The essence of superfine gold is the most famous literary composition of the third Dalai
Lama (1543-1588). It is a condensed but comprehensive commentary on Je Tsongkhapa’s
(1357-1419) a song of experience which is the seminal guide on the stages of the path to
Enlightenment of the Beings of three capacities although brief this text summarizes the
three principal paths of the teachings of the Shakyamuni Buddha.
Also included in this volume is Je Tsongkhapa’s a song of experience puls a brief
biography of the third Dalai Lama and the relevant Tibetan texts for both teachings.
Before receiving his doctorate in Buddhist studies at the University of Delhi, India Dr. Chok
Tenzin Monalm was awarded the Uma Rabjampa (a master in Buddhist Philosophy) from
the institute of Buddhist Dialectics Dharamsala India. At present he is heading the
research and Translation Department at the library of Tibetan works and archives
Chok Tenzin Monlam’s new translation of one of the best loved guides to the practice of
the Graduated path is a significant contribution to Buddhist studies. Many important
teachers continue to use this text by the Third Dalai Lama now we have a lucid English
rendering by a Tibetan academic.
In January 2005 at the request of Geshe Pema Dorjee Director of Bodogn Research and
publication center Dharamsala, I translated Je Tsonkhapa’s Lam rim nyams mgur (A song
of experience) for him. In April that year while I was in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia as a
translator for Lobsang Drakpa Buddhist Centre I was invited to Singapore to be translator
at the teachings of the Venerable Lungrik Namgyal Rinpoche the hundred and first Gaden
Throne Holder. While back in Dharamsala I made a rough translation into English of the
Third Dalai Lama’s famous text lam rim gser zhun ma before going on to Singapore and
acting as Rincpocshe’s oral translator for two months. Out of these translations the text
In December 2006 I joined the library of Tibetan works and archives as head of the
research and translation department. In this new capacity it occurred to me that since. His
holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama was to give teachings from the Third Dalai Lama’s
seminal text after the Monlam Prayer festival in March 2007 it might be helpful for the
English speaking section of his audience to be able to refer to a close translation.
Our director Geshe Lhakdor approved my translation and advised me to improve the work
which led to me referring to five different versions of this Tibetan text available in out library.
It is upon my critical edition which I then produced this English text that titled the essence
of superfine gold. While his holiness the Third Dalai Lama composed the text in very
accessible colloquial Tibetan it was a great challenge for me to translate it in so everyday
I am very happy to include here a brief biography of the Third Dalai Lama. A song of
experience by Je Tsongkhapa along with my critical edition of the Tibetan text.
I dedicate all the merit accumulated from this to the long life of his holiness the fourteenth
Dalai Lama and to the people who are working today in every corner of the globe to bring
peace harmony and wellbeing to our mother earth. I apologize to the readers for any
mistakes found in my translation. And invite your valuable suggestions for further improving
and refining the contents for any future edition.
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