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Dharma books by Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche

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"The precious teachings of the Drikung Kagyu, which are like the treasury of a King, lack nothing of the holy Dharma.  There is no need to depend on anthing else.  This is my heart's advice." by Drikung Bhande Dharmaradza


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Prayer Flags: The Spiritual Life and Songs of Lord Jigten Sumgon

The great Lord Jigten Sumgon, founder of the Drikung Kagyu tradition, was widely lauded as a bodhisattva and extraordinary master.   There are no other great teacher in Tibet who gathered together so many disciples as him.  It is said,"The mountains are filled with Drikungpa practitioners, and all the plains are filled with Drikungpa patrons."  Many of his disciples attained enlightenment in one lifetime. This book contains brief life stories of great Jigten Sumgon's predecessor Dharma Lord Gampopa, Phagmo Drupa, his grandmother-- Achi Chokyi Drolma and Lord Jigten Sumgön himself.  It is followed by a series of inspiring and powerful varje songs (Dharma-realization songs) full of heartfelt devotion.  One of the main study and practices of the Drikung Kagyudpa written by Jigten Sumgön is the Fivefold Profound Path of Mahamudra.  These five paths are : 1) the practice of bodhicitta; 2) yidam practice; 3) the guru yoga four kayas practice; 4) Mahamudra practice and 5) dedication of sharing merit practice.  If any of these practices are missing, then the fruit will not ripen.  This book includes a brief translation of an explanation of the Fivefold Profound Path of Mahamudra.  Finally, three essence transformation meditation practices are included.  They are transforming the conflicting emotions onto the Path of Enlightenment, transforming sickness onto the Path of Enlightenment and transforming the experiences of death.


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The Garland of Mahamudra Practices

Mahamudra or the Great Seal refers to a path to enlightenment taught by the Buddha and transmitted through the spiritual lineage of Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa and Milarepa.  Gampopa, a disciple of Milarepa who lived in the eleventh century, brought together these teachings of the Buddha into one five-fold path consisting of an enlightened motivation (bodhicitta), deity yoga, guru yoga, mahamudra and proper dedication, to which his main disciple, Pamodruba gave the name "The Profound five-Fold Path of Mahamudra".  Jigten Sumgön, the successor of Pamodruba, founder of the Drikung Kagyu taught Mahamudra extensively. This book is helpful for those who have already some understanding of the Dharma and it is a manual of practical instructions for those who would like to practice the path of Mahamudra in meditation. It contains the common preliminaries - Four foundation thoughts (precious human life, impermanence, karma and suffering of samsraa) , the four extraordinary preliminariy practices (refuge, Vajrasattva, mandala offering and Guru Yoga), the special Ngöndro practices of love, compassion and bodhicitta, yidam deity practice, special fpir-kaya guru yoga, a mahamudra session and dedication.


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In Search of the Stainless Ambrosia

"This book is good for everybody - beginners and more advanced practitioners.  I wrote this because I go to different places, a lot of people ask me what kind of books to read that are especially suitable for the beginners.  There are a lot of books of very high teachings, like vajrayana yidam practices, bardo practice or mahamudra teachings.  But as a beginner, they do not understand these things so much.   So I tried to put together a lot of information for those who are interested."  There is an excellent, concise and complete fundamental Buddha teaching from the beginning to the end, all the stages of teachings (the four fundamental thoughts, a little about refuge, then about loving kindness and compassion (Bodhicitta) and the six paramitas). It also includes a brief teaching and practice of the Chöd and the Great Drikung Phowa. In addition, there is concise Medicine Buddha and Guru Yoga practices. Moreover, there is a brief bardo teaching where you can read about visions of lots of peaceful and wrathful deities. This book explains experiences, what is there and what you see in a normal way.  There are varjra songs that bring our mind to Dewachen (Buddha's Pureland) and song that turns our mind to omniscience. There is also a little section on mahamudra and yidam practice.  It is very easy to read and understand.  Finally, there is an inspiring account of Khenchen's search of the Stainless Ambrosia, his training and his trip to Tibet.


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The Great Kagyu Masters: The Golden Lineage Treasury

This text is a translation of a thirteenth century, compiled by Dorje Dze Öd, who follows Jigten Sumgon in the unbroken lineage, recounts the lives of the great Kagyu lineage holders, such as Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa, Milarepa, Atisha, Gampopa, Phagmodrupa and Jigten Sumgon.  The Kagyu lineage is also known as the lineage of transmission.   It is so designated because the Tibetan word Ka signifies oral teachings, or the Buddha's own teachings, which gyu means lineage.  This noble line has been likened to a golden rosary, for each of the individuals constituting it is as precious and perfect as the finest gold:  Each is a repository of extraordinary realization, learning and attainment, and each confers upon the next the Deep Pointing Out instruction which cause the direct perception of the nature of the mind as Mahamudra.   To meet these Lamas, even if only through the medium of the written word, is an event of such power that any person making that contact will not be reborn in the lower realms for many lifetimes.  These life stories are therefore more than just history;   they are an example which inspires one to follow the path.  They become a cause for freeing us from samsara, enabling us to dispel mental obstacles and achieve Enlightenment.  Thus, the publication of such a text as The Great Kagyu Masters: The Golden Lineage Treasury represents a blessing indeed! This book is very inspirational.


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The Jewel Treasury of Advice: A Hundred Teachings from the Heart, The Wisdom of Drikung Bhande Dharmaradza

Drikung Bhande Dharmaradza (1704-1754), the author, was the reincarnation of the great Drikung Dharmakirti (1595-1659), the first of the Drikung Kyabgön Chungtsang Rinpoches. Revered for centuries as combined emanations of Manjushri and Guru Padmasambhava, these great lamas—together with the Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang Rinpoche—have held the throne of the Drikung Kagyu lineage from the 17th century up to the present day.  In this book, Dharmaradza maps out, in verse, the entire structure of the Buddhist path. The teachings given here are honest and direct, covering topics from impermanence to how the disciplines and vows of the three yanas may be practiced without conflict or contradiction.  In this skillful translation by Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche, one can find all essential teachings of the Buddha. The verses are beautifully translated which make these teachings very interesting, accessible and easy for modern practitioners to understand and put these profound teachings into their hearts.


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Jewel Ornament of Liberation: The Wish-fulfilling Gem of the Noble Teachings by Gampopa, translated by Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche and edited by Ani K. Trinlay Chödron

More than eight centuries ago, Gampopa wrote Jewel Ornament after he had been established as Milarepa's prime student. This important text has long been studied and used by sages of Tibet, and now it is available to serious Dharma practitioners in the West. It is said to act as Gampopa's regent in these times. This text provides a complete foundation for Buddhist study and practices, the philosophy taught by Shakyamuni Buddha circa 560CE. The 21 chapters systematically lay out the path one must travel towards Buddhahood—the primary cause (Buddha nature), the working basis (Precious human life), the contributory cause (The Spiritual Master), the methods (impermanence, karma, suffering, the cultivation of bodhicitta, the development of the six perfection, the ten Bodhisattva bhumis), the result (Perfect Buddhahodd) and the activities (Activities of the Buddha). This is an excellent text that reflects the blending of two systems of teaching- the Lamrim tradition coming from Atisha and the Mahamudra tradition coming from Naropa. As Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen says in his commentary, "Anyone who knows the Jewel Ornament well can say that they really understand Buddhism."


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Calling to the Lama From Afar (Verses of Supplication and Praise to Lord Jigten Sumgön)

"The appearance of the great enlightened being Lord Jigten Sumgön, the second Nagarjuna, was predicted by the Buddha in many scriptures of sutra and tantra.  Numerous outer, inner, and secret accounts of his life and liberation have been written, but his life began in an ordinary way.  He was an upasaka with few possessions who wore rags in the summer and winter.  He studied the major Buddhist texts and meditated day and night. Most importantly, he engaged in seven consecutive years of arduous retreat, and through the power of this effort attained enlightenment at the age of thirty-five. After that he taught ceaselessly for the benefit of future generations. He established countless sentient beings in enlightenment and spread the Buddha's teachings to all corners of the world....I urge you to study these words carefully and to bring them to life in your heart as a regular practice.  Each and every word in this book is vajra speech, full of blessings and the essence of all the Buddha's teachings.  Sooner or later, practitioners will gain this same result.  Of this there is no doubt."  From the forward by His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche. There are 11 deep devotional prayers & praises and one Guru Yoga by Lord Jigten Sumgön himself, his close students and others. Especially in the Kagyu tradition of mahamudra, devotion is the key to success on the path of higher teachings. One's lama is venerated as the holder of these teachings, and, because of his or her accomplishments in meditation practice, is recognized as the embodiment of their truth. The lama's affection and skill in guiding students then joins with the student's own growing admiration and trust so that the student begins to turn toward the lama again and agin in the same way that a flower opens naturally to the sun.


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Transformation of Suffering:  A Handbook for practitioners

"My intention in writing this book was to teach every level of practitioner the nature of samsara and nirvana. For this reason, there are especially detailed chapters on suffering and bodhicitta. When reading about suffering, it is very important to remain objective and not let it become depressing. As one reads further, it is my hope that the reader will gain a clear understanding of how samsara is a state of suffering and how, through the method of bodhicitta practice, it can be used as a means of purification. Human beings have the ability to cultivate virtue and dispel ignorance. Precisely because of this inborn potential for enlightenment, humans can liberate themselves from suffering and all its causes. Therefore, we should always rejoice at our good fortune to learn about sufferings and how to be freed form it."  As an expression of his heartfelt understanding of Dharma, Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche elegantly explains the true nature of samsara and nirvana.  This book illuminates the nature of existence, suffering, karma, impermanence, and the manifestation of bodhicitta in reaching ultimate wisdom.   These practices are useful not only for the achievement of enlightenment, but in our daily lives as well. This book is for study by individuals or group without ready access to a qualified spirital master. This book contains all the foundations of buddhism in very accessible language, but it contains essential information for the beginners and advance practitioners alike.


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Pearl Rosary: The Path of Purification

This work is written by Khenchen Rinpoche himself. It contains translated sadhanas (practice texts) as well as detailed commentay on ten common deity yoga practices, Chenrezig, Manjushri, Vajrapani, Green Tara, White Tara, Supplication to the Seven Taras, Buddha Amitabha, Buddha Amitayus, Medicine Buddha, Vajrasattva and Achi Chökyi Drolma. In each practice, detailed meaning and importance of the practice, the significance of the symbolism and attributes of each deity, especially valuable for those who do not have the good fortune to see a qualified lama often, and for serious practitioners to use as a reminder.

"In this 21st Century, an emphasis on mental development through education is deeply rooted. Modern societies have great confidence that science and technology will lead to a better life. Some contemporary scientists go so far as to theorize that mind and emotions are nothing more than a physical function of the brain, merely a complicated electro-chemical reaction. The ancient teachings of Buddhism are focused on the same goal – a better life now and in the future. Success in Buddhist practice similarly requires considerable study and deep thought. Buddhist masters have profoundly contemplated the nature of mind for many centuries, and concluded that it is not so easily explained. Mind has many layers, each one leading to increasingly subtle levels like the layers of a vast onion. 

We can only experience and examine these different layers of mind through meditation. Each one of us has an opportunity to undertake this investigation for oneself. Doing so will gradually replace confusion about the causes of suffering and happiness with genuine, timeless wisdom. Among the many meditation styles available to us, the deity yoga preserved and perfected by the masters of Tibet is unsurpassed. The techniques of deity yoga allow us to access the vast nature of mind directly and personally. By using them correctly, we can transform ordinary, confused experience into pristine clarity.

To experience the fullness of deity yoga, or Vajrayana, meditation practice, one should have at least a rudimentary understanding of Buddhist philosophy. One should be well grounded in the four foundational concepts of the rarity and preciousness of human life, the impermanence of all phenomena, the suffering nature of cyclic existence, and inexorable karmic causation. These are explained briefly in this book, but are described in more detail in such texts as The Jewel Ornament of Liberation, Way of Living and Liberation, and Transformation of Suffering. Once convinced of these four thoughts, our next steps are taking refuge and cultivating bodhicitta. Finally, an understanding of the nature of emptiness or, better, some experience with meditation on emptiness will establish a firm basis to successfully actualize deity yoga practice. Without these supports, tantra or deity yoga practice will not necessarily be a Budhist practice, and will not yield the expected results. However, with them, deity yoga practice will be substantially beneficial and will definitely be a path toward enlightenment.

These practices instill positive habits for this life, for the bardo between this life and the next, and for our rebirth. Roughly, the reflections on the four foundations, loving-kindness, compassion, refuge and bodhicitta, are related to this life. The dissolution into emptiness at the beginning of a practice corresponds to our experience at the time of death. Manifesting the deity from emptiness, chanting the mantra, and purifying ourselves, the environment, and all sentient beings all prepare us for being in the bardo state. After that, the dissolution into emptiness toward the end of the practice is similar to the completion of the bardo state. Again arising from emptiness as the deity at the conclusion of the practice builds the pattern to be reborn in a pure land or other special place that encourages spiritual development. In this book, I present the basic instructions on how to engage in some common deity yoga practices. Ten different practices are included, and each chapter contains an introduction and a complete commentary. It is important for practitioners to have confidence that all their mental afflictions and confusion can be purified by using these meditations. I hope that everyone who reads this book, especially those who practice meditation, will find some benefit." (extracted from Preface)

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A Complete Guide to the Buddhist Path

Buddhist teachings provide numerous methods for bringing greater meaning and happiness into our lives and into our relationships with others. In this book, Khenchen Rinpoche reveals these methods in direct, vibrant, down-to-earth language. Those who sincerely want to study and practice the Buddha's teachings will find this an indispensable guide. Based on Rinpoche's previous book The Jewel Treasury of Advice, a text composed by Drikung Bhande Dharmaradza (1704–1754), the reincarnation of Drikung Dharmakirti, Rinpoche interprets these ancient teachings with compassion, humor, and a keen awareness for their relevance in contemporary Western life in simple and right to the point way providing clear instruction on the practical meaning of Dharma and on meditation practice. The root text is organized into two parts.  The first part contains general advice for daily life - how to relate to others peacefully, how to associate within groups harmoniously, how to be honest and kind, how to be supportive of each other, and how to be sincere 'Dharma practitioners.  The second part, which contains the hundred verses of advice, is more specifcally for practitioners, particularly those practitioners who are very serious about studying and practicing and want to attain enlightenment or buddhahood. Realistically, if we want to attain enlightenment without facing any obstacles, we have to know what to do and how to do it. It outlines what to expect and gives us very valuable counsel from the author's own experience of the reality of samsara and nirvana.


"One reason to study and practice of Buddhism is to free our mind from delusions. Advice like this prevents us from getting lost in illusions in the name of the study and practice of Buddhism.  In the world of samsara, all sentient beings, including humans, must suffer from the afflictions such as greed, pride, hatred, limitless lifetimes and always cause suffering. Everyone's instinctive nature is to want happiness and peace, but these afflications don't allow it.  Rather, they bring one suffering after another without end.  These afflications cannot be healed by taking medicines or by living a luxurious life. They will not age or get sick; they always stay as fresh and young as they are now. The most powerful laboratory cannot pinpoint these afflictions; only Dharma can precisely identify their nature and provide us with a method to purify them.  Modern technology, machinery, and science cannot eliminate or purify the afflictions. The only way to weaken their power and eventually uproot them is through the study and practice of the precious Buddhadharma. The teachings were given from the author's heart, the mandala of perfect wisdom and compassion, and are not just intellectual musings.  They were written sincerely so that practitioners could understand what Dharma is about and how to practice it.  We should, therefore, take this advice into our heart sincerely and implement it wholeheartedly in order to free ourselves from obscurations and from the suffering that we face." (extracted from Introduction)


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The Wheel of Wisdom

The book includes three teaching poems: Samsara and Nirvana: Two Sides of the Same Hand; Prescriptions and Proscriptions: Their Mode of Abiding; In Praise of the Great Holy Place Tsaritra, Embodiment of Bodhicitta; and A Guru Yoga that Brings the Dharmakaya onto the Path. Also included are three long-life prayers for Khenchen Rinpoche:  A Treasure of Glorious, Endless Life; A Flower of Faith and Fortune; and A Sun's Blazing Brilliance of Virtue.'

" I have written these words, relying on the Conqueror's teachings." These poems were composed by Khenchen Rinpoche in various places that he traveled and taught throughout the world. In Praise of the Great Holy Place Tsaritra extols the qualities of his homeland of Tsari in southeastern Tibet. Besides being a major pilgrimage-mountain (nekhor-ri), Tsari - also known as the "Pure Crystal Mountain" - has been a powerful site for yogic practice since the twelfth century. Prescriptions and Proscriptions describes the universality of the tradition's prescriptions and proscriptions for conduct. This poem contains the essential points for training in the Three Vows (of individual liberation, bodhisattva and secret mantra) and in particular presents the view of Jigten Sumgön on this important matter. Samsara and Nirvana explains how the demarcation between samsara and nirvana is delineated by virtue and non-virtue. It also explains our confusion about reality and existence and the application of a readily-available antidote to that confusion. A concise guru yoga is included in order to provide an easy way for devoted students (without spending too much time) to merge their mind streams with the mind stream of Guru Lord Jigten Sumgön and receive blessings. Finally the three long-life prayers that have been composed for Khenchen Rinpoche are also included.

Rinpoche chose the vajra statement from Gong chik (by Lord Jigten Sumgon) as an epigraph "There is no allowance for faultless non-virtuous action" to summarizes Lord Jigten Sumgon's view of virtue and non-virtue, namely, there is no overlap or transformation from one to another. There is nothing in the Buddhadharma, in any level of practice from the foundational to the most subtle, that makes allowance for non-virtuous conduct that does not incur fault and result in negative consequence, or that is 'allowed'. Karmic causality (the intrinsic mode of functioning and manifesting reality) is infallible and is not subject to manipulation by anyone no matter powerful gods or even the fully omniscient beings known as buddhas. This sentiment pervades all of Khenchen Rinpoche's teachings, and is the main theme that structures the teaching poems in this book. This view makes it clear to us our own responsibility for our own conduct, our own practices, our own liberation, and makes clear that becoming more virtuous and of increasing benefit to ourselves and others is a straightforward process for those of us who endeavor to study the authentic Dharma, to contemplate it fully, and to put it into practice with utterly pure motivation. This message pervades throughout the three poems that he composed in this book. (extracted from Preface)

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Opening The Treasure of the Profound - Teachings on the Songs of Jigten Sumgon and Milarepa

Spiritual teachings in the form of vajra songs—spontaneous expressions of deep and profound wisdom and understanding that reveal the nature of reality—have been treasured since the dawn of Buddhism in India. In Opening the Treasure of the Profound, Khenchen Rinpoche translates nine such vajra songs, by Milarepa and Jigten Sumgön, and then explains them in simple contemporary terms without losing the vast and profound meanings so that practitioners can understand their meaning directly. Rinpoche's insights take the Buddha’s ancient wisdom out of the realm of the intellectual and directly into our hearts. Here, we are invited into the world of transmission from master to disciple in order to discover truth for ourselves—to open the treasure of profound wisdom that fully realizes the nature of reality.


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Diamond Rosary - A Commentary on the Five Preliminary Practices called the Blazing Glory of Blessings

The daily practice of the Preliminaries to the Fivefold Path of Mahamudra called Blazing Glory of Blessings was composed by the supreme Drikung Dharmakirti (1595 - 1659). This particular text has been commonly adopted by praticipants in the traditional three-year retreat, as its author was highly revered for his impeccable accomplishment in both scholarship and mahamudra. Owing to his masterly realization, this practice became very popular in this lineage. Drikung Dharmakirti was the first Chungtsang Rinpoche and is renowned as one of the greatest scholars and meditators in Tibet.

This book is structured as a commentary on the great Drikung Dharmakirti's text Blazing Glory of Blessings mentioned above and it contains all the prerequisite teachings and meditation practices set out in a way conducive to sincerely and joyfully following the Buddha's path. This commentary delineates the entryway and foundation of the holy Dharma - the common, uncommon and special preliminary practices comprising the profound essential points of the sutras and tantras. The common preliminaries are as follows: the precious human life, impermanence, karma cause and result, and the sufferings of samsara. The uncommon preliminaries are as follows: taking refuge in order to make one's mindstream a proper vessel; the practice and recitation of Vajrasattva in order to purify negativities and obscurations; the mandala offeirng in order to gather the two accumulations; the practice of Guru Yoga in order to receive blessings in one's mind-stream. The special preliminaries are as follows: loving kindness, compassion, and bodhictta.

 In order tomake its profound meaning and blessing more accessible to modern practitioners, Rinpoche gives a clear and precise elucidation on these subjects based on the uthentic writings of enlightened beings. This book is indispensible and essential for all those interested in this practice and will serve a great benefit for practitioners of the entire range of spiritual development. As there is no escape from suffering without sincere Dharma practice, this book provides complete information on how to train and stabilize our mind in a systematic way. Lord Jigten Sumgön said, "Ngöndro (Preliminary practices) are more important than the higher practices. One must truly understand and practice the simple and yet profound foundational teachings before one begins the higher teachings."


"A body endowed with leisure and fortune
is the supreme basis, which is difficult to find.
You have entered into the precious teachings of the Buddha
and have especially heard the Vajrayana Dharma.
So don't waste your human life. Cherish your practice."
--- by Drikung Bhande Dharmaradza

Last updated on 2015-10-15.