ORNAMENT TO BEAUTIFY THE THREE APPEARANCES
The Mahāyāna Preliminary Practices of the Sakya Lamdré Tradition
Ornament to Beautify the Three Appearances is the first book of a two-volume set of works written by Ngorchen Könchok Lhundrup (1497–1557) to explain the Lamdré teachings, the most important system of tantric theory and practice in the Sakya tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. This volume is translated by Cyrus Stearns with a foreword by His Holiness the Sakya Trichen.
The Lamdré, or Path with the Result, is based on the Vajra Lines of the great Indian adept Virūpa (ca. seventh–eighth centuries). The first topic is the fundamental meditative practices of Hīnayāna and Mahāyāna Buddhism. In the Lamdré teachings, these preliminary instructions are known as the Three Appearances. The guiding instructions on impure appearance are for the purpose of developing renunciation. These focus on the defects of saṃsāra; the rarity, benefit, and transience of human life; and the nature of positive and negative actions and results. The guiding instructions on the appearance of the experiences are for the purpose of producing the altruistic intent. These focus on developing love, compassion, and bodhicitta and cultivating joy now about the uncommon experiences that will arise later when practicing the Vajrayāna teachings. The guiding instructions on pure appearance are for the purpose of producing enthusiasm for the ultimate result of complete awakening. These briefly describe the inconceivable nature of a buddha’s enlightened body, speech, and mind.
Having absorbed these preliminary instructions, the practitioner may go on to the second volume of Ngorchen’s works, a restricted text that explains the main tantric practices of the Three Continua, intended for students who have at least received the great initiation of Hevajra. Volume 2 is only available in a restricted box set that includes this first volume and can only be obtained on the Wisdom Publications website. Click here to learn more about the box set.