Wisdom of the Kadam Masters - Preface
Wisdom of the Kadam Masters is the second volume in the new series Tibetan Classics, which aims to make available accessible paperback editions of key Tibetan Buddhist works in English translation. The main selection in this volume is the much-loved twelfth-century work known as Sayings of the Kadam Masters. That these celebrated sayings continue to resonate powerfully for those on the spiritual path nearly a millennium after their utterance shows that they capture something profound about our yearning. The next three selections in this special anthology, chapters from the Father Teachings of the Book of Kadam, present lively exchanges between the Indian master Atiśa and his Tibetan heir, Dromtönpa. The final selection is a chapter from the Son Teachings of the Book of Kadam, an entertaining tale of one of Master Drom’s previous lives.
These selections, so revered in the Tibetan tradition, have been drawn from the larger hardcover volume entitled The Book of Kadam: The Core Texts, which I had the privilege to translate into English for The Library of Tibetan Classics. In this volume, however, I have expanded the contextualizing materials for the general reader. These include a general introduction, explanations specific to each of the three sections, biographical notes on the authors whose sayings are featured in the volume, as well as an explanatory glossary. Together, these materials provide historical and cultural context as well as an overview of the central themes of the individual texts, allowing the reader to engage with the words in a more meaningful way.
I would like to express my deep gratitude, first and foremost, to my two spiritual teachers, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the late Kyabjé Zemé Rinpoché, both of whom helped bring the teachings of the Kadam masters to life for me. My heartfelt thanks go to Barry Hershey, Connie Hershey, and the Hershey Family Foundation, whose support made it possible for me to translate the larger volume from which the texts selected here were drawn. I must also thank Pierre and Pamela Omidyar, who through a special grant enabled me to develop this particular volume for general readers.
Let me also take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation to Nita Ing and the Ing Family Foundation and to Eric Colombel and the Tsadra Foundation for their ongoing support of translating multiple volumes from The Library of Tibetan Classics. I also thank David Kittelstrom, our longtime editor at Wisdom Publications on the classics series, for his incisive editing of my English; Tim McNeill and his team at Wisdom for their dedication to excellence; and my wife Sophie Boyer Langri for her unwavering support of my work.
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© Thubten Jinpa, Wisdom of the Kadam Masters (Wisdom Publications, 2013)
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