A significant new translation on one of the most important practices in Tibetan Buddhism.
Mahamudra, well known as a meditation practice in Tibetan Buddhism, had its origins in the Indian Buddhist tantras. Early on, it was a ritual term, but over time, mahamudra came to refer to ultimate reality, to a meditative practice for realizing that reality, and to the final fruition of buddhahood. Mahamudra is prominent above all in the Kagyü tradition, where celebrated meditation masters placed it front and center in their articulation of the path. It comes as a surprise to many that mahamudra has played an important role in the Geluk tradition as well. For Gelukpas, mahamudra is part of a special transmission received by the tradition’s founder, Tsongkhapa, in a vision of the wisdom buddha Mañjusri. The teaching was eventually transmitted to the First Panchen Lama, Losang Chökyi Gyaltsen (1570–1662), who became the first to commit it to writing, whence the practice became an important component of Geluk ritual and meditative life. It remains significant for Gelukpas to this day and has been widely studied and taught by prominent contemporary lamas, including the Dalai Lama.
Roger Jackson’s Mind Seeing Mind is the first attempt to provide both a scholarly study of the history, texts, and doctrines of Geluk mahamudra and translations of some of its seminal texts. It begins with a survey of the Indian sources of the teaching and goes on the discuss the place of mahamudra in non-Geluk Tibetan Buddhist schools, especially the Kagyü. The book then turns to a detailed survey of the history and major textual sources of Geluk mahamudra, from Tsongkhapa, through the First Panchen, down to the present. The final section of the study addresses critical questions, including the relation between Geluk and Kagyü mahamudra, the ways Gelukpa authors have interpreted the mahasiddha Saraha, and the broader religious-studies implications raised by Tibetan debates about mahamudra.
The translation portion of Mind Seeing Mind includes eleven texts on mahamudra history, ritual, and practice. Foremost among these is the First Panchen Lama’s autocommentary on his root verses of Geluk Mahamudra, the foundation of the tradition. Also included is his ritual masterpiece Offering to the Guru, which is a staple of Geluk practice, and a selection of his songs of spiritual experience.
Mind Seeing Mind adds considerably to our understanding of Geluk spirituality and shows how mahamudra came to be woven throughout the fabric of the tradition.
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More books from this author: Roger R. Jackson
More books in this series: Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism