Steps To The Great Perfection
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The mind-training practices contained in the Dzogchen tradition of Tibetan Buddhism have never before been presented in the English language. The main text translated here, The Steps to Liberation, will be of great interest to Western practitioners, since its instructions are pithy and direct, and experiential rather than scholarly. The contemplations on core Buddhist principles like impermanence and karma, intended for beginning meditators, unfold as dramatic stories in which the meditator is to vividly imagine himself or herself as the main character who undergoes a sequence of experiences that result in transformative realizations. They distill the most essential teachings of the Buddha into a practical system that can be easily implemented in a daily meditation practice. At the same time, they bring together the most foundational Buddhist teachings with the profound methods of the Vajrayana (the esoteric teachings of Buddhist tantra). This is the hallmark of Dzogchen mind training and what sets it apart from other mind-training lineages.
In the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, the Great Perfection is considered the most profound and direct path to enlightenment. The instructions of this tradition present a spiritual shortcut—a radically direct approach that cuts through confusion and lays bare the mind's true nature of luminous purity. For centuries, these teachings have been taught and practiced in secret by some of the greatest adepts of the Buddhist tradition. Great Perfection: Outer and Inner Preliminaries contains detailed instructions on the foundational practices of this tradition, from "The Excellent Chariot," a practice manual compiled by the Third Dzogchen Rinpoche. Distilling the teachings of the Heart Essence of the Dakinis into an accessible, easy-to-practice format, The Excellent Chariot leads the reader through the entire Buddhist path, starting with basic Buddhist contemplations that work to dislodge deeply ingrained patterns of thinking and behaving, and continuing on to the most advanced and secret meditative practices of the Great Perfection. The teachings in this volume are drawn largely from the writings of the great Nyingma master Longchenpa and the root texts of the Heart Essence of the Dakinis itself. The Third Dzogchen Rinpoche begins by discussing the correct way to study and practice the Great Perfection teachings before presenting an overview of the Great Perfection lineage and an explanation on the meaning and importance of empowerment. In the chapters that follow, he presents practical instructions on the outer and inner preliminaries, the so-called "ngöndro" practices. These practices enable the practitioner to transform and purify the mind, preparing it for the advanced Great Perfection meditation of Trekchö and Tögal, the breakthrough and direct leap. In addition to the translation mentioned above, Great Perfection: Outer and Inner Preliminaries contains a beautiful introduction by the Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, a contemporary Great Perfection master, and an extensive glossary of key Great Perfection terminology.
Dzogchen, the Great Perfection, is the highest meditative practice of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. Approaching the Great Perfection looks at a seminal figure of this lineage, Jigme Lingpa, an eighteenth-century scholar and meditation master whose cycle of teachings, the Longchen Nyingtig, has been handed down through generations as a complete path to enlightenment. Ten of Jigme Lingpa's texts are presented here, along with extensive analysis by van Schaik of a core tension within Buddhism: Does enlightenment develop gradually, or does it come all at once? Though these two positions are often portrayed by modern scholars as entrenched polemical views, van Schaik explains that both tendencies are present within each of the Tibetan Buddhist schools. He demonstrates how Jigme Lingpa is a great illustration of this balancing act, using the rhetoric of both sides to propel his students along the path of the Great Perfection.
Blending contemporary and traditional perspectives, this groundbreaking work offers guidance on the profound foundational practices of the Great Perfection. It contains classic commentaries by the renowned Tibetan masters Jigme Lingpa and Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, alongside a lively contemporary discussion by filmmaker, author, and spiritual teacher Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse that discusses how to incorporate these ancient practices into the fast-paced lifestyle of the Western world. Also included are a lengthy introduction to the world of Tibetan Buddhism and its meditative practices, as well as the long and short preliminary practice liturgies and numerous appendices on the nine yanas and other topics. The ngöndro or preliminary practice is treasured in the Ancient School of Tibetan Buddhism as vital for effecting a profound inner transformation and as a foundation for the very highest teachings of the Great Perfection, or Dzogchen. In particular, the Longchen Nyingtik ngöndro—revealed by the great saint Jigme Lingpa following a series of visions in which he was blessed by the omniscient Longchen Rabjam and received the transmission of his wisdom mind—has long been cherished by followers of all traditions on account of its power, depth, and poetic beauty.
These teachings on Dzogchen, the heart essence of the ancient Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, were given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Western students in Europe and North America. He offers the reader an unprecedented glimpse into one of Buddhism's most profound systems of meditation.
A perfect companion to the well-known Tibetan Book of the Dead. In life and in death, in meditation and in sleep, every transitional stage of consciousness, or bardo, provides an opportunity to overcome limitations, frustrations, and fears. The profound teachings in this book provide the under- standing and instruction necessary to turn every phase of life into an opportunity for uncontrived, natural liberation. Like the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Natural Liberation is a term, a "hidden treasure" attributed to the eighth-century master Padmasambhava. Gyatrul Rinpoche's lucid commentary accompanies the text, illuminating the path of awakening to the point of full enlightenment. Natural Liberation is an essential contribution to the library of both scholars and practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism.
A new translation of Longchenpa's famous work that presents the entire scope of the Buddhist view combined with pith instructions pointing out the nature of one's mind. Longchenpa’s classic Buddhist manual for attaining liberation teaches us how to familiarize ourselves with our most basic nature—the clear, pristine, and aware mind. Written in the fourteenth century, this text is the first volume of Longchenpa’s Trilogy of Rest, a work of the Tibetan Dzogchen tradition. This profound and comprehensive presentation of the Buddhist view and path combines the scholastic expository method with direct pith instructions designed for yogi practitioners. This first part of the Trilogy of Rest sets the foundation for the following two volumes: Finding Rest in Meditation, which focuses on Tibetan Buddhist meditation practice, and Finding Rest in Illusion, which focuses on post-meditation yogic conduct. The Padmakara Translation Group has provided us with a clear and fluid new translation to Finding Rest in the Nature of the Mind along with selections from its autocommentary, The Great Chariot, which will serve as a genuine aid to study and meditation. Here, we find essential instructions on the need to turn away from materialism, how to find a qualified guide, how to develop boundless compassion for all beings, along with the view of tantra and associated meditation techniques. The work culminates with pointing out the result of practice as presented from the Dzogchen perspective, providing us with all the tools necessary to traverse the Tibetan Buddhist path of finding rest.
In 1838, Choying Tobden Dorje, a yogin and scholar of northeastern Tibet, completed a multivolume masterwork that traces the entire path of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism from beginning to end. Written by a mantra practitioner for the benefit of mantra practitioners living among the lay community, it was intended to be informative, inspirational, and above all, practical. Its twenty-five books, or topical divisions, offer a comprehensive and detailed view of the Buddhist path according to the early translation school of Tibetan Buddhism, spanning the vast range of Buddhist teachings from the initial steps to the highest esoteric teachings of great perfection. Choying Tobden Dorje’s magnum opus appears in English here for the first time. Books 15 to 17: The Essential Tantras of Mahayoga is presented in two volumes and concerns the first of the three classes of inner tantra. It presents the entire text of the Guhyagarbha Tantra, in Tibetan and English, together with the interlinear sections of one of its most important commentaries, Dispelling the Darkness of the Ten Directions, by the outstanding fourteenth-century master Longchen Rabjam. Also included is Choying Tobden Dorje’s rewriting of Candragomin’s inspirational Extensive Commentary on the Sublime Litany of the Names of Manjushri.
This second and concluding volume of Jigme Lingpa’s classic Treasury of Precious Qualities is presented together with a detailed commentary by Kangyur Rinpoche. Composed in the form of a lamrim, or presentation of the stages of the path, the first volume set out the teachings of the sutras. The present volume continues this same structure and is a general description of the tantra teachings followed by an exposition of the Great Perfection, which in the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism is regarded as the summit of all vehicles and the final stage of the path of spiritual training. The section on the tantras is a compendious presentation of all important issues: lineage, empowerment, the generation and perfection stages, and samaya. The section on the Great Perfection is arranged according to the classification of Ground, Path, and Result and gives an extremely clear introduction to the doctrinal background that underpins the practice of this unique system.