Mind Training - Preface

The Great Collection

This volume contains the most important early works of the Tibetan spiritual genre of mind training (lojong). Compiled in the first half of the fifteenth century, Mind Training: The Great Collection features texts from the eleventh to the fifteenth century, many of which have had a lasting impact on the landscape of Tibetan culture, literature, and spiritual life, as well as on the psyche of the Tibetan people. The publication of this first-ever English translation of the Great Collection marks the realization of a long-held personal dream. This translation, volume 1 in The Library of Tibetan Classics, is actually the second volume to be issued in the series.

Two primary objectives have driven the creation and development of The Library of Tibetan Classics. The first aim is to help revitalize the appreciation and the study of the Tibetan classical heritage within Tibetan-speaking communities worldwide, the younger generation in particular who struggle with the tension between traditional Tibetan culture and the realities of modern consumerism. To this end, efforts have been made to develop a comprehensive yet manageable body of texts, one that features the works of Tibet’s best-known authors and covers the gamut of classical Tibetan knowledge.

The second objective of The Library of Tibetan Classics is to help make these texts part of the global literary and intellectual heritage. In this regard, we have tried to make the English reader-friendly and, as much as possible, keep the body of the text free of unnecessary scholarly apparatus, which can intimidate general readers. For specialists who wish to compare the translation with the Tibetan original, page references of the critical edition of the Tibetan text are provided in brackets.

The texts in the thirty-volume series span more than a millennium—from the development of the Tibetan script in the seventh century to the first part of the twentieth century, when Tibetan society and culture first encountered industrial modernity. The volumes are thematically organized and cover sixteen categories of classical Tibetan knowledge: (1) teachings specific to each Tibetan school, (2) the bodhisattva’s altruistic ideal,
(3) presentation of the ethics of the three codes, (4) generation and completion stages of the highest yoga tantra, (5) Perfection of Wisdom studies, (6) buddha-nature theory, (7) the Middle Way philosophy of emptiness, (8) logic and epistemology, (9) Abhidharma psychology and phenomenology, (10) the tenets of classical Indian philosophical schools, (11) advice on worldly affairs, (12) “gateway for the learned,” which includes linguistics, poetry, and literature, (13) medicine, (14) astronomy and astrology, (15) Tibetan opera, and (16) history.

The first category includes teachings of the Kadam, Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyü, Geluk, and Jonang schools, of miscellaneous Buddhist lineages, and of the Bön school. Texts in these volumes have been largely selected by senior lineage holders of the individual schools. Texts in the other categories have been selected primarily on recognition of the historical reality of the individual disciplines. For example, in the field of epistemology, works from the Sakya and Geluk schools have been selected, while the volume on buddha-nature features the writings of Butön Rinchen Drup and various Kagyü masters. Where fields are of more common interest, such as the three codes or the bodhisattva ideal, efforts have been made to represent the perspectives of all four major Tibetan Buddhist schools. The Library of Tibetan Classics can function as a comprehensive library of the Tibetan literary heritage for libraries, educational and cultural institutions, and interested individuals.

Today I feel a profound sense of joy, satisfaction, and more importantly an honor to be able to offer this volume of most inspiring Tibetan spiritual texts in English translation. Numerous individuals and organizations have helped make this possible. First of all I would like to express my deepest appreciation and respects to all my teachers, especially His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Kyapjé Zemey Rinpoché. Both introduced the beautiful world of mind training to me in my years as a young novice monk in India. I would especially like to thank Barry J. Hershey, Connie Hershey, and the Hershey Family Foundation for their most generous support, without which the dream of creating The Library of Tibetan Classics could not have even begun to be realized. Barry’s conviction in the value of The Institute of Tibetan Classics’ work and his continued support have helped keep my own translation work on this volume on course.

I owe deep gratitude to several other individuals and organizations. Catherine Moore helped in the editing of some texts in their early drafts. Gene Smith and his Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC) helped in obtaining some key texts, especially a scanned copy of Lechen’s History of the Kadam Tradition. Geshe Lobsang Choedar, my co-editor for the critical edition of the Tibetan volume of the anthology, helped in comparing the different editions of the individual texts as well as assisted in the difficult task of sourcing the countless numbers of citations found in the Tibetan texts. The Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarnath, India, provided full access to its library to the Tibetan editors of The Library of Tibetan Classics, including myself. My wife Sophie was always there with her warmth and emotional support, and has taken on the endless logistical and administrative chores of the Institute. Finally, I thank my editor at Wisdom David Kittelstrom for his most valuable and incisive editorial assistance that has helped improve the language of this volume. Whatever merit we may have gathered—by all of us who have been involved with this project—through these may all beings enjoy peace and happiness. May these Tibetan texts become a genuine offering of peace and happiness to all.

Thupten Jinpa
Montreal, 2005

 

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