Yael Bentor received her PhD in Tibetan Studies from Indiana University in 1991. Since then she has been teaching Classical Tibetan language as well as classes on Tibetan Buddhism and culture, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Among her publications are Consecration of Images and Stūpas in Indo-Tibetan Tantric Buddhism (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1996); A Classical Tibetan Reader: Excerpts from Renowned Works with Custom Glossaries (Wisdom Publications); The Essence of the Ocean of Attainments: The Creation Stage of the Guhyasamāja Tantra According to Paṇchen Losang Chökyi Gyaltsen, translated with Penpa Dorjee (Wisdom Publications).
THE ESSENCE OF THE OCEAN OF ATTAINMENTS
The Creation Stage of the Guhyasamaja Tantra according to Panchen Losang Chökyi Gyaltsen
A comprehensive guide to the creation stage of the Guhyasamāja.
The Essence of the Ocean of Attainments (Dngos grub rgya mtsho’i snying po) is a commentary on the creation stage of the Guhyasamaja Tantra written by the illustrious Panchen Lama, Losang Chökyi Gyaltsen (1570–1662). The practice of Guhyasamaja, one of the earliest and most influential of the highest Tantras, along with its remarkable hermeneutic system, created a framework that was applied to other so-called unexcelled Tantras. Still very much a living tradition, in our time the Fourteenth Dalai Lama confers its empowerment every year. In this work, the Panchen Lama not only clarifies each step of the sadhana meditation ritual, but he also offers general insights into the practice and its workings. It is an Essence because it distills the much longer Ocean of Attainments commentary on the practice composed by Khedrup Jé (1385–1438), one of two key disciples of Tsongkhapa, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism’s Geluk school. The Panchen Lama identifies core elements of sadhana and with unparalleled precision clarifies many seminal points.
In her introduction, Yael Bentor surveys the creation stage of unexcelled Tantra as presented by the founding fathers of the Geluk school and unpacks the contents of The Essence of the Ocean of Attainments for readers. The translation features both explanatory annotations for practitioners and ample references for scholars.
Learn more about the Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism series.
- 268 pages, 6 x 9 inches
- ISBN 9781614294825
- 268 pages
- ISBN 9781614294825
The Blazing Inner Fire of Bliss and Emptiness
Coming soon! This book will be available in May 2024. Enter your name and email below to be notified when this book is available for purchase.
The Blazing Inner Fire of Bliss and Emptiness presents lucid translations of a pair of detailed commentaries by the famed Tibetan tantric master Ngulchu Dharmabhadra (1772–1851), illuminating a set of extremely secret and restricted tantric practices of highest yoga tantra.
The first of these commentaries details the practices of the Six Yogas of Naropa, one of the most celebrated and revered systems of completion-stage practice in Tibet. Dharmabhadra presents the Six Yogas by elaborating upon Lama Tsongkhapa ’s (1357–1419) masterpiece on the subject entitled Endowed with the Three Inspirations, which served as the basis for nearly all subsequent commentaries on the Six Yogas within the Gelug tradition. Ngulchu Dharmabhadra’s commentary is unique in that it presents the Six Yogas within the context of Vajrayogini practice, making this book a perfect companion piece to The Extremely Secret Dakini of Naropa (Wisdom Publications, 2020).
Also contained in this book is Ngulchu Dharmabhadra’s lucid and concise commentary on the First Panchen Lama’s (1570–1662) famous Supplication for Liberation from [Fear of] the Perilous Journey of the Intermediate State. The prayer—a beautiful literary contribution from the First Panchen Lama in its own right—invokes the immediacy of death and the potential to use the process of dying as an opportunity for liberation. The prayer extols the efficacy of the “nine mixings” of the completion stage as direct means of transforming our ordinary death process by using advanced yogas presented in the first commentary on the Six Yogas.
Together, these works present the reader with a vast and profound vision of spiritual transformation—one in which every aspect of human experience can be used as an opportunity for transcendence and spiritual liberation.
The Dechen Ling Practice Series from Wisdom Publications is committed to furthering the vision of David Gonsalez (Venerable Losang Tsering) and the Dechen Ling Press of bringing the sacred literature of Tibet to the West by making available many never-before-translated texts.
Ocean of Attainments
This commentary on Guhyasamāja tantra is the seminal guide to deity yoga and tantric visualization for the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism.
Ocean of Attainments was composed by Khedrup Jé Gelek Palsang (1385–1438), one of Tsongkhapa Losang Drakpa’s most prominent disciples. Its subject is the creation stage, a quintessential Buddhist tantric meditation that together with the completion stage comprises the path of unexcelled tantra. The Guhyasamāja Tantra, referred to as the “king of all tantras,” is one of the tantras of the unexcelled mantra; it is revered in Tibet, especially by the Geluk school, for its hermeneutic methods, which are in turn applied to other tantras.
In the creation stage, meditators visualize themselves as buddhas at the center of the celestial maṇḍala, surrounded in all directions by male and female bodhisattvas and enlightened beings. Since the core of the practice is visualization, this meditation—perhaps more than other meditations—presumes the creative power of the mind. Visualizations form the basis not only of the creation stage and deity yoga but of all tantric practices and rituals, since tantric practice takes place not in mundane existence but in the illusion-like purity of the enlightened view.
While the previously published Essence of the Ocean of Attainments is a concise manual for practice of the Guhyasmamāja sādhana, Ocean of Attainments is much more detailed, providing extensive scriptural citations, clear explanation of the body maṇḍala, arguments on points of contention, reference to other tantric systems, and critiques of misinterpretations. Complemented by the extensive and clear introduction, this volume is a vital contribution to the growing body of scholarship on Guhyasamāja and on Buddhist tantra in general.
Learn more about the Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism series.
Saraha’s Spontaneous Songs
This is the first volume in over six decades to bring to light new original material on Saraha’s Treasury of Spontaneous Songs (Dohākoṣa).
“Completely abandon thought and no-thought, and abide in the natural way of a small child.” —Saraha
To find liberation and realize the true nature of reality, the Indian Buddhist master Saraha says we must leave behind any conceptual assessment of reality, since no model of it has ever been known to withstand critical analysis. Saraha’s spontaneous songs, or dohās, represent the Buddhist art of expressing the inexpressible. The most important collection of Saraha’s songs is the Dohākoṣa, the Treasury of Spontaneous Songs, better known in Tibet as the Songs for the People, better known in Tibet as the Songs for the People, and the Tibetan mahāmudrā tradition, especially within the Kagyü school, has done the most to preserve the lineage of Saraha’s instructions to the present day.
But Saraha was also widely cited in Indian sources starting around the eleventh century, and one Indic commentary, by the Newar scholar Advayavajra, still exists in Sanskrit. In addition, we have independent root texts of Saraha’s songs in the vernacular Apabhraṃśa in which they were recorded. These Indian texts, together with their Tibetan translations, are here presented in masterful new critical editions, along with the Tibetan translation of the commentary no longer extant in Sanskrit by Mokṣākaragupta. Finally, both commentaries are rendered in elegant English, and the authors offer a brisk but comprehensive introduction.
Saraha’s Spontaneous Songs provides the reader with everything needed for a serious study of one of the most important works in the Indian Buddhist canon.
Learn more about the Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism series.
The Fourteenth Dalai Lama’s Stages of the Path, Volume 2
Central to Buddhism is knowing our own minds. Until we do, we are driven by unconscious, often destructive desire and aversion. We couldn’t have a better guide for inner transformation than the Dalai Lama.
The Fourteenth Dalai Lama’s Stages of the Path, Volume 2: An Annotated Commentary on the Fifth Dalai Lama’s Words of Mañjuśrī is the second volume of the Dalai Lama’s outline of Buddhist theory and practice. Having introduced Buddhist ideas in the context of modern society in volume 1, the Dalai Lama turns here to a traditional presentation of the complete path to enlightenment, from developing faith in the Dharma to attaining the highest wisdom. This book, compiled by the revered Tibetan lama Dagyab Rinpoché, comments on the Fifth Dalai Lama’s stages of the path titled Oral Transmission of Mañjuśrī. The volume will appeal to all readers interested in the Dalai Lama’s works, both those new to Buddhism and those looking to deepen their understanding of the Tibetan presentation of the Buddhist path.
Click here to read about His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama’s achievements.
The Fourteenth Dalai Lama’s Stages of the Path: Volume 1: Guidance for Modern Practitioners is available here.
Reality and Wisdom
Written in a warm and accessible style by one of today’s most respected Tibetan Buddhist masters, Reality and Wisdom leads the reader on a journey of discovery beginning with the very first teachings of the Buddha and into the profound experience of emptiness.
The first section of the book explores the bedrock Buddhist teachings of the four noble truths—insights into freedom from suffering from craving—which underpin all schools of Buddhism. Lama Migmar presents and explores these foundational Buddhist truths with humor and insight, explaining how, from a Mahayana Buddhist perspective, these truths serve as crucial supports for cultivating the transformative wisdom of emptiness.
In the book’s second half, Lama Migmar illuminates the terse and enigmatic lines of the Heart Sutra, perhaps the most studied and revered of all Mahayana Buddhist scriptures. The Heart Sutra presents the reader with a vision of reality as it is perceived by a buddha, a vision underpinned by and infused with the radical flexibility and possibility of emptiness and the engagement and responsiveness of profound compassion.
The clarity, warmth, and vibrancy of Lama Migmar’s writing combined with the comprehensiveness and detail of his presentations of key Buddhist teachings make this book a valuable resource for a range of readers, from beginners to more advanced practitioners seeking to deepen their practice.
Impermanence in Plain English
The bestselling author of Mindfulness in Plain English guides the reader toward a direct and personal realization of one of the foundational tenets of Buddhism: all things that arise must pass away.
Once-youthful bodies grow old and weary. New thoughts, feelings, and sensations arise and fade every second. Impermanence is not some abstract metaphysical idea. This is the Dhamma, and you can see it for yourself.
Drawing from Pali scriptures and writing with fresh, direct language, Bhante Gunaratana and his student Julia Harris highlight the Buddha’s exhortation that we must directly realize for ourselves the liberating insights that free us from suffering and cyclic existence, without relying only on the word of religious authorities or academic or philosophical musings.
Appearing and Empty
In Appearing and Empty the Dalai Lama skillfully reveals the Prāsaṅgikas’ view of the ultimate nature of reality so that we will gain the correct view of emptiness, the selflessness of both persons and phenomena, and have the means to eliminate our own and others’ duḥkha.
In this last of three volumes on emptiness, the Dalai Lama takes us through the Sautrāntika, Yogācāra, and Svātantrika views on the ultimate nature of reality and the Prāsaṅgikas’ thorough responses to these, so that we gain the correct view of emptiness—the selflessness of both persons and phenomena. This view entails negating inherent existence while also being able to establish conventional existence: emptiness does not mean nothingness. We then learn how to meditate on the correct view by cultivating pristine wisdom that is the union of serenity and insight as taught in the Pāli, Chinese, and Tibetan traditions. Such meditation, when combined with the altruistic intention of bodhicitta, leads to the complete eradication of all defilements that obscure our minds. This volume also introduces us to the tathāgatagarbha—the buddha essence—and how it is understood in both Tibet and China. Is it permanent? Does everyone have it? In addition, the discussion of sudden and gradual awakening in Zen (Chan) Buddhism and in Tibetan Buddhism is fascinating.
Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics, Vol. 4
This fourth and final Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics volume provides, through extensive passages, a window into the works of the great thinkers from the flowering of philosophy in classical India.
This is the second philosophy volume in the Science and Philosophy series. Whereas the first philosophy volume presented the views of the non-Buddhist and Buddhist schools in sequence, the present works selects specific topics for consideration, including the nature of the two truths, the analysis of self, the Yogacara explanation of reality, emptiness in the Madhyamaka tradition, a survey of logic and epistemology, and the Buddhist explanation of language and meaning. Like earlier volumes, it provides, through extensive extracts, a window into the works of the masters of the Nalanda tradition. The final section on language is particularly unique and largely crafted by Thupten Jinpa.
Explore the entire series here.
The Power of Mantra
Energize your practice with the potent energy of mantra.
In this book, beloved teacher Lama Zopa Rinpoche guides us through the most popular mantras in Tibetan Buddhism: Shakyamuni Buddha, Chenrezig, Manjushri, Tara, Medicine Buddha, Vajrasattva, and more.
A mantra—literally “that which protects the mind”—is a series of Sanskrit syllables that evoke the energy of a particular buddha or bodhisattva. It works as a sacred sound that brings blessings to ourself and others, and as a tool to transform our mind into one that is more compassionate and wise.
In clear and succinct teachings, Lama Zopa shows us why we need different mantras and how each mantra works. He also explains their importance and power, giving specific instructions for practicing them. The exquisite, full-color illustrations of the deities that accompany the text make this book a beautiful guide, one suitable for both beginners and experienced practitioners.
The Wisdom Culture Series, published under the guidance of Lama Zopa Rinpoche, features translations of key works by masters of the Geluk tradition. Also available in the Wisdom Culture Series are Tsongkhapa’s Middle-Length Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment and The Swift Path, translated by Szegee Toh.
Now in Paperback!
An accessible, inspiring book on one of the most important topics in Tibetan Buddhism, written by one of its renowned masters who has an international following of thousands.
Bodhichitta is a Sanskrit word meaning “the mind of enlightenment” or “the awakening mind”—the mind that wishes to achieve enlightenment in order to lead all other beings into that same state. It is the attitude of the bodhisattva, of the person who makes the compassionate vow to save others from suffering. In this book, the renowned teacher Lama Zopa Rinpoche shows us how to achieve it.
First, Lama Zopa gives a clear and comprehensive explanation of bodhichitta, its benefits, and its importance to the path. Then, he walks us through the two main methods for achieving bodhichitta: the seven points of cause and effect, and equalizing and exchanging self and others. Finally, the book closes with meditation instructions to guide and strengthen our practice.
Readers will find Bodhichitta to be a comprehensive guide to this core Buddhist principle, one rich in both accessible philosophical explanation and concrete advice for practitioners.
How to Face Death without Fear
“Helping our loved ones at the time of death is the best service we can offer them, our greatest gift. Why? Because death is the most important time of life: it’s at death that the next rebirth is determined.”—Lama Zopa Rinpoche
For years Lama Zopa Rinpoche envisioned a practical book to inform students of how to help loved ones have a beneficial death. How to Face Death without Fear has been compiled from years of Rinpoche’s teachings and has been lovingly edited by Venerable Robina Courtin.
Rinpoche provides detailed advice on how to help your loved ones prepare for the end of their life with courage, acceptance, and a mind free of fear. With great care, he explains what to do in the months, weeks, and days before death, how to handle the moment itself, what to do after the breath has stopped, and finally, what to do after the mind has left the body. Rinpoche provides the mantras, prayers, and meditations appropriate for each stage. This new edition of Rinpoche’s modern classic How to Enjoy Death makes it easy for the reader to find the right practice at the right time.
This handbook is an essential reference for Tibetan Buddhist caregivers, hospice workers, and chaplains. But, as Rinpoche points out, it is not only for people who work with the dying; it is education we all need.
You’ll find solace in this wealth of advice, and you’ll also gain the confidence to ensure that your loved one’s death—and your own—will be joyful and meaningful.
The Six Perfections
The six perfections are the actions of the bodhisattvas—holy beings who have transcended selfless concerns. But they’re also skills we can and should develop right now, in our messy, ordinary lives.
In this clear, comprehensive guide to the backbone of Mahayana Buddhist practice, Lama Zopa Rinpoche walks us through each of the six perfections:
As he carefully describes each perfection, he not only reveals the depth of its meaning and how it intertwines with each other perfection, but he also explains how to practice it fully in our everyday lives—offering concrete ways for us to be more generous, more patient, more wise. With the guidance he gives us, we can progress in our practice of the perfections until we, like the bodhisattvas, learn to cherish others above ourselves.
“The perfections are the practices of bodhisattvas, holy beings who have completely renounced the self; they have transcended selfish concerns and cherish only others. Each perfection is perfect, flawless. Each arises from bodhichitta and is supported by the other perfections, including the wisdom of emptiness. Because of that, a bodhisattva generates infinite merit every moment, whether outwardly engaged in working for others or not. A bodhisattva’s bodhichitta never stops.”
—Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Dear Lama Zopa
Unconventional wisdom, affirmation, and advice from one of Tibetan Buddhism’s most influential living teachers.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche was a master at explaining Buddhism’s radical but effective methods for transforming suffering into happiness, which have been practiced and taught by Tibetans for a thousand years. It’s a challenging way to think—how can it be that the things that cause us pain are actually blessings?
In Dear Lama Zopa, Rinpoche applies that challenge to our everyday, real-life problems—from the littlest to the biggest. Every year he received thousands of letters from people around the world asking for advice—on coping with everything from addiction, grief, and depression, to war, terrorism, and death.
In his detailed and deeply caring responses to these letters, reproduced here, Rinpoche shows again and again that the best method for solving our problems is to radically change the way we perceive them; that by emphasizing their inner causes we can even change the resulting outer circumstances.
Even people familiar with notions like karma and reincarnation, which imply that we are the creators of our own experiences, may find the advice difficult. Yet uncountable thousands of people of all backgrounds have put Rinpoche’s loving guidance into practice—and have seen real and positive change in their lives. Now, with Dear Lama Zopa, you can see for yourself…
The Four Noble Truths
The Four Noble Truths begins with an excellent elucidation of the nature of the mind and its role in creating the happiness we all seek. Lama Zopa Rinpoche then turns to an in-depth analysis of the four truths. The first truth is that we are suffering because we are in cyclic existence, or samsara, the beginningless cycle of death and rebirth characterized by three types of suffering: the suffering of suffering, the suffering of change, and pervasive compounding suffering. These are not inflicted on us without cause, nor do they come from others. The second truth tells us that there is a cause for all this suffering—the delusions and karma that arise from the ignorance that fails to see the way in which things exist. Because there is a cause and because we can develop the wisdom realizing emptiness, the antidote to ignorance, we are able to actualize the third truth, the cessation of suffering. How we do that is explained in the fourth truth, the path to the cessation of suffering.
The Door to Satisfaction
In Door to Satisfaction Lama Zopa Rinpoche reveals a text he discovered in a cave in the Himalayas that captures the essential point of Buddhist training. Rinpoche says, “Only when I read this text did I come to know what the practice of Dharma really means.”
Without proper motivation, it does not matter what we do. Whether reciting prayers, meditating, or enduring great hardships, if our actions are devoid of good intention they will not become Dharma practice. Proper motivation transcends our ordinary, ephemeral desires and ultimately seeks the happiness of all living beings. “In your life,” says Rinpoche, “there is nothing to do other than to work for others, to cherish others. There is nothing more important in your life than this.”
This powerful, simple message applies to Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike—we all have the power to unlock our greatest potential. Open this book and open the door to a timeless path leading to wisdom and joy.
We experience illness on a physical level, but in order to be healed, we must understand where true healing begins: within our hearts and minds. In Ultimate Healing, internationally renowned meditation master Lama Zopa Rinpoche helps us to recognize the root of illness and gives us the tools to create our future happiness. Beginning with stories of people who have recovered from disease through meditation, Rinpoche addresses the central role played by karma and by the mental habit of “labeling” in causing illness, and shows how meditation and other thought techniques for developing compassion and insight can eliminate the ultimate cause of all disease.
Ultimate Healing shows us that by transforming our minds, especially through the development of compassion, we can eliminate the ultimate cause of all disease. In addition to relating stories of people who have recovered from disease through meditation, Lama Zopa presents practical healing meditations, including white-light healing, compassion meditation, “taking and giving”, and techniques to cure depression.
With the right perspective, our anxiety around sickness, old age, and death can be a “wholesome fear”—a fear with a positive quality that ultimately enriches and nourishes our lives. Lama Zopa Rinpoche shows us how we can use our anxiety as a high-octane fuel to really live what’s most important. Alongside Rinpoche’s teachings, Kathleen McDonald presents meditations that lead to peace, compassion, and joy for ourselves and others. Approaching our physical realities in this way will help us to live well and, when the time comes as it inevitably will, to die well too. It’s never too early to start making this most important of efforts—and, fortunately, it is never too late. An essential guide for anyone confronting the challenges of death and dying, Wholesome Fear serves as a reminder of the gift and truth of impermanence.
Transforming Problems into Happiness
“Happiness and suffering are dependent upon your mind, upon your interpretation. They do not come from outside, from others. All of your happiness and all of your suffering are created by you, by your own mind,” says Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
Commenting on an early-twentieth-century Tibetan text of instructions and practical advice for everyday spiritual living, Lama Zopa Rinpoche teaches us how to be happy during hard times by adopting skillful attitudes—ways of interpreting reality that can permit us to live a joyful and relaxed life regardless of circumstance. In Transforming Problems Into Happiness, Lama Zopa Rinpoche brings his own special flavor and contemporary relevance to a timeless teaching on Buddhist psychology. This volume will be valuable to all, no matter the spiritual background of the reader or the kind of problems that have led them to ask that ageless question: How can I achieve happiness?
This new edition includes a translation of the root text, Dodrupchen Rinpoche’s (1865–1926) Instructions on Turning Happiness and Suffering into the Path of Enlightenment, translated by Tulku Thundop. Learn more about Dodrupchen Rinpoche at the Treasury of Lives.
Just to state two reasons why this work should be read by all those aspiring to pursue the yoga practices of tantric Buddhism: First, in her introduction Yael Bentor has provided one of the clearest and best explanations of the exclusive technique of Unexcelled Mantra by which wisdom and method are combined within a single cognition. This fundamental practice is the very essence of Unexcelled Mantra. Second, in these times of fascination for high tantric practices, especially those of the completion stage, it is refreshing, and indeed necessary, to see a highly competent translation of the prerequisite creation stage, delivered with the academic professionalism and the high-level scholarship of Professor Bentor.
Gavin Kilty, translator, the Library of Tibetan Classics
This translation of the Panchen Rinpoche’s seventeenth-century condensed exposition of the creation stage in meditative practice, following the foundational Guhyasamāja Tantra, is a great gift to scholars of Tibetan Buddhist thought and practice. Lucidly translated and superbly annotated, it provides a detailed account of the stages in which a practitioner dissolves ordinary reality into emptiness, out of which an identification with divine beings can be achieved through disciplined visualization. This book should fascinate not only specialists but also philosophers of consciousness and the mind, since the medieval Tibetan schools offer by far the most far-reaching and daring experiments with mental processes in the history of human civilization.
David Shulman, Professor Emeritus, Hebrew University
The Guhyasamāja is a fundamental tantra in Tibetan Buddhism. Yael Bentor’s translation of the commentary written by the first Panchen Lama, Losang Chökyi Gyaltsen, is a brilliant piece of scholarship, the fruit of intensive study of Tibetan tantric ritual and meditation. The translation is rendered with exemplary clarity and a readable style that does full justice to the intellectual sophistication both of the Tibetan author and his translator. The Essence of the Ocean of Attainments will therefore delight anyone who wishes to explore Tibetan interpretations of Indian Buddhist tantric practice.
Per Kvaerne, professor emeritus, University of Oslo