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Ornament of Dakpo Kagyü Thought

Short Commentary on the Mahamudra Aspiration Prayer

Translated by Sarah Harding
Published by Wisdom Publications
Distributed by Simon & Schuster
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Ornament of Dakpo Kagyü Thought presents a sparkling translation of The Mahamudra Aspiration Prayer by Rangjung Dorjé and commentary by Mendong Tsampa. This is one of the most brilliant and popular ritual prayers today, and is also considered the most profound exposition of mahamudra, the pinnacle of practice in the Kagyü school of Tibetan Buddhism. The facing pages of Tibetan script make this a go-to book for daily practice and for Tibetan-language students.

The Mahamudra Aspiration Prayer is one of the most brilliant and popular compositions on mahamudra and is the pinnacle of practice in the Kagyü school of Tibetan Buddhism. Written in easygoing nine-meter verse, this heartfelt prayer by the third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorjé lends itself to chanting and ritualized group prayer and is at the same time intricately organized into the most profound and thorough exposition of mahamudra. The commentary on the prayer by Mendong Tsampa Rinpoché brilliantly illuminates its subtleties, making it even more accessible for the reader, and students and teachers alike will appreciate the inclusion of the Tibetan script on facing pages of the prayer and commentary.

This is a text for encouraging study, for inspiring practice, and for the awakening of the world.

The third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorjé (1284–1339), composed on a variety of topics and is considered a preeminent figure not only in the Kagyü lineages but also those of Severance, or Chö (gcod), and Nyingma. He composed treatises that became the foundation for studies by generations of meditators and scholars in the Karma Kagyü tradition and beyond, ranging from the massive commentary on the highest yoga tantras, The Profound Inner Principles (Zab mo nang don), to condensed profound supplications such as our Aspiration Prayer of Mahamudra, which stands on its own as a deep contemplative practice.

After taking the levels of monastic ordination and studying sutras, tantras, and classical texts with many experts, Mendong Tsampa Rinpoché (1867–1921?) received all the empowerments and instructions on the great secret mantra from Chöwang Tulku Rinpoché, and through mastery of the paths he could control his own wind-mind, achieving liberation from the stains of worldly concerns. He passed his time in retreat and also spoke spontaneously, becoming a great orator. He gave empowerments, guidance, and wrote commentaries on the treatises and oral instructions, creating a vast and profound body of work, now available in the three-volume Collected Works of Mendong Tsampa Rinpoché, Karma Ngedön Tengyé, reproduced from tracings from the collected woodblock prints impressed from the xylographs preserved at Mendong Monastery in western Tibet.