Classic and Contemporary Buddhist Works

Creation and Completion - Preface

Essential Points of Tantric Meditation, with a Commentary by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche

Preface

While in retreat from 1976 to 1980, I started reading Tibetan texts on the subject of visualization in an attempt to understand what it was that I was supposed to be doing, and why. There is a wealth of information in Tibetan, and my research proved to be rewarding and reassuring. Since the retreat, I’ve met many Western students of Tibetan Buddhism doing visualization practice but without the benefit of explanation. Although there is surprisingly little inquisitiveness—a sign, no doubt, of great faith—I felt a desire to help fill this gap in the transmission of the Dharma. In 1987, I translated a short text (bskyed rdzogs nyams len mdor bsdus kyi gtam) of uncertain origin on this subject to use as a teaching text. During this work, I asked Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche and his assistant Tenpa Gyaltsen for clarification on certain points. At that time, Khenpo Tsultrim introduced me to this text by Jamgön Kongtrul (bskyed rdzogs gnad bsdus; Creation and Completion) and suggested that I translate it. I found it listed in two separate tables of contents of Kongtrul’s collected works as being located in volume cha of the Treasury of Vast Precepts (rgya chen bka’ mdzod) . However, the diligent efforts of Susan Meinheit at the Library of Congress, and my own search through the library of the late Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, failed to turn up the actual pages. Later, information from Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche revealed that this text had been missing (“borrowed” was the word) from the original volumes when the more recent woodblocks were being produced. So all that came into my hands was the mysterious photocopy from Khenpo Tsultrim.

It sat on my desk for years. In 1990, during a time of intense personal crisis, I turned for some reason to this text for refuge, translating furiously for several weeks. At the time I thought that if I could have only one book on a desert island, it would be this one. I reworked it over several years, asking questions of whatever generous and learned lama passed my way. In this regard, I would like especially to mention Bokar Rinpoche, successor to Kalu Rinpoche and holder of the Shangpa lineage, Khenpo Dönyö Rinpoche, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, Khenpo Palden Sherab Rinpoche, and Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche. In checking the translation with the original, Tulku Thondup Rinpoche and Lobsang Lhalungpa were extremely generous. And in reading the English translation and the introduction, Dr. Reginald Ray, Joey Townsend, and Fletcher Chamberlain offered useful suggestions and encouragement. There were many others who contributed one way or another. I thank them all. Finally, with the support of Constance Miller and Emily Bower at Wisdom, it has at last reached some form of completion. In the translation of such a profound teaching, the work of improvement could have continued on for much longer, perhaps forever. But it seems time to share it with others, according to the original intention, and accept responsibility for any errors or mediocrity, praying that the original power comes through despite such failings. The effort is dedicated to the continuing beneficial influence of the activities of the great Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche.

Sarah Harding
Boulder, Colorado, 1996

 

Acknowledgments to the Revised Edition
The publisher wishes to thank Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche for kindly allowing the inclusion of his commentary in this new edition of Creation and Completion. The commentary is based on an oral translation by Lama Yeshe Gyamtso that was transcribed by Jan Puckett and the staff of the Rigpe Dorje Center in San Antonio, Texas, where the teachings were given. Pema Tsewang Shastri input the Tibetan text in this new edition, and Lyn Miller and E. Gene Smith provided invaluable editorial assistance.

 

How to cite this document:
© Sarah Harding and Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, Creation and Completion (Wisdom Publications, 2002)

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