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Translator(s): Khen Rinpoche/Geshe Lobsang Tharchin/Michael Roach
Publisher: Paljor Publications
ISBN/UPC (if available): N/A
A concise manual on how to prepare oneself to enter the secret paths of Buddhism, written by the greatest master of ancient Middle Asia.
The Buddha of Wisdom spoke to Tsongkapa, and said: you must come to see that the Lama is one and the same with you high secret Angel, and pray to them-never stop praying, and then the seed which I have planted in you this day will flower, and you will understand all.
The Tibetan Buddhist master Tsongkapa was born over six centuries ago. He was perhaps the greatest commentator of Buddhism in history, and wrote more than 10,000 pages in explanation of the ancient books of Buddhist wisdom.
His most famous masterpiece is the Great Book on the steps of the path, the Lamrim Chenmo, a clear and detailed roadmap to Enlightenment. He wrote the work after coming in and out of prophetic vision over the length of an entire month, at the great monastery of Radreng, in south Tibet. The vision was triggered by the Mountain of Blessings, a prayer and guide to perfection used by Lamas ever since, as a preparation for the secret teachings of Buddhism.
This important work appears here in full with a commentary by the illustrious Pabongka Rinpoche, generally regarded as the foremost Tibetan Buddhist teacher of the last century. Both texts have been translated by Khen Rinpoche, Geshe Lobsang Tharchinone-one of the last great masters of old Tibet, and a former about of Sera Mey Tibetan Monastery, one of the largest Buddhist monasteries in the world.
TSONGKAPA (1357-1419), also known as Je Rinpoche Lobsang Drakpa, was perhaps the single greatest commentator in the 2,500 year history of Buddhism. He was born in the district of Tsongka in eastern Tibet and took his first vows at a tender age. As a teenager he had already mastered much of the teachings of Buddhism and was sent by his tutors to the great teachings of Buddhism and was sent by his tutors to the great monastic universities of central Tibet. Here he studied under the leading Buddhist scholars of his day; it is said as well that he enjoued mystic visions in which he met and learned from different forms of the Buddha himself. The 18 volumes of Tsongkapa's collected works contain eloquent and incisive commentaries on virtually every major classic of ancient Buddhism, as well as his famed treatises on the steps of the Path to Buddahod.
His students, who included the first Dalai Lama of Tibet, contributed hundereds of their own exposition of Buddhist philosophy and practice. Tsongkapa founded the Great Three monasteries of Tibet. where by custom nearly 25,000 monks have studied the scripturer of Buddhism over the centuries. He also instituted the great Monlam festival, a period of religiuos study and celebration for the entire Tibetan nation. Tsongkapa passed away in his 62nd year, at his home monastery of Ganden in Lhama, the capital of Tibet.
KHENCHEN THRANGU RINPOCHE was born in Kham in 1933. At the age of five he was formally recognized by the Sixteenth Karmapa and the previous situ Rinpoche as the incarnation of the great Thrangu tulku. From the ages of seven to sixteen he entered Thrangu monastery and studied reading, writing, grammar, poetry, astrology, memorized ritual texts and completed two preliminary retreats. At the age of sixteen he began the study of the three vehicles of Buddhism under the direction of Khenpo Lodro Rabsel.
He also spent time in retreat. At the age of twenty-three and the time of the Chinese Military takeover, Rinpoche left Tibet for Rumtek monastery in Sikkim where the Karmapa had his seat in exile. At the age of thirty-five he took the geshe examination before 1,500 monks at Buxador monastic refugee camp in Bengal and was awarded the highest degree of Rabjam. On his return to Rumtek he was named Khenpo or main teacher of Rumtek and all other Kagyu monasteries and became abbot of Rumtek monastery and also of the Nalanda Institute for Higher Buddhist studies also at Rumtek. He has been the personal teacher of the four principle Kagyu tulkus: Shamar Rinpoche, Situ Rinpoche, Jamgon Kongtul Rinpoche, and Gyaltsab Rinpoche.
NOTE TO THE TRANSLATION
HOW THE TEACHING WAS GIVEN
I. Why the Steps?
II. How to Take a Lama
III. Advice to Take the Essence of Life
STEPS SHARED WITH THOSE OF LESSER CAPACITY
IV. Steps Shared with Those of Lesser Capacity
STEPS SHARED WITH THOSE OF MEDIUM CAPACITY
V. Learning How to Want Freedom
VI. Finding the Right path to Freedom
OPEN STEPS FOR THOSE OF GREATER CAPACITY
VII. Developing the Wish for Enlightenment
VIII. General Training in Bodhisattva Activities
IX. Training in the Final Two Perfections
SECRET STEPS FOR THOSE OF GREATER CAPACITY
X. Entering the way of the Diamond
XI. Keeping Vows and Pledges Pure
XII. Meditating on the two Secret Stages
XIII. A Request for Good Circumstances
XIV. A Prayer for Future Care
EQUIVALENTS FOR TRANSLATED PROPER NAMES