Ocean of Attainments

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““Yael Bentor and Penpa Dorjee have excelled. Not only is this translation of a high standard, it is preceded by an introductory essay that covers in great depth the essential components of a successful creation-stage meditation, such as the process and rationale behind offsetting ordinary appearance with divine pride, the necessity of using mental consciousness over sensory consciousnesses, the sequence and functions of the conceptual cognition and direction, and much more. For anyone inspired by creation-stage meditation, this work on the Guhyasamāja Tantra, the king of tantras, is essential reading.”—Gavin Kilty, translator of Tsongkhapa’s Lamp to Illuminate the Five Stages

Ocean of Attainments advances our knowledge not only of the Guhyasamāja tradition in Tibet but also of the Buddhist tantric view and practice in general. I highly recommend it.”—Vesna Wallace, professor of South and Central Asian religions at the University of California at Santa Barbara

“The introductory essay by Yael Bentor opens the door to an understanding of the world of Buddhist tantra, while the translation that follows renders the elegant but technical Tibetan text into eminently readable English. A major contribution.”—Per Kværne, professor emeritus, University of Oslo, and member, Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters

“Written while the Geluk school was still in formation, Khedrup Jé’s masterful Ocean of Attainments was central to the school’s emerging synthesis of tantric visualization and Madhyamaka philosophy. Bentor and Dorjee’s accurate translation of this important text is meticulously informed by the complex debates that surrounded its composition. Bentor’s introductory essay, moreover, is its own kind of masterwork, an inspired expression of a modern scholar steeped in the traditional literature, moving easily across countless difficult texts and thinking through vital issues in distinct and insightful ways.”—Jacob Dalton, Khyentse Foundation Distinguished University Professor in Tibetan Buddhism


The Creation Stage of Guhyasamāja Tantra According to Khedrup Jé

Yael Bentor Penpa Dorjee

This commentary on Guhyasamāja tantra is the seminal guide to deity yoga and tantric visualization for the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism.

The Guhyasamāja Tantra, called the king of all tantras, is revered in Tibet, especially by the Geluk school. Ocean of Attainments, a commentary on Guhyasamāja practice, was composed by Khedrup Jé Gelek Palsang (1385–1438), a key disciple of the Geluk school founder, Tsongkhapa Losang Drakpa. It explores the creation stage, a quintessential Buddhist tantric meditation that together with the completion stage comprises the path of unexcelled tantra.

In the creation stage, meditators visualize themselves as buddhas at the center of the celestial maṇḍala, surrounded in all directions by male and female buddhas, bodhisattvas, and other enlightened beings. Yet creation-stage practice is not merely visualization but deity yoga—indivisibly uniting the meditation on emptiness with the visualization of the maṇḍala. The creation stage uses the conceptualization in visualization to overcome conceptualization, thereby creating a nonconceptual and nonerroneous direct perception. Such a mind, profound and vast, can bring about a transformation that stops saṃsāric suffering. How can visions generated as mental constructs not be erroneous? To the awakened eye, the buddhas and other beings who dwell in the maṇḍala are “reality,” and in a sense they are more than real.

While the previously published Essence of the Ocean of Attainments is a concise exposition on the practice of the Guhyasamaja sadhana, Ocean of Attainments is far 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. With its 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.

book information
  • Hardcover
  • 824 pages, 6 x 9 inches
  • $74.95
  • ISBN 9781614298304
  • ebook
  • 824 pages
  • $50.99
  • ISBN 9781614298533
about the author
Ocean of Attainments

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).

Other books by Yael Bentor:
The Essence of the Ocean of Attainments
A Classical Tibetan Reader

Ocean of Attainments

Penpa Dorjee is associate professor and head librarian of Shantarakshita Library of the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarnath, India. He received the acharya degree from Sampurnanada Sanskrit University in Varanasi and his PhD from the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies. He has seventeen books to his credit as author, coauthor, translator, or editor.

Other books by Penpa Dorjee:
Sera Monastery

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