Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche inspired Matthieu Ricard to create this anthology by telling him that “when we come to appreciate the depth of the view of the eight great traditions [of Tibetan Buddhism] and also see that they all lead to the same goal without contradicting each other, we think, ‘Only ignorance can lead us to adopt a sectarian view.’” Ricard has selected and translated some of the most profound and inspiring teachings from across these traditions.The selected teachings are taken from the sources of the traditions, including the Buddha himself, Nagarjuna, Guru Rinpoche, Atisha, Shantideva, and Asanga; from great masters of the past, including Thogme Zangpo, the Fifth Dalai Lama, Milarepa, Longchenpa, and Sakya Pandita; and from contemporary masters, including the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and Mingyur Rinpoche. They address such topics as the nature of the mind; the foundations of taking refuge, generating altruistic compassion, acquiring merit, and following a teacher; view, meditation, and action; and how to remove obstacles and make progress on the path.
Renowned as a peerless teacher, practitioner, and scholar, Longchenpa thoroughly studied and mastered every one of the many Buddhist vehicles and lineages of teachings existing in Tibet at his time. Through his radiant intellect and meditative accomplishment, in both his teachings and written works, he was able to reconcile the seeming discrepancies and contradictions between the various presentations of the view and the path within the many lineages of transmission. His written works are also famous for being able to transfer true blessings just by reading or hearing his enlightened words.
Compiled from numerous Tibetan and Bhutanese sources, including Longchenpa’s autobiography, and stories of his previous lives and subsequent rebirths, The Life of Longchenpa weaves an inspiring tale of wonder and magic, of extraordinary visions and spiritual insight, set in the kingdoms of fourteenth-century Tibet and Bhutan. It also reveals for the first time fascinating details of his ten years of self-exile in Bhutan, stories that were unknown to his Tibetan biographers.
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.”