What would be the practical implications of caring more about others than about yourself? This is the radical theme of this extraordinary set of instructions, a training manual composed in the fourteenth century by the Buddhist hermit Ngulchu Thogme, here explained in detail by one of the great Tibetan Buddhist masters of the twentieth century, Dilgo Khyentse.
In the Mahayana tradition, those who have the courage to undertake the profound change of attitude required to develop true compassion are called bodhisattvas. Their great resolve—to consider others’ needs as paramount, and thus to attain enlightenment for the sake of all living creatures—carries them beyond the limits imposed by the illusions of “I” and “mine,” culminating in the direct realization of reality, transcending dualistic notions of self and other.
This classic text presents ways that we can work with our own hearts and minds, starting wherever we find ourselves now, to unravel our small-minded preoccupations and discover our own potential for compassion, love, and wisdom. Many generations of Buddhist practitioners have been inspired by these teachings, and the great masters of all traditions have written numerous commentaries. Dilgo Khyentse’s commentary is probably his most extensive recorded teaching on Mahayana practice.
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.
Part One explains the tradition of composing stories about Milarepa's life and teachings (there have been many throughout the centuries) and includes outlines of the contents of some of them as well as an explanation of the oral versions that have been transmitted via oral epic songs and poems that Milarepa composed. Describing the spiritual components of Bka'-brgyud-pa, Part Two includes tantric practices, an outline for the path of liberation, definitions of "voidness," and the characteristics of fully enlightened Buddhahood. Part Three includes translated biographies and oral teachings of Milarepa (in poetic form) that are considered sacred texts. The book also includes a foreword by Roberto Vitali, a prominent Tibetan Buddhist scholar as well as an extensive bibliography of primary and secondary sources.
Enjoy six key texts on the cornerstone meditation practice of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism by some of its most celebrated forebearers.
The Mind of Mahamudra highlights mahamudra, the central meditation practice of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. The six texts range in date from the twelfth to the seventeenth century and include such celebrated authors as Lama Shang and the Third Karmapa. Mahamudra is essentially a simple, direct method for looking beyond our thoughts to the very nature of conscious experience. Mahamudra literally means "the great seal" and masters of this tradition have explained it to mean that everything is sealed with buddhahood, and there is no liberation to be attained other than what is already present. Mahamudra, it is said, is not attained not because it is too difficult, but because it is too easy; not because it is too far, but because it is too close; and not because it is hidden but because it is too evident. Because of its universality and directness, mahamudra meditation is particularly suited to the modern West. Eminent scholar Peter Alan Roberts draws on his thirty-plus years of experience of translating for Tibetan lamas to illuminate these benchmark translations.
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.