DISTINGUISHING DHARMA AND DHARMATA by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche
Distinguishing Dharma and Dharmata is a text that is very brief and direct in its presentation and is included within the class of oral instructions. It is a work which clearly portrays the character of nothing less than non-conceptual original wisdom, the point of utmost profundity within the Mahayana.
With regard to meditation, there are the particular traditions, views and practices of Mahamudra and Dzogchen, the basis of which are the teachings of the Buddha and the commentaries or shastras on those by the great masters. In order to achieve the high view of Mahamudra or Dzogchen we need to cut our doubts, hinderances and aberrations, which is accomplished by listening to and contemplating the Mahayana dharma.
Realizing dharmata or the nature of mind is what is to be known and this we understand through hearing and thinking about it. Nevertheless, due to the obstruction of conventional appearances we are not able to realize this. If we can realize this profound nature then we will naturally separate from confusion and conventional appearances. Thus, this text, Distinguishing Dharma and Dharmata,is devoted to identifying exactly what is conventionally true and what is ultimately true. So this text is extremely important for all those who wish to practice the meditations of Mahamudra and Dzogchen.
DISTINGUISHING DHARMA AND DHARMATA BY ASANGA AND MAITREYA by Thrangu Rinpoche
Asanga in the fourth century meditated on Maitreya for twelve years and then was able to meet the Maitreya Buddha (next Buddha) directly, who gave him five works including this text. Asanga then went on to found the Mind-only or Chittamatra school of Buddhism.
This text, which contains both the root verses of Maitreya and a commentary on these verses by Thrangu Rinpoche, begins by giving the characteristics of dharma which is ordinary phenomena as perceive it as unenlightened beings. Phenomena is described in detail by giving its characteristics, its constituents or elements, and finally its source which is the mind. Discussed are the eight consciousnesses especially the alaya consciousness and how it creates the appearance of this world. Understanding dharma allows us to understand how we build up a false illusion of this world and this then leads to our problems in samsara.
Next, the text discusses dharmata or phenomena as it really is, not as it appears, in detail. In describing this sphere of reality or pure being, the text gives the characteristics of dharmata, where it is located, and the kinds of meditation needed to develop a perception of the true nature of reality.
Finally, there is a discussion of how one transforms ordinary dharma into dharmata, i.e. how one reaches awakening or enlightenment. This is discussed in ten famous points and this is actually a guide or a map to how to proceed along the Buddhist path.
This text has been extensively studied in Tibet, particularly among the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions. Now the student can read this profound work and a clear commentary on it by a world-renowned scholar who has been studying and also putting this text into practice for the last half century.
YOU ARE THE EYES OF THE WORLD by Longchen Rabjam (Longchenpa), trans. by Kennard Lipman & Merrill Peterson, under the inspiration of Namkhai Norbu, a Copper Mountain Series book
Just as the images projected on television are nothing more than light, so are our experiences merely the dance of awareness. Often we form attachments to, or feel enslaved by, these experiences. But they are only reflections. Their power fades as easily as the pictures vanish when the channel is changed, if we penetrate to the heart of reality -- the light of the natural mind within everyone.
KINDLY BENT TO EASE US - Part I: Mind by Longchen Rabjam (Longchenpa), trans. by H. Guenther
These three volumes are an inspiring introduction to Dzogchen by a leading master. The first section sets forth the preparations, view, essential concepts, ethical basis, and stages of the bodhisattva path, leading to contemplations on mind, reality, creative imagination, and meaningful existence.
KINDLY BENT TO EASE US - Part II: Meditation by Longchen Rabjam (Longchenpa), trans. by H. Guenther
Meditation, the second volume of Longchenpa's Trilogy introduces a central practice of Dzochen, the Teachings of the Great Perfectin. The form of meditation presented here is considered the pinnacle of al Buddhst meditative traditions. Its purpose is to liberate us from mind's restictive operations, and reveal th unparalleled radiance of awareness. The experience of this meditation is like the sun emerging from the clouds; it fills the mnd with light and transforms the practitioner's understanding.
KINDLY BENT TO EASE US - Part III: Wonderment by Longchen Rabjam (Longchenpa), trans. by H. Guenther
Interweaving teachings of Sutra and Tantra, Longchen Rabjam develops the imagery Nagarjuna used to evoke understanding of shunyata, the essential openness of existence. This work offers a broader view of reality, revealing world and experience as an interdependent whole, fluid and alive with meaning. Permeated by rich imagery that derives from immediate experience.
FUNDAMENTAL MIND: The Nyingma View of the Great Completeness by Mi-pam-gya-tso, comm. by Khetsun Sangpo Rinbochay, trans. & ed. by Jeffrey Hopkins
The combination of topic, well-known authors, and accessible presentation of the material should make this an important book for practitioners. Khetsun Sangpo Rinbochay provides an illuminating, expansive, and practical commentary on Mi-pam-gya-tso's incisive work on the Great Completeness view of ultimate reality, called Three Cycles on Fundamental Mind.
DZOGCHEN: The Heart Essence of the Great Perfection by H.H. the Dalai Lama, trans. by Thupten Jinpa & Richard Barron, fore. by Sogyal Rinpoche, ed. by Patrick Gaffney
This is the most informative and thorough book on Dzogchen available. These teachings are on Dzogchen, the heart essence of the ancient Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Exploring this esoteric subject in print for the first time, His Holiness offers the reader insights into one of Buddhism's most profound systems of meditation. He discusses both the philosophic foundations and the practices of this system--taking into account the approaches of various schools and teachers.
PRIMORDIAL PURITY, RESTRICTED by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
This is a RESTRICTED text available only to vajrayana practitioners who have received pointed out instructions.
Oral Instructions on the Three Words that Strike the Vital Point.
In the teaching presented in this volume His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche emphasized the formless aspect of vajrayana practice, focusing on the practice of trekcho, "cutting through" to primordial purity. He based his teaching on the initial verses of The Three Words That Strike the Vital Point, which is the posthumous instruction of Prahevajra, or Garap Dorje, to Manjushrimitra -- two of the early ati lineage holders -- and on Patrul Rinpoche's commentary. In three talks, which were given on June 25-27, 1987, Khyentse Rinpoche described the view, meditation, and action of dzokchen.
ARROW AND THE SPINDLE: Studies in History, Myths, Rituals and Beliefs in Tibet by Samten Karmay
This book opens with some studies of previously unknown royal edicts that shed light on early Buddhist practices testifying to the expansion of the Tibetan Empire (Part I).
The author then reflects upon the origin of Dzogchen philosophy (Part II)
and examines the Bon-religion considered as the source of Dzogchen philosophy (Part lll).
A previously untouched subject in Tibetan studies is the relation between the origin of myths and popular rituals that convey the ancient beliefs that are still intac underneath the surface of Lamaistic tradition, particularly that of the mountain cult amongst the laity. The author gives a comprehensive analysis of this cultural and religious complex (Part IV).
This leads to the studies of the Gesar epic from an anthropological point of view on the basic structure of the epic and its social organisation (Part V).
The author also dwells upon the subject of Tibet's reunification under the rule of the Fifth Dalai Lama in the seventeenth century, and sees lamaistic government as the main cause of its gradual decline culminating in the total loss of its independence in the twentieth century (Part VI).