Heart Essence of the Dakinis: The Outer and Inner Preliminaries

Overview

In the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, the Great Perfection is considered the most profound and direct path to enlightenment. The instructions of this tradition present a spiritual shortcut—a radically direct approach that cuts through confusion and lays bare the mind's true nature of luminous purity. For centuries, these teachings have been taught and practiced in secret by some of the greatest adepts of the Buddhist tradition. Great Perfection: Outer and Inner Preliminaries contains detailed instructions on...
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Great Perfection: Outer and Inner Preliminaries

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Overview

In the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, the Great Perfection is considered the most profound and direct path to enlightenment. The instructions of this tradition present a spiritual shortcut—a radically direct approach that cuts through confusion and lays bare the mind's true nature of luminous purity. For centuries, these teachings have been taught and practiced in secret by some of the greatest adepts of the Buddhist tradition. Great Perfection: Outer and Inner Preliminaries contains detailed instructions on the foundational practices of this tradition, from "The Excellent Chariot," a practice manual compiled by the Third Dzogchen Rinpoche.

Distilling the teachings of the Heart Essence of the Dakinis into an accessible, easy-to-practice format, The Excellent Chariot leads the reader through the entire Buddhist path, starting with basic Buddhist contemplations that work to dislodge deeply ingrained patterns of thinking and behaving, and continuing on to the most advanced and secret meditative practices of the Great Perfection. The teachings in this volume are drawn largely from the writings of the great Nyingma master Longchenpa and the root texts of the Heart Essence of the Dakinis itself. The Third Dzogchen Rinpoche begins by discussing the correct way to study and practice the Great Perfection teachings before presenting an overview of the Great Perfection lineage and an explanation on the meaning and importance of empowerment. In the chapters that follow, he presents practical instructions on the outer and inner preliminaries, the so-called "ngöndro" practices. These practices enable the practitioner to transform and purify the mind, preparing it for the advanced Great Perfection meditation of Trekchö and Tögal, the breakthrough and direct leap.

In addition to the translation mentioned above, Great Perfection: Outer and Inner Preliminaries contains a beautiful introduction by the Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, a contemporary Great Perfection master, and an extensive glossary of key Great Perfection terminology.

The Heart Essence Series presents translations of seminal writings on the Great Perfection. Beginning with the works of the Heart Essence of the Dakinis and the Heart Essence of Vimalamitra, two cycles that lie at the core of the Great Perfection lineage, the series aims to provide scholars, teachers, and practitioners of these profound teachings with accurate and readable translations of the most important Great Perfection texts.

Great Perfection: Separation and Breakthrough, a companion volume of restricted teachings, is also available, containing advanced teachings on the separation or rushen practices and the breakthrough stage of Great Perfection meditation.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This amazing volume enshrines the Buddhist teachings for beginners, teaching how to deal with everyday life, how to apply one's mind to the pure teachings of the Buddha, and especially the extraordinary physical, vocal, and mental exercises that awaken the enlightened nature of the mind. This wonderful volume is rich in blessings and filled with practical advice."—Tulku Thondup Rinpoche, author of The Healing Power of Mind

"For centuries, the Heart Essence of the Dakinis has been treasured as one of the most profound and direct paths to enlightenment in the Tibetan tradition. The teachings contained in this volume illuminate the preliminary practices of this sacred path. Drawing upon many of the greatest sages of India and Tibet, its lucid explanations are sure to inspire beginners and seasoned meditators alike."—Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, author of The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness

"The aim of the preliminary practices is to establish a foundation for all spiritual progress. To dispense with these foundations in order to practice teachings one supposes to be more profound is like building a palace on the surface of a frozen lake. If one's practice of the preliminaries is profound, the main practice will be profound as well. One can therefore be grateful to Cortland Dahl for having given us a clear and insightful translation of the Third Dzogchen Rinpoche's magnificent teachings on the preliminary practices of the Khandro Nyingtik. When it comes to the meaning of the Great Perfection, the birth of understanding depends entirely upon these preliminaries."—Matthieu Ricard, author of Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559392853
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/25/2008
  • Series: Heart Essence Series
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 989,756
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

The Third Dzogchen Rinpoche (1759–1792) was the abbot of Dzogchen Monastery, one of the largest monastic centers in eastern Tibet. He was known particularly for his mastery of the Great Perfection teachings and his clear and accessible works on this topic.
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Table of Contents

Foreword$dThe Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche     vii
Translator's Introduction     xiii
The Excellent Chariot: A Vehicle for the Path to Liberation
Homage and Pledge of the Composition     3
How to Listen to the Teachings     5
The Lineage History     7
Empowerment     13
The Common Preliminaries     17
The Precious Human Existence & Refuge     19
The Freedoms and Endowments     19
Taking Refuge     27
The Practice of Taking Refuge     30
Impermanence & Bodhichitta     37
Death and Impermanence     37
Qualifications of Teacher and Student     37
Contemplating Impermanence     44
Compassion and Bodhichitta     57
Aspiration Bodhichitta     57
Application Bodhichitta     60
Bodhichitta in Practice     60
The Benefits of Bodhichitta     61
[Developing Bodhichitta]     61
Karma & the Three Vows     63
The Principle of Karmic Causality     63
The Ten Virtues     67
The Ten Forms of Vice     70
Virtue and Liberation     72
The Four Immeasurables     73
TheSix Perfections     74
Karma and Samsara     75
Karma and Nirvana     76
The Three Vows     77
The Vows of Individual Liberation     77
The Bodhisattva Precepts     79
Samaya Vows     84
The Suffering of Samsara & the Practice of Vajrasattva     91
The Suffering of Samsara     91
How to Listen to the Teachings     91
Contemplating the Suffering of Samsara     93
The Meditation and Recitation of Vajrasattva     112
Confession     116
Liberation & the Mandala Offering     127
The Benefits of Liberation     127
How to Listen to a Teaching     127
Contemplating the Benefits of Liberation     129
Mandala Offering     135
Gathering the Accumulations     135
Faith & Guru Yoga     141
Faith and Liberation     141
The Nature of the Teacher     141
The Nature of the Student     142
Qualities Needed by Both Teacher and Student     143
Faith     144
The Guru     156
The Practice of Guru Yoga     162
Concluding Verses      171
Abbreviations     173
Glossary     177
Notes     229
Texts Cited     235
Bibliography     243
Index     249
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