“Like the great holy beings of the past, Khensur Rinpoche had great faith in and devotion towards Mother Tara. Therefore, this commentary on the Praises to the Twenty-one Taras bears the special blessing of his personal experience with the power and effectiveness of the practice of Tara.”
- Khen Rinpoche Geshe Chonyi
This precious commentary by Khensur Rinpoche Lama Lhundrup Rigsel on the Praises to the Twenty-one Taras, published for the first time, offers us a deeper understanding of the inconceivable qualities of Tara’s holy body, speech and mind and how her different aspects can help us overcome difficulties in our daily lives and Dharma practice.
This ebook was designed & published by Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive for Amitabha Buddhist Centre (ABC). We are non-profit Buddhist organizations affiliated with the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT).
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.”
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.
This guidebook for cultivating the meditative practices of stability and insight—the first major work from the Drukpa Kagyu lineage to become available in English—stands out among works of its kind as one of the clearest and most comprehensive presentations of coemergence, or mahamudra. In it, the eighteenth-century Tibetan master Ngawang Kunga Tenzin, the Third Khamtrul Rinpoche, details a step-by-step program of spiritual exercises that bring the meditator directly to clear realization of the fully perfect, ever-present, nondual nature of mind.
Beginning with the close relationship between phenomena and mind and the immense benefits of meditating on the nature of mind, the Third Khamtrul Rinpoche offers careful instructions on the four yogas of mahamudra together with advice on how to recognize genuine progress and how to remove obstacles that arise during meditation. Characteristic of the Drukpa Kagyu approach is that, even from the earliest stages of training, the author explains how all experience, thoughts, and perceptions may be used as the path to enlightenment from the perspective of insight into the nature of mind.
Tara, the feminine embodiment of enlightened activity, is a Buddhist deity whose Tibetan name means “liberator,” signaling her ability to free beings from the delusion and ignorance that keep them trapped in ever-recurring patterns of negativity. She embodies a challenge, but one that is profoundly nurturing: to transform our minds and become like her, reflecting the tranquility, compassion, and wisdom that make her so beautiful.
Thubten Chodron describes a simple meditation on Tara, explaining its benefits and its application to daily life. She also presents two well-loved praises—“Homage to the Twenty-one Taras” and “A Song of Longing for Tara, the Infallible”—together with reflections on their meanings for modern practitioners.
Common to all four traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, the practice of Vajrasattva is used to purify negative karma, illness, and obstacles to spiritual development. Lama Yeshe, the inspirational teacher who strongly influenced the development of Buddhism in the West, found that the practice of Vajrasattva brought dramatic results for his Western students. Becoming Vajrasattva is a complete guide to this purification practice, providing instruction on the method, commentary on the traditional texts, and insight into tantra. Also included is an entire section of complete retreat instructions - indispensable reading material for anyone undertaking a retreat in the Tibetan tradition.
The Tibetan Buddhist meditation practice known as Dzogchen (pronounced ZOG-chen) is a practical method for accessing the pristine, clear awareness that lies beneath the chatter and confusion of our daily thoughts. The Dzogchen Primer provides the keys for understanding Dzogchen and putting it into practice.
Marcia Schmidt, a long-time Buddhist practitioner, has gathered here the most accessible, down-to-earth writings published on this subject and has organized them into a study guide for the serious beginner on the Buddhist path. The collection includes writings from such well-known and venerable masters as Milarepa, Padmasambhava, Shantideva, Chögyam Trungpa, and Tulku Urgyen.
The concept of Dzogchen is said to lie beyond the confines of our beliefs, our intellectual constructs, our ordinary understanding. A Dzogchen master writes, "We need to dismantle our fixation on the permanence of what we experience. A normal person clings to his experiences as being 'real,' concrete, and permanent. But if we look closely at what happens, experience is simply experience, and it is not made out of anything. It has no form, no sound, no color, no taste, no texture; it is simply empty cognizance."
The Dzogchen Primer includes an informative editor's preface as well as two forewords by prominent Tibetan masters that provide fundamental background information that will be helpful to readers new to this subject. The book also includes short, descriptive guiding notes intended to assist both independent students and teachers leading workshops.