the books in The Treasury of Knowledge, is the first translation into a Western language.