Michele Martin has been a Buddhist practitioner for over forty years and has spent the last thirty of those based in Nepal and India studying with Tibetan lamas and working as a translator of oral and written Tibetan. With two graduate degrees from Yale, she also had a long career in publishing and is a founding board member of the Tibetan Buddhist Research Center. Among numerous translations from Tibetan texts on philosophy, meditation, and history, her books include Music in the Sky: The Life, Art, and Teachings of the Seventeenth Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje (author and translator) and Gaining Certainty in the View (translator). In cooperation with others, she has edited and translated Song for the King: Saraha on Mahamudra Meditation; The Karmapas and Their Mahāmudrā Forefathers: An Illustrated Guide; The First Karmapa: The Life and Teachings of Dusum Khyenpa; and Traveling the Path of Compassion: A Commentary on the Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva.
Books, Courses & Podcasts
A Song for the King
Mahamudra is the basic meditation practice for many Tibetan Buddhists, particularly of the Kagyu tradition. It is particularly adaptable for modern people, since it involves no rituals and can be incorporated into all daily activities. Saraha’s “Song for the King” is a short verse text from classical India that is a basis for the tradition and is widely known in Tibetan Buddhist circles. It is often the basis for teachings given in the West, but there is only one outdated translation of it in print, first published in 1969. Michele Martin has produced a stellar new translation, which is accompanied by a commentary from the well-known teacher Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, who is uniquely skilled and concerned with making this method of meditation available to Westerners.
While pithy and accessible, the book easily stands up to academic scrutiny, and includes the original Tibetan as well—making it ideal for the popular, scholarly, and Tibetan audiences all at once.
The Karmapas and Their Mahamudra Forefathers
“I believe the life a lama lives is the greatest instruction to the students who follow him or her. It is an instruction we can actually see. The lama’s deeds display the Dharma in action for us. They can instruct our hearts with the fullness of lived experience. In the lama’s actions we can observe how the mind turns to Dharma, and how that Dharma becomes a path. We can watch how the path eliminates confusion, and how confusion arises as wisdom.”– H.H. the Seventeenth Karmapa
The Karmapas and Their Mahamudra Forefathers collects fascinating accounts of the lives of the Karmapas and of their forefathers in the Mahamudra practice lineage. Each story is accompanied by a beautiful, full-color illustration of its subject in the lineage, as depicted in a traditional style of Eastern Tibet used at the renowned Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Monastery in Nepal.