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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.
The force of our past actions makes it hard to attain our goals, including success in meditation. And so Buddhism has developed methods for purifying our past, clearing the obstacles to success and fulfillment. One of the most popular methods for karmic housekeeping, one common to all schools of Tibetan Buddhism, is the preparatory practice of visualizing the buddha Vajrasattva and reciting his hundred-syllable mantra. It is considered an essential foundation for the success of spiritual endeavor. The practice of Vajrasattva is often the first experience practitioners have of trying to perform tantric ritual. Combining prayers, visualizations, mantra recitations, and multiple styles of meditation, it can be hard for those who did not grow up in the tradition to know how to proceed. This friendly volume by a young Tibetan lama with many followers in China lays out the practice step by step accompanied by sixty color illustrations.