Luminous Essence: A Guide to the Guhyagarbha Tantra

Luminous Essence: A Guide to the Guhyagarbha Tantra


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Luminous Essence is a complete introduction to the world of tantric thought and practice. Composed by the renowned Tibetan master Jamgön Mipham (1846–1912), the text provides an overview of the theory and experiential assimilation of a seminal tantric scripture, the Tantra of the Secret Essence (Guhyagarbha Tantra). Embodying the essence of tantric practice, this text has been a central scripture in Tibetan Buddhism for well over a thousand years. Mipham's explanation of this text, here translated for the first time, is one of the most celebrated commentaries on the Tantra of the Secret Essence, which today occupies an important place in the tantric curriculum of Tibetan monastic colleges. Luminous Essence is a specialized guide meant for initiated tantric practitioners. To fully appreciate and assimilate its message, it should be studied under the guidance of a qualified teacher by those who have received the appropriate empowerments, reading transmissions, and oral instructions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781559393270
Publisher: Shambhala
Publication date: 06/16/2009
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Jamgön Mipham (1846–1912), one of the great luminaries of Tibetan Buddhism in modern times, has had a dominant and vitalizing influence on the Nyingma School and beyond. He was an important member of the Rimé, or nonsectarian movement, which did much to strengthen and preserve the entire tradition. A scholar of outstanding brilliance and versatility, his translated works are eagerly anticipated by English-language readers.

Table of Contents

Foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama vii

Introduction by Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche ix

Translators' Introduction xi

Luminous Essence 1

1 The Magnificence of the Tantra 2

2 The Meaning of the Tantra 5

1 The Title 6

2 A Summary of the Essential Points of the Meaning of the Text's Subject Matter 7

1 The Purpose and Relevance of the Tantra 7

2 Presenting the Meaning of the Tantra 9

1 The Setting 9

2 The Prelude 11

3 The Meaning of the Tantra 12

1 A General Presentation of the Principles of the Three Continua 12

1 The Ground Continuum 12

1 The Natural Mandala of the Ground 12

2 How Delusion Arises 13

3 Delusion and the Natural Ground 14

4 The Reversal of Delusion 15

2 The Path Continuum 16

1 The Essence of the Path 16

2 The Divisions of the Path 17

1 A General Explanation 17|20 1 The Two Vehicles 17|20 2 The Five Vehicles 17|20 3 The Nine Vehicles 23

2 The Path of Unsurpassable Mantra 24|20 1 Development and Completion 24|20 2 Means and Liberation 27

3 Traversing the Path 29

3 The Fruition Continuum 35

2 Specific Explanation of the Path Continuum 37

1 Various Classification Schemes 37

2 The Present Context 38

1 View 38

2 Absorption 68

3 Conduct 77

4 Mandala 84

5 Empowerment 88

6 Samayas 93

7 Accomplishment 112

8 Offerings 123

9 Enlightened Activity 130

10 Mudr&abar; 138

11 Mantra 144

4 Conclusion: The Full and Complete Entrustment 159

1 Entrusting the Profound Meaning of the Tantra in a Nondual Manner 159

2 The Superiority of the Recipients to Whom This Tantra Is Entrusted 162

3 Extensive Explanation of the Meaning Expressed through the Words of the Tantra 165


Appendix A Topical Outline ofLuminous Essence 169

Appendix B Expanded Outline of the Topic "The Present Context" from the Topical Outline of Luminous Essence 171

Appendix C Visual Outline of Luminous Essence 175


"One of the most accomplished scholars and prolific writers of recent times in Tibet was Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche. An eclectic master, who was prominent in the nonsectarian movement that flourished, particularly in Eastern Tibet, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, his works are regarded as authoritative. I am pleased to know that great care has been taken in preparing this translation of Luminous Essence, Mipham Rinpoche's commentary on the Guhyagarbha Tantra, the root tantra which reveals mind and wisdom to be naturally manifest.

"I have no doubt that interested and initiated practitioners of the Guhyagarbha Tantra cycle of practices will derive great benefit from reading and relying on this explantatory text."—from the Foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

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