Chenrezig with Entourage

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Books about Specific Sadhana Practices

Books about Tantric Practice in General

Books about Specific Sadhana Practices

Becoming the Compassion Buddha: Tantric Mahamudra for Everyday Life (Lama Yeshe, ed. Robina Courtin)

This work is a complete meditation retreat, written by one of the pioneers of Buddhism in the West. Lama Yeshe guides readers through the tantric practice of Avalokiteshvara/Chenrezig, the Buddha of Compassion, basing his instructions on a text written by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at age nineteen. Lama Yeshe gives special emphasis to mahamudra, the emptiness of one's own mind, and demystifies these esoteric techniques, clearly showing them for what they are: highly developed psychology.


Chenrezig Lord of Love: Principles and Methods of Deity Meditation (Bokar Rinpoche)

The Tibetan Buddhist practices of meditation are part of the spiritual wealth of humanity and deity meditation forms the heart of this treasure. For over a millennium Tibetan lamas have used meditation on deities as a means to master the inner world.

Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara in Sanskrit), the deity that represents the loving and compassionate potential of the mind, is one of the most popular deities of Tibet. In this volume the great teacher Bokar Rinpoche gives detailed instructions for this practice. He specifically addresses the concerns of Western practitioners in offering these unique teachings. The book includes a short chapter of past masters of this meditation: the great female adept Gelongma Palmo; Songsten Gampo, the seventh-century king of Tibet; Shangpa lineage holder Kyergangpa; and Gyalse Tome, author of the Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattvas (various versions and workbooks of the 37 Practices are also available from the Tibetan Language Institute). Also contains beautiful line drawings: Four-Armed Chenrezig, Green Tara, Two-Armed Chenrezig, Thousand-Armed Chenrezig, the seed syllable of Chenrezig, and Chenrezig's mantra.

"Chenrezig is within us because love and compassion are not qualities added to the mind. These qualities are part of the awakened state even if for the moment this state exists only as a potential for us." Bokar Rinpoche.

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The Cult of Tara: Magic and Ritual in Tibet (Stephan Beyer)

A wonderful book for those interested in the Tara ritual in particular or Tantric rituals in general. Includes a long bibliography and index.

"Opens a new door for the Western student of religion to the understanding of ritual in one of its most sophisticated and artistic forms....The author provides a precise and descriptive representation of the actual rituals [associated with Tara]. He gives a very readable translation of the important parts of the ritual texts such as the visualizations of the contemplated deity, prayers, praises, offerings and innovations along with a detailed account of what the participants actually do. These descriptions are much aided by simple and comprehensible sketches of the hand gestures to be performed as well as attractive drawings of the different deities involved... and photographs of the preparation of the rituals and ritual in progress." --Artibus Asiae

"The fullest (almost an encyclopedic) description of the Tantric model of religious life yet published. It is an outstanding achievement, from the foreword by Kees W. Bolle to the notes and index." --Times Literary Supplement


Kalachakra Tantra Rite of Initiation  (Dalai Lama, trans., ed., and introduced by Jeffrey Hopkins)

The Kalachakra -- or "Wheel of Time" -- tantra is one of the most detailed and encompassing systems of theory and practice within Tibetan Buddhism. This book contains a complete translation of the Kalachakra initiation ritual interspersed with commentary from the Dalai Lama, a valuable new index, and a comprehensive introduction by Professor Jeffrey Hopkins that explores the Kalachakra's rich symbolism and history.


Machik's Complete Explanation: Clarifying the meaning of Chod: A Complete Explanation of Casting Out the Body as Food (trans. and ed. Sarah Harding)

Machik's Complete Explanation is the most famous book of the teachings of Machik Labdron, the great female saint and yogini of 11-12th century Tibet, now finally translated in its entirety into English. Machik developed a system, the Mahamudra Chöd, that takes the Buddha's teachings as a basis and applies them to the immediate experiences of negative mind states and malignant forces. Machik's unique feminine approach was to invoke and nurture the very "demons" that we fear and hate, transforming those reactive emotions into love. It is the tantric version of developing compassion and fearlessness, a radical method of cutting through ego-fixation.

"Sarah Harding's masterful translation is a real gift to students of Chöd and this extraordinary woman teacher. It provides much new material including intimate question and answer sessions between Machik and her disciples. The translation has such a fresh living quality you almost feel you are receiving teachings directly from Machik Labdron herself." -- Tsultrim Allione, author of Women of Wisdom and founder of the Tara Mandala Retreat Center

"In this remarkable work Sarah Harding has combined her well-honed translation skills with her own practice experience to give us the most complete, detailed, lucid, and well-contextualized study to date of the meaning and practice of Machik's Chöd."--Jan Willis, author of Dreaming Me

"A clear translation of a standard Tibetan handbook on the history, practice, and theory of a striking meditation system that is unique to Tibetan religion. The book provides much else besides, not the least of which is an array of Tibetan cultural conceptions about the body, society, and divinity. The translation is complemented by a balanced introduction aimed at lay students and practitioners of meditation alike."-- Janet Gyatso, author of Apparitions of the Self

"An important contribution to an understanding of Tibet's most innovative female saint, revealing her vast diversity of teachings that place Chöd squarely in the mainstream of tantric Buddhist meditation. Harding's translation deftly reveals new and rare biographical, anatomical, philosophic, and meditative lore essential to understanding the tradition as a whole."--Judith Simmer-Brown, professor at Naropa University and author of Dakini's Warm Breath

"Sarah Harding's magnificent translation of this key work of Machik Labkyi Dronma, Tibet's most famous yogini, opens up for Western practitioners the startling world of Chöd practice: severing the devil of ego-fixation. This meditation manual explains how the rich symbolism of tantric yoga can be used in a disturbingly effective way to transform one's life."-- Stephen Batchelor, author of Buddhism Without Beliefs

"It is a very welcome addition to the literature on Tibetan Buddhism in Western languages, opening up the inner world of a fascinating and significant mode of spiritual practice in a way that is respectful, humorous and true to the tradition it presents."-- Geoffrey Samuel, The Middle Way, Journal of the Buddhist Society

"To experienced practitioners, the Tsadra Foundation Series is more precious than gold dust." --Tricycle Magazine

Machik's Complete Explanation
is part of The Tsadra Foundation Series.


Practice of Vajrakilaya (oral teachings by Khenpo Namdrol Rinpoche)

In this series of teachings, originally given over a three-day period at Kunzang Payul Choling in Poolesville Maryland USA in 1995, Khenpo Namdrol presents a lucid and detailed explanation of the history and practice of Vajrakilaya (Dorje Pourba in Tibetan). Chapters include the following: "The Origin of the Vajrakilaya Tantras"; "The Origin of the Deity Vajrakilaya"; and a very detailed section-by-section description of the sadhana entitled "The Practice of Vajrakilaya." Not a mere line by line translation of the Tibetan (in phonetics), Rinpoche gives philosophical background to bring out the richness and potential of this practice Mantras are both presented and given a translation and an explanation. Fantastic!

Not only are these teachings indispensable for those drawn to the practice of Vajrakilaya, but they will be o tremendous interest and inspiration to vajrayana practitioners everywhere.

Khenpo Namdrol is the senior khenpo (abbot) at the Ngagyur Nyingma Institute, which has become the largest Nyingma study college outside Tibet with over 300 monks enrolled in courses and a reputation for outstanding scholarship.


Readings on the Six Yogas of Naropa (trans. and introduced by Glenn H. Mullen)

The Tibetan tradition known as the "Six Yogas of Naropa" is one of the most popular tantric systems with all schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Structured and arranged by the 11th-century Indian masters Tilopa and Naropa from various Buddhist tantric legacies, this system of yogic practice was carried to Tibet by Marpa the Translator a generation later. These "six yogas"--inner heat, illusory body, clear light, consciousness transference, forceful projection and bardo yoga--continue to be one of the most important living meditation traditions in the Land of Snows.

This collection of readings on the six yogas contains important texts on this esoteric doctrine, including original Indian works by Tilopa and Naropa, and Tibetan writings by Tsongkhapa the Great, Gyalwa Wensapa, the First Panchen Lama and Lama Jey Sherab Gyatso. Readings discusses the practices, their context and the historical continuity of this most important tradition, which is said to bring full enlightenment in one lifetime.

Useful for readers in philosophy, religion, and Tibetan Buddhism, as well as those engaged in (or hoping to engage in) the practices of the six yogas.

See below for the Six Yogas of Naropa by Tsongkhapa, trans. by Mullen. 


Six Yogas of Naropa: Tsongkhapa's Commentary Entitled A Book of Three Inspirations: A Treatise on the Stages of Training in the Profound Path of Naro's Six Dharmas Commonly Referred to as The Three Inspirations (by Tsongkapa, trans., ed. and introduced by Glenn H. Mullen)

Anyone who has read more than a few books on Tibetan Buddhism will have encountered reference to the six yogas of Naropa, a preeminent yogic system. The six practices--inner heat, illusory body, clear light, consciousness transference, forceful projection, and bardo yoga--gradually came to pervade thousands of monasteries, nunneries, and hermitages throughout Central Asia over the past five and a half centuries.

Tsongkhapa (1357-1419) was a prolific writer and one of Tibet's great yogis and philosophers. His discussion of the six yogas is regarded as one of the finest on the subject to come out of Tibet. Mullen's study of the history, substance, and philosophical legacy of the yogas, together with his translation of Tsongkhapa's treatise, provides an invaluable guide to this tradition.

Includes a glossary of Sanskrit and Tibetan names and terms, as well as bibliography with the subdivisions of "Tibetan Texts Cited in the Introduction" and "Texts Quoted by Lama Tsongkhapa."

See above for Readings on the Six Yogas of Naropa by Mullen.   


Jamgon Kongtrul: Trainings in Compassion: Manuals on the Meditation of Avalokiteshvara (trans. Dewar under the guidance of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche)

This work includes translations of key Kagyu lineage meditation manuals for the practice of the deity of compassion Avalokiteshvara, one of the main introductory meditation practices presented in scores of Tibetan Buddhist centers across North America and Europe.

The manuals included in this book were authored by the great Tibetan siddha Thangtong Gyalpo, the renowned nineteenth century master Jamgon Kongtrul, and the Fifteenth Gyalwang Karmapa, Khakhyab Dorje.

The book also includes teachings on the nature of compassion by the highly regarded teacher Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, praises to Avalokiteshvara by the Indian master Chandrakirti, and a fresh translation of the famed Mahayana text The Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva.

Tyler Dewar translates for Nalandabodhi Buddhist centers and lives in Seattle, Washington.

See Table of Contents.


Wish-Fulfilling Jewel: The Practice of Guru Yoga According to the Longchen Nyingthig Tradition (Dilgo Khentse Rinpoche, trans. Konchog Tenzin)

In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, devotion to the spiritual master and complete confidence in him are considered to be indispensable in the attainment of enlightenment. Based on the teachings of the great 18th-century saint and visionary Rigdzin Jigme Lingpa, the instructions of Dilgo Khyentse in this book focus on the devotional practices of Guru Yoga, "merging with the Mind of the Guru."


Wish-Fulfilling Wheel: The Practice of White Tara (Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche)

Practiced by all four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, White Tara has been the main deity practice of many well-known Buddhist scholars and siddhas in both India and Tibet, foremost among whom were Nagarjuna and Atisha. White Tara's special function is to promote long life, both for the practitioner and for others. Ultimately, she is the very nature of the dharmakaya, and her practice is a means for attaining realization and accomplishing liberation.

In this book, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche has given a complete and detailed guide to the practice of White Tara based on the commentary of the great 19th-century master, Jamgon Kongtrul the Great. Presenting the various stages of the practice in a warm and straightforward style, he makes this profound practice accessible through a wealth of detailed explanations, poignant anecdotes, and down-to-earth examples. Rinpoche makes it very clear that, if done with sincerity and devotion, this practice "...can lead to the experience of perfect awakening."

Includes many line drawings, photos (of mudras), and an appendix with the Daily Practice of White Tara in English translation, phonetics, and the original text in Tibetan. 

Books about Tantric Practices in General

Buddhism of Tibet (Dalai Lama, trans and ed. by Jeffrey Hopkins)

"The Buddhism of Tibet consists of four texts that the Dalai Lama specially wrote or chose for Western Readers:

The Buddhism of Tibet by the Dalai Lama is a concise introduction to the principal topics and central practices of Buddhism.

The Key to the Middle Way by the Dalai Lama presents acute and precise insights into the nature of emptiness.

The Precious Garland by Nagarjuna is a description of the Bodhisattva path of compassion and a clear, concise analysis of the Buddha's teaching on emptiness.

The Song of the Four Mindfulnesses by the 7th Dalai Lama is accompanied by a commentary by the present Dalai Lama. This short poem contains all the essentials of sutra and tantra. It is to be used as a basis for meditations on mindfulness of the guru, altruism, deity yoga and emptiness." Snow Lion

"The book will give the beginner an excellent foundation in Tibetan Buddhism."-- The Tibet Journal


Creation and Completion: Essential Points of Tantric Meditation (by Jamgon Kongtrul, commentary by Thrangu Rinpoche, trans. by Sarah Harding)

Creation and Completion is a unique guide to the practice of Tibetan Buddhist tantra. Drawing on experiential explanations from two great masters, it is both concise and thorough, both authoritative and clear. In the creation stage of tantra, practitioners visualize themselves in the for of buddhas and other enlightened beings. This meditation practice prepares the mind for engaging in the completion stage, where one comes face to face with the ultimate nature of mind and reality.

Jamgon Kongtrul, a pivotal figure in the Buddhist revival movement of 19th-century Tibet, was a master practitioner and one of Tibetan Buddhism's most prolific writers. His guide to tantric Buddhist meditation, translated here, was written in the style of the Tibetan songs of realization. The commentary by contemporary master Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche (see below) skillfully clarifies the nuances of Kongtrul's text, making the language come alive in a practical way for the modern reader. Harding's excellent introduction distills the essential features of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.  


Generation Stage in Buddhist Tantra (Gyatrul Rinpoche)

This book offers an extremely clear and accessible presentation of the generation stage practices of deity yoga. Gyatrul Rinpoche explains the state of mind to be established at the beginning of the practice session, the details of the visualization sequences, the three types of offerings and proper mantra recitation, as well as mudras (ritual hand gestures), tormas (ritual food offerings--the famous butter sculptures), and malas (the Tibetan rosary). Practitioners from all lineages of Tibetan Buddhism will find that these teachings enhance their understanding of sadhana practice. Rinpoche's detailed explanations make it possible to practice these meditations as they were intended and as they were practiced in Tibet and ancient India.

Includes a section with detailed section of black and white photos/plates, a page of mantras, and a section detailing mandalas. Ven. Gyatrul Rinpoche was appointed as spiritual representative for H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche in America in 1976.


Introduction to Tantra: The Transformation of Desire (By Lama Yeshe, ed. by Jonathan Landaw, foreword by Philip Glass)

A thorough and definitive introduction to the subject of tantra.

"No other member of the tradition has ever talked about tantra with such clarity, coherence, and simplicity, and no one has summarized the essence of tantra as well as Lama Yeshe does here." --Religious Studies Review

"The best introductory work on Tibetan Buddhist tantra available."--Janet Gyatso, Hershey Chair of Buddhist Studies, Harvard Divinity School


Journey without Goal: The Tantric Wisdom of the Buddha (Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche)

Based on the author's talks at Naropa University in Boulder Colorado, this volume introduces the reader to the principles of tantra, based on the practice of meditation, which leads to the discovery of egolessness. Trungpa Rinpoche provides a direct and experiential picture of the tantric world, explaining the importance of self-existing energy, the mandala principle, differences between Buddhist and Hindu tantra--stressing the nontheistic foundation of Buddhism. The role of the teacher and the meaning of tantric transmission are also presented. Written for the student of Buddhism rather than the scholar, Journey without Goal demystifies the vajrayana and at the same time affirms the power and sacredness of its ancient teaching.


Secret Buddhism: Vajrayana Practices (Kalu Rinpoche)

Rinpoche reveals the essentials of the Vajrayana, mantras, empowerments, the six yogas of Naropa, Chod, pure Land and the six bardos. A history of the Kagyupa and Shangpa lineages and some explanation of the principles of Tibetan medicine complete this survey of Tibetan Buddhism. Many helpful line drawings and an index.

In three companion volumes -- Excellent Buddhism, Profound Buddhism and Secret Buddhism (all offered on the TLI website, see above) -- ClearPoint Press offers a complete and precise version of Rinpoche's precious teachings. More than a theoretical treatise, these books provide the reader with a living, diversified, and often surprising approach to Tibetan Buddhism.


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