His Eminence Chöden Rinpoché was born in eastern Tibet in 1930 and was recognized as a young boy as the reincarnation of the previous Chöden Rinpoché. When he was fifteen, he enrolled at Sera Jé monastic college, where he excelled; he completed all the study necessary for the highest degree of geshé lharampa, was renowned as one of the great Tibetan teacher-yogis of our modern era, and was chosen as a debate partner for the Fourteenth Dalai Lama when His Holiness was taking his geshe exams. After the Chinese takeover of Tibet, Rinpoché entered solitary retreat, in which he stayed for nineteen years. In 1985 the Dalai Lama asked him to leave Tibet to teach in India and Nepal. He taught students in the geshé program at Sera Jé for many years, as well as offering teachings all over the world. He passed away in 2015.
A legendary contemporary meditation master illuminates practices that can lead us to remarkable states of lucidity and peace.
“My precious guru, H.E. Chöden Kyabjé Rinpoché, was a true master of wisdom and skillful means. He was not only a consummate scholar of the highest order, but an enlightened being who embodied the highest qualities of compassion and loving-kindness. I had the great fortune to be with him constantly for many, many years. The peace and stillness he radiated was so profound that just being in his presence was itself a meditation. Through his deep serenity and insight, he lived in the quintessential nature of calm abiding and mahāmudrā. It is my sincere wish that readers of this book be blessed, as I have been, by Rinpoché’s gentle and profound wisdom.” —Khen Rinpoché Geshé Gyalten, cofounder with H.E. Chöden Kyabjé Rinpoché of Awakening Vajra International
“Kyabjé Chöden Rinpoché was more kind to me than all the three times’ buddhas. His teachings are not just words but come from a learned mind—and from experience.” —Lama Zopa Rinpoche
“Kyabjé Chöden Rinpoché was one of the great masters of the past century and the mentor to many of the senior teachers at Sera, including my own teacher Gen Thupten Rinchen. His broad and incisive understanding was supported by years of intensive practice, yielding the true fruits of the Buddhist path. For anybody interested in looking more deeply into the long-term goals of Buddhist practice, this book is an indispensable guide.” —Khen Rinpoché Geshé Tashi Tsering, abbot of Sera Mé Monastery and author of the Foundations of Buddhist Thought series
“This volume by one of the preeminent scholars and contemplatives of the Geluk tradition in recent times is bound to become a classic guide to unveiling the mystery of consciousness, which has thus far eluded modern science.” —B. Alan Wallace, president, Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies
“I am immensely grateful that this fine book makes Chöden Rinpoché utterly present to my mind, and his deep and inspiring teaching gives me consolation! These greatest teachings are simple and direct, yet they give a powerful sense that the teacher actually knows what they mean, is sharing actual experience, not just description.” —Robert A. F. Thurman, Jey Tsong Khapa Professor Emeritus, Columbia University
Instructions on Calm Abiding and Mahāmudrā
Mastering Meditation gives you the experience of studying with one of the greatest meditation masters of the modern age. His Eminence Chöden Rinpoché was not only a celebrated scholar, honored by selection as a debate partner to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, but he was also an accomplished yogi who spent nineteen years in solitary meditation retreat. In this thorough and thoroughly clear book, Rinpoché offers meticulous explanations and profound practical instructions on two essential practices in Tibetan Buddhism: calm abiding and mahāmudrā.
The first part of this book contains instructions for developing calm abiding, an unshakable single-pointedness of mind. The second part, Rinpoché’s direct commentary on the Fourth Paṇchen Lama’s foundational text, offers advanced instructions on using calm abiding as a platform to develop mahāmudrā. Rinpoché elucidates both sūtra-system mahāmudrā—meditation on the emptiness of the mind—as well as mantra-system mahāmudrā, a specialized meditation that uncovers subtle, hidden levels of mind to pierce into the ultimate nature of self and reality, leading finally to complete enlightenment.
Drawing from his vast learning and personal experience, Rinpoché provides readers with an open gateway to remarkable states of lucidity and peace.
- 352 pages
- ISBN 9781614296294
- 352 pages, 6 x 9 inches
- ISBN 9781614296188
Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He frequently describes himself as a simple Buddhist monk. Born in northeastern Tibet in 1935, he was as a toddler recognized as the incarnation of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama and brought to Tibet’s capital, Lhasa. In 1950, Mao Zedong’s Communist forces made their first incursions into eastern Tibet, shortly after which the young Dalai Lama assumed the political leadership of his country. He passed his scholastic examinations with honors at the Great Prayer Festival in Lhasa in 1959, the same year Chinese forces occupied the city, forcing His Holiness to escape to India. There he set up the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, working to secure the welfare of the more than 100,000 Tibetan exiles and prevent the destruction of Tibetan culture. In his capacity as a spiritual and political leader, he has traveled to more than sixty-two countries on six continents and met with presidents, popes, and leading scientists to foster dialogue and create a better world. In recognition of his tireless work for the nonviolent liberation of Tibet, the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. In 2012, he relinquished political authority in his exile government and turned it over to democratically elected representatives.
His Holiness frequently states that his life is guided by three major commitments: the promotion of basic human values or secular ethics in the interest of human happiness, the fostering of interreligious harmony, and securing the welfare of the Tibetan people, focusing on the survival of their identity, culture, and religion. As a superior scholar trained in the classical texts of the Nalanda tradition of Indian Buddhism, he is able to distill the central tenets of Buddhist philosophy in clear and inspiring language, his gift for pedagogy imbued with his infectious joy. Connecting scientists with Buddhist scholars, he helps unite contemplative and modern modes of investigation, bringing ancient tools and insights to bear on the acute problems facing the contemporary world. His efforts to foster dialogue among leaders of the world’s faiths envision a future where people of different beliefs can share the planet in harmony. Wisdom Publications is proud to be the premier publisher of the Dalai Lama’s more serious and in-depth works.
Other books by His Holiness the Dalai Lama:
Realizing the Profound View
Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics, Vol. 3
The Extraordinary Life of His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama – Tibetan Edition
The Fourteenth Dalai Lama’s Stages of the Path
Searching for the Self
The Extraordinary Life of His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama
Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics, Vol. 2
In Praise of Great Compassion
Following in the Buddha’s Footsteps
The Essence of Tsongkhapa’s Teachings
The Compassionate Life
The Life of My Teacher
The Life of My Teacher (Paperback)
Ecology, Ethics, and Interdependence
Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature
The Foundation of Buddhist Practice
Approaching the Buddhist Path
Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics, Vol. 1
The World of Tibetan Buddhism
Sleeping, Dreaming, and Dying
Meditation on the Nature of Mind
The Good Heart
The Middle Way
The Middle Way
Imagine All the People
Realizing the Profound View
The eighth volume in the Dalai Lama’s definitive and bestselling Library of Wisdom and Compassion series, and the second of three focusing on emptiness.
In Realizing the Profound View the Dalai Lama presents the analysis and meditations necessary to realize the ultimate nature of reality. With attention to Nāgārjuna’s five-point analysis, Candrakīrti’s seven-point examination, and Pāli suttas, the His Holiness leads us to investigate who or what is the person. Are we our body? Our mind? If we are not inherently either of them, how do we exist, and what carries the karma from one life to the next? As we explore these and other fascinating questions, he skillfully guides us along the path avoiding the chasms of absolutism and nihilism and introduces us to dependent arising. We find that although all persons and phenomena lack an inherent essence, they do exist dependently. This nominally imputed mere I carries the karmic seeds. We discover that all phenomena exist by being merely designated by term and concept—they appear as like illusions, unfindable under ultimate analysis but functioning on the conventional level. Furthermore, we come to understand that emptiness dawns as the meaning of dependent arising, and dependent arising dawns as the meaning of emptiness. The ability to posit subtle dependent arisings in the face of realizing emptiness and to establish ultimate and conventional truths as noncontradictory brings us to the culmination of the correct view.
Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics, Vol. 3
Deepen your understanding of meaning and truth with the third volume of the Dalai Lama’s esteemed series Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics.
In this third volume the focus turns to exploring the philosophical schools of India. The practice of presenting the views of various schools of philosophy dates back to the first millennium in India, when proponents of competing traditions would arrange the diverse sets of philosophical positions in a hierarchy culminating in their own school’s superior tenets. Centuries later, relying on the Indian Buddhist treatises, Tibet developed its own tradition of works on tenets (grub mtha’), often centered on the four schools of Buddhist philosophy, using them to demonstrate the philosophical evolution within their own tradition, and within individual practitioners, as they progressed through increasingly more subtle expressions of the true reality.
The present work follows in this venerable tradition, but with a modern twist. Like its predecessors, it presents the views of seven non-Buddhist schools, those of the Samkhya, Vaisesika, Nyaya, Mimamsa, Vedanta, Jaina, and Lokayata, followed by the Buddhist Vaibhasika, Sautrantika, Cittamatra, and Madhyamaka schools, arranging them like steps on a ladder to the profound. But rather than following in the sharply polemical approach of its ancient predecessors, it strives to survey each tradition authentically, relying on and citing the texts sacred to each, allowing the different traditions to speak for themselves. What, it asks, are the basic components of the world we experience? What is the nature of their ultimate reality? And how can we come to experience that for ourselves? See how the rich spiritual traditions of India approached these key questions, where they agreed, and how they evolved through dialogue and debate.
This presentation of philosophical schools is introduced by His Holiness and is accompanied by an extensive introduction and survey by Professor Donald Lopez Jr. of the University of Michigan, who is uniquely qualified to communicate the scope and significance of this literary and spiritual heritage to modern readers.
Stages of the Path and the Oral Transmission
A major contribution to the literature on Buddhist practice according to the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism from its foremost interpreter.
Although it was the last major school to emerge in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the Geluk school has left an indelible mark on Buddhist thought and practice. The intellectual and spiritual brilliance of its founder, the great Tsongkhapa (1357–1419), has inspired generations of scholars and tantric yogis to place him at the heart of their daily meditative practice. The Geluk tradition’s close ties to the Dalai Lamas have also afforded it an outsized influence in all aspects of Tibetan life for centuries. At its peak, its combined monasteries boasted a population in the tens of thousands, and its sway encompassed the religious landscape of Mongolia and much of Central Asia.
This widespread religious activity fostered a rich literary tradition, and fifteen seminal works are featured here representing four genres of that tradition. The first are works on the stages of the path, or lamrim, the genre for which the Geluk is most renowned. Second are works on guru yoga, centered around the core Geluk ritual Offering to the Guru (Lama Chöpa). Third are teachings from the unique oral transmission of Geluk mahāmudrā, meditation on the nature of mind. Fourth are the “guide to the view” (tatri) instructions. The volume features well-known authors like Tsongkhapa, the First Panchen Lama, and the Fifth Dalai Lama, but also important works from lesser-known figures like Gomchen Ngawang Drakpa’s stages of the path in verse and Gyalrong Tsultrim Nyima’s extensive commentary on the Lama Chöpa that interweaves precious explanations from the Ensa Oral Tradition he received from his own teacher.
Your guide to these riches, Thupten Jinpa, maps out their historical context and spiritual significance in his extensive introduction.
Vasubandhu’s “Three Natures”
In this plain-English commentary on Vasubandhu’s classic Treatise on the Three Natures, Ben Connelly shows the power of integrating early Buddhist psychology with the Mahayana emphasis on collective liberation. You’ll discover how wisdom from fourth-century India can be harnessed to heal and transform systems of harm within ourselves and our communities.
The three natures (svabhavas)—the imaginary, dependent, and complete, realized natures—are inherent aspects of all phenomena. The imaginary nature of things is what we think they are. Their dependent nature is that they appear to arise from countless conditions. The complete, realized nature is that they aren’t as we imagine them to be: things that can be grasped or pushed away. The three natures form the backbone of Yogacara philosophy, and by showing us how to see beyond our preconceived notions of ourselves and others, beyond the things that we’re convinced are “true,” they open up a path to personal and communal healing.
Dive into this empowering approach to freedom from suffering, from harmful personal and social patterns, and to finding peace and joyfulness in the present.
The Fourteenth Dalai Lama’s Stages of the Path
Discover His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s advice for finding happiness, helping others, and applying insights from Buddhist thought to everyday life—for a life of greater harmony, meaning, and joy, for ourselves, others, and in our world.
This first volume of The Fourteenth Dalai Lama’s Stages of the Path shares His Holiness’s teachings on specific topics of vital relevance to contemporary life:
– how kindness and compassion are the foundation for individual happiness and world peace;
– how we can solve manmade problems;
– how Buddhism does not conflict with modern science and can actually contribute to its advancement;
– how gender equality is fundamental for a decent and just society;
– and much more.
His Holiness’s messages on these topics will be of value to all readers, Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. These teachings embody the Dalai Lama’s generous warmth and humor, his expertise in presenting important Buddhist ideas, and his ability to inspire us toward greater kindness and happiness.
Freedom through Correct Knowing
Discover a clear and accessible translation with commentary on key parts of Khedrup Jé’s Clearing Mental Darkness.
Composed at the request of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and with a foreword by His Holiness, this translation with commentary on key parts of Khedrup Jé’s Clearing Mental Darkness: An Ornament of Dharmakirti’s “Seven Treatises on Valid Cognition” is intended for all levels of understanding. You’ll learn how a mind realizes its object, which types of consciousness realize their objects, and when a consciousness is considered to be valid in the sense of realizing its object. Having explained valid cognizers, or direct perceivers, which are essential to understanding the four noble truths, Khedrup Jé goes on to brilliantly elucidate this essential teaching of the Buddha and offers a lucid presentation of how to progress on the spiritual paths of liberation and enlightenment, including how to generate yogic perception directly realizing selflessness. With this, one develops an unmistaken realization of the fundamental reality of selflessness of persons and phenomena, which eliminates ignorance, the root cause of all mental afflictions and samsaric suffering.
This is the epic story of an international rescue effort to preserve a culture’s literary history.
Originally a Mormon from Utah, E. Gene Smith, founder of the Buddhist Digital Resource Center, became the unlikely mastermind behind an international effort to rescue, preserve, digitize, and provide free access to the vast Tibetan Buddhist canon, many volumes of which had been lost or destroyed during China’s Cultural Revolution.
Digital Dharma is a stunning visual experience offering a behind-the-scenes look into this unprecedented mission. Through hundreds of photographs taken during Smith’s trip to deliver drives containing the digitized volumes to remote monasteries in South Asia, you’ll gain extraordinary and intimate access to life inside Buddhist monasteries, to the rituals of Tibetan Buddhism, and to the insights of some of the world’s leading lamas and lineage holders. Throughout the journey, you’ll meet monks, local publishers, scholars, and dignitaries involved in the preservation movement to which Smith dedicated his life. With the accompanying historical and cultural background, you’ll develop a deeper and more personal understanding of Tibetan Buddhism and of the achievement of preserving and disseminating its sacred canon.
Gene Smith’s legacy lives on in the organization he founded in 1999, the Buddhist Digital Resource Center. BDRC’s founding mission was to digitally preserve the entirety of Tibetan Buddhist literature in order to secure it from destruction. In 2015, it expanded its mission to include all Buddhist traditions. More than twenty years later, BDRC has digitized and archived millions of pages of Tibetan, Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese, Khmer and Newari literature. BDRC is dedicated to seeking out, preserving, documenting, and disseminating Buddhist literature. With its text preservation programs, free online library, digital tools for researchers, and hard drive distribution programs, BDRC provides lamas, scholars, translators, Buddhist practitioners, and the general public with access to an unparalleled collection of Buddhist texts.
Ornament of Dakpo Kagyü Thought
The Mahāmudrā Aspiration Prayer is one of the most brilliant and popular compositions on mahāmudrā. Written in easygoing nine-meter verse, this heartfelt prayer by Rangjung Dorjé lends itself to chanting and ritualized group prayer and is at the same time intricately organized into the most profound and thorough exposition of mahāmudrā, the pinnacle of practice in the Kagyü school of Tibetan Buddhism. The commentary on the prayer by Mendong Tsampa Rinpoché brilliantly illuminates its subtleties, making it even more accessible for the reader, and students and teachers alike will appreciate the inclusion of the Tibetan script on facing pages of the prayer and commentary.
This is a text for encouraging study, for inspiring practice, and for the awakening of the world.
“In Zen meditation, anything that comes in your mind will eventually leave, because nothing is permanent. A thought is like a cloud moving across the blue sky. Nothing can disturb that all-encompassing vastness. This is the Dharma.”
In a collection of talks and anecdotes, Jakusho Kwong-roshi, a Dharma successor of Shunryu Suzuki-roshi, presents his approach to Buddhist teaching. Containing photos of Kwong-roshi with his teachers, as well as a selection of his vibrant calligraphy, Mind Sky explores the profound beauty of Zen history and practice, nature, and the philosophy of the ancient Zen master Eihei Dōgen.
With an elegant simplicity, Kwong-roshi shows how Zen is experiential rather than intellectual. And with persistent practice, realization is already yours.
The mind can be a potent tool, used to guide extraordinary achievements, inspire good works, and incline your spiritual path toward peace and awakening. But the mind can also produce thoughts that lead to suffering. For many people, thoughts run rampant and seem to oppress or control their lives. Even the Buddha tells us that before his enlightenment, he sometimes found his mind preoccupied by thoughts connected with sensual desire, ill will, and harm. But he figured out how to respond to thoughts skillfully and developed a step-by-step approach to calm the restless mind. Now, Insight Meditation teacher Shaila Catherine offers an accessible approach to training the mind that is guided by the Buddha’s pragmatic instructions on removing distracting thoughts. Drawing on two scriptures in the Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, Shaila shows you how to overcome habitual modes of thinking, develop deeper concentration, and discover the insights into emptiness that are vital for a liberating spiritual path.
Following the Buddha’s pragmatic approach, Shaila guides you through five steps for overcoming distraction and focusing the mind:
- Replace unwholesome thoughts with wholesome thoughts.
- Examine the dangers of distracting thoughts.
- Avoid it, ignore it, forget it.
- Investigate the causes of distraction.
- Apply determination and resolve.
Each chapter includes exercises and reflections to help you cultivate the five steps to deeper concentration. You’ll learn about your mind and develop your ability to direct your attention more skillfully in meditation and daily activities. And ultimately, you’ll discover for yourself how these five steps boil down to one key realization: In the moment you recognize that a thought is just a thought, you will find yourself on the path to a life of remarkable freedom.
Liberation Tibetan Calendar 2022
The Liberation Tibetan Calendar has been produced since 1999 and supports the work of Liberation Prison Project, which helps people in prison around the world to study and practice Buddhism. Each year we give away calendars to inmates worldwide studying with the project.
Liberation Prison Project currently coordinates programs for prisoners through FPMT Dharma centers in Australia, the US, the UK, France, Italy, New Zealand, and Mongolia.
“Whenever we get a chance to go outside where there is grass, and it corresponds to a Tsog offering day on my calendar, I pick fresh flowers and dedicate them to all the Buddhas of the three times and all sangha members,” says Chris Helstowski of Pelican Bay State Prison in California.
A small, elegant calendar with Buddhist images, for desk or altar, Liberation calendar includes Tibetan lunar dates and information about more than thirty kinds of practice days and auspicious and inauspicious days for each month. Each month also features a particular buddha image, mantra, and quote from our lamas.
The calendar is prepared by astrologer Paksam Nawang Thartho based on Men Tsee Khang Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute’s calendar, with additional advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche, spiritual director of FPMT, and Geshe Ngawang Dakpa, astrologer lama of FPMT center Tse Chen Ling in San Francisco.
Ratnakīrti’s Proof of Momentariness by Positive Correlation (Kṣaṇabhaṇgasiddhi Anvayātmikā)
The Kṣaṇabhaṇgasiddhi is a masterpiece of skillful reasoning by the eleventh-century Indian Buddhist philosopher Ratnakīrti. This renowned scholar taught at the great Buddhist University of Vikramaśīla and was a master of almost every classical philosophical school that preceded him.
The present work is informed by centuries of debate between Buddhist advocates of momentariness and archrival Nyāya philosophers who believed that both selves and things endure.
This book is the first published translation of Ratnakīrti’s proof based on positive correlations, and includes a commentary explaining each step of his reasoning.
Liberation from Samsara
This rare teaching by Rinpoché is a uniquely concise volume of the teachings of the path to liberation that is authentic, authoritative, and complete.
In Liberation from Samsara, the Fourth Kyabjé Dodrupchen Rinpoché presents the Longchen Nyingthik preliminary teachings, with a special focus on guru yoga. These teachings, from the innermost secret instruction of Dzogchen, constitute a complete path to enlightenment.
After discussing the ways to turn our mind toward Dharma and the trainings, Rinpoché provides guru yoga instruction as he turns to the main tantric practice: meditations on unifying one’s mind with Guru Rinpoché’s wisdom mind. This rare teaching by Rinpoché, though intentionally succinct to accommodate the needs of contemporary Western practitioners, presents a complete path to enlightenment. It contrasts three different paths to liberation: Shravakayana (the way of the disciple), Pratyekabuddhayana (the way of the self-enlightened buddha), and Mahāyāna (the way of the bodhisattva), which is our way, our boundless intention to seek refuge in order to free all sentient beings from samsaric suffering.
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, Tsongkhapa’s Middle-Length Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment.
The Universal Vehicle Discourse Literature (Mahāyānasūtrālaṁkāra)
The Universal Vehicle Discourse Literature (Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra) was transmitted from the bodhisattva Maitreyanātha to Āryā Āsaṅga, the fourth-century Indian Buddhist scholar-adept. The most foundational of the set of the famous Five Teachings of Maitreya, the Discourse Literature is considered the wellspring of what the Tibetans call the “magnificent deeds trend of the path,” the compassion side, which balances the “profound view trend of the path,” the wisdom side. The Discourse Literature is also considered to be metaphysically aligned with and foundational for the Idealist (Vijñānavādin) school of Mahāyāna thought. Translated from Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Chinese by Lobsang Jamspal, Robert Thurman, and the AIBS team, the present work contains a fully annotated, critical English rendition of the Discourse Literature along with its commentary (bhāṣya) by Āsaṅga’s brother, Vasubandhu. It also includes an introduction covering essential historical and philosophical topics, a bibliography, and a detailed index. This long-awaited work is the founding cornerstone of the AIBS Treasury of the Buddhist Sciences series.
Sounds of Innate Freedom, Volume 4
Sounds of Innate Freedom: The Indian Texts of Mahāmudrā are historic volumes containing many of the first English translations of classic mahamudra literature. The texts and songs in these volumes constitute the large compendium called The Indian Texts of the Mahāmudrā of Definitive Meaning, compiled by the Seventh Karmapa, Chötra Gyatso (1456–1539). The collection offers a brilliant window into the richness of the vast ocean of Indian mahamudra texts cherished in all Tibetan lineages, particularly in the Kagyü tradition, giving us a clear view of the sources of one of the world’s great contemplative traditions.
Besides the individual dohās (couplets), vajragītis (vajra songs), and caryāgītis (conduct songs) in this second volume in publication, the three extensive commentaries it contains brilliantly unravel enigmas and bring clarity not only to the specific songs they comment on but to many other, often cryptic, songs of realization in this collection. These expressive songs of the inexpressible offer readers a feast of profound and powerful pith instructions uttered by numerous male and female mahāsiddhas, yogis, and ḍākinīs, often in the context of ritual gaṇacakras and initially kept in their secret treasury. Displaying a vast range of themes, styles, and metaphors, they all point to the single true nature of the mind—mahāmudrā—in inspiring ways and from different angles, using a dazzling array of skillful means to penetrate the sole vital point of buddhahood being found nowhere but within our own mind. Reading and singing these songs of mystical wonder, bliss, and ecstatic freedom, and contemplating their meaning, will open doors to spiritual experience for us today just as it has for countless practitioners in the past.
In Vimalakīrti’s House
Over the course of nearly half a century, Robert A. F. Thurman has left an indelible mark on numerous fields of study, including Buddhist literature, Tantric Buddhism, Tibetan studies, and the comparative sciences of mind. To celebrate his seventieth birthday, Thurman’s students and colleagues have come together to pay tribute to these contributions and to Thurman’s ongoing leadership in these fields by assembling a collection of essays of their own that extend and supplement his groundbreaking research.
In Vimalakīrti’s House is the result of this collaboration and represents a broad spectrum of cutting edge studies in areas central to Thurman’s own scholarly project. The resulting volume is itself a kind of “treasury of the Buddhist sciences,” insofar as its authors explore wide-ranging problems in art, literature, epistemology, history, ritual, buddhology, and lexicography.
Great Treatise on the Stages of Mantra (Sngags rim chen mo)
Tsong Khapa’s Great Treatise on the Stages of Mantra (Sngags rim chen mo)—considered by the present Dalai Lama to be one of Tsong Khapa’s two most important books (along with his Lam rim chen mo)—is his masterful synthesis of the principles and practices of all four classes of Tantra, which formed the basis of his innovation in creating the esoteric “Tantric College” institution and curriculum in the early fifteenth century. With detailed reference to hundreds of works from the Tibetan Kangyur and Tengyur, the chapters presented and studied in this volume concern his treatment of the creation stage (bskyed rim) meditations of Unexcelled Yoga Tantra. This includes a detailed analysis emphasizing how and why such creation stage practices—utilizing deity yoga to transform death, the between, and life into the three bodies of buddhahood are indispensible to creating a foundation for successfully entering the culminal yogic practices of the perfection stage. (A subsequent volume will present the perfection stage chapters of this essential masterwork.)
An important work for both scholars and practitioners, this annotated translation is supplemented with extensive support materials.
Rinpoché’s teachings are genuine manifestations of Lama Tsongkhapa’s tradition. It is wonderful to see that more of his clear, practical, and precious instructions are now available in English.
Geshé Tenzin Namdak, senior Western student of Rinpoché and resident teacher at Jamyang Buddhist Centre, London
Although typically associated with the Kagyü tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, the profound meditation on the nature of mind known as mahāmudrā (the great seal) is also important among the Geluk, whose masters have studied, practiced, and taught the technique for many centuries. In this accurate, scholarly, and highly readable translation, Ven. Tenzin Gache brings to light two important texts by the beloved modern Geluk master Chöden Rinpoché (1930–2015): a clear exposition of how to attain calm abiding (śamatha), which is an essential part of mahāmudrā meditation, and a detailed commentary on the root verses on mahāmudrā composed by the First/Fourth Paṇchen Lama, Losang Chökyi Gyaltsen (1570–1662). Chöden Rinpoché’s discussion of mahāmudrā is among the most thorough and practical of any written by a modern Gelukpa—including lucid discussions of the philosophical analysis required to perfect sūtra-level mahāmudrā and of procedures for great-seal tantric practice, while Ven. Gache’s introduction, notes, and supplementary sections provide a helpful window onto Rinpoche’s incisive and inspiring writings. Mastering Meditation is a superlative book, which should be on the bookshelf of anyone interested in mahāmudrā, its place in Geluk tradition, and its power to reveal to us the true nature of our mind.
Roger R. Jackson, author of Mind Seeing Mind: Mahāmudrā and the Geluk Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism
Embodying the scholarship of a lharampa geshé and the insights of a realized yogi, Chöden Rinpoché is the perfect master to explain how to meditate on the ultimate nature of the mind, and does so in this wonderful book, made accessible by Venerable Gache’s excellent introduction and translation. Highly recommended.
Dr. Nicholas Ribush, director, Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive