Mahāmudrā and Related Instructions - Foreword

Core Teachings of the Kagyü Schools


800 pages, 6 x 9 inches


ISBN 9780861714445

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Message from the Dalai Lama

The last two millennia witnessed a tremendous proliferation of cultural and literary development in Tibet, the “Land of Snows.” Moreover, due to the inestimable contributions made by Tibet’s early spiritual kings, numerous Tibetan translators, and many great Indian paṇḍitas over a period of so many centuries, the teachings of the Buddha and the scholastic tradition of ancient India’s Nālandā monastic university became firmly rooted in Tibet. As evidenced from the historical writings, this flowering of Buddhist tradition in the country brought about the fulfillment of the deep spiritual aspirations of countless sentient beings. In particular, it contributed to the inner peace and tranquillity of the peoples of Tibet, Outer Mongolia—a country historically suffused with Tibetan Buddhism and its culture—the Tuva and Kalmuk regions in present-day Russia, the outer regions of mainland China, and the entire trans-Himalayan areas on the southern side, including Bhutan, Sikkim, Ladakh, Kinnaur, and Spiti. Today this tradition of Buddhism has the potential to make significant contributions to the welfare of the entire human family. I have no doubt that, when combined with the methods and insights of modern science, the Tibetan Buddhist cultural heritage and knowledge will help foster a more enlightened and compassionate human society, a humanity that is at peace with itself, with fellow sentient beings, and with the natural world at large.

It is for this reason I am delighted that the Institute of Tibetan Classics in Montreal, Canada, is compiling a thirty-two–volume series containing the works of many great Tibetan teachers, philosophers, scholars, and practitioners representing all major Tibetan schools and traditions. These important writings will be critically edited and annotated and will then be published in modern book format in a reference collection called The Library of Tibetan Classics, with their translations into other major languages to be followed later. While expressing my heartfelt commendation for this noble project, I pray and hope that The Library of Tibetan Classics will not only make these important Tibetan treatises accessible to scholars of Tibetan studies, but will create a new opportunity for younger Tibetans to study and take interest in their own rich and profound culture. Through translations into other languages, it is my sincere hope that millions of fellow citizens of the wider human family will also be able to share in the joy of engaging with Tibet’s classical literary heritage, textual riches that have been such a great source of joy and inspiration to me personally for so long.

The Dalai Lama
The Buddhist monk Tenzin Gyatso



by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche

For this volume, I have selected key classical Tibetan texts from the Kagyü tradition to present the tradition’s core teachings. Today, I am happy to see this special anthology of Dakpo Kagyü texts published in English translation as part of The Library of Tibetan Classics, a series envisioned by Thupten Jinpa, the principal English translator to His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. These teachings are intended to create experiences and realizations in the mind. They contain two kinds of instructions: those that engage with the essential points of the body and those that engage with the essential points of the mind.

Engaging with the essential points of the body is accomplished through the stationary channels, the moving winds, and so on. These instructions for attaining buddhahood are the path of methods, which is comprised of the six Dharmas of Nāropa, such as caṇḍālī and the illusory body. The teachings of the six Dharmas are based upon the Guhyasamāja, Mahāmāyā, Hevajra, Cakrasaṃvara, and Four Seats tantras. These six Dharmas constitute the ultimate completion-stage practice for all highest yoga tantras, especially the nondual tantras.

The instructions for attaining buddhahood in one lifetime and in one body through engaging with the essential points of the mind are the path of liberation, which is comprised of the profound mahāmudrā instructions. The teachings on mahāmudrā explain that there is no stain whatsoever to be removed from the luminous nature of the mind and no additional quality that needs to be created in it. There are both sutra and tantra traditions of mahāmudrā. The former is meditation on luminosity free from conceptual elaboration, while the tantra tradition’s mahāmudrā is the accomplishment of the unity of bliss and emptiness. The Dakpo Kagyü tradition is an uninterrupted lineage—sustained until the present—of the stainless realization of mahāmudrā.

The compilation in this volume of the instructions for both the path of methods and the path of liberation will definitely be of great benefit to Buddhist practitioners and also to researchers, facilitating the accurate completion of their research. I both pray and am certain that this will be so.

This was written spontaneously in Rishipattana Deer Park by the one who was given the name Thrangu Tulku.

May goodness flourish!

Thrangu  Rinpoche



How to cite this document:
© Institute of Tibetan Classics, Mahāmudrā and Related Instructions (Wisdom Publications, 2011)

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Mahāmudrā and Related Instructions by Peter Alan Roberts is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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