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Mahamudra (The Quintessence of Mind and Meditation)

Mahamudra (The Quintessence of Mind and Meditation)
Item Code: IDD574
Author: Translated & Annotated by: Lobsang P. Lhalungpa
Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
Edition: 2001
ISBN: 8120810740
Pages: 550
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 9.5" X 6.2"
About the Book:

Mahamudra is the first English translation of a major Tibetan Buddhist presentation of the theory and practice of meditation - a manual detailing the various stages and practices for training the advanced student. The original Tibetan text of nearly 800 pages was composed by Takpo Tashi Namgyal (1512-1587), a great lama and a scholar of the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism.

His text is so vast and thorough in scope that it is still the primary source used by living Tibetan meditation masters in instructing their disciples. The many levels of meditation covered include the following: the differentiation insight the meditation; meditation on the two kinds of selflessness; preparation for mahamudra meditation; the various methods of mahamudra practice; methods for removing obstacles to meditation; how one achieves realization; and the four yogas of mahamudra.

The first major text representing the meditational methods of both mahayana and vajrayana Buddhism to appear in English, Mahamudra is an invaluable guide for advanced students, scholars, and Buddhist practitioners.

About the Author:

Lobsang P. Lhalungpa was born in Lhasa, Tibet, and has passed through the disciplines of the major branches of Tibetan Buddhism under many of its greatest living masters. His life has drawn him into all aspects of the effort to maintain and communicate the Tibetan tradition. He is also the translator of The Life of Milarepa (E.P. Dutton, 1977) and author of Tibet - The Sacred Realm (Aperture, Inc., 1983).

Excerpts from reviews:

"Now, from the hands of one of Tibet's most gifted living translators, we have a great treasure, a large and profound work of incalculable value. Readers to whom meditation is not very much more than a pleasant beneficial pastime, might be exposition. Those for whom correct meditation practice is of enormous importance should, at all costs, possess themselves of a copy. To them it will prove a life-long and utterly reliable guide... Just as the Avatamsaka Sutra seems to be the very apex of Buddhist teaching in Sutra form, so may this book be the very apex of books available to us in the form of guides to meditation. I am astounded by the learned translator's skill in putting this book before us in words so clear and easy for Buddhists to comprehend that, as first sight, we may be deluded into supposing the whole great matter to be relatively simple!''

- John Blogeld

" I am so delighted that this text is being published in the English language. It will greatly benefit English speaking students of Buddhism. I myself have used this text in working with my students, and I have always found that it communicates, clearly and simply, the mahamudra teachings of the Practice Lineage. I am very pleased that now English-speaking students can read and study this book in their own language."

- Chogyam Trungpa


Foreword by Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche


Translator's Introduction

Reader's Key


    The Resolution to Compose This Work
    The Reasons Why Meditation on the True Nature of Mind Is Essential
      All Realities Are But Mental Phenomena
      The Deficiencies Arising from Not Meditating on the True Nature of Mind
      The Benefits Arising from Meditation

    The Outline of Tranquil Equipoise in General and the Removal of Doubts
    The Meditation on Tranquility on Tranquility and Insight
Chapter One: The Ordinary Meditation of Tranquility and Insight
    The Cause of Tranquility and Insight
    The Elimination of Hindrances to Tranquility and Insight
      The Recognition of Hindrances
      Instructions in the Remedies Necessary to Remove the Hindrances
        The General Elucidation of Remedies for Hindrances
        The specific Means for Removing Dullness and Sensual Incitement
        Refraining from the Causes of Dullness and Sensual Incitement
        The Elimination of Dullness and Sensual Incitement
      Identification of the True Nature of Tranquility and Insight
      Distinctions of Tranquility and Insight
      Examination of the Stages of Tranquility and Insight
      Meditation on Joint Tranquility and Insight
        The Reason One Needs Both Tranquility and Insight
        The Method of Combining These Two
      The Result of Tranquility and Insight
Chapter Two: The Stages of Tranquility and Insight, Part I: Tranquility
    The Preparation for Achieving Tranquility
    The Elucidation of Its Mental Images
      Elucidation of General Concentration
        Comprehensive Visualization
        Analytical Meditation
        Skillful Investigation
        Meditation on the Elimination of Mental Defilements
      Different Meditations to Meet Differing Needs
      Visualization at the Initial Stages of Practice [Tranquility]
      Maintaining a Visualized Image through Mindfulness and Vigilance
    The Methods of Realizing Tranquility
      The Eight Points of Mental Processes for Stability
      The Nine Stages of Settling the Mind
      The Six Powerful Methods for Achieving These Stages
      The Four Mental Applications for These Principles
Chapter Three: The Stages of Tranquility and Insight, Part II: Insight
    General Meditation on Insight
    Methods for Achieving the Vision of Insight: Enumerating the
    Methods Employed by Buddhist Schools to Attain This Vision
    Methods for Achieving the Vision of Insight: The Relevant Methods
    to Be Used Here to Attain This: The General Meditation on Selflessness
      The Reason for Meditating on Selflessness
      Ways of Meditating on the Two kinds of Selflessness
        The Negation of the Self of Personality
        The Negation of the Self of Elemental Reality
      Emergence of Vision through This Meditation
    Methods for Achieving the Vision of Insight: The Relevant Methods to be Used Here to Attain This: The Specific Methods of Meditating on the Vision of Ultimate Reality
      Identification of the Perfect Vision of Reality
      Meditation upon Tranquil Absorption
      Achieving a Postabsorptive Perception
Chapter Four: The Stages of Tranquility and Insight, Part III: Clearing Doubts Regarding the Methods for Maintaining the Vision of Reality and Meditative Absorption
    Distinction between Analytical Meditation and Concentrative Meditation
    Application of Analysis and Concentration to Tranquility and Insight
    Analysis and Concentration on the Vision of Reality
    Elimination of Doubts about the Essential Vision of Reality
      Review of Other Buddhist Schools
      Establishing the Meditational System of Our School

Chapter One: Exposition Engendering Confidence

    The Inherent Significance of the Teaching: Definition of Chakgya Chenpo [Mahamudra]
      The Various Meanings of the [Tibetan] Title
      The Substance and Distinction of Its Inherent Significance
      The Benefits Derived from the Knowledge of It and the Harm Ensuing from Ignorance of It
    Origin of Mahamudra According to the Sutras
    Origin of Mahamudra According to the Tantras, Especially the Unsurpassed Link [Anuttara Tantra]
      Exposition of the System of Three and Four Mudras
      Exposition of the Extraordinary Mahamudra
      Clearing Away the Confusion of Other Schools
    How Mahamudra Embodies the Deep Meaning of All the Sutras and Tantras
      Identifying the Essence of the Path
      Condensing the Deep Meaning of the Sutras and Tantras
    The Great Qualities of the Mahamudra Practitioners
      The Lineage of the Realized Ones in India
      The Lineage of the Meditative System in Tibet
Chapter Two: Preparatory Practices
      The Systematic Path of General Teachings
      The Description of the Preparatory Exercises for This Meditative Path
    The Relevant Preparatory Practices: The Elucidation of the Uncommon Preparations
      Contemplation on Impermanence and the Like for Overcoming Laziness
      Taking Refuge in the Three Jewels and Engendering an Enlightened
      Attitude for Clearing Impediments in the Practice
      Making an Offering of the Cosmos [Mandala] for Enhancing Personal Virtue
      Meditation and Mantra Recitation for Purging Inner Defilements
      Contemplative Harmonization with the Perfect State of the Guru for Drawing in Spiritual Blessing
    The Practice Preceding the Meditational Stages
      To Begin With, One Must Understand the Definitive Precepts
      How to Maintain Sessions for Meditation
    The Differentiation of Mahamudra Meditation
    Stages of the Actual Meditation
      Guiding Meditators on the Path
Chapter Three: Guiding Meditators on the Path: Tranquility
    The Means of Mastering Tranquility
    Physical Conduct and Posture
    The Method of Concentrating on an Object
    The Actual Mental Images for Attaining Settled Quiescence:
    Visualization of a Mental Image, Using the Image of an Object
      The Actual Meditation
      Identification with a Tranquil State of Mind
    Attaining Quiescence with a Mental Image, without the Image of an Object
      Using the Breathing
        Focusing the Mind on Counting Each Breath Rhythm
        Focusing the Mind on Its Inward Retention
      Not Using the Breathing
    Formless Tranquility, without a Mental Image
      The Importance of Knowing the Vital Point of Balance between Exertion and Relaxation
        The Meditation with Mental Exertion
        The Relaxed Meditation
      Recognizing Its Absorptive State
    How to Maintain the Tranquil State
    The Stages of Realizing the Settled Mind
    The Purpose of Realizing Tranquility
Chapter Four: Guiding Meditators on the Path: Insight
    The Reason Why Meditation on Insight Is Necessary
    The Preparatory Practice for Insight
    The Systems of Meditation on Insight
      The Relevant Meditation on Insight: Determining the Intrinsic
      Nature of Diverse Mental Perceptions
      The Reason Why One Achieves Insight on the Mind
      The Determination of the Mind's True Nature as Being the Basis for Everything
        Which of the Scriptures Deal with This Subject?
        The Actual Stages of This Meditation
        How this Meditation Compares with the Original Exposition
        How to Determine the Nature of the Mind
      The Determination of Mind's Dymanic Manifestations and Dualistic Appearances
        Showing All Appearances to Be the Products of Mind
        The Realization of Mind, Which Will Bring About an Insight into All Appearances
        The Actual Stage of This Meditation
    The Relevant Meditation on Insight: Clearing Assumptions and Skepticism about the Basic Root [of Samsara and Nirvana]
      The Definite Sense That Thoughts and Appearances Are Of Mental Origin
      The Attainment of Certainty about the Intrinsic Nature of Both Tranquil and Active States of Mind
      The Sense of Certainty That All Appearances Are Only
    The Characteristics of Emerging Insight
    The Blending on Insight with That of Other Systems
Chapter Five: The Stages of Virtuous Practice
    Understanding the System of Absorption at the Start
      Determining the Abiding Nature of Mind
        The Essence of Mind
        The Nature of Mind
        The Characteristics of Mind
      Explaining the Definitive Meaning of Spontaneous Coemergence
        The Essence and Terminology of Spontaneous Coemergence
        The Differentiations and Their Identification
        The Significance of Spontaneous Coemergence
    The Actual Identification of Spontaneous Coemergence
      Identifying Coemergence of the Mind
      Identifying Coemergence of Thought
      Identifying Coemergence of Appearance
    The Elimination of Flaws and the Appreciation of the Meaning of Meditation
      The Areas of Erroneous Meditation
      The Flaws of Partial Meditation
      The Recognition of Flawless Meditation.
      The Mind's Abiding Nature Is Said to Be Identical with Ordinary Mind
      The Recognition of the Distinctive Characteristics of Ordinary Mind
      Its Undistracted State Is Shown to Be Meditation on Mahamudra
Chapter Six: Consolidation of Experience in Meditation: How to Maintain Absorption and Postabsorption
    The Reason for Maintaining Meditation Even After Gaining Insight into the Identity of Virtuous Contemplation
      The Reason for Maintaining the Meditation Even After Having Discovered Its Intrinsic State
      In General, How to Maintain the Meditation with the Support of Mindfulness, Vigilance, and Self-Restraint
      In Particular, How the Role of Mindfulness Is Vital in Meditation
    Identifying the Nature of Absorption and Postabsorption
    The Methods of Maintaining a General Meditative State
    The Method of Maintaining Absorption
      Enumerating the Methods for Maintaining the Mind's Intrinsic Nature
        The Six Methods for Maintaining the Absorptive State
        The Well-Known Methods of Settling the Mind
        The Other Methods of Settling the Mind
      The Condensed Elucidation of These Methods
        Meditating without Intellectual Effort
        Maintaining an Undistracted Awareness of Intrinsic Reality
        How These Two Methods Contain the Vital Instructions on Meditation
    The Method of Maintaining Postabsorption
      Recognition of Mindfulness in Postabsorption
      The Method of Maintaining Meditation through Postabsorptive Mindfulness
      Sublimating Discriminating Thoughts
        Recognizing the Contemplative Identity
        Reviving the Awareness of Intrinsic Reality
        Sublimating Recreated Afflictions
      Perceiving Postabsorptive Perceptions as Being Like a Magical Scene
        The Meaning of a Magical Scene and the Rise of Illusion
        Perceiving Postabsorption as Being Like and Illusion
    The Method of Blending Absorption and Postabsorption
Chapter Seven: Consolidation of Experience in Meditation: How to Get Rid of Meditative Deviation
    The Elimination of Aberration and Deviation with Regard to Absorptive Equipoise
      The Elimination of the Four Aberrations
        The Identification of the Four Aberrations
        The Methods of Guarding against These Aberrations
      The Elimination of the Three Deviations
        Particular Experiences as a Possible Ground for Aberrations
        How the Aberrations Turn into Deviations
        Methods to Prevent Deviations from Taking Place
    The Methods of Removing Obstacles to Meditation
      Removing Obstacles to General Absorption
      Removing Other External or Internal Obstacles
Chapter Eight: Consolidation of Experience in Meditation: How to Determine the Mind as Nonarising [Emptiness] and Enhance Meditation
    Determining the Mind to Be Expansive, Open, and Nonarising
      The Epithet, Significance, and Time of Determining the Mind
      Determining the Abiding Nature of the Mind
      Watching the Mind's Inner Face as the Basis of Determination
        Watching the Nature of Mind and of Appearances
        The Nature of Meditation and Meditator
      Being Aware of the Mind's Nonarising Openness
      Remaining in the State of Determinate Awareness throughout the Day and Night
    Perfecting the Efficacy [of Awareness] through the Sublimation of the Path
      The Ideal Time Conducive to the Practices
      The Vital Significance of This Practice in General
    The Six Ways of Sublimating the Practices
      Elevating Dualistic Thoughts to the Path by Transforming Any Agonizing Crisis into Blessed Conditions
      Elevating Crude Emotions to the Path through the Spiritual process Called "Transforming Poison into Ambrosia"
      Elevating Obstacles Emanating from the Superior and Subordinate Spiritual Forces to the Path
      Elevating Miseries to the Path by Transforming Them into the Spirit of Enlightenment [Bodhicitta]
      Elevating the Afflictions of Disease to the Path, the Even Flavor of the Elements
      Elevating One's Dying to the Path by Unifying One's Primal Consciousness and Recollected Contemplative Awareness, the Way a Mother and Her Daughter Are Reunited
Chapter Nine: The Resultant Dawning of Realization
    Differentiating the Ways of Realization
    How Realization of the Four Stages of Yoga Takes Place
      How the Sutras and Tantras Show the Four Stages of Yoga
      The General Meaning of the Four Stages of Yoga: The Essence of These Four Stages of Yoga
      The General Meaning of the Distinct Nature of Each [of the Four Yoga Stages]
        The Difference of Realization between the Yoga Stages
        The Somber Realm of Inner Sensations
        How Postabsorption Is Maintained
        How Stains of the Mind Are Purified
        How Postabsorption Is Pacified
        The Difference between Absorption and Postabsorption
        The Time of Realization for Each of the Four Yoga Stages
        Some other Characteristics of These Four
    The Detailed Elucidation of Each of the Four Yoga Stages
      Differentiating Each of the Four Yoga Stages
      Differentiating the Levels of Each Stage Separately: The One-pointed Yoga
        The Differentiation of the One-Pointed Yoga
        How Inner Sensation and Experience Will Dawn
        How This Yoga Is Maintained
      Differentiating the Levels of Each Stage Separately: The Nondiscriminatory Yoga
        The Differentiation of the Nondiscriminatory Yoga
        How inner Sensation and Experience will Dawn
        How This Yoga Is Maintained
      Differentiating the Levels of Each Stage Separately: The Yoga of One Flavor
        The Differentiation of the One-Flavor Yoga
        How Inner Sensation and Experience Will Dawn
        How this Yoga Is Maintained
      Differentiating the Levels of Each Stage Separately: The Yoga of Nonmeditation
        The Differentiation of the Yoga of Nonmeditation
        How inner Sensation and Experience Will Dawn
        How This Yoga Is Maintained
      Differentiating the Levels of Each Stage Separately: The Summary of Their Vital Significance
    How the Various Grounds and Paths [of Enlightenment] Are Reached through the Four Yogas


Translator's Notes


Index of Quotations

Of Related Interest:

Complete Collection of Books on Meditation

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