The Essence of the Ocean of Attainments (Dngos grub rgya mtsho’i snying po) is a commentary on the creation stage of the Guhyasamāja Tantra written by the illustrious Panchen Lama, Losang Chökyi Gyaltsen (1570–1662). The practice of Guhyasamāja, one of the earliest and most influential of the highest Tantras, along with its remarkable hermeneutic system, created a framework that was applied to other so-called unexcelled Tantras. Still very much a living tradition, in our time the Fourteenth Dalai Lama confers its empowerment every year. In this work, the Panchen Lama not only clarifies each step of the sādhana meditation ritual, but he also offers general insights into the practice and its workings. It is an Essence because it distills the much longer Ocean of Attainments commentary on the practice composed by Khedrup Jé (1385–1438), one of two key disciples of Tsongkhapa, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism’s Geluk school. The Panchen Lama identifies core elements of sādhana and with unparalleled precision clarifies many seminal points.
In her introduction, Yael Bentor surveys the creation stage of unexcelled Tantra as presented by the founding fathers of the Geluk school and unpacks the contents of the Essence of the Ocean of Attainments for readers. The translation features both explanatory annotations for practitioners and ample references for scholars.